Seven Thoughts To Contemplate Before Negotiating With Perceived Adversaries

Do you fret when negotiating with adversaries? Do you find negotiating from an adversarial position difficult? Whether you’re dealing with debt negotiation, contract negotiation, salary negotiation, or going through negotiation training, dealing with negotiators you view as adversaries can be difficult, because they’ll more than likely be more challenging to deal with. To enhance your negotiation skills, consider the following thoughts:

  1. How will the other negotiator react if you treat him as an adversary?
  2. What will it mean to the negotiation process, if you address the other negotiator as an adversary?
  3. Is it better to cast the other negotiator in a more positive light? If so, what are the benefits and disadvantages?
  4. What other resources will you have to utilize to solicit the other negotiator’s cooperation, if you identify him as an adversary? Depending upon the circumstances, will you be able to reach the needed resources in a timely manner?
  5. You’ll be less likely to receive bipartisanship when treating someone as an adversary. Therefore, the level of cooperation you engender throughout the negotiation may be fragile. This will make the negotiation tedious, cumbersome, and exhausting. Will the effort be worth the cost?
  6. Do you have someone on your negotiation team that can play the role of ‘good cop’ (someone that portrays empathy for the adversary’s position), if you choose the role of ‘bad cop’?
  7. What might the consequences be of backing the other negotiator into a corner, when identifying him as an adversary?

Additional thoughts to consider, regardless to whether the other negotiator is friend or foe:

  1. How can you use incentives to motivate the other negotiator? As an example, if he is motivated by fear, can you employ tactics that make him afraid not to accept the position you offer? Once you apply the burden of fear upon him, can you offer a way to have that burden lifted, by allowing him to move towards a position that’s less threatening?
  2. Consider the other negotiator’s geographical background and political structure in which he was reared. If he was raised in an environment, in which people subjugated themselves to authority, would it be beneficial to adopt a position of authority to observe the manner in which he reacts?

Regardless, of how you position the other negotiator throughout the negotiation, seek pressure points upon which you can offer incentives for him to move in the direction of your choosing. If you treat him like an adversary, give him viable options from which to escape your ire. Leave him with a sliver of hope by which he has something of perceived value to cling … and everything will be right with the world.

The Negotiation Tips Are …

  •  Some people are appalled by being viewed as someone that’s difficult to deal with. If you project the adversary title on them, they will attempt to exempt themselves from such a position by being amenable to the direction you set. Be aware of their desire and utilize this tactic where and when appropriate.
  • Always assess someone’s source of motivation when negotiating. If they are ‘risk adverse’, motivate that person by adding or subtracting risk, depending upon the direction you’re attempting to move them.
  • When deeming a negotiator as an adversary, consider the resources you may need at your disposal to solicit support to motivate that person. If the additional resources are not readily available, you may want to weigh the strategy against one that is better suited for the goal you’re striving to achieve.
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