Negotiating in Difficult Situations: How to Handle Deadlocks and Difficult People

Strong negotiation skills are essential for everyone in today’s business world. Whether you are trying to close a deal with a new client, mediating a conflict, or trying to convince a colleague to take on a project, being able to negotiate effectively is critical to achieving success. However, negotiating with difficult people can be a challenging task. These people may be demanding, manipulative, aggressive, or making unreasonable demands that are impossible to meet. Rather than get discouraged, try learning some tips and techniques for navigating these difficult situations successfully. Here will take a look at some of the best strategies for negotiating with difficult people and how to overcome deadlocks to reach a positive outcome. 

Keep the Meeting Private

Oftentimes, difficult people may become more combative if they feel like they are being attacked or threatened by more than one person. If you know that the person you are negotiating with has a difficult personality, meet with them in a private setting if at all possible.They may be more willing to listen and be flexible if they don’t feel the threat of having others around. 

Meet in a Neutral Location

It’s not ideal to allow difficult people to have the home court advantage. If the meeting takes place at their space, they may feel more empowered and make the negotiation all the more difficult. When possible, aim for a meeting location that is entirely neutral, such as at a coffee shop or neutral conference room as opposed to their personal space. 

Approach with a Win-Win Attitude

The most common mistake many negotiators make is approaching a negotiation with the idea that they must be tougher than the other person in order to “win” the negotiation. They make their offer and they refuse to budge unless their demands are met. Unfortunately, this is not the best approach to a negotiation. Instead, you should see the negotiation as a problem-solving process in which you solve the problem by allowing both parties to achieve their desired outcome. By looking deeper at the needs of both parties and being willing to compromise, you can avoid deadlocks and solve even the most difficult problems. 

Bring Solutions

In some circumstances, brainstorming solutions along with your counterpart can be an effective way to collaborate in order to reach an amicable solution. However, when dealing with difficult people, showing up with no solutions can be seen as a sign of weakness and can cause them to ignore any suggestions you make. So, in these situations it’s always best to come to the meeting prepared with possible solutions. 

Be Assertive and Professional

Difficult people tend to have very strong ideas and know what they are capable of. In that same way, difficult people tend to respect others who demonstrate strength and they are more willing to listen to someone who is assertive. Don’t back down or shy away when the other person pushes back. Be assertive and match their strength when you are presenting ideas. 

Make Them Aware of the Consequences

If you are dealing with a difficult person and they aren’t willing to budge, make them aware of the consequences if the negotiation is deadlocked. Make sure they know what is at stake if they are unwilling to compromise. When the realize that their refusal to cooperate might cause them significant problems, they might be more willing to reach a deal.

If you are interested in learning more, contact us today at 1-800-501-1245 to request information about training courses from the Management Training Institute as well as other corporate training programs offered through our parent company Bold New Directions.