Defenses Against Negotiating Dirty Tricks

You never know when you might get hit with a dirty trick during a negotiation
You never know when you might get hit with a dirty trick during a negotiation

Hopefully we all realize that the world is full of folks who have no reservations about resorting to dirty tricks as a part of their negotiation styles and negotiating techniques during a negotiation. As a negotiator this means that you’re going to be encountering dirty tricks all the time no matter how hard you try to conduct a principled negotiation. This, of course, brings up the question: what can you do to defend yourself against dirty tricks?

5 Ways To Defend Yourself Against Dirty Tricks During A Negotiation

The one thing that you’re not going to be able to do during your next negotiation is to prevent the other side from using dirty tricks to get their way. Instead, I’m going to suggest that you use the following tips to defend yourself when the other side of the table starts to use these types of tactics:


  • Call Them On It: When the other side starts to not deliver on what they’ve negotiated, either by not telling you the truth about what is going on or by missing dates that they had agreed to, you need to call them on it. When this type of behavior starts, you should treat it as an early indication that something is starting to go wrong and take action early.



  • Call Their Buff: The reason that the other side of the table will be willing to use dirty tricks to get their way during negotiations is because they’ve gotten away with it in the past. Simply put, this is bully behavior. Don’t let them get away with it when they are dealing with you – call their bluff. As is almost always the case with bullies, they’ll more than likely back off when they see that you mean business.



  • It’s All About Relationships: As a negotiator, it’s your responsibility to know who you are dealing with. The other side of the table shows up with a reputation that is based on their behavior in past negotiations. If they have negotiated with integrity in the past, then odds are they’ll negotiate with integrity when they are dealing with you. If they haven’t…



  • It Only Matters If It’s Written Down: As much as we negotiators like to reach verbal agreements with the other side and shake hands over a new deal, the only thing that really counts in the negotiation process is what gets written down in the contract. In order to make sure that you get what you want, add as much detail to your contract as possible and get as many signatures on it as you can.



  • Lawyers Are Good – To A Point: One important fact that too many negotiators seem to overlook is that it’s important to include a lawyer to make sure that everything is correct with the contract that you’re working on. However, your lawyer can’t tell you if it’s a good deal to do. Ultimately, after the contract has been created, you need to pause before signing it and make sure that you still want to do this deal.


What All Of This Means For You

Listen to experienced negotiators when they tell you that it’s always better to deal with unpleasant problems while you are sitting at the negotiating table instead of allowing them to turn into aggravations and expenses later on – this should almost be a part of the negotiation definition. In order to prevent such hassles from happening take the time to very carefully take a look at each paragraph in the agreement that you’re getting ready to sign.

Hold off on signing any agreement too quicklyz` – especially if the other side has attempted to use dirty tricks during the negotiation. Instead, make sure that you feel that you have been able to negotiate an adequate level of protection into the deal that you feel is consistent with the size of the deal.

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

Question For You: If the other side starts to use dirty tricks during a negotiation, what should your first reaction be?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

In almost every negotiation, a deadlock can occur. Deadlocks are simply part of the negotiation definition. When this happens we all have that sinking feeling in our stomach: oh, oh – we’re not going to be able to reach a deal here. In some cases it turns out that we can’t reach a deal; however, during negotiations not every deadlock is fatal – sometimes we can resolve them. Let’s look at one way that you might be able to turn your next deadlock into a deal.

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