“Unlocking Secrets – How To Use Leverage To Increase Negotiation Skills” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

“If negotiation is an art, leverage is the brush that negotiators use to paint a picture of success.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert

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“Unlocking Secrets – How To Use

Leverage To Increase Negotiation Skills”

People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.

There is power in leverage during negotiations. Have you ever felt lost in a negotiation, as though you were in the trenches of a treacherous maze? Did that leave you frustrated, or did you use leverage to relieve your plight?

There are many ways to acquire and use leverage during negotiations. And in this article, I reveal the secrets to mastering negotiations through leverage.

What Is Negotiation Leverage

Leverage is a negotiation game-changer. Used right, it is an innovative negotiation approach that enables negotiators to exert control with finesse, subtly guiding the conversation toward the desired outcome.

Imagine you are in a crucial pressure-packed business negotiation with high stakes. Anxiety hangs heavy in the air as you and the other negotiator engage.

Then, the other negotiator makes a take-it-or-leave-it demand. That could invite an impasse to join the talks. But you have prepared for this potentiality.

You calmly begin gathering your belongings, stand up, thank the other negotiator for engaging in the negotiation, and turn to exit the environment. The opposing negotiator stammers as he requests you not to be so hasty. As you return to your seat, his demeanor becomes less antagonistic, and moving forward, he negotiates more amicably.  

That was leverage in use – you being willing to walk away when the parameters of a deal are not acceptable. And that was just one form of its usage.

Negotiation Forms Of Leverage

As stated, being willing to walk away from a negotiation is one form of leverage. What follows are additional forms.

1. Relationships: Having strong relationships with your backers can afford you negotiation insights, resources, and other forms of support before and during the negotiation. If you have good relationships with those that support the other negotiator, you can use them to influence your opposite.

2. Emotions: Controlling the emotions that flow throughout a negotiation is paramount to your success. And it is another form of leverage. Controlling emotions allows you to control the temperament and flow of the talks.

3. Financial: In most negotiations, the party with more significant financial resources possesses potentially greater leverage. That is true because that entity will have more maneuverability throughout the discussion by being able to employ more financial resources at a challenge, allowing it to use that as leverage.

4. Time: Negotiators can use time to pace the negotiation and as a psychological factor. By placing time limits on negotiations, negotiators can quicken or slow the pace of the talks by expanding or contracting offers and counteroffers. 

5. Backup Plans: If negotiators have backup plans for a less-than-stellar negotiation outcome, they can use those plans as leverage. They can do so by letting the opposition know they have other options to achieve their negotiation goals.

6. Charisma/Likability/Charm: Charisma, likability, and charm can be the most stealthy forms of leverage. Negotiators can sway the opposition simply because they possess these traits.  

7. Legal Knowledge: Knowledge of legal proceedings or conveying a sense of such can be the leverage that bends the opposing negotiator’s perspective.

8. Proprietary Information: Proprietary information is valuable, and its leverage lies in its usefulness to the other negotiator.

How To Use Leverage In Negotiations

Now that you know several forms of leverage usage during negotiations, let me discuss how you might implement them.

1. Relationships: Before and during negotiation, you can request your allies, and where appropriate, those of the other negotiator, to help enhance your position or weaken the opponent. 

2. Emotions: Negotiators can manipulate the feelings of the opposition and throw them off their negotiation strategy. And that is one of the main factors that negotiators should be aware of when using emotions as leverage. 

3. Financial: A negotiator with more financial resources than the opponent can negotiate from a stronger position. They can afford more resources to involve in the negotiation, giving them a substantial advantage. 

4. Time: Time waits for no person. And during negotiations, if time constraints confront one negotiator, the opposition can employ practices to slow the negotiation, pressing the constrained negotiator to make more concessions to reach their goal.

5. Backup Plans: Every negotiator should have backup plans before negotiating. That alone will give them leverage in knowing how they will respond and at what point to exit the talks. Those plans should include what-if scenarios if the opposition thwarts the initial negotiation strategies one has.

6. Charisma/Likability/Charm: Some negotiators will make concessions simply because they like the other negotiator. Thus, charisma, likability, and charm are components that good negotiators employ as leverage during negotiations. A negotiator can also turn off their charm to move from a good-cop to a bad-copscenario.

7. Legal Knowledge: During negotiations, a negotiator can refer to a legal document to highlight why they cannot make concessions or why the opposing negotiator is obligated to do so. 

8. Proprietary Information: Negotiators can use proprietary information as leverage by playing to the desires of the opposition to obtain it. Thus, the more proprietary something is, to the degree the other negotiator wants it, the more valuable that information will be and the more leverage the negotiator that has it will have.  


I have cited only a few ways to use leverage in negotiations. To become more adept at using it, note when you have it and how you obtained it in other situations. Because if you allow it, leverage can be your strong and silent ally.  

Accordingly, knowing how and when to use leverage will boost your negotiation and life’s efforts. So, once you apply the new insights mentioned about using leverage, you will improve the chances of everything you attempt to achieve. And everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

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

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