When facing a bully in negotiation, should you behave the same
Each of us has encountered this type of negotiator: A customer
who threatens to give your business to a competitor if you don't
give in to what he or she wants. A family member or close friend
who behaves as a victim, playing the guilt card. Or an angry boss
when the outcome is not what he or she expected.
If we had the choice, we'd like to avoid this type of
interaction. But in most cases, we don't have that luxury.
When we're under pressure, competiveness and aggressiveness
sometimes take over. Our brain works as a tunnel and we go back to
our natural style. Because emotions and tensions rise, we tend to
defend our point of view, persuade and argue, making it very
difficult to negotiate a solution that works for both parties.
If you face a bully negotiator, be prepared. Understand your
needs and limits so you can resist the temptation to accept a bad
deal under pressure. Find out why those on the other party
behave like that by acknowledging and understanding the issues to
which they're emotionally involved. Once these clear up, ask good
questions to uncover their true concerns. Try to act as a
consultant to understand their reality.
When it's time to package and re-package the proposal, be
creative to suit the needs of those on the other side on your
terms. They might throw irritant factors in the equation. But don't
get emotional. They're suspicious by nature.
So next time you face a bully negotiator, don't forget that
competitive stances breed competitive stances, making it less
likely that you'll get access to their needs, interests and
Remember people negotiate because they have an interest - even
Gaëtan Pellerin, Scotwork North America