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Hardball Tactics in Negotiation

Summary

Understanding hardball tactics will make you aware of the users


objective.

Good planning will help you deal and avoid hardball tactics.

Hardball tactics can backfire.

They are offensive and motivate revenge.

Many negotiators consider these tactics out of bounds for any


situation.

Tactic

Main Idea

Advantage

Good
Cop /
Bad
Cop

a. Bad cop plays the role


of the bad guy who takes
tough measures (threats,
intimidation) against the
targeted party
b. Bad cop leaves the
negotiation table for the
Good cop to come and
offer the targeted party an
easy way out of the
situation
c. The easy way out
option is meant for the
targeted party to yield to
the teams demands

Often results in
negotiated
agreements

Disadvanta
ge
easily
seen
through by
targeted
party
Can be
countered
easily by
clearly
exposing
the
negotiators
plot
Distracts
the
negotiators
from the
negotiation
goals

How to Deal
openly
exposing the
negotiators plot

Lowbal
l/
Highba
ll

Bogey

Starts the negotiation with


a unreasonable low (high)
opening offer

other
party may
not want to
negotiate at
all
a skilled
negotiator
to explain
his extreme
opening
offer if the
other party
continues to
negotiate

Best tactic:
ask for a more
reasonable
opening offer
instead of a
counter offer
Insisting on a
reasonable
opening offer
before
negotiating
further
Show that you
are familiar with
the bargaining
mix and
therefore you
will not be
fooled
Show your
displeasure of
such tactic used
against you by
threatening to
leave the
negotiating
table
Come up with
an extreme
counter offer

Difficult to

Question why

an unimportant issue is

enact

the negotiator

quite important to him

May

wants a

b. Use this tactic to trade

backfire if

particular

and make concessions for

the other

outcome or

issues that are really

party takes

makes a sudden

important

you

reversal in

seriously

positions

and

Not conceding

therefore

to what the

giving you

negotiator

what you

wants after his

want to

sudden reversal

a. Negotiator pretends that

Aims to get the


other party to
re-evaluate his
opening offer &
move closer to
his resistance
point

Difficult to
defend against

The
Nibble

a. Negotiator adds a small


item (the nibble) to the
agreement when the both
parties had spent
significant time & effort in
negotiation and the
agreement is near

This can be
particularly
effective near
the end of the
negotiation,
when the other
person is
seeking to reach
a final
agreement

bogey away

in position

although

Ask the

the nibble is

negotiator

small in

What else do

size, its

you want?

enough to

every time he

upset the

asks for a

other party

nibble, until all

the other

issues are

party may

raised and

be

identified

motivated

Come up with

to seek

ones own

revenge in

nibbles in

future

exchange for

negotiations

the negotiators
nibbles

Chicke
n

a. The negotiator uses a big


bluff with a threatened
action, in order to force the
other party to chicken out

It is very risky
strategy and if
works than it
will be win-win
approach.

and yield to their demands

Turns the

Preparation

negotiation

before

into a high-

negotiation

stakes

helps to

gamble for

understand both

both sides

parties

Makes it

situations

hard to

Using external

distinguish

sources to verify

whether

whats

either party

exchanged in

will follow

the negotiation

through on
his/her
stated
course of
action
Intimid
ation

a. Many tactics take the

By using power

Other party

Discuss the

form of intimidation

you can achieve

is not

negotiation

b. Common point of these

what u actually

interested

process with the

tactics: the use of

wants by using

to deal with

intimidator,

emotional ploys to force the

your power.

you in

stating that you

other party to yield

future, if

expect a fair

c. Other forms of

you play

negotiation

intimidation: increasing the

with your

process

appearance of legitimacy &

emotions

Ignore the

guilt

intimidation

d. All these tactics make

Using a team

intimidator feel more

to negotiate

powerful

with the

e. leads the targeted party

intimidator

to give in due to emotional

o Not everyone

rather than objective

in the team is

reasons

intimidated by
the same things
o Team
members
provide mutual
support to one
another through
the process

.
Aggres
sive
Behavi
or

A. Similar to intimidation
tactics
b. being aggressive in
establishing your position
and attacking the other
partys position e.g.
i. Asking for best offer early
in the negotiation
ii. Getting the other party
to explain his position by
justifying item by item
c. Getting the other party
to make many concessions
Dealing with Aggressive
Behavior
Stop the negotiation to
discuss the process itself
Using a team of
negotiators to negotiate
with the aggressive party

Snow
Job

a. To overwhelm the other

Not to be

party with large amount of

afraid to ask

information, such that the

questions until a

other party have a problem

clearly

determining which

understood

information are real or

answer is

important

obtained

b. To use technical or

Use of

expert language such that

technical

a non-expert party cannot

experts to

understand and would

discuss and

simply acknowledge it just

verify technical

to avoid embarrassment

issues
Looking out
for
inconsistency in
the negotiators
answer or
response & ask
if in doubt