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hard bargainer

What is a Hard Bargainer?

A hard bargainer may resort to lying, “take it or leave it” offers, bluffs, threats, warnings, personal insults, and dirty tricks. Here’s how to negotiate with them.

The difficult tactics of a hard bargainer may knock us off balance, upset us emotionally, and often threaten our feelings of self-worth and competence. The sense that we are being mistreated often leads us to replace reasoned analysis with hotheaded reactions.

When considering how to deal with a hard bargainer, we tend to write them off as irrational and avoid difficult conversations with them. Yet few people are truly irrational. Rather, they likely have motivations that we have trouble identifying.

For example, their difficult negotiation tactics often reflect a focus on positions, not interests. To reframe, begin by treating the other side’s hard-line position as important information rather than rejecting it, writes William Ury in his book Getting Past No: Negotiating in Difficult Situations (Bantam, 1993). By doing so, you can avoid an argument over positions and enlist the other party as a creative problem solver.

Encourage the other side to fully express their views and concerns with the goal of identifying the interests underlying their positions. Devote ample time to listening actively, avoiding the urge to express your own views until both you and the other party are satisfied that you understand their interests fully.

If your partner still refuses to cooperate, it’s may be time to give up and move on.

You can learn more about avoiding hardball tactics and find out how to make a deal better and faster than ever before with this free report, Getting the Deal Done, from Harvard Law School.

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The following items are tagged hard bargainer:

How to Deal with Difficult People

Posted by & filed under Dealing with Difficult People.

We’ve all met them: people who prefer competition over collaboration, stonewalling over problem solving, tough talk over active listening. Think of the boss who refuses to allow you time off to help an ailing relative, or the potential customer armed with a “nonnegotiable” proposal. When considering how to deal with difficult people, we tend to write … Read More 

Dealing with Difficult People

Posted by & filed under Free Report.

At the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School (PON), we are dedicated to helping professionals deal with hard bargainers and resolve even the most challenging disputes. To help you understand the principles of negotiation and conflict resolution, we put together a special report: Dealing With Difficult People. Discover how to collaborate, negotiate, and bargain … Read More 

Dealing with difficult people— even when you don’t want to

Posted by & filed under Dealing with Difficult People.

In your negotiations, have you ever faced a truly difficult negotiator—someone whose behavior seems designed to provoke, thwart, and annoy you beyond all measure? For some Western leaders these days, the negotiator who best fits that description might be Russian president Vladimir Putin. Since the beginning of the crisis in Ukraine, the Russian leader has seemed … Read More