“Secrets To Negotiating Better With Difficult People” – Negotiation Tip of the Week


Difficult people are only difficult to the degree you deal with them. If you choose not to deal with them, they won’t be difficult for you.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert


Secrets To Negotiating Better With Difficult People


“Secrets To Negotiating Better With Difficult People”


When you think about negotiating with difficult people, what thoughts come to your mind? In wondering how you might negotiate better with difficult people, what do you consider? The way you think about negotiating with difficult people will determine the mindset you have when entering into and during the negotiation.

To be mentally prepared to negotiate with difficult people, consider the following.


  1. Assess why it’s difficult to negotiate with the opposing negotiator.

When we think of dealing with difficult people during a negotiation the thought usually belies a mindset of interacting with someone that’s obstinate, bullying, or just hard to deal with. Often times, we don’t consider someone being difficult because they’re nice.

Depending on your personality type, you may have difficulties dealing with someone that’s nice because you believe in being fair; you’re not someone that likes hurting the feelings of others. Thus, dealing with a nice negotiator may put you at odds with your self-perspective.

If you find yourself in such a negotiation, question the other negotiator as to what a ‘best case’ scenario would be for her. If you can meet her expectations do so. If you can’t, state your desire to be amenable while explaining the points that you can’t meet. Keep the negotiation pleasant by maintaining a pleasant negotiation demeanor.


  1. Maintain your composure throughout the negotiations.

Per your composure, keep it top-of-mind. When you lose your composure, you lose the ability to think coherently. You also emit clues to the opposing negotiator as to what irritates you.

If you intentionally display a state of irritation be cautious as to the potential backlash. If you’re not sure how the opposing negotiator might respond, you can be opening Pandora’s box without a way to put the lid back on it (i.e. unleashing a hell storm upon the negotiation).

  1. Be mindful of being baited.

Some negotiators position themselves to be perceived as being difficult for the purpose of seeing how you’ll react. If you fall prey to that tactic, they’ll pull you deeper into a quagmire.

If you sense such a maneuver is being used as a negotiation tactic, state that you believe that to be the case. Then, note the response and change that occurs. If there’s no change in his demeanor, you can state that you expect the negotiation is going to be tough; change your facial features to convey toughness to enhance your pronouncement. Then, be prepared for a no-holes-bared negotiation.


  1. Understand your perspective as to why the other negotiator is difficult.

In attempting to gain more insight as to why you deem the other negotiator as being difficult, ask yourself, what persona is he projecting that doesn’t sit well with you? What action is he engaging in that causes you to label him as being difficult? How would you expect him to act? Has he changed his persona during the negotiation? If so, when did it occur and what may have caused him to do so?

By asking yourself such questions, you’ll gain insight per how you’re perceiving your negotiation counterpart. If you also noted when a shift occurred in his demeanor, you’ll have insight as to when such happened and why. That insight can be used to assist you in adopting a negotiation strategy that suits the situation.


Negotiating with difficult people doesn’t have to be tumultuous or crestfallen. If you employ the thoughts above, your negotiation endeavors will be enhanced … and everything will be right with the world.


Remember, you’re always negotiating!



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