“To Win More Negotiations Faster Know How To Use Fire”

“Fire warms, but it also burns. Like fire, the more you control a negotiation, the less likely you are to get burned.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (click to Tweet)

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“To Win More Negotiations Faster Know How To Use Fire”

People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.

Fire! What just went through your mind? If you had been in particular environments, hearing that word would have captured your attention immediately. And that is what happens in negotiations when something occurs that grabs your attention. It can spellbind you. And therein lies the power of capturing a negotiator’s attention. Thus, fire, a metaphor in this case for grabbing a negotiator’s attention, becomes a powerful tool you can use to win more negotiations faster. Here is how to do that.

Reasons To Grab Attention

Have you been engaged with someone, and you sensed you lost their attention? In negotiations, an opponent’s lack of attentiveness can signal disinterest, boredom, or disengagement. Regardless, once you have that sensation, you need to do something to summon him back to your talks. Why? Because he is not lending his full attention, which means he is half-heartedly negotiating with you. And that can prove to be deadly if you allow it to continue. 

Not only can the word fire be used to command attention metaphorically, but it can also represent a point at which you need to speed the negotiation up. Thus, there are multiple reasons why you must be alert to losing someone’s attention during talks and also why it behooves you to reengage your counterpart. To continue negotiation with a less than attentive negotiation opposition is to open yourself and your negotiation efforts to possible missteps and miscommunications. 

Mini Negotiations

Most negotiations that you engage in consist of smaller negotiations or what is also called mini (more minor) negotiations. That means you must be prepared to negotiate multiple deals to get to the end of a successful negotiation outcome. That also means you should apply a long-game approach to your efforts.

Thus, if you lose your counterpart’s attention during parts of your smaller negotiation discussions, it will impact your overall efforts. To avert the possibility of that occurring, keep the fire lit on finer points. Place it on the most critical segments to the overall outcome of the negotiation.

After Grabbing Attention, Then What

Okay. Now that you have the other negotiator’s attention, now what? And the answer to that question is, it depends. It depends on what occurred before that point, along with the issues you want to discuss. And if those issues are strategic to your negotiation plans, it would behoove you to have them addressed expeditiously. The more time it takes to do so, the less powerful your position may become. In addition, there are several other considerations to deliberate.   

Addressing Misperceptions

Once you have the full attention of your counterpart, ask for her perspective of what you have discussed. Do that to make sure you both understand what you have discussed and where you are in the negotiation. At that point, be sure there are no misunderstandings, misperceptions, or miscommunications. If you fail to do so, your negligence may strike a spark that ignites a later fire. And in that case, you could get burned by it.

Laying Down Markers

In negotiations, a negotiator should always know where they are in the process. And that is the point of using markers. Markers serve as signposts indicating how far you are in the negotiation and where the conclusion may lie.

To create markers during the negotiation planning, estimate where you will be at a particular point in your talks. Then, during your discussion, assess where you are versus where you thought you would be at that point. If you are behind where you thought you would be, consider using the fire perspective to nudge the other negotiator faster. Knowing where you are in the negotiation process compared to where you thought you would be is a tool that serves negotiators well. Do not overlook the usage of this tool.

Envision Outcome

As you go deeper into the negotiation, consider how your vision of it becomes altered. To the degree that it requires modifications, think about how you will adjust the perspective of the opposing negotiator too. To that end, consider how you will reframe, reposition, and repurpose your strategy to reach a better outcome.  


There will be times when a tweak to the perception of an offer will place it in a better light. You might consider that to be the glow of light from the fire you ignite in yourself and your negotiation counterpart. In essence, based on how an offer or aspect of the negotiation is perceived, reframing it makes it appear more appealing.


Reposition can be akin to reframing. For this purpose, the difference between the two is how and when you make offers. Thus, with repositioning, you might consider addressing an item that you and your counterpart are stuck on to a later point in your discussions. And where you later discuss it would depend on the leverage you have at that time.


You may recall a time when you were offered selections from lists A, B, and C. With repurposing, you can make an offer in the same manner. The exception being, you can place more desirable components of a specific need bundled with the action you wish your counterpart to adopt. Doing so will ignite the fire within him to take action.


You can ignite a fire in someone no matter the outcome for which you negotiate. And, no matter what your negotiations call for, having good negotiation skills will assist you in achieving that outcome. Thus, to win more negotiations faster, you must know how to ignite a fire in your counterpart to advantage your position. Once you become adept at doing so, you will increase your negotiation outcomes. 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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