Negotiating in Life, Negotiating Tips, Business Negotiation March 11, 2011

How to know when you are dealing with a bad negotiator

Have you ever dealt with someone who makes it hard to get to an agreement? There are some negotiators out there who do not have the right skills or personality traits to be good at business negotiations. We have discussed here on Negotiation Space what makes a good negotiator. According to Dr. Chester Karrass, good negotiators possess the following seven traits:

  1. Planning skill
  2. Ability to think clearly under stress
  3. General practical intelligence
  4. Verbal ability
  5. Product knowledge
  6. Personal integrity
  7. Ability to perceive and use power

We can then surmise that someone who has bad planning skills, does not deal well with stress, had little integrity, and so forth, will be a bad negotiator. You should look for these clues as you start your negotiation:

  • Does the other party seem stressed or disorganized?
  • Can the other party give detailed answers to questions about the product or service in question?
  • Does the other party seem to have a hard time making him/herself understood?

Another clue may be physical. According to Anne Fisher, a columnist for Fortune Magazine, in an article entitled “Negotiating a Deal? Clues on Your Opponent’s Psyche,” sneaking a peak at the other party’s right hand can be helpful. It turns out that some research has shown that the difference in size between the second and third fingers in the right hand indicates the exposure to testosterone. The article says:

"Testosterone is a hormone associated with status-seeking and a need to save face," notes Adam Galinsky, the Kellogg professor who co-wrote the study. "It makes a powerful difference in how people respond to situations. "People with low testosterone -- that is, with a noticeable difference in the length of their second and fourth digits -- may perceive that they're being treated unfairly, but they're likely to go sulk in a corner." However, Galinsky says, "If you're looking across a bargaining table at someone who has a slight difference, or no difference, between the second and fourth digits, be careful." Make an extra effort to mollify that person and stroke his ego, because doing otherwise is "like slapping a sleeping tiger."

How do you know when you are dealing with someone who will make getting a deal nearly impossible?

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BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER at THE M.K. MORSE COMPANY

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SENIOR ANALYST at BLUE CROSS/BLUE SHIELD OF MICHIGAN

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PROCUREMENT at AMERICAN EXPRESS

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INTERNATIONAL SOURCING at FMC TECHNOLOGIES

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VICE PRESIDENT at GE

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PLANNER at HONEYWELL

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