“This Is How To Conquer A Scary Negotiation Bully” – Negotiation Insight

“The scary thing about fear is whether you dare to conquer it.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (Click to Tweet)

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“This Is How To Conquer A Scary Negotiation Bully”

People don’t realize; they’re always negotiating.

She bullied me in that negotiation. Why did you allow her to bully you, was the question asked by the associate? I’m not sure. I think I did because she was tough, mean, and scary. I was intimidated by the tone and tactics she used and the berating she subjected me to throughout our talks. I know I lost the negotiation. But I just wanted to get away from her.

The preceding conversation occurred between two associates. They were talking about a buzzsaw of a woman that one of them had encountered during his negotiation. When dealing with a bully, you learn as much about yourself as you do the bully, especially when it comes to the actions you take to avoid danger.

It’s natural to avoid danger. That’s what cautions your brain when you sense it. But too much caution can paralyze you into a state of inaction. And that won’t benefit you in the long run. Thus, when dealing with a bully, consider the following ideas.

Assessing Power

  • Understanding Bully’s Self-View

Before you can understand a bully’s motivation, you must recognize how he sees himself. Does he consider himself to be a stable genius or some other praiseworthy phrase to represent himself? If so, that might be a sign that he’s riding high on his ego. Whether it’s warranted might be something to question. The arching point is, by understanding his self-view, you’ll have an idea from which to create a defense based on that perception.

  • Sources of Power

It’s always advisable to understand the source of a bully’s power. One way to identify his power sources is to observe who he follows, what the norms are of the followers, and to what degree he’s motivated to stay in favor with them. With that information, you can become better prepared to confront and conquer his forays against you.

  • Why You

Ask yourself, why is the bully, bullying you. Does he sense weakness that he can exploit? If so, what is that weakness, and how can you overcome his perception? The more insight you can gather about this aspect of a bully, the more understanding you’ll have to conquer his actions.

  • Bully’s Needs

Okay. You have a perspective about the bully’s sources of power. But the essential component of that assessment is why the bully seeks authority. And what needs does power satisfy for him? Most people become driven to have dominion over something. But most people temper the way they go about achieving it. A bully’s drive for such a quest can be born from feeling insignificant, the desire to live up to someone’s expectation, or the need for acceptance. By identifying his needs, you capture the ambitions behind his actions.

Assembling Allies

  • Your Best Allies
    • At some point, you must confront the bully. To do that, consider the allies you’ll utilize to assist you. Your best supporters will be those the bully fears, and those that’ll stand with you in confronting the bully.
  • Know Bully’s Allies
    • Having a sense of who supports the bully will help you understand his source of strength. It’ll also help when targeting those that might assist you. And that knowledge will allow you to be better prepared when you confront the bully.
  • Utilizing Influencers
    • While a bully’s supporters may be his influencers, there may be others that the bully would like to emulate. If you identify them, and they align with your thoughts, you can point to them as role models for the bully to follow. That would give him something to consider per altering his behavior.  

Addressing The Bully

  • Confronting The Bully
    • Before engaging the bully, plan your approach, and determine which negotiation strategies you’ll use. Also, prepare for how you’ll inform him of his actions related to him bullying you.
  • In considering how you’ll approach the subject of his bullying, you must consider the best time to do it. You don’t want to engage him when others are with him – that might serve as energy for him to become more aggressive.
  • Once engagement occurs, attempt to control the narrative. The person controlling the conversation controls the discussion. Be polite, but firm.  
  • Using Negotiation Tactics
    • A significant tactic that negotiators employ is to divide and conquer. And it’s one you should consider using. The point of gathering allies of the bully was to assess who might flip to your side. Thus, to utilize this tactic, give his supporters an incentive to flip. The more of them you can turn, the more leverage you’ll have when dealing with the bully.
  • Another strategy is to threaten the bully by challenging his power source. In some cases, his supporters may not know he’s using their cachet. By threatening to reveal his antics to those individuals, you might create the pressure needed for him to abandon bullying you.
  • Some bullies are so full of themselves that you can lure them into untenable situations by using bait. The bait could be getting him to secretly attempt to obtain something of which his supporters would find distasteful. Your goal is to create conflict amongst him and his supporters. To that end, you should use bait that’s almost too good for him to pass up. If he takes the bait, sound an alarm to his supporters without having it associated with you. That will keep his focus off of you.   


The information could have been simply titled, “How To Conquer A Bully” because whether one is scary or not, he can cause angst to rise in you. And since you’re always negotiating, regardless of whom you’re dealing with, you employ negotiation strategies in your interactions. Thus, the title intends to convey a pinpointed perspective from a broad point of view. Therefore, while dealing with a bully can be scary, if you employ the insights mentioned, you’ll have a better chance of thwarting a bully’s attempts to bully you. And everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

Listen to Greg’s podcast at https://cms.megaphone.fm/channel/CSN3928767635?selected=CSN2004356661

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

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