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On Guard

Don't get taken by bargaining ploys.

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This story appears in the February 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

According to negotiating lore, the legendary Clarence Darrow would insert a thin wire lengthwise through his cigar to throw his opponents off during key negotiations. As his stogie smoldered down to a butt, his adversaries would become increasingly distracted, wondering why the ash didn't fall.

Whether you're playing the negotiation game with good sports or bad, everyone is looking for an edge. If you're not careful, these classic ploys can jinx your game:

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