Provocation

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Identification

This tactic is used to stimulate an emotional hot point which the negotiator has discovered, either about your organization or you personally, to create shame or guilt in order to get concessions. The persons using this tactic may backtrack saying, “Just kidding,” as if that will undo any wrongdoing. This is pure aggression.

Example

This tactic is often phrased in a question, the format of which is: “Don’t you have [negative fact] in your background?” The negative fact may be a product recall or personal error.

Solution

To confront this tactic, do not defend or reveal any further facts about anything and redirect the conversation. Focus on the issue and call them out, “How is this provocation getting you what you want?” It is best defended before the negotiation through preparation. Review your social media for any signs of weakness or missteps, then review that of the other party as well. While adversarial muckraking as a turnabout may not be professional, sometimes it is the only way to curb the damage, especially if the negotiation is unavoidable.

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