Have you ever been in a negotiation when you find that one of the negotiators is hostile?You may find that one participant such as an industrial manager pretends to be helpful but he’s actually there to undermine your interests.
How do you handle the hostile and aggressive negotiator (which could really be described as yet another dirty trick in negotiation)?
It’s difficult because you don’t want to undermine your position.
But if you leave the hostile and aggressive negotiation party to his own devices, you’ll soon find him slowly and deliberately chipping away at you and your offer.
It’s sometimes hard to accept but it in real life negotiations you have people like this. They have personal agendas and want to get at you for whatever reason especially when they feel inferior.
Negotiation experts will tell you to call attention to the other parties behaviour. They will say something like,”You seem to have a lot of hostility towards me and I would like to resolve it.”
It may work. It depends on the personality involved but at least you have made the other party aware of what they are up to and you have shown that you are not going to tolerate their behaviour.
Perhaps a seemingly soft approach could work. You may say something like, “I’m not sure how we can proceed without knowing your role in this negotiation.” Then you might get a reaction, “What do you mean? “
You can pause, hold the tension and then repeat your question, “Please would you explain your role in this negotiation or meeting.”
Again you will get a similar response but wait for your turn. The person will mentioning their title and mumble some stock words about what they doing.
When the other party is finished, you say that you want to make sure that there is a fair and equitable outcome for both parties in this negotiation and please can both parties move forward in a spirit of cooperation.
If this doesn’t work, be sure to keep your cool and carry on. At least the hostile party now knows you know what they are doing. A tactic communicated is a tactic disarmed.
As a last resort you can ask for the hostile negotiator to be replaced by somebody else.
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If you want any help with planning your negotiation, please contact me.
Remember a very true thing about negotiation is that we often turn out to be our own worst possible negotiator because we are too invested in our position or are overwhelmed to make a good deal (to save face with colleagues, family and friends).
Chesney Bradshaw has an MBA with a specialisation in strategic negotiation. He has been in business for more than 30 years where he has been involved in negotiation and communication.