Jethro's Braindump


  1. A good negotiator prepares, going in, to be ready for possible surprises; a great negotiator aims to use their skills to reveal the surprise they are certain to find
  2. Don’t commit assumptions; instead view them as hypotheses and use the negotiation to test them rigorously
  3. People who view negotiation as a battle of arguments become overwhelmed by the voices in their head. Negotiation is not an act of battle; it’s a process of discovery. The goal is to uncover as much information as possible.
  4. To quiet the voices in your head, make your sole and all-encompassing focus the other person and what they have to say.
  5. Slow. It. Down. If we’re in too much of a hurry, people feel as if they’re not being heard.
  6. Put a smile on your face. When people are in a positive frame of mind, they are more likely to collaborate and problem-solve.
  7. Use voice inflections appropriately:
    1. The late-night DJ voice: Inflect your voice downward, keeping it calm and slow. This creates an aura of authority and trustworthiness.
    2. The positive/playful voice: This should be the default voice. Maintain a light and encouraging attitude.
    3. The assertive voice: Used rarely.
  8. Mirrors: Repeat the last three words of what someone has just said. This insinuates similarity, which facilitates bonding. It encourages the other side to empathise and bond with you.
  9. Tactical Empathy: By acknowledging negative feelings and the other person’s situation, you immediately convey that you are listening.
  10. Focus on clearing the barriers to agreement. Do an accusation audit: get barriers and negative influences into the open
  11. Pause. After you label a barrier or mirror a statement, the counterpart will fill the silence.
  12. Label your counterpart’s fears to diffuse their power.
  13. List the worst things that the other party could say about you and say them before the other person can.
  14. Remember you’re dealing with a person who wants to be appreciated and understood. Use labels to reinforce and and encourage positive perceptions and dynamics.
  15. Break the habit of getting people to say “yes”. Being pushed for yes makes people defensive.
  16. “No” is not a failure. “No” often means “wait”, or “I’m not comfortable with that”. It is the start of a negotiation, not the end.
  17. “Yes” is the final goal of a negotiation, but don’t aim for it at the start.
  18. Saying “No” makes the speaker feel safe, secure and in control. Your counterpart defines their space and gains the confidence and the comfort to listen to you. “Is now a bad time to talk?” is always better than “Do you have a few minutes to talk?”
  19. Sometimes the only way to get your counterpart to listen and engage with you is by forcing them into a “No”. This means intentionally mislabeling one of their emotions or desires or asking a ridiculous question.
  20. Negotiate in their word. Don’t beat them with logic. Ask them questions that open paths to your goals.
  21. If a potential business partner is ignoring you, contact with a clear and concise “No”-oriented question.
  22. Creating unconditional positive regard opens the door to changing thoughts and behaviours. Humans have an innate urge toward socially constructive behaviour. The more a person feels understood, the more likely that urge for constructive behaviour will take hold.
  23. “That’s right” is better than “yes”. Reaching “that’s right” in a negotiation creates breakthroughs.
  24. Use a summary to trigger a “that’s right”. The building blocks of a good summary are a label combined with paraphrasing. Identify, re-articulate, and emotionally affirm the world according to your counterpart.
  25. All negotiations are defined by a network of underlying desires and needs.
  26. Meeting halfway often leads to bad deals for both sides.
  27. Approaching deadlines entice people to rush the negotiating process and do impulsive things that are against their best interests.
  28. The word “fair” is an emotional term people usually exploit to put the other side on the negative and gain concessions. Don’t get suckered into a concession, always ask why.
  29. You can bend your counterpart’s reality by anchoring his starting point. Before you make an offer, emotionally anchor them by saying how bad it will be. Set an extreme anchor to make your “real” offer seem reasonable, or use a range to seem less aggressive.
  30. People will take more risks to avoid a loss than to realize a gain. Make sure your counterpart sees that there is something to lose with inaction.
  31. The listener is the one in control of the conversation.
  32. Don’t try to force your opponent to admit that you are right. Aggressive confrontation is the enemy of constructive negotiation.
  33. Avoid questions that can be answered with “yes” or tiny pieces of information. These inspire the human need for reciprocity; you will be expected to give something back.
  34. Ask calibrated questios that start with the words “how” or “what”. Give your counterpart the illusion of control, inspire them to speak at length, revealing important information.
  35. Don’t ask questions that start with “why” unless you want your counterpart to defend a goal that serves you.
  36. Calibrate your questions to point your counterpart toward solving your problem. This will encourage them to expend their energy on devising a solution.
  37. Asking calibrated “how” questions keep your counterpart engaged but off-balance. Answering the questions give your counterpart the illusion of control.
  38. Use “how” questions to shape the negotiating environment. Get your counterpart searching for solutions to your problem.
  39. Don’t just pay attention to the people you’re negotiating with directly; always identify the motivations of the player’s behind the scenes.
  40. Follow the 7-38-55 percent rule by paying close attention to tone of voice and body language. Incongruence between words and non-verbal signs will show when your counterpart is lying or uncomfortable with a deal.
  41. Is the “Yes” real or counterfeit? Test with the rule of three: use calibrated questions, summaries and labels to get your counterpart to reaffirm their agreement at least three times.
  42. A person’s use of pronouns offers deep insights into their relative authority. If you’re hearing a lot of “my”, “I”, the real power to decide probably lies elsewhere. Picking up a lot of “we”, “they”, it’s more likely you’re dealing with a savvy decision maker with their options open.
  43. Use your own name to make yourself a real person to the other side, and even get your own personal discount.
  44. Identify your counterpart’s negotiating style: accomodator, analyst, or assertive


  • Never Split the Difference

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