Business Negotiation December 29, 2014

Avoid Threat, Bluff or Bluster

Threats, bluff and bluster, though risky, do have a place in commercial negotiations.   They have no place in dealing with workplace associates...

Threats, bluff and bluster, though risky, do have a place in commercial negotiations.  They have no place in dealing with workplace associates.  Research indicates that those who have the means to threaten tend to use it.  It also shows that threat leaves a trail of hostility that does not fade from memory.  Threats, even when not executed, destroy or jeopardize relationships.  The negative consequences of threats are hard to predict but not likely benign.

Sometime in the future, you’ll be tempted to use threats to gain your point in a workplace dispute or disagreement.  Resist the impulse.  The other will never fully trust you again.  They may have the means to counter your threats with worse ones of their own.  I’ve seen this happen with people who threaten lawsuits and later find themselves paying heavy legal fees they never intended to incur.

As for lying, if you have ever worked with anyone who lies or seeks to mislead by bluffing, you know how hard it is to believe anything they say.  After a few experiences like that you avoid them as much as possible.  Negotiating with such people is not apt to result in an agreement they will later honor.  Lasting relationships with liars and bluffers is not possible.

Another trait that proves difficult in negotiation is dealing with people who conduct themselves in an arrogant or domineering manner.  As a salesperson I have dealt with buyers who stormed into our conference room as though they were above anyone there.  They made it clear that we were subservient to them and in the bargaining room only by their good graces.  All they accomplished by putting us down by their arrogance was to set the stage for paying a higher price than they might have otherwise paid.
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