“Here Is How To Challenge Fake Impediments In A Negotiation” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

“You’ll keep more, once you stop others from taking more from you.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (Click to Tweet)

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“Here Is How To Challenge Fake

Impediments In A Negotiation”

People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.

Sam said, “that’s impossible.” “Why,” was Jane’s response. Because the promotion expired, he retorted. “So, reinstate it,” was Jane’s rebuttal. “I don’t have the authority to do that,” stated Sam. “Then please pass me to someone that can,” was Jane’s last request. The two people in that conversation were in a negotiation. Sam attempted to deny Jane’s request by inserting an impediment into the process. But Jane challenged him and asked to speak with someone who could assist her.

Negotiators use impediments as distractions in negotiations. That could be to your detriment. Discover how to identify and challenge them in your negotiations. In so doing, you’ll improve your life and negotiation outcomes.

Impediment Appearances

When negotiating, do you note when the opposition uses impediments? It’s a point worth observing because the opposing negotiator can do so stealthily. And if that’s the case, you might not be aware that he’s altered the negotiation’s course. To enhance your awareness of when that occurs, keep an eye out for the following.

Innocently Posed Questions

Have you stopped to think about how a request for help might be an impediment? A negotiator could use it as a stall tactic. For example, if he said, “Please help me understand the point?” While he may appear to be seeking additional information, in so doing, he’s causing you to get off track from what you were previously discussing. At that point, he’s taken control of the negotiation (i.e., the person asking questions is directing the negotiation flow if the opposition is providing thoughts or answers).

Off-handed Statements

An off-handed statement, “I don’t see the point,” can also be used as an obstacle to you furloughing your train of thought. Like the innocently posed question, if you detour your negotiation line, you run the risk of detouring onto the negotiation’s unknown realms. And that could lead to a lack of control. While it may be prudent to address some off-handed questions, minimize your reply to them as best possible. In so doing, you’ll maintain greater control of the talks.

Feigned Irritation

Sometimes, negotiators will feign irritation as a way to change the dynamics of a negotiation. They do so to alter your perspective and to bend your will. If you fall prey to this tactic, not only will you no longer be in control of the negotiation, you’ll be at a detriment. The other negotiator will have molded you in the aspect of how he wishes you to respond to his offers.

If you want to evolve in a negotiation, maintain a high awareness of this tactic. And when you sense it, if you must address it, get back on course as quickly as you can. Don’t let feigned irritation become the undoing of your negotiation efforts.  

While a negotiator can insert other barriers into a negotiation, the ones mentioned take on the familiar form of impediments. Be mindful of sensing them when they occur. That will lessen the burden they instill upon your negotiation efforts and help keep your negotiations on track.

How To Challenge Impediments

It’s essential to recognize an impediment and it’s intent. Because before you can address it, you must be aware of its intentions. That’s why the preceding information about impediment appearances is so important.

Now that you’re aware of what to observe about impediments, how might you challenge them? Consider the following.   

Innocently Posed Questions

As with most propositions, it’s the degree of it that determines your response. Thus, with innocently posed questions, if you assess there’s no malice or distraction intended, consider addressing it as a need for additional information. You would determine that your opposition is requesting information to help arrive at an outcome, not as a distraction. If your perception is correct, answer the question, and resume your point in the negotiation. Don’t degrade your counterpart or the query. Such action will tend to be alienating.

Challenge To Off-handed Statements

Off-handed statements may be a little trickier to detect. The other negotiator might state it as a whimsical comment that carries the appearance of innocence. He might also make it more firmly. It’s the boundaries between those two points upon which you should make your assessment. If you sense a lack of sincerity accompanies the statement, or it’s intended as a decoy, either don’t respond or address it to the degree it needs to be squelched. Don’t allow its life to rear later in the negotiation.

Challenge To Feigned Irritation

Feigned irritation can be an attempt to solicit empathy. And if you fall for it, you set yourself up to be seduced throughout the negotiation. Real irritation occurs over a drawn-out time. Thus, you should be aware of its pending arrival before it appears.

To determine if a negotiator’s irritation is real, consider his mood leading up to the display. Ask yourself if the other negotiator is aligning his actions with what’s been occurring in the negotiation. If you sense he’s feigning irritation, question him about why he’s upset. At that point, don’t allow his response to take you down a false path, one in which he controls your thoughts, actions, and the flow of the negotiation. If he starts down an unknown direction, stop him and ask that he make his feelings known in one sentence. Tell him you’re requesting to understand what he’s experiencing. Then, as quickly as possible, if warranted, address his concern and get back on track.


Too many negotiators are fallen by fake impediments in a negotiation. Some are perplexed because they’re unaware of the trickery that such ploys impale opponents. Always keep your wits about you when you sense that the other negotiator has placed impediments before you, be they fake or real. Being aware of when they occur and how to address them will allow you to maintain greater control of the negotiation. It’ll also enhance your outcomes. And everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

Listen to Greg’s podcast at https://c-suitenetwork.com/radio/shows/greg-williams-the-master-negotiator-and-body-language-expert-podcast/

After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com

To receive Greg’s free “Negotiation Tip of the Week” and the “Negotiation Insight,” click here https://themasternegotiator.com/greg-williams/

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