I am speaking to a breakfast group on Friday in London about negotiating and the recession. There should be no difference how you negotiate, including difficult situations,, it should always be principled, win win win and achieving a satisfactory deal for both sides.

However in difficult circumstances people can become more aggressive, tell more lies and not do what they say they are going to do.

How do we counter this?

We make sure we are in the right state to negotiate. we are prepared, we are calm, we are curious where the other side is coming from, we are ready to ask questions and drill down on the answers we get.
We listen with all our senses, we watch the body language, if things do not make sense we ask more questions. we put ourselves in the other persons shoes and imagine we can see where they are coming from. we are aware of negotiating tactics and how to counter them.
We trade concessions “If you do this for me, then I can do this for you”
If cannot get an agreement, we brainstorm possiblities and invent other solutions to find an answer. We work together.

However if we notice people are uncomfortable,lying or we think they are lying, we challenge them, we “get the drains up” and find out whether the situation is retrievable or we should cut our losses. Don’t wrestle with a pig, the pig always wins and you end up covered in muck.

Finally make sure you pin people down to their side of the bargain and make sure that they do what they say they are going to do, on the agreed date. If they don’t you know where you stand. Leopards don’t change their spots. People genearally always behave the same way – it’s in their DNA