Experienced Negotiators Know how to use a Weak Position to Advantage
- If you are in a Lose / Win situation your options provide plenty of scope to be proactive by making proposals or pursue varied strategies. After all, you have nothing to lose. Proposals can be realistic or unrealistic depending on whether you wish to move forward or just buy time. Strategies can be outrageous in a multilateral negotiation with many parties, as the complexity of the situation and the needs for a level of unity protects (and hampers) all.
- Following the old negotiator’s adage “one is always in a stronger position than one thinks”, and taking courage; being proactive and making a proposal can bring surprising results:
- It can steal the agenda,
- Give uncommitted parties something to work with,
- Force a response,
- Seize the high ground,
- Control the deadlock.
- Pursuing varied strategies and tactics can lock the parties in a dangerous and escalating competition in which each tries to prove their ideas are better (more clever) than everyone else’s. This is a modern day negotiating curse – being too clever in developing smart games, gambits and tactics – brings in high risk as strategy becomes more important than the original objective.
- Beware that being sharp is not confused with being clever, and being clever may be no better than being stupid.