School of International Affairs and Diplomacy

15 Diplomatic Strategies in Negotiations

  • 15 Diplomacy Strategies For Negotiations

  •         posted by Anna Mar, February 14, 2013
    Have you ever imagined yourself as a high-powered diplomat? 

    The word diplomacy invokes images of international intrigue, power and strategy. 

    After all, diplomats tackle the World's big problems — trade, war, economics, culture, environment and human rights. It often feels that diplomats make little progress but the World would surely be a mess without diplomacy. 

    If you think your problems with office politics, sales or salary negotiations are difficult — imagine the challenge of influencing nations to clean up their environmental practices or of preventing a war between bitter rivals. 

    Diplomatic techniques and strategy can be applied to everyday business negotiations. 

    Why not use diplomacy in your work? These time-honored diplomatic strategies are easy enough to apply to business situations. 

     

  • 1. Use An Advocate (Shuttle Diplomacy)

  • Use a semi-independent advocate to influence the other side in negotiations. For example, employers often use agents to state their case in salary negotiations. 

     

  • 2. Superrationality

  • Superrationality is an advanced diplomatic technique that solves strategic dilemmas such as the Mexican Standoff. It's considered an alternative to game theory. 

    Game theory assumes that players in a game act in their own self interest. In some situations (such as the Mexican Standoff), when players act in their own self interest — they lose. 

    Superrationality is a diplomatic model that suggests negotiators can get beyond their self interests to seek an optimal solution for everyone. 

     

  • 3. Use of Objective Criteria

  • Frame your positions with objective criteria (facts). Example, "this discount is rather large, the average discount we offer is only 22.3%". 

     

  • 4. Tit for Tat

  • Tit for Tat is a process of equivalent retaliation. It's a common strategy in international diplomacy that involves three steps: 
     

  • Always cooperate, until provoked.

  • If provoked, always retaliate with equal force.

  • Be quick to forgive.


  • The strategy is intended to maximize the chances for a peaceful resolution of conflict. 

     

  • 5. Buy Time

  • If the other side is making large gains in negotiations, it's often a good idea to find an excuse to delay. 

    Delay tactics are easy to implement. For example, flood the other side with irrelevant information (known as a snow job). 

    Use the delay to regroup, identify lessons learned and refocus your strategy. 

     

  • 6. Ignore Imposed Constraints

  • It may be in your best interests to ignore deadlines and other constraints imposed by the other side. It's important not to let the other side box you in. 

     

  • 7. Name the Trick

  • If the other side uses a deceptive tactic such as a red herring or straw man — name their trick (e.g. "This is a delay tactic isn't it?"). 

     

  • 8. Call Bluffs

  • If you think the other side is bluffing — call them on it. Ask them to show their cards. For example, in salary negotiations a candidate may claim to have other offers, ask to see the offers in writing (although non-disclosure agreements may already be in place). 

     

  • 9. Build Golden Bridges

  • Give the other side options that allow them to come away from negotiations with some wins. 

     

  • 10. Avoid Escalations

  • When negotiations become heated take a break or use humor to defuse the situation. 

     

  • 11. Anchoring

  • Negotiators have a tendency to use the first information they hear as an anchor (important information they keep coming back to). 

    In sales, be the first to mention a price. The other side may continue to use your first price as an anchor. 

     

  • 12. Make Your Ideas Seem Like Their Ideas

  • A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves. 
    ~ Lao Tzu 

  • A highly skilled diplomat is able to lead the other side to desired conclusions. With a soft touch, the other side may accept your ideas are their own. 

     

  • 13. Never Allow Your Opponent to Lose Face

  • Never personally attack your opponent or make them look bad. If they make themselves look bad, help them to recover. 

     

  • 14. Code Words & Politeness

  • In diplomacy, code words are used to keep criticism polite (on the surface). Diplomats don't argue, they have "frank discussions". They avoid words that can be used against them and shade their harsh words. 

    This technique is often used in business. You don't say that a consultant is incompetent, you say they "lack the requisite capabilities". 

     

  • 15. Set Up Your Opponent's Victory Speech

  • The other side wants to be able to tell their boss that they were victorious in negotiations. Strategies such as door-in-the-face help the other side to walk away with a perceived victory. 

    This post is part of the ongoing series of articles called how to win at negotiation. 

