Business Negotiation June 24, 2016

Scrambled Eggs and Negotiating

Disorder -- (i.e. Scrambled Eggs) -- is a negotiating tactic.

When negotiating good, lasting agreements, it is generally wiser to simplify matters than to confuse them. However, "Scrambled eggs" does the opposite. It deliberately mixes things up for tactical reasons. Scrambling can be used to forestall a deadlock, make the other person work harder, force through a last-minute demand, or retreat from a prior concession. Sometimes it is used to determine how well the other person keeps his or her wits under pressure.

Negotiations should be conducted in an orderly fashion. The Scrambler knows that disorder can also work.

The Scrambler takes advantage of the mistakes people make when they are confused. Suddenly apples can't be compared to apples, and cost comparisons become impossible to make.It takes self-confidence to stop a Scrambler. These steps help:

1. Have the courage to say, "I don't understand."

2. Keep saying "I don't understand" until you do.

3. Insist that matters be discussed one at a time.

4. Recognize that you do not have to talk about things as the Scrambler wants you to. Start in your own way and get the Scrambler going down your line of reasoning.

5. Remember scrambling can backfire. The Scrambler can become as confused as you are.

6. Watch for the mistakes you are sure to make.

Your key defense is to never negotiate an issue until you understand it. Practice and courage help unscramble the Scrambler.

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