Avoiding Tough Questions – Notes on Negotiation

Notes on Negotiation
Submitted by Marty Latz, Latz Negotiation Institute

What should you do if your counterpart asks you a tough question about strategically important information you don’t want to share, like what’s your bottom line or authority?  I would never recommend lying – it’s morally wrong and you will be far less effective if you are caught and your credibility takes a hit.  Instead, try these blocking techniques to protect your strategic information and your credibility:

1.  Change the subject and/or delay answering

2.  Answer a different question;

3.  Respond with your own question;

4.  Discount the question’s relevance, or ask for clarification;

5.  Answer a specific question by focusing on the general, or vice versa; and

6.  Refuse to answer due to policy, tradition, lack of authority, etc.


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 Latz@ExpertNegotiator.com

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