|Volume II, Number 11 - August 2009 ● Contact Us • Past Issue Archive ●
An E-Publication of the Los Angeles County Bar Association
Edited by Linda B. Bulmash
This Month's Topic: Dealing with Difficult Negotiators
- Set realistic standards of behavior: If you think tempers will flare or that your counterpart has a tendency to walk out or get cold feet just as the deal is about to be inked, consider talking about these issues before hand, e.g. “How should we handle it when …..?
- Avoid being dismissive or labeling behavior: Often when someone is behaving badly, we tend to dismiss their behavior as crazy, foolish, or mean—which often sets us up for failure and prevents us from trying to get to the underlying issues that are prompting such behavior. Take a time out and then start probing the other side’s point of view.
- Invite the other side to brainstorm ways to resolve their concerns: Re-engage them in the process by telling them that you are willing to work with them but you need some help identifying what it is that they really want. Then suggest they put forth proposals that would work for them. As they do so, you have the opportunity to question why that is important to them.
- Put forth multiple proposals of your own: Take time off, prepare 3 proposals that take into account your interests and theirs as well. Present those proposals and ask your counterpart to comment on them. This will give the message that you have been listening to them which goes a long way toward getting negotiations back on track.
- Be ready to walk away: If they believe you really will, they often won’t.