top of page

Practical Newsletters

people negotiating Practical Management of Canada Inc.



Top 4 Communication Behaviours

That Derail Negotiations 

These items are tools, pure and simple.

You can derail a conversation in a heart-beat by pursuing these unproductive arguments that are designed to destabilize and make the other party weak.


If the other side uses these behaviours strategically to destabilize the negotiations, use these solutions to get things back on track.

If you go to the "dark side", know that the strategy is to disrupt or destroy the confidences of the other party vs. collaboration toward a common end. Is that your intent? 

Keep your discussion on track and productive by avoiding these common traps where you can:

Withholding or Stonewalling

is a lack of openness in conversation, and a by-product of mistrust. Trust has been lost through past experiences, or has never been build in a purposeful way.

Solution: Commit to discussing common interests and trust building, via strong commitments that are demonstrate-able short term. Discuss unpleasant topics  e.g. "history of service issues", early in a supportive interest-based way, before they become problems.


is a response when people are not getting what they want, discover an injustice, or feel that they are being abused in some form.

Solution: Avoid making judgments and focus on where the commitment / clarity needs to be made, along with clear times and dates. Discuss positive behaviours that the other party has demonstrated and discuss your needs going forward. Then use commitment and measurement tools that are short-term, and insist on follow-up events.


that is based upon a disrupted personal value e.g. honesty or commitment! What is the purpose of an accusation that creates it?

Solution: Take accountability for your part in the conversation. Where did things go off track, and how will you both fix them together? Focus on the problems and not the people! Identify the issues and resolve to address them in a stepped fashion.


is the root of many items listed above, and results in the other side practicing some form of defensive damage control.

Solution: Get the focus off of the people and onto the issues e.g. Lacking in procedures, engagement practices, resources, controls and strategy.

Any of these behaviours can derail a negotiation. If you think that they could rise up during the discussions, then mention these topics upfront and agree together before hand, on how to deal with them, as they pop up later. i.e "Hey, integrity is important to me and if I become defensive at any point - it's my way to discuss the issue in a pragmatic and problem-focused way, vs. taking it personally. How about you Jane?"

Want to practice new negotiating techniques in a safe environment with lots of support, feedback and opportunity? We're really good at that!

We've got workshops on Negotiation Skills at two levels, and we can customize a session for your organization

or team to include the specific kinds of negotiations you face each day.

Get them right before you get in front  of your clients - whether internal or external.

bottom of page