TM #246 -What are the five steps to a successful negotiation?

1. Know when to speak and when to hold your silence. – Everyone wishes to be heard, especially in the midst of confrontation and the careful negotiations surrounding a conflict. When you are in the role of a diplomat, it is best to say less than necessary. So many statesmen seem to get a thrill listening to the sound of their own voices without the slightest notion that the more they say the more common they appear. And the more that they say, the more foolish they appear. When this happens, any hope to manoeuvre the situation, let alone control it, is lost. It is a far more dangerous thing during negotiations to say foolish things than to actually do them. Silence and the appearance of interest often renders the other side unable to read you and to judge your intentions. Humans especially like to have a clear notion of where you stand on any given issue. When you can control exactly what you wish them to know and nothing more. Silence is mysterious and so many cannot stand the suspense of that mystery.

2. Reveal only what you wish your opponent to know by using selective honesty. If you are in negotiations with someone and you wish them to go your way, use the tactic of revealing something that you infer is at least some sort of secret that could potentially be damaging to you if it were to be more widely known. This serves to open up even the most carefully constructed shields of so many and you can, with this new trust to your advantage. Manipulation is far easier if the other side believes that they have a vulnerable spot by having earned your trust. If you give before you take, it softens the ground and makes it far easier to plant and germinate seeds that benefit your cause. Call it a Trojan Horse if you like, but it is still a very effective means in getting to the ultimate goal in negotiations.

3. Pretend to be mailable toward their cause more than your own. Appear to give a little way and be amicable to your opponent’s demands. Even if what they are saying makes your cheeks flush with rage, plead it as being something else and never loose your cool. In fact, it can be far more beneficial to appear dumb enough to buy what they are actually trying to manipulate you toward in order to gain the advantage. If you even appear to surrender, it gives you more time to find more weak and vulnerable spots to attack. If you have done the other two steps prior to this one, chances are this one will be quite easy to do. When your opponent thinks you weaker, they are more apt to reveal their soft underbelly and find the most effective place to strike.

4. Be an adept courtier. Being able to negotiate around any given Court is a something that requires much skill and political acumen. If you flatter someone, make certain that the flattery is real and not empty. You must make the ruler feel more royal, the host feel more generous and the warrior feel more brave. Those who play the Courtly game with precision know it can be a tricky proposition at best, but if used effectively there is a great deal of power to be had. From this point you can get these same people to play with cards or game pieces that you yourself have dealt and get them to do exactly as you wanted in the first place.

5. Crush your enemy completely and without mercy. At this point you will have discovered where your opponent stands upon the issues in question and you can offer them a tentative peace. Once they are quite satisfied by the outcome that they have been able to get from you – it is at that moment when it is best to strike. There were small parts of the deal that were not revealed, or an important piece of the negotiations were not what they planned but what you had in mind the whole while. Once you have sent them reeling back it is at that point you must strike without hesitation and without mercy. It is at this point that all remaining opposition will either bend to your Will or flee. But do not let those who do manage to escape live to come back and fight you another day. A snake whose head is not struck from it’s body will come back and bite you. Do not risk it. Destroy them utterly and reap the rewards.

Muse: Fanny Fae / Faelyn
Fandom: Original Character / Folklore / Mythology
Word Count: 768

(credit and apologies must be given to Robert Greene’s “48 Laws of Power” for the inspiration for this post.)
crossposted to


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13 responses to “TM #246 -What are the five steps to a successful negotiation?

  1. We Spartans had a very different outlook on negotiations. Come to think of it, it was pretty much just #5. *chuckles*

    • Unfortunately, Stelios, Fae Courts (as your headmate will definitely reveal) are far more deceptive and it is a tennuous game.

      I do, however, appreciate the Spartan approach. But there really is something to be said about the suprise written on the face of your enemy when he realizes he has just been duped and you effectively hold his utter destruction in your hands. It is quite a sweet elixir.

      And for the record, Caroline has not been taught such negotiations. Being a bard, she chose not to go in that direction, but I rather think that if she is to follow the line of succession, she will need to learn something – even if it is the more ‘Spartan’ approach.

      (OOC: Faelyn has no idea at this point about Caroline’s thoughts toward abdicating….although Caroline wrote out part of it last night as a conversation she had with Stelios. I will send to you as soon as I polish it a little bit.)

