The Context Manipulator

Notes on Negotiation
Submitted by Marty Latz, Latz Negotiation Institute

Have you ever been in a negotiation where your counterpart manipulated the time, location or setting of the negotiation to attempt to make you feel less powerful?

What should you do, for example, if your counterpart makes you wait for an hour after the scheduled negotiation start time, asks you to sit in a chair lower than his or sets up the conference room so the sun is shining in your eyes?

Negotiate the context!  If he keeps you waiting, leave and schedule a new meeting at your office.  If your chair is lower or uncomfortable, switch to a different chair.  If the sun is in your eyes, move or lower the shade.  And let your counterpart know his strategy isn’t working.

Do you have a context manipulation story to share?  If so, we’d love to hear it.



Marty Latz is the founder of Latz Negotiation Institute, a national negotiation training and consulting company, and ExpertNegotiator, a Web-based software company that helps managers and negotiators more effectively negotiate and implement best practices based on the experts’ proven research.  He is also the author of Gain the Edge! Negotiating to Get What You Want (St. Martin’s Press 2004). He can be reached at 480-951-3222 or

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