     

  • 3 Shares


  •  

  • People Who Viewed This Also Viewed

  • 87 Soft Skills (The Big List) The critical skills that define leadership and creativity.


  • Decision Making: How To Solve The Mexican Standoff »


  • Red Herring: How to Influence With A Big Mess of Dumb »


  • Straw Man: In Office Politics Absurdity Is Not a Handicap »


  • Negotiation Skills »


  • 18 Adversarial Negotiation Strategies »


  • Negotiations Strategies »


  • Negotiation Guide »


  • Soft Skills Guide »

  • more »


  •  

  • Related Articles

  •  



  • Negotiations Strategies 
    Negotiation strategies and tactics.
     



  • Soft Skills Guide 
    A large collection of soft skill resources and tools.
     

  • more »


  •  

  • Most Popular Articles This Month

  •  

  • 83 Visual Communication Skills (List)

  • Visuals can instantly communicate emotion or information — it's a great skill to master. Actually, it's 83 great skills to master.
     

  • 80 Interpersonal Skills

  • When interpersonal relationships break down businesses become bogged down in politics or end up with disengaged employees and angry customers. It's not a pretty picture.
     

  • 111 Executive Leadership Skills

  • What does it take to be a CFO, CIO or Managing Director of Sales? The 111 skills that define executive leaders.
     

  • Soft Skills Guide

  • A large collection of soft skill resources and tools.

  • more »


  •  

  • Recently on Simplicable

  •  

  • How To Save The World And Get To Bed By 11:00

  • posted by Anna Mar
    The idea is that by working a constant rate, you get more done.

  • Communication Skills Guide

  • posted by Anna Mar
    Improve your communication skills.

  • Public Speaking Guide

  • posted by John Spacey
    A guide to mastering public speaking.

  • Soft Skills Guide

  • posted by Anna Mar
    A large collection of soft skill resources and tools.

  • more »

  •  

  • Sitemap

  •  

  • Skills Inventory

  • Executive Leadership Skills

  • Negotiation Skills

  • 110 MBA Skills

  • Marketing Skills (List)

