“A bully is a misguided person with perceived power. Extinguish his sources of power and you extinguish the bully.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert
Do you know how to really overcome a bully before negotiating with him? There you are. You’re negotiating against a bully! He’s someone that’s willing to lie, cheat, and steal to come out ahead in the negotiation. You think to yourself, ‘what can I do? This son-of-a-gun is not playing fair and I don’t know how to overcome him!’ The answer to, ‘what can I do’ was hidden in what occurred before the negotiation began.
The following insights will allow you to position yourself better to overcome a bully’s ploys before you negotiate with him.
In every negotiation, positioning occurs. It’s shown in the way the negotiators perceive each other and themselves. Thus, positioning is important because it determines how negotiators will interact with one another.
If you know you’ll be negotiating against someone that has bullied others in the past, before entering into the negotiation, attempt to discover the demeanor of those individuals. In particular seek to define whether they were perceived to be weak by your opponent due to their short-comings, or if your opponent felt empowered due to some other factor(s) he had going for himself at the time of the negotiation(s). That information will allow you to best position yourself from a position of strength. A bully’s loathing for weakness is the reason he only picks on targets that he perceives to be weak.
Leverage: (ploys you can employ when negotiating with a bully)
- Using Other people
- All bullies look up to someone. If you can find a way to curry favor with the bully’s icon, you can supplant his bullying efforts against you. After all, the bully wants an easy target. If the bully’s icon has favored you, that makes you less of a target to the bully.
- Bully’s weakness
- All bullies have an Achilles heel. It may be how they wish to be perceived by others. It may also appear in the form of the bully being perceived in one light versus another. Whatever it is, discover it and be prepared to exploit it during the negotiation if such is called for.
- Bully’s Persona (his vanity)
- If you’re aware of the pride a bully takes in having himself perceived in a certain light, attempt to alter that light; have it shine on someone or somewhere else. You will have taken away his source of motivation. Hold it hostage until he dismantles his bullying ways. The point is, hit him where you’ll get the most attention and where it will hurt him the most. Remember, he despises weakness and applauds strength.
Every good negotiator gathers information about the opposing negotiator. When you know you’ll be negotiating against a bully, drip misinformation into places that he seeks to gather information about you. The better you can use such information to misguide him, the more difficult it’ll be for him to assess the type of negotiator you are; always be willing to display a different negotiation demeanor based on the opposing negotiator.
When engaging a bully in a negotiation, there are all kinds of mind games that occur. Utilize the insights above and you’ll be in a better mental state than the bully. The better you play the game, the greater the chance that you’ll be able to overcome a bully when negotiating … and everything will be right with the world.
What are you thinking? I’d really like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com
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Remember, you’re always negotiating.
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