Negotiation Strategies and Tactics

Negotiating and Bargaining
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Business Consultant, United Arab Emirates

Negotiation Strategies and Tactics

One can broadly distinguish between negotiation strategies and tactics:

Negotiation Strategies

Negotiation Strategy is the manner of conscious behavior, including long term planning, in view of perceiving and evaluating conditions, the situation and the power of the opponent. There are 2 basic types of negotiation strategy:
  1. Struggle strategy: One gains only from the other's loss. This strategy is less popular, albeit effective and gets sure results.
  2. Cooperation strategy: where both sides can reach their goal by way of compromise.

Negotiation Tactics

Tactics are specific actions used in a particular situation; they are meant for short-term use and constantly change depending on the specifics of the negotiation conditions. Tactics are more practical and often help to reveal the opponent's hidden agenda and interests and collecting more information. Tactics can be subdivided into 5 categories. Making use of more than one tactic can considerably improve one's chances of success and not being perceived as being stubborn.
  1. Hard tactics
    1. Threat expression of readiness to inflict future damage.
    2. Scare taking offensive action that will cease only when other party concedes.
    3. Attack on the opponent's stance or a verbal attack.
    4. Ultimatum pushing the opponent into a corner by setting some limit(s).
    5. Cutting off ties either temporarily or permanently.
  2. Time related tactics
    1. Delay postponement until the other side becomes uncomfortable or gets used to the idea.
    2. Setting a final date natural or artificial.
    3. Controlling schedule and setting the agenda whoever decides the negotiation place and timing has a distinct advantage.
  3. Authority related tactics
    1. Limited authority this often prevents or eliminates pressure, allows consultation during negotiations or even appending additional demands after conclusion of negotiations.
    2. Unauthorized negotiations this is seemingly ineffective but offers some value in transferring messages or information without any obligation.
  4. Persuasion tactics
    1. Convincing the other party to accept facts and accede to logical demands.
    2. Persuading the other side that it is worth their while to agree with the demands.
    3. Persuading the other side that there is no basis to their demands.
    4. Persuading the other side that they should not abandon the negotiations at this late stage after having invested so much of time and energy.
  5. Soft tactics
    1. Revealing Information sharing the problem with the other party
    2. Concessions even small ones, in order to give the other side a positive feeling for further cooperation.
    3. Active listening this is the most economical of all concessions to hear the other side out. Usually the persuading side speaks more than it listens. The guidelines for active listening are acknowledgement and understanding of the other side's position, asking questions, raising doubts, and non-provocative attitudes and examining the understandings that develop via interim summaries.
    4. Promises exactly the reverse of threat: readiness to reward in the future.
In order to identify the tactics adopted by the other party, it is necessary to be alert and observe and listen carefully to what is happening around us. If we can identify which tactic the other side is using, we are able to cope by choosing an appropriate response to counter or neutralize its effect.

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