  • Project Management Skills

  • 22 Presentation Skills

  • Time Management Skills

  • Emotional Intelligence Skills

  • 59 Leadership Skills

  • Innovation Skills

  • Interpersonal Skills

  • Visual Communication Skills

  • Public Speaking Skills

  • List of Communication Skills

  • Entrepreneurial Skills

  • Sales Skills

  • Program Management Skills

  • 99 CEO Skills and 1 Dumb Myth

  • Management Skills Inventory

  •  

  • Business Training

  • Sales Training Ideas

  • 6 Training Options That Make Careers

  • MBA

  • Leadership Guide

  • Presentation Skills

  • Soft Skills Guide

  • Influence Your Boss

  •  

  • Soft Skills Guide

  • Soft vs Hard Skills

  • List of Soft Skills

  • EA Soft Skills

  • Emotional Intelligence Skills

  • Innovation Skills

  • Interpersonal Skills

  • Communication Skills

  • KISS Presentation Skills

  • How to Influence

  • Why Humor Is A Skill

  • Influencing

  • Leadership Guide

  • Listening Skills

  • Negotiation Skills

  • Presentation Skills

  • Time Management

  • Meeting Leadership

  •  

  • Communication Skills

  • Communication Skills

  • Improve Communication Skills

  • Business Adjectives

  • Visual Communication Skills

  • List of Communication Skills

  • Eye Contact

  • Open Ended Questions

  •  

  • Presentation Skills

  • 22 Presentation Skills

  • Fear Advantage

  • 6 Public Speaking Myths

  • Ways To Begin Presentations

  • 8 Tricks for Presentations

  • Effective Presentations to Hostile Audiences

  • KISS Presentation Skills

  • Magnetic Presentations

  • Lead from your strengths for effective presentations

  • Presentation Pitfalls

  •  

  • Project Management Training

  • Project Management Skills

  • Mircrosoft Project

  • Project Management Training Ideas

  •  

  • Team Building

  • Icebreaker Ideas

  • Team Building Disasters

  •  

  • Technology Training

  • Soft vs Hard Skills

  • Project Management Training

  • Training for Super Nerds

  • IT Training and Beer

  •  

  • Learning Plan

  • Learning Plan Strategy

  •  

  • Decision Making

  • Decision Making Process

  • Decision Making Styles

  • The Mexican Standoff

  • Prisoner's Dilemma

  •  

  • Management Training

  • Management Skill List

  • Change Management Training

  • Project Management Training

  •  

  • Negotiation Skills

  • Negotiation Guide

  • Negotiation Skills

  • Types of Negotiation

  • Negotiations Strategies

  •  

  • Public Speaking Guide

  • Fear Advantage

  • 6 Public Speaking Myths

  • Public Speaking Skills

  • Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking

  •  

  • Simplicable Training

  • Leading Organizational Change

  • Innovation Training

  •  

  • Leadership Guide

  • Executive Leadership Skills

  • Leadership Strategies

  • Leadership Bliss

  • 59 Leadership Skills

  • Bad Leadership

  • 7 Definitions of Leadership

  • Art of Leadership

  • Leadership Myths

  • 99 CEO Skills and 1 Dumb Myth

  • Art of Questioning

  • Poor Leadership

  • 7 Leadership Steps

  • Leadership Contests

  • Leadership Guide

  • 50+ Ways To Improve Your Leadership

  • Leadership Strategy

  • Mystery As A Strategy

  • Physics of Leadership

  • Psychology for Leaders

  • What your team really wants from you

  • Why Leadership is Important

  •  

  • Professional Skills

  • Project Management Training

  • Sales Skills

Diplomatic Negotiations: The Surprising Benefits of Conflict and Teamwork at the Negotiation Table

Coalitions and cooperation have tangible benefits for negotiators engaged in diplomatic negotiations

BY PON STAFF — ON DECEMBER 12TH, 2017 / INTERNATIONAL NEGOTIATION

 Comment

Let’s take a look back at the 2008 US presidential election and the win-win coalition forged between Barack Obama and his then-rival, Hillary Clinton. As this example demonstrates, if carefully managed, disagreements and diplomatic negotiations can lead to better results than you might expect.

In December 2008, incoming U.S. president Barack Obama created a stir by appointing Senator Hillary Clinton, his bitter opponent for the Democratic nomination, to be US Secretary of State. Could Obama expect loyalty from someone he had traded barbs with for months? Would the risky choice be vindicated, or would it backfire?

Some compared Obama’s choice to Abraham Lincoln’s decision, following his hard-fought election in 1860, to appoint all three of his rivals for the Republican nomination to his cabinet. In her book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (Simon & Schuster, 2005), Doris Kearns Goodwin maintains that Lincoln was largely able to inspire his former opponents to overcome their differences and rally around him. But in an op-ed piece in the New York Times, historian James Oakes argues that Lincoln was a successful president despite the “contentious, envious and often dysfunctional collection of prima donnas” in his cabinet, not because of them.

Click here to download your copy of International Negotiations: Cross-Cultural Communication Skills for International Business Executives from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.

 

In the realm of negotiation, the question as to whether rivalries and differences of opinion harm or help teams is a critical one. Here we examine what negotiation research reveals about team harmony and cohesion and creating more diplomatic negotiations.

Negotiating Skills and Tactics for Diplomatic Negotiations

The pros and cons of teamwork

When a negotiation is a complex one that requires a broad set of knowledge, skills, and experience, gathering a team can be a smarter choice than trying to go it alone, according to professor Elizabeth Mannix of Cornell University. Negotiation research supports the notion that teams are more effective than individuals in many situations. Yet without adequate coordination and planning, teams are unlikely to meet their full potential, and the results can be disappointing.

What determines whether team negotiations succeed or fail? In interviews with experienced team negotiators, Kristin Behfar (University of California, Irvine), Ray Friedman (Vanderbilt University), and Jeanne Brett (Northwestern University) found that the degree to which teams effectively meet their unique challenges with appropriate strategies depends on how well they manage their internal dynamics.

Notably, the researchers found that the type of disputes that occur within teams can have very different effects on performance. When teams face disagreements that center on substantive issues related to the negotiation task, such as those related to interests, priorities, and goals, the resolution of such conflicts can actually spur better outcomes. By contrast, when conflicts get personal—deteriorating into bitter denunciations and criticism, for example—team performance may suffer.

3 Negotiation Tips for Diplomatic Negotiations

The following three suggestions can help you foster productive rather than debilitating conflict within your negotiating team:

1. Seek familiarity, not friendship.

In their research, Deborah Gruenfeld and Margaret Neale of Stanford University, Katherine Philips of Northwestern University, and Elizabeth Mannix found that team members who had not worked together before were unable to pool the information necessary to solve a problem. By contrast, teams of individuals who were familiar with one another easily pooled information and solved the same problem. Familiarity enables team members to share information and engage in the constructive conflict needed to find a solution, according to Mannix.

