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Communication Related Tactics in Negotiation

Communication is a tool for carrying out negotiation. Every negotiator uses communication to relay information between parties. A skilled negotiator may seek to make the counterparty believe something about her interests, BATNA, reservation point, and cost or delay or non-agreement. Tactics for achieving this might include:

• Direct Presentation – The negotiator makes partial disclosure of certain information while strategically withholding other to guide the counterparty to the desired assumptions. This may create an emotional reaction in the counterparty that fosters accommodation. Be careful to not be untruthful or deceitful, as this can affect or destroy the negotiation if discovered.

• Vague Reference – The negotiator makes subtle reference to her interests, BATNA, reservation point, or cost of delay or non-agreement. These inexact references will cause the other party to assume information in a given range. Be careful to avoid being exact in stating a range, as the counterparty will assume the lower end of the range is the true reservation point.

• Screening Activities – The negotiator remains silent with regard to interests, BATNA, reservation point, and costs of delay or non-agreement. She will seek to communicate by asking questions that focus on the counterparty. The counter party may reveal information in response to these questions that is useful in deducing the desired information.

• Contextual Modification – The negotiator may seek to influence the interests, BATNA, reservation point, or cost of delay or non-agreement by modifying the context of the negotiation. This can be done through altering the interest(s) at stake; creating uncertainty or changing the counterparty’s view of their alternatives; changing the counterparty’s perception of the repercussions for failure to reach an agreement; or manipulating the medium or timing of communication.

Any of the above methods can reveal information about the counterparty.

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