5 clever tactics for defusing bullies during negotiations

Bullies try to dominate negotiations through aggression, intimidation and unreasonable demands. But you don't have to feel powerless or let them push you around, write Stepbanie Vozza in her article for Fast Company, titles "How to negotiate with a bully."

With the right mindset and tactics, you can successfully negotiate with even the most difficult bullies using a five-step process:

  1. Start small – Practice negotiating in low-stakes everyday situations to build skills and confidence before higher-stakes negotiations.
  2. Listen first – Actively listen more than you speak. Don't take the bait if the bully tries to provoke you. Wait out the "refractory state" of about 20 minutes if you feel triggered before responding.
  3. Watch for tactics – Be aware of confusing statements or criticism no matter what you do, which can be bullying tactics. Ask clarifying questions.
  4. Let them get it all out – Patiently listen until the bully has completely exhausted their side before speaking. This can de-escalate the situation.
  5. Demonstrate empathy – Show you genuinely understand their perspective, which can open them up to hearing your side without agreeing or conceding. Share your story rather than trying to "win."

    It sounds like good advice for any kind of negotiation, actually.

    Previously: What`s it really like to negotiate with ransomware gangs?