      • I’m sure it is. We had those who were deceptive in such manners, mostly we called them Athenians. *grins*

        *nods* My king did something much like that with the Persian messenger. Just before he kicked him down a bottomless well. Such people weren’t used to Spartan ‘negotiations’.

        *says nothing about the ‘line of succession’* Well, I think she may have learned a thing or two. She can be very persuasive when she wants. *smiles, thinking of her*

        (OOC: Oh goody! And I hope you don’t mind me having Stelios reply as if he already knows Caroline’s intentions in this.)

      • Are you equating me and my Court with that of the Athenians? *raised eyebrow, but there is a slight smile*

        Sometimes there is a time to negotiate, and at other times it is to enforce your Will.

        I am sure she can. *notes his expression* You both seem very happy as of late. *smiles*

        (OOC:Hehe No! I don’t mind at all! In fact, I sort of imagined it just that way – Caroline had discussed it with Stelios – of course post *ahem* bed, and all that. 😉 I will send to you to see what you think. *hugs* )

      • Oh, I’d never dream of doing such a thing. Athens paled in comparison, of course. I was just relating to something I’ve had personal experience with. *is grinning the whole time*

        We either went for the latter, or just ignored everyone if it didn’t involve Spartan lands.

        Yes, we are. Very. *smiles*

        (OOC: Not that he’d say anything to Faelyn anyway. Looking forward to it! *g*)

      • *soft laugh* The application of your honeyed tongue may placate my daughter, Stelios, but you do not need to use it in order to placate me. *smirk*

        And I am sure in ignoring those who did not fall under Spartan jurisdiction caused a bit of resentment, yes?

        Good. Well, I am sure that I do not need to tell you that I approve. In fact, I am sure that you knew that I did long before the two of you reached your present state. No offense, but you both look as if you are in a near constant stupor caused by Branwyn’s Tears and Sidhe mead! Do not worry. It looks good on you. Love, in my opinion, is worth the effort extended and the foolishness that you risk.

        (OOC:Oh, good! It’s been sent!)

      • Okay, so I might have sweetened it a bit much, but my intent was true. I was only comparing it to something I was most familiar with. *smiles*

        Especially when we refused to march to battle to sort out their messes.

        No, I had kind of guessed that. *grins* A stupor? It’s that obvious, huh? But you’re right, and when the time comes very soon! I really don’t think any enhancements will be necessary at all. *wonders about the wisdom of discussing this with her mother, but what the hell*

      • Yes, I know. One of the benefits of being in my position is being able to read someone. Fear not, Stelios. I know your intentions were completely sincere in nature.

        Well why should you have to clean up someone else’s messes?

        Yes, quite honestly, it is that obvious. And I am certain that ‘when the time comes’, as you say, neither of you will require any sort of aphrodisiacal tricks in hand. *smiles demurely and knowingly*

      • And I admit, that compared to some others, I am probably quite easy to read.

        Exactly! Because if one city-state was threatened by another, they would come to us to try and beat down Athens the bully.

        No, I very much doubt that we will.

      • Give yourself at least some credit, Stelios. You are not necessarily so very easy to read. Except for when you just happen to be in love with my daughter. If you were, you would not be a successful poker player, yes?

        Well, I am sure that Sparta set the record straight as to what it was willing to do or not.

        Caroline tells me that you two plan to go to the Fortunate Island after the trip to your homeland. If you have need anything, I trust that either of you will ask.

  2. Adding to the mix, of course, built in spies. Saves time on getting to number five. Then again, I do not run a court, rather I run with them so to speak.

    All of the above have also served me well in many a board room.

    • Oh, well this feeds directly into the current prompt about whether or not I would be a good spy. No, I am the best spy I could possibly ever employ.

      However, you are right. And I am sure that you and I see eye to eye on many such tactics, Marius. *looking thoughtful* Have you given any thought to any future business endeavors – what with Wall Street and the World Markets careening so far out of control as of late.

      • Why thank you and yes, you would be the best spy, considering all things.

        Yes, I have. I have my bulk invested where Wall Street cannot sully it – but I am amused by the whole Stock Market phenomena. *says the man who was alive before stocks were even heard of*

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