BATNA: Examples of 10 Hard Bargaining Negotiating Skills and Negotiation Strategies

The best negotiation tactics of hard bargainers can catch you off guard

By Keith Lutzon / BATNA

Negotiating skills for dealing with situations as they arise at the bargaining table are always in high demand. Strategies prepared before coming to the bargaining table are one way to anticipate events during negotiations, but expert negotiators know that the bargaining style of their counterpart will impact, positively or negatively, even the best laid plans. Don’t be caught unprepared by hard bargainers, warn Robert Mnookin, Scott Peppet, and Andrew Tulumello in their book Beyond Winning.

Here is their Top 10 list of hardball tactics in negotiation to watch out for:

1. Extreme demands followed up by small, slow concessions.

Don’t let a strong demand “anchor” your expectations. Be clear going in about your own demands, alternatives, and the bottom line – and don’t be rattled by an aggressive opponent


Discover how to unleash your power at the bargaining table in this free special report, BATNA Basics: Boost Your Power at the Bargaining Table, from Harvard Law School.


2. Commitment tactics.

  • Your opponent may say that his hands are tied or that he has only limited discretion in negotiating. Make sure that these commitment tactics are real.

3. Take-it-or-leave-it offers.

  • Offers are never nonnegotiable. Try ignoring the demand and focus on the content of the offer instead.

4. Inviting unreciprocated offers.

  • When you make an offer, wait for a counteroffer before reducing your demands. Don’t bid against yourself.

5. Trying to make you flinch.

  • Your opponent keeps making demands, waiting for you to reach your breaking point. Don’t fall for it.

Discover how to unleash your power at the bargaining table in this free special report, BATNA Basics: Boost Your Power at the Bargaining Table, from Harvard Law School.


6. Personal insults and feather ruffling.

  • These personal attacks can feed on your insecurities and make you vulnerable. Take a break if you feel yourself getting flustered, or name their tactics.

7. Bluffing, puffing, and lying.

  • Exaggerating and misrepresenting facts can throw you off guard. Be polite but skeptical.

8. Threats and warnings.

  • How to deal with threats? Recognize threats and oblique warnings as the tactics they are can help you stand up to them.

9. Belittling your alternatives.

  • Have a firm sense of your best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA) and don’t let your opponent shake your resolve.

10. Good cop, bad cop.

  • One of your opponents is reasonable; the other is tough. Realize that they are working together, and get your own bad cop if you need one.

At the same time, while you could leverage these hardball negotiation tactics yourself, remember that making the other side hostile could create long-term problems.

Related BATNA Article: What is BATNA? How to Find Your Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement


Discover how to unleash your power at the bargaining table in this free special report, BATNA Basics: Boost Your Power at the Bargaining Table, from Harvard Law School.


Originally published June 4, 2014.

One Response to “BATNA: Examples of 10 Hard Bargaining Negotiating Skills and Negotiation Strategies”

  1. Márcia Rosa /

    I loved the article! I believe in negociation! Reply

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