“To Win You Must Know How To Avoid Disaster In Negotiations” – Negotiation Insight

“Disasters shield opportunities. Thus, without disasters, some opportunities would never reveal themselves.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (click to Tweet)

Click here to get the book!

“To Win You Must Know How To

Avoid Disaster In Negotiations”

People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.

Just when he thought he would close the deal, a disaster occurred. He had had a foreboding feeling that instead of happiness being abounded, tragedy was about to befall him. In reflecting upon what had happened in the negotiations, he wondered what he might have done to avoid disaster, the creeping, sickening feeling he sensed had closed in on him.

Has that ever happened to you? Right when you thought you had a winning negotiation in the bag, disaster snatched victory from you and replaced it with defeat. Well, in the future, you can avoid disaster by casting its dastardly deeds away from your negotiations. And here is how to do that. 

Avoiding Disasters In Negotiations

There are many reasons why disasters creep into negotiations. One can be your lack of preparation. Another is you and your negotiation counterpart misgauging the other’s desired outcome for the talks. And then, there are the negotiation strategies that your opponent might employ during the negotiations.

It will help if you consider all of these components and those that follow before entering your next negotiation. Considering and preparing for them will decrease the likelihood that disaster will rest at the doorstep of your negotiation, waiting for the opportunity to be invited in.


Well, I did not see that coming. Unfortunately, many a time, a negotiator has been caught off guard by unanticipated occurrences during negotiations. And in some situations, that was what led to disasters. In other cases, an expected occurrence was the source. But wait a minute. You might say if a predicted event was the source, how could you not be prepared for it?

The simple answer is, it occurred at a point in the negotiation that was unexpected. It was out of the order in which you thought it might happen.

The point is, avoid disasters from plaguing your negotiations. Attempt to cover the expected occurrences and anticipate what you will do about the unexpected ones. Suffice it to say, to avoid surprises, prepare for them. The better equipped you are for the pitfalls that could wreak havoc on your negotiations, the better your chances to prevent disasters.

Information Flow In Negotiations

There is always a timing situation about when to divulge information in a negotiation. If you reveal it too quickly, you run the risk of worsening your position. The same thing can occur if you hold on to it too long. And in both cases, that can lead negotiations onto the slippery path of disaster.

To erode the possibility of disaster from striking your negotiation efforts:

1. Know the value the other negotiator has per the information you disclose.

2. Understand what might occur in the negotiation when you divulge information. Information will cause the negotiation to shift. Know how it might alter the negotiation’s flow.

3. Time the disclosure of information to have the most impact on the proceedings. Do not disclose it in a willy-nilly manner.

Consider information to be king when you negotiate. As such, guard it wisely and use it appropriately. It, in turn, will help to safeguard your efforts from the wrath of disaster.  

Marking Negotiation Flow

Not knowing where a negotiator is in a negotiation is another flaw that hampers his efforts. Meaning, he is not sure of the phase he is in during the talks. That can be devastating! Worse, it can be the prelude to pending disaster.

To prevent disaster mishaps from choking your negotiations:

1. In the planning stage of the negotiation, set markers that indicate the gains you expect to achieve at specific discussion points. Then, during the talks, compare your progress to what you have accomplished.

2. If you are behind your expected point of achievement, determine how you will reach it or consider exiting the negotiation. And do not reenter until the situation is more favorable to continue.  

Without markers, you cannot accurately assess the progress you have made. Thus, you will not know if you are in the midst of disaster. And you will not know how to extricate yourself. Markers are always good milestones to note progress. Note them and prevent getting lost.

The Negotiator Switch

A change in negotiators can also be the distant sound of disaster for a negotiation. If you are negotiating alone, and the other side switches negotiators, they may do so to wear you down. The other side knows the points and counterpoints you have made up to that point. Plus, you are tired. That puts you at a disadvantage, which may cause you to become erratic.

If you are on a team, negotiating against someone negotiating alone, they may reach a point where frustration causes them to become erratic. Worse, that negotiator may have apprehensions about abiding by an agreement reached due to feeling that you teamed up against him.

Always be aware when a switch in negotiators occurs. It could be the silent signal that summons disaster to begin warming up for its appearance.  


Disaster lurks within every negotiation. But that does not mean you have to allow it to enter deeper and overwhelm your discussions. To avoid disaster from hijacking your negotiations, be mindful of its proximity in your talks. And once you sense it, go on heightened alert. Do that to prevent it from creeping deeper into your negotiations and being the source that derails your efforts.

Yes. By avoiding disaster in your negotiations, your negotiations will have a better chance of reaching a successful outcome. That, in turn, will assure that the covenants of the talks are abided by, which will make you happier than if a disaster had tainted your outcome. 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

Scroll to Top