Friday, April 24, 2009

Negotiate After that Insult? A Sign of Weakness.

Your opposite number insults you at the bargaining table, with words or an insulting offer, or otherwise provokes you. Isn't it a sign of weakness for you to keep bargaining?

Actually, the insult or provocation is a sign of that person's feelings of weakness. They are trying to maneuver you to cut off bargaining, so they can feel good that they did not cut it off.

If you can maintain your poise, you will be in a good position to pursue the bargaining and get a good result. Try it next time and you will enjoy the result. Just don't rise to the bait.

Instead, you can comment something like "I heard someone say that kind of thing on TV a week or two ago—not the kind of thing that disturbs me." Do not accuse or attack in return.

Then go on to describe what your needs are in the negotiation, and asking what theirs is, so perhaps a common ground can be found. A confident negotiator uses that style.

By the way, apology when you were insulting or otherwise not civil is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of confidence in yourself.

Negotiation 101: Having been insulted or provoked, keep your cool and go on bargaining.


  1. Kathleen2:48 PM

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  2. Kathleen2:49 PM

    This is an interesting observation--that the person insulting is in the weaker position. I will keep this in mind in the course of my negotiations; based on this standard, my counterpart is in a very weak position.