Beating Bully Negotiators

Don't get bullied at the negotiating table. Here are four tips for staying in control when facing overbearing opponents.

By Marc Diener

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

If you react to intimidation by counterattacking, walking awayor caving, there's a better way: Stand your ground, andnegotiate.

  • Stay cool. Above all, relax. Ignore the theatrics. Ifyour opponent keeps interrupting, politely ask him or her to stop.Create a tactful timeout, such as another appointment. Not reactingmay take supreme self-control, but your maturity will pay off.Also, don't allow experts, celebrities or business leaders topsych you out.
  • Refocus on the issues. Intimidation is not the issue.Your deal is. No matter how long it takes, keep bringing thediscussion back to the real concerns: price, services, time periodsand so on.
  • Slow it down. Reset the pace. Pause before you answer.Go over things one more time. Start taking notes. Say you'llthink about it and get back to them. Intimidators would prefer tohustle you into agreement. Don't let them.
  • Ask questions. Favor open-ended ones, the kind thatcan't be answered by a simple yes or no. Once your opponentstarts explaining and discussing, it's no longerintimidation--it's negotiation.

A speaker and attorney in Los Angeles, Marc Diener is authorof Deal Power.

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