NegotiationWhat are Negotiation Tactics?

Negotiation tactics are strategic statements or behaviors spoken or performed by a negotiator to gain an advantage over the other party. You should be familiar with negotiation tactics to avoid allowing the other party to take advantage of you.

What kind of tactics might be used in a negotiation?

There are several tactics the other party may use in a negotiation. The following list contains six of the most common used tactics:

  • Highball/Low ball

The “highball/low ball” tactic occurs when one party in the negotiation makes an extreme demand or offer that is either too high or too low. This negotiator is looking for an emotional reaction from the other party. The emotional reaction will let him or her know how informed the other party is about the value of the objective in question.

If the other party seems to sincerely consider the offer, the first negotiator knows the other party is not aware that the offer is not reasonable. If the other party seems offended, the negotiator knows that the demand or offer will need to be adjusted because the other party knows the accurate value.

  • Delays/Time pressures

Delays occur when a negotiator intentionally stalls making a decision until a more convenient time. The negotiator who uses this tactic usually hopes the other party will make a better offer or a significant concession, fearing that the negotiation may not otherwise succeed.

Time pressures occur when a negotiator insists that the other party make a quick decision. The negotiator desires a quick decision with the hope that the other party will make a better offer or a significant concession.

  • Stonewalling

The “stonewalling” tactic occurs when a negotiator refuses to negotiate or is not flexible on an issue. This negotiator hopes to intimidate the other party with his or her lack of flexibility. The other party may become so frustrated or desperate to make a deal that he or she gives in to the demands of the “stonewalling” negotiator.



  • Bad temper

This tactic is another type of intimidation. The negotiator acts in an angry manner, hoping to make the other party feel frightened or guilty. If the outburst is bad enough, the other party will give the negotiator whatever he or she requests.

  • Splitting the difference

The “split the difference” tactic occurs when one negotiator requests both parties to concede their full objective and settle for meeting halfway between the two objectives. This tactic usually occurs near the end of the negotiation, when it appears an agreement cannot be reached any other way.

  • Good guy/Bad guy

This tactic involves two individuals on one side of the negotiation. One of the individuals is the bad guy who acts unreasonable or has a bad temper. The good guy plays a more reasonable role with the intention of making the other party think he or she has an ally against the bad guy.

Successful negotiators usually select the best tactic that fits a specific occasion and take into consideration the other party’s skill set.