Backing Up When You Have Crossed the Line in Negotiations

Backing Up When You Have Crossed the Line in Negotiations


As an attorney, it is critical to walk into negotiations with a firm but calm attitude—and above all, a positive one. If you are confident about your skills and the task at hand, half the battle is won already. You should be equipped with as much knowledge about the other side as possible, along with understanding a little bit about their perspective and why they are there to begin with. While you may be employing either an assertive or more cooperative persona during negotiations, having sympathy and empathy can help you greatly in working with others as you discuss an important deal.

There is always a fine line in negotiating, however, and you may find yourself in uncomfortable situations from time to time. The other party may be overly emotional and difficult to deal with and unwilling to give even an inch. You may have prepared a strategy that simply is not working at all, and as everything begins to seem like it is going south, your greatest fear will be disappointing the client who is relying on you to guide everyone into an agreement. Perhaps you have shown your hand and need to back up—or perhaps you are the one who has shown your frustration or temper and need time to recoup.

Whether tempers have flared or whether one party or the other has flaked on the deal at the last minute, it is more than appropriate to take a time out, a short break, or even walk away altogether for a period of days or even weeks until everyone is either ready to agree or meet again. Unless there is some pressing matter and hours are hanging in the balance, never be in a hurry when you are working to get a good deal for your client. They are relying on you to be as slow and steady as the situation requires. As a negotiator though, you should always be willing to walk away. And when you come back, do not be afraid to ask for exactly what you want. This doesn’t mean being overly aggressive, but in negotiations it is usually recommended that you make the first offer, thus having control over the ‘opening bid,’ and creating an anchor for the other party to work around.

Are you interested in becoming a skilled negotiator? Our mission at CDTA College of Law is to educate, train, and develop extraordinary legal advocates. Your legal education will be comprised of bar-tested academic subjects, skills training, and values reinforcement. Upon completion of your 4-year course of study you will be fully qualified to take and pass the California Bar examination. Call us today at (760) 342-0900 or find out more online here.


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