How To Defend Yourself During A Negotiation

Find a way to negotiate without bias when you can defend yourself
Find a way to negotiate without bias when you can defend yourself
Image Credit: Paul L Dineen

When we enter into a negotiation, we never know who will be sitting across the table from us. Will they be a negotiator who is just starting out or a skilled professional who has done this countless times before? In any negotiation that you participate in, you will undoubtedly find yourself on the defensive at certain points in time. What you need are strategies that you can use to get the deal that you want out of the negotiation.

Always Prepare For Your Next Negotiation

Before entering into your next negotiation, you are going to want to prepare systematically and thoroughly by rigorously analyzing your best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA); evaluating the zone of possible agreement (ZOPA); and investigating all the issues at stake. If you can go into your negotiation being well-prepared then you will be unlikely to accept a subpar offer simply because of how it is framed.

Keep Information Separate From Influence

The other side’s statements (like your own) are inevitably one part information, one part influence. Your task is going to be to separate information from influence before you react to what they have said. When someone makes an argument or request that seems compelling, ask yourself questions such as these:

  1. Would I have agreed to this proposal yesterday, or even an hour ago?
  2. If anyone else had made this proposal, would I be willing to agree to it?
  3. Can I defend my compliance to my colleagues and my boss?

Always Rephrase The Other Side’s Offer To You

How the other side phrases their offer to you can be done in a way that is designed to convince you to agree with them. You need to take steps so that you don’t end up agreeing to something that you shouldn’t. As an example, suppose that someone says, “I’d like you to agree to this proposal because I think it’s fair.” You need to consider how this statement sounds minus the justification: “I’d like you to agree to this proposal.” Suddenly it’s less persuasive. Likewise, if someone offers you several small payments, think about whether the proposal would be as attractive if you had received it one lump sum instead.

If you want to claim value (and create value) in your next negotiation, use the following negotiation tips. Explore alternatives to the negotiations at hand. In most negotiations, preparation beforehand is not only recommended, but it can also save money or help negotiators find areas for value creation with the other side. It helps for a negotiator to know their BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement) before entering into any haggling business negotiations. Knowing the other side’s reservation price – the highest price at which a negotiator would pay in the negotiating scenario – can empower you to walk away from a bad deal and seek a better bargain with a negotiating counterpart employing a more integrative bargaining approach.

What All Of This Means For You

When you sit down to a negotiation, you never know who you’ll be negotiating with. If they are a good negotiator, then there is a very good chance that you are going to find yourself on the defensive at certain points during the negotiation. When this happens, you need to make sure that you have defensive strategies that you can rely on in order to make sure that you’ll still be able to get the deal that you want.

Before entering into a negotiation you need to make sure that you have prepared for it. This means that you need to know both your own BATNA and ZOPA as well as having a good understanding of the issues that are going to be discussed. The other side will be attempting to influence you based on what they say. You need to be careful to separate their information from their influence. When the other side tells you something, you need to rephrase their request so that you can clearly see what they are asking for.

If you can make sure that you have a strong defensive game when you go into your next negotiation, then you’ll be well positioned to get the deal that you want. Make sure that you use these three recommendations to avoid making bad decisions when you find yourself on the defense. Use your defensive strategy to make sure that you don’t agree to a deal that you don’t really want.

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

Question For You: If the other side starts to use words to try to get you to agree, how can you stop them from doing this?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Negotiator Blog is updated.
P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Negotiator Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

I think that all of us would be willing to admit that we don’t know everything. When it comes to a negotiation, if we’ve never negotiated with the other side before, we understand that it would be wise to go have a talk with someone who has negotiated with them before. When we consult with others on our upcoming negotiations, we are going to have to weigh their advice against our own opinions and research. Research finds that all too often we tend to undervalue advice from others and overvalue our own point of view, even when we’re inexperienced at the task at hand.

Leave a Comment