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Secrets of Power Negotiating by Roger Dawson

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Chapter 14Ending Negotiating Gambits: Good Guy/Bad Guy

Good Guy/Bad Guy is one of the best-known negotiating gambits. Charles Dickens wrote about it in his book, Great Expectations. In the opening scene of the story, the young hero, Pip, is in the graveyard when out came a large, very frightening man. This man is a convict, and he has chains around his legs. He asks Pip to go into the village and bring back food and a file, so he can remove the chains. The convict has a dilemma, however. He wants to scare the child into doing as he’s asked, yet he mustn’t put so much pressure on Pip that he’ll be frozen in place or bolt into town to tell the policeman.

The solution to the convict’s problem is to use the Good Guy/Bad Guy Gambit. Taking some liberty ...

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