Extending the effort to make an Eskimo chief feel special may reap you the companionship of his wife for the night. 

People want to feel needed or respected. Acknowledging that every person involved in a dispute settlement conference has power is a practice common to mediators. Each party has the right to terminate discussions if they become uncomfortable with the process. In any negotiation this simple fact exists. Anyone can walk away unless faced with overwhelming power, such as looking down the barrel of a robber’s gun. 

There are ways to handle power-based negotiators. When negotiating against a gruff, powerful developer used to getting his way, acknowledging his special expert status and soliciting his help to show you how a problem can be solved may remove a road block to negotiations where direct confrontation would likely have failed. 

The tactic is to make your opponent your ally in solving a technical issue then building on this newfound relationship to counter his bullying tactics. Bullies are not used to having friends! 

In Seven Secrets to WINNING Without Losing a Friend, I discuss the importance of knowing how to handle bullies.

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