Eight Tips for Using 'No' to Get Your Way in the New Year

Don Tennant
Slide Show

Winning at Contract Negotiation

Rob Enderle provides strategies that have proven to result in more favorable deals, less chance of litigation and better overall outcomes.

If your New Year's resolutions for 2012 include being more assertive, standing up for yourself and fulfilling your goals, a good way to start is to learn to say "no," and to be willing to hear "no."


That's the advice of Jim Camp, a negotiating coach and author of the book, "NO: The Only Negotiating System You Need for Work and Home." As I wrote in my recent post, "Why It's So Essential to Be Able to Say 'No' (and Mean It)," Camp argues that compromise is the wrong way to go about getting what you want. Instead, he says, you need to be prepared to say "no" from the get-go, and he's come up with eight tips on how to use that strategy to help make things go your way in the new year:


  • Start with "no." Start by telling other people they're free to say "no" to your proposal, but don't tell them what it is yet. Watch how this simple gesture opens them up.
  • Don't mind-read. Don't assume you know how they'll react. Instead, find out what they're really thinking. Ask smart questions so they'll tell you what's on their minds.
  • Be a sleuth. Dig around until you discover their problems, needs and objectives. If they don't know, help them see what they should be. Now you can tailor a plan that addresses their specific concerns.
  • Play with emotions. Check your emotions at the door. But don't be shy about letting them get excited about your plan. (Hint: The one who's less needy, wins.)
  • Leap over hurdles. If you hit a roadblock in the conversation, ask them what problems they foresee with this situation. The more they reveal, the better for you.
  • Neutralize negativity. Don't let insults get to you. Instead, agree that you're ignorant on this subject. Ask them to help you understand what you're missing.
  • Leave nothing unspoken. If there's a 300-pound gorilla in the room you're pretending isn't there, face it and discuss it. Difficult issues, when ignored, come back to bite you.
  • Make them beneficiaries. Based on what you've learned, offer them a plan that's the answer to their problems, and show how they'll benefit by agreeing to your proposal.

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