“How To Absolutely Stop Agony And Sabotage From Killing Negotiations” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

“To prevent sabotage from killing negotiations, know the actions of saboteurs.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (click to Tweet)

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“How To Absolutely Stop Agony And

Sabotage From Killing Negotiations”

People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.

He thought to himself; this negotiation is becoming painful. If I do not do something to stop the agony, this negotiation will be doomed to failure. He reflected on ways of killing negotiations and the impact that might have on future talks. After all, he was a high-profile negotiator, one respected in his field for his expertise. Thus, he knew he had to stop the agony from killing the negotiation, but he lamented the perils of doing so.    

When you are in negotiations fraught with challenges that cause you to become filled with dismay, how do you handle those situations? Negotiations can become dicey when indecision becomes the source of a lack of direction. But you can forge forward and stop the agony that stems from contemplating the killing of negotiations. The following is a roadmap of how to do that.

The Stage

Mental Preparation

People constantly play roles in life. And how a negotiator engages in negotiations determines the outcome of it. Thus, the position he cast himself in will be a guiding factor in that process. Therefore, before entering a negotiation, consider what might occur that would stop agony from killing negotiations. The more you are prepared mentally for upheavals, the better you will be at handling them.

The Environment

The environment in which you negotiate is as important as the strategies you use during negotiations. Because, depending on the environment, you will have more options from which to implement tactics.

For example, suppose you are in an area under your complete control. In that case, you can employ tactics such as controlling the temperature in the room. I experienced that occurrence when I was in an environment controlled by the other negotiator. When things didn’t go his way, the room became unpleasantly hot. He had someone manipulating the thermostat. Thus, by controlling your environment, you have a better chance of stopping someone from sabotaging your efforts and killing your negotiations.

In addition, when possible, negotiate face-to-face. And when seated, sit on the same side as the person with whom you are dealing. The nonverbal message that gesture sends is, you and they are working together to reach an amicable outcome. And, when someone senses they are in partnership with someone, it makes it a little more difficult to obstruct the talks by sabotaging efforts to keep it moving forward.

The Act

In every negotiation, negotiators play a role. They may wish to portray themselves as someone that will not take a lot of guff from their opposite. They may project the image of someone that could care less about the outcome – a, take it, or leave it role. Or, they may cast themselves in a milder demeanor.

The point is, know the role you will play and that of your opposite – the one that will grant the most significant benefit per what you are seeking from the negotiation. And as part of that role, consider how your persona may play into the other negotiator’s attempt at sabotaging or killing the talks. Because if either your position or the other negotiator’s persona is too challenging to deal with, that could be the slippery slope to killing negotiations.

Your Role

It would help if you considered the following to assist in the role you will project during the negotiation.

1. Who you will be negotiating against

2. What will the other negotiator do to acquire the outcome he seeks

3. Who else might be involved in the negotiation that might cause you to display a particular demeanor, even if they are not present

4. What will you do if you cannot reach an agreement

5. What the best time will be to negotiate based on when you might have the most leverage

By having that information in mind, you can determine the degree of a hard or soft approach to take while avoiding the risk of killing the negotiation.

The Opposition’s Role

Like you, your counterpart will also be playing a role that suits his needs for the negotiation. Identify the character you believe he will portray before the negotiation. Then, assess the accuracy of your assumption as the negotiation progresses. In particular, consider:

1. How you will interact with her if she adopts a hard or soft demeanor

2. How quickly she shifts personas based on the flow of the negotiation

3. What she might do if an impasse occurs

4. How much time she has to reach her goals

5. What nonvisible forces may be dictating her actions

The more insights you have about what might motivate her to adopt one position versus another, the more significant your opportunity will be to assist her in giving you what you want.


When it comes to killing negotiations, there can be many reasons for that occurrence. Some can be natural, as in when you know you must exit the talks due to a lack of progress. At other times, blunders may be the source of the negotiation’s demise.

But if you want to stop the agony of discomfort that leads down the path of unwantedly killing negotiations, heed the preceding insights. They will serve as the protector that shields you from that agony. And the harm that comes from the lack of desire for the killing negotiations efforts you miss will be your blessings. 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/blog

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