5.5 Ways to Negotiate Against Yourself

Posted By on February 10th

One of the first rules of negotiation is to not negotiate against yourself; however, that’s only true when you’re in the negotiation room. In the war room, you should be negotiating against yourself.

There are 5.5 ways to negotiate against yourself, which I detail below.

Before entering a negotiation, you must be prepared to argue both sides. You have to be objective and be able to criticize your own position. Law school Professor James W. McElhaney, writes, “There is a natural burden of proof for virtually every set of circumstances you can imagine. People, hearing the story of any case, automatically test it against their attitudes, their beliefs, their life experiences. And if the facts of a case don’t mesh with people’s “inner scripts,” they either figure there is more to the story, or it didn’t happen the way you say it did. … And once they think they understand what did and didn’t happen, it’s difficult to get them to change their minds.”[1]

When you negotiate against yourself as part of your preparation, you are forced to determine what are your real interests and concerns. Therefore, follow these tips before entering the negotiations:

  1. Objectively criticize your own position and analyze the weak points
  2. Determine your true interests and concerns
  3. Start exploring what position you want to take in the negotiations
  4. Determine whether your position truly meets your interests and concerns
  5. Prepare your response to any objections

     5.5 Explore other possible positions as options if your primary position isn’t successful in the negotiations.


[1] McElhaney, James W., “Challenge Your Own Case,” ABA Journal, September 2000, pp. 66-67.

About the author

Keith Grossman helps individuals and businesses negotiate and manage conflict more comfortably. Keith is a Collaborative Attorney, a Family and Circuit Civil mediator certified by the Supreme Court of Florida, an Arbitrator qualified by the Florida Supreme Court, and an educator. Keith frequently lectures and facilitates training programs, works with individuals one-on-one, and writes articles on conflict management and negotiation topics. His e-workbooks, “What Is A Peace Chest?” and “How Do You Build A Peace Chest?“ are now available on Kindle.


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