This doesn’t mean that teams should be built around close friendships. On the contrary, because friendship networks tend to spring up based on similar interests and skills, teams of friends may lack the diversity of knowledge and experience that’s needed to tackle a difficult negotiation. Thus, the best team may be one made up of people with diverse skills who have worked together before (and even clashed from time to time), rather than teams of close, like-minded individuals.

2. Discuss differences in advance.

To prevent conflicts among diverse, strong-minded team members from overshadowing group goals, Mannix advises negotiation teams to spend at least twice as much time preparing for upcoming talks as they expect to spend at the table. Because the other side will be ready and willing to exploit any chinks in your team’s armor, it’s important to hash out your differences in advance.

Start by encouraging the team to brainstorm and debate the issues to be discussed during talks. Spend time debating goals, the team’s best alternatives to the present agreement, and your reservation point—the worst outcome you, as a team, will accept. Then, spend just as much time exploring the other side’s likely goals, background, alternatives, and reservation point. Having trouble coming to agreement on the facts? Teams sometimes resolve substantive differences by bringing in experts for guidance on areas of confusion, Behfar and colleagues found in their research.

What about personality conflicts? In the Behfar study, some negotiators described the particular problem of coping with highly confrontational or emotional group members. Teams that overcame this difficulty did so by practicing their negotiation script in advance with the goal of directing and controlling the behavior of volatile members. To avoid conveying weakness to the other side, rather than calling for a break at the first sign of trouble, some teams devised secret signals they could use to bring wayward members in line—for instance, someone might stretch out her arms to communicate to another member that he’s getting off track.

3. Assign roles and responsibilities.

Before negotiating, teams should also discuss how to take advantage of members’ different skills, suggests Mannix. Which member has the best listening skills?

This person could be put in charge of watching and reading members of the other team and reporting his observations to his own team during breaks. Which team member has the most negotiation experience? This person could be appointed the team leader—the chief decision maker who corrals the rest of the group. Who is the best communicator? The team spokesperson should be a calm, articulate individual who is willing to follow the leader and the team’s negotiation plan.
In addition to brainstorming different scenarios that could occur at the table and role-playing how you will respond, your team should discuss the decision rules you will use when you confer privately to weigh the various offers on the table. Because unanimity can be difficult to achieve, you might opt for a majority-decision rule that allows most parties to get what they need from a deal.

By dividing up key responsibilities, debating differences of opinion before negotiating, and keeping talks respectful, your team will be in a strong position to capitalize on its differences.

What are other examples of diplomatic negotiations you’d like to share?

Related International Negotiation Article: Examples of Negotiation in Real Life: Culture at the Negotiation Table in International Negotiations – What is the role of negotiation in international business? To foster understanding and agreement between counterparts of different cultural backgrounds.

How to Overcome Cultural Barriers in Communication – Telling Time in International Negotiation – Here are some negotiation techniques for bargainers wondering about how to overcome cultural barriers in communication in international and diplomatic negotiations.

Click here to download your copy of International Negotiations: Cross-Cultural Communication Skills for International Business Executives from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.

 

 

Adapted from “The Surprising Benefits of Conflict in Negotiating Teams,” first published in the February 2009 issue of Negotiation.

Originally published January 2015.

Related Posts

 Comment

Tags: agreementalternativesbargainersbrainstormingcoalitionconflictconflictscounterpartscultural barriersdifficult negotiationdiplomacydiplomacy negotiationdiplomatic negotiations, examples of diplomatic negotiations, examples of negotiationhow to overcome cultural barriershow to overcome cultural barriers in communicationinterestsinternational businessinternational negotiationsnegotiatingnegotiating skillsnegotiating skills and negotiation tacticsnegotiating teamnegotiationnegotiation advicenegotiation articlenegotiation experiencenegotiation in international businessnegotiation researchnegotiation tablenegotiation tacticsnegotiation teamsnegotiation techniquesnegotiation tipsnegotiationsnegotiatorsovercome cultural barriersreservation pointrole of negotiationrole of negotiation in international businesstacticsteam negotiationsteam negotiatorswin win

Join the Campaign

copyright@usild 2020. All rights reserved