“This Is How To Negotiate Stronger In A Pandemic” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

“You can’t control a pandemic. But you can control the degree that it controls you.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert  (Click to Tweet)

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“This Is How To Negotiate Stronger In A Pandemic”

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

During pandemic times, it can become more challenging to negotiate. Because, during a pandemic, a negotiator’s emotions can become labored. His mind may become consumed by the environment that surrounds him. And his thoughts succumb to the wellbeing of those for whom he cares. Plus, his mind may become burdened by considering how he’ll maximize resources, which can push him over the boundaries of what would otherwise be a more even-tempered individual. That can lead him to make irrational, hasty, and damaging decisions, which impales him on a negotiation bed of nails, due to him not being clear of head and mind.

In essence, he might lose his ability to be rational, allowing logic to become subverted by his driving perception to maximize the negotiation outcome at his negotiation counterpart’s expense. So, how might you overcome the dilemma of negotiating stronger in your negotiations during a pandemic? Consider the following, and you’ll gain insights into accomplishing just that.


During stressful times, such as those created by pandemics, people lose some of their abilities to reason. As such, if you sense that occurring with the other negotiator, let him play out whatever role he’s perpetrating. Do that to see where his logic is going in the negotiation.

It’s always good to allow someone to act out their inner thoughts during a negotiation. While words may belie their true intentions, their actions will always disclose it. By exposing someone’s rationalization in this manner, you’ll have greater insight into the person’s demeanor with whom you’re dealing.

You can expose someone’s demeanor by making offers and observing how they address your propositions. For example, if you sensed the other negotiator felt you were too tight-fisted, you could expose a portion of your plans. Once he had that insight, observe how he acts and reacts as you continue to engage him. The actions he reveals will give you definitive insight into his character and true intentions. Once you have that awareness, once again, you’ll have a better idea with whom you’re dealing.  


It’s always prudent to be clear in your communications. During a pandemic, communications can become more challenging, given the reasons stated, while the importance of communicating more effectively becomes more necessary. That’s why you must check continuously to determine if your message was received, per your intent during a negotiation.

Given the challenges confronting negotiators during a pandemic, it can become easy to infer misinterpreted information. Thus, it behooves you to observe your style of communications per how you’re projecting yourself and how your counterpart perceives you. That’s true in every negotiation. During a pandemic, you must rachet up your attentiveness.


In non-pandemic times, gamesmanship (trickery, deception, manipulation)  may be a negotiator’s preference. He may do so to indulge his ego for the pleasure of seeing how far he can maneuver his opponent. Or he may have a deceitful nature at heart.

But, when it comes to using gamesmanship during a pandemic, you might consider abandoning it per how you present offers. Instead of dithering with offers that imply benefits, make offers that are amplified by perceived suggested value. As an example, instead of saying, if you do ‘x,’ I might be able to give you ‘y’ – you might say, I need to know more about ‘x.’ That will allow me to understand better your position, which will make it easier for me to give you ‘y.’

The difference in the way you position your offer is slight. In one case, you’re using positional conditioning, ‘if you do ‘x,’ and in the other case, you’re using non-conditional positioning. The points of difference in those two approaches during a pandemic can be the tipping point that allows you to succeed in the negotiation. The one without the ‘if’ contingency is direct. And that’s what makes the direct method more valuable. You don’t waste time, time in which the other negotiator may switch mindsets and positions, due to the stresses of being in a pandemic. Just remember, in negotiations, you make your luck. And that’s done through the offers you make, the way you make them, and when you make them.    


Another tactic that negotiators use when negotiating is intimidation. While the use of this tactic may be appropriate in pandemic and non-pandemic negotiations, you should be extremely cautious about employing it during pandemics. The reason being, again, there variables already at play that can sabotage your negotiation efforts. A pandemic setting can serve to exasperate those variables. Thus not only would you be dealing with the self-head-talk that usually exists in the mind of a negotiator, but he may also become burdened by thoughts of fear stemming from perceived shortages, his wellbeing, and the outlook of his future. That means you may run a greater risk of losing control of the negotiation due to the additional variables implanted in the talks.


In a negotiation, you must always consider what the other negotiator will do once you make an offer or counteroffer. That, in part, will be the determining factor as to how you and he interact with one another. And it will play a massive role in the possible success of the negotiation.

In a pandemic, it’s more important to observe the interactions you engage in – because your negotiation can already be fraught with tensions that begin to erode the talks before they start. Therefore, to negotiate stronger during a pandemic, adopt and adhere to the preceding thoughts offered. 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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