Be Wary of Word Games

Listen close when negotiating with the other side.

When negotiating a deal, don't let yourself get caught up inthe other side's tricky talk. Here are some examples of what towatch out for:

  • Unidentified sources: If your opponent can'tidentify the source, ignore it.
  • Citing authority: Investigate their backgrounds andremember, you can always find an equal and opposite authority.
  • Analogies: They don't prove a thing, so challengethem or counter with your own.
  • Overgeneralizations: Make sure your opponent isn'tusing one isolated fact to support a sweeping conclusion.
  • Unidentified terms and fuzzy language: Pin down thosewords that can be interpreted however the other side wants to, andget them to commit.
  • Ad hominem arguments: Don't let them get you down.Such personal attacks should only alert you to your opponent'slack of solid, rational arguments.
  • Funny money: Watch out for repetitive charges and smallincrements that can multiply over the entire deal.
  • Profit definitions: Calculating the actual numbers cantake on surprising new meanings once the cold, hard facts areidentified.

Excerpted from Entrepreneur magazine, July2001

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