5 Ways To Use A Deadlock To Your Advantage

by drjim on August 15, 2014

You can use deadlocks to your advantage to get where you are going

You can use deadlocks to your advantage to get where you are going
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In a negotiation, reaching a deadlock is something that we all fear, right? Everyone views a deadlock, which is when both sides can’t agree on something that is being discussed, as a form of failure. We don’t want to fail, so we use all of the negotiation styles and negotiating techniques that we know to try to avoid deadlocks at any cost. However, it turns out that the clever negotiator knows that deadlocks are something that they can use to their advantage if they know how to go about doing it correctly.

5 Ways To Make A Deadlock Work For You

Don’t fear the deadlock! Instead, look for ways to make a deadlock work for you. The good news about deadlocks is that they can always be broken – there is always a way to reopen the discussions. If you know and realize this, then you won’t fear them. If you understand this, then you can look for ways to use a deadlock to your advantage the next time one occurs. Here are 5 reasons that you might initiate a deadlock in your next negotiation:

  1. Determination: Your willingness to allow a deadlock to occur will show the other side that you are determined to get your way and that you have confidence in the position that you are taking.
  2. Testing: When you are willing to allow a deadlock to occur, it gives you the ability to test the other side. Will they allow the deadlock to occur – can they allow it? Do they have the same determination and confidence in their position that you do?
  3. More Concessions?: When the other side is facing a deadlock, this just might be what it takes to get them to make those last few concessions that you had been trying to get out of them.
  4. Done: When you show that you are willing to allow a deadlock to occur, this can be a message to the other members of your team that in your opinion, the end of the negotiation has been reached and you don’t think that there is anything else that you can get out of the negotiations.
  5. Change It Up: When you show that you are willing to allow a deadlock to occur, this can change the pace of the negotiation. All of a sudden you may find yourself in control of the flow of the negotiations.

What All Of This Means For You

Inexperienced negotiators fear their principled negotiation reaching a deadlock. They view this as meaning that they’ve failed and the negotiations are over and that no deal can be reached. However, experienced negotiators view deadlocks as simply another tool that they have in their bag of tricks.

A deadlock can be used to show the other side your determination. Likewise, you can use a deadlock to test the determination of the other side. Deadlocks can be used to get concessions out of the other side and communicate that the end of the negotiations has been reached.

Deadlocks are simply a part of the negotiating game. They should not be feared, instead we need to use them as the tools that they are. Study the 5 deadlock techniques that we’ve discussed and use them in your next negotiation. You just might be surprised at how powerful a deadlock can be for you!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™

Question For You: If you reach a deadlock, do you think that you should reopen negotiations or wait for the other side to do so?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Deadlocks are a part of negotiating just like speeding tickets are a part of driving. We don’t like them, but just like all of the other negotiation styles and negotiating techniques that we have to deal with, they show up every so often and we just have to deal with them. The good news about deadlocks is that they are actually a valuable tool that negotiators can use to move a negotiation towards close and even get a better deal. Do I have your attention now?

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