Negotiate when you're not negotiating

A strange thing happens when you “enter” a Negotiation… people change!

Which means one of the best times to negotiate is perhaps.... when you’re not negotiating

It’s as if the situation requires us to wear a mask, to morph into our ‘Persona-Negotiator’, becoming a different person to the one we normally are.  I see it all the time; most people will become more ‘guarded’ with what they say, the way they say it and we become less trusting of the comments from the other side. 

In fact, I’ve experienced a complete mind shift the moment the negotiation has ‘ended’ with a palpable mellowing of the atmosphere as parties relax, the mask comes off and… we start to talk normally.

There’s nothing right or wrong with this and it certainly isn’t going to change.  For those that understand this phenomena there is opportunity to engage in wider discussions, enquire more deeply in related areas and appreciate the circumstances greater than when being sat at the negotiation-table.

At the Negotiation Club we practice and at a practice table we can ask very deep questions and reflect upon the practice itself but in the real world you’re extremely unlikely to be able to deep dive into the decision making of the other side… but it’s not completely shut down.

There is an opportunity to be curious and enquire as to the reasons why they decided on certain elements, how they valued various variables, how they approach the markets, etc, etc…

You should consider yourselves as ALWAYS in a negotiation but if you can label it as NOT a negotiation then you can get behind the mask.

With nothing to lose (perceived) the other party may be open to sharing what they consider innocuous information.


  • Negotiation is fascinating!
  • Negotiation takes practice!
  • Negotiation is for life!


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