One of the best negotiators I’ve ever encountered used an interesting technique I call the “considered response.” It worked this way. Whenever I made a demand, his first reaction was to listen carefully and take notes. Then when I was through presenting my demand, he would say nothing but would make calculations on a sheet of paper. After what appeared to me a long time, he would say, “I can’t afford to accept your demand.” His way of responding indicated to me that he had seriously weighed my arguments, even if he had not agreed with them.

Frankly, I don’t know whether he really figured out anything on that sheet of paper. For all I know, he might have been doodling. But I do know that his “considered response” gave his answer credibility and respect. It became a stronger “no.”

The “considered response” is a powerful tool. By disciplining yourself not to shoot snap answers “from the hip”, your strength as a negotiator will increase.

The rule is this: the next time the other party makes a demand or offer, be it acceptable or not, don’t respond to it with a “yes” or “no” right away. Just keep quiet and think about it for a while.

Better yet, write down on a piece of paper a few calculations that only you can see. Then answer “yes” or “no” or anything you please. Your considered response will give greater weight to your answer, whatever it is.

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