“Bullying Can Be Scary But Good When Negotiating” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

Negotiation Tip of the Week


“One way to defeat a bully is to disallow support of his efforts.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert


Bullying Can Be Scary But Good When Negotiating


“Bullying Can Be Scary But Good When Negotiating”


Have you ever felt bullied when negotiating? Did you find it scary? Bullying can be scary when negotiating but it can also be good. It all depends on which side you’re on.

The following are thoughts you can implement to project the persona of a bully when negotiating, along with how to thwart a bully’s efforts if you’re the target of bullying.


Good Cop – Bad Cop

This tactic is old, tired, and used excessively, and yet it still works. When you know the opposing negotiators are using this tactic, call them on it. Tell them that you know what they’re doing and ask if they’d like to change the tone of the negotiation. If they dismiss your accusation as folly and/or refuse to alter their tactics call your own bad cop into the negotiation. If you’re forced to do so, make sure your bad cop is bigger and bolder than their bad cop.


Negotiating with subordinates can suck.

Be on guard when negotiating with the other negotiator’s subordinates. This can be the setup for the good cop – bad cop tactic and/or used to soften you up. Some negotiation teams will use several layers of subordinates for you to negotiate against; this process can also be a mild form of bullying because you’re being mentally manipulated throughout the negotiation process. If you suspect you’ll be in such a situation, set time frames for how long you’ll negotiate. Don’t spend more time than you’ve allotted in any one aspect of the negotiation. You want to get to the real power source that you’ll eventually be negotiating with as quickly as possible.


Know the target of a bully’s negotiation efforts.

Have you ever felt used? Most people have at some point in their life. When negotiating, there will be times when you’re not the end target of someone that’s attempting to bully you. Instead, the bully will be positioning himself for a potential negotiation confrontation with another entity; that’s another reason I say you’re always negotiating.

You can gain clues regarding whether you’re the intended target by observing if the bully appears to be committing overkill on his pronouncements, or if his behavior seems to be over-the-top. Once again, bring your perspective to his attention and note any change that occurs after that. If he continues to be obstinate, leave him to negotiate with himself. Never place yourself in an unintended position where you must subjugate yourself to his bullying efforts to obtain what you need.


Leave the back door open.

Always leave a back door through which you or the other negotiator can escape to save face. When negotiating with a bully, that back door can be in the form of you bringing in a different negotiator, a bully of your own; therein lies how you can also use the good cop bad cop tactic.


As you can tell, bullying can be scary when negotiating, but you can turn a bully’s efforts against him and use his tactics to your advantage. The next time you’re in a negotiation, understand what the bully’s intent is, who he’s posturing for, and what his real efforts are geared to obtain. Having that information in your repertoire will allow you to address the negotiation more adroitly … and everything will be right with the world.


What are your takeaways? I’d really like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com


Remember, you’re always negotiating.



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