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How You Can Get Negotiating Leverage

Updated: Mar 27

How can you get negotiating leverage when you might not have it?

I love it when I read something that immediately connects the dots of a concept that I have in my mind, but which may not be wholly conscious or fully formed…. but it’s in there waiting for the right stimulus to connect the dots.*

I call it “completing the unformed thought.”

Today’s Meaningful Quote generated one of those moments for me. As soon as I read, it was like a “yes…I’

ve experienced that before too!”

Post with a quote from JFK that states "we cannot negotiate with those who say "What's mine is mine and what's yours is negotiable
Meaningful Quotes - A Social Media Series of The Nexus Initiative

We’ve all been in negotiations where the negotiation tends to focus on your side as the one who is giving things up in order to make the deal. Based on today’s quote, it’s a universal phenomenon - because Kennedy had the same issue with Kruschev during the Berlin Crisis.

Once you are aware of the dynamic, the next question is… “Well, what do you do about it?”

The answer is … “it depends.” I know… satisfying, right?

Seriously though, it does depend on some factors, such as:

  1. Your negotiating leverage - how much do you need the deal relative to the other side?

  2. Is it a real request, or are they testing you to see if you will offer concessions without asking for anything in return?

  3. The negotiating style of the other party. Are they:

  • Aggressive - Trying to "win" the negotiation as much as get a deal.

  • Neutral - Trying to get deal done.

  • Passive - Indifferent to a deal?

How You Can Get Negotiating Leverage

One way to neutralize the dynamic could be to verbalize a variation of JFK's quote in the negotiation. Doing so, surfaces the dynamic they are using and could give you a moral/ethical high ground that you might not have if you don’t say it. In short, it's how you can get negotiating leverage in a situation in which you might not have it.

Interestingly, there is nothing unethical or immoral about asking the other side for more without offering anything in return, per se.

However, by framing it this way, you can interject a moral or ethical element in the negotiation that can (help) neutralize the tactic because it's hard(er) to maintain negotiating leverage if you are the party perceived (or labeled) as acting unfairly.

Only you can decide the applicability to your given situation.

It’s an interesting and insightful observation JFK made, and I never forgot it the moment I read it.

*This concept is the reason for the logo design of The Nexus Initiative. The coaching process helps people “connect the dots” in ways they may not fully have understood previously.

Meaningful Quotes Social Media Series

Quotes are often a dime a dozen on the internet and can be more noise than signal. My intent with the Meaningful Quotes Social Media Series is to curate — meaningful — quotes and pass them along.

About The Nexus Initiative

The Nexus Initiative is a boutique Executive Coaching and Advisory firm based on real-world operating experience. If you know someone looking for a trusted confidant with real-world operating experience to be their coach, please refer them to my website to setup a discovery call.

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