Nothing but negotiation

The Gap Partnership

Negativity can be a 'key' negotiation skill

Firms can highlight negative aspects and then move away from them

02 November 2010

Companies should learn how to use negativity to help them secure their desired outcome during business negotiations, it has been claimed.

The majority of firms may seek to be put a positive slant on all aspects of the talks in an effort to form a bond with the other side.

However, Gregg Williams, a US-based negotiation speaker and trainer, claimed that negotiators can make more of an impact by instead highlighting the negative.

He wrote on "If you know the other negotiator is trying to avoid a particular negative outcome, highlight and reinforce the negative outcome he'll have if he adopts a position that is contrary to a position you've offered.

"In essence, reinforce the negative outcome he holds to be true in his mind, in an attempt to heighten the potential of it becoming his reality."

Mr Williams added that the use of negativity in political campaigning is often the most effective method as it identifies the flaws in the opposition.

Similarly, in negotiations a company can choose to highlight the flaws in a deal and then look to move away from these and towards a more desirable outcome. 

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