9 Highly Effective Negotiation Tactics Anyone Can Use


By: Site Engineer, Staff

full bio

A tactic is a move or a combination of moves by one negotiator that is designed to affect the decisions of the other negotiator so that he or she acts in a manner desired by the first party. All good negotiators adopt and apply strategies and tactics in negotiations.

These tactics include:

1. Good Guy/Bad Guy

This tactic is effective where more than one person is involved in the negotiations on the same side. One of the negotiators appears to be rigid unpleasant and unreasonable while the other pretends to be reasonable, pleasant and almost seems to take sides with the opponent. Elderly people often use this tactic when interrogating suspects. To counter this tactic, it is well to remember always that the good guy and the bad guy are on the same side and that the two of them want to achieve the same goal.

2. Limited Authority

The negotiator pretends that he has less authority than he has; he says that whatever is agreed will be subject to the approval of his boss or somebody else. This is done to provide an opportunity for the negotiator to make new demands or change his mind.

3. The Bluff

The bluff is one of the most frequently used tactics in negotiations. A bluff occurs when a negotiator makes an offer, which is different from what he knows he will give or accept but makes it appear to his opponent that it is his last offer. For a bluff to succeed, the negotiator must do something or act in a way that is convincing to the opponent.

There are various ways of making bluff appear real and convincing. Among them are:

  • Commitment to a Precedent: A negotiator claims he cannot change his offer because doing so would set a dangerous precedent for future negotiations.
  • Commitment via Obstinacy: The negotiator pretends to be obstinate to convince opponents that whatever their arguments he is not going to change his position. The buyer who walks away from a shop hoping chat the shop owner will call him back is pretending to be obstinate.
  • Invoking an Alternative: The negotiator can claim that he has an alternative offer.
  • Commitment to a Deadline: The negotiator makes an offer and says that if the offer is not accepted by a certain date, then everything is over.
  • Use of Someone who has no Authority: An individual who has absolutely no authority outside the clear instructions he has been given is used to conduct the negotiations.
  • Commitment to the Public: The negotiator makes his offer public and then claims that he cannot deviate from the position he has taken without losing credibility.

For a bluff to be effective, it must not be used frivolously or prematurely. Given the right circumstances, bluffs are very effective tactics in negotiations. However, the negotiator must have a loophole through which he can get out of the commitment in case the opponent calls the bluff. The loophole may be allowing the opponent to persuade him.

4. Last-Minute Escalation

After an agreement has been essentially reached, one party can attempt to change some aspects of it in his favor. This is achieved by seeking to make marginal changes in the agreement.

5. Threats

A threat is a demand by a negotiator that is accompanied by indicating or alluding to the conditions that would prevail if the demands were not met. A threat can be strong or weak depending upon:

(a)        What each of the parties stands to lose if the deal falls through, and

(b)        Whether the person making the threat is perceived to have the capacity and willingness to carry out the threat.

Like the bluff, the person making the threat needs to have a loophole, which will enable him to withdraw from executing the threat without loss of face in case the other party is not moved to change his mind by the threat.

6. Fading Beauty

After an agreement has been reached, one party begins to attach conditions to its acceptance and implementation. The conditions make the agreement less attractive but not unacceptable.

For example, a tenant negotiates what appears to be an attractive rent for a property with the landlord. After an agreement has been reached on the rent for the property, the tenant is very pleased as he considers not only how good the rent is but also how suitable the place will be for his business, Then the landlord adds, ‘but you will have to fix the roof which is leaking, I think in two places. And oh, the tank that supplies water to the building is also leaking. You will have to fix that as well. Then, of course, as you are aware of the boys’ quarters part of the property. I will be using that place as my office. As can be seen, the initial offer, (the rent for the property) raises expectations and commitments are made. Shortly after the landlord finds a reason to reduce the value of the offer after the tenant has become hooked by the raised expectations.

7. Leaking of Information

A very effective tactic could be to leak information deliberately to the other party. The information could be that the negotiator has found an alternative or that intends to rake a particular course of action. The effect is to increase the anxiety of the other party, mislead to make him unprepared for what is going to happen.

Negotiations are an everyday aspect of our lives; we negotiate with members of our families with our friends, opponents, and even casual acquaintances. How skillful we are in these interactions determines to a great extent how satisfied we become to our lives. For the owners of the small business, being good or bad negotiators can make the difference between the success or failure of the business.

8. Intimidation

Abuses, rudeness, and intimidation may be used to change the mind of the opponent. Intimidation is not always expressed as rudeness and abuse. Sometimes, it could take the form of jokes, telling stories, being too nice, too pleasant, too understanding and too cooperative. The point to remember here is the cooperation, understanding and pleasantness may be nothing more than Greek gifts.

9. Emotional Outbursts

The ability to express, the appropriate emotion is a key tactic in negotiations. For example, whereas controlled anger can be effective, uncontrolled or spontaneous emotional outbursts are usually counter-productive.


Don’t forget to share this post!

Whatsapp Share Icon