10 Hard Bargaining Tactics & Negotiation Skills

The best hard- bargaining tactics can catch you off guard

Some negotiators seem to believe that hard- bargaining tactics are the key to success and resort to threats, extreme demands and unethical behavior to try to get the upper hand in negotiation, thus making a win-lose situation. Excluding the negotiations involving only one issue like price, most business negotiations involve multiple issues and give parties the potential to create mutually beneficial win-win outcomes. Negotiators tend to respond in the way they are treated, so on party’s negotiation hardball tactics can create a viscous cycle of threats, demands, and other hardball strategies, resulting into a hard – bargaining negotiation that easily deteriorates into impasse or distrust.

To prevent your negotiation from disintegrating into hard bargaining tactics, you need to take two steps. First, commit to yourself that you won’t get involved in them. Secondly, watch out for counterpart’s hard bargaining tactics to defuse them better.


10 best hardball tactics:

  1. Look out for extreme demands followed up by small, slow concession, have a direct sense of your own goals and don’t get diverted by a dominant opponent.
  2. Find out if your opponent’s commitment tactics are genuine, and looking for someone else if they are insincere.
  3. To deal with non- negotiable offers, try focusing on the content of the offer instead and then make a counter-offer that meets both party’s needs in take-it-or-leave-it offer.
  4. Don’t bid against yourself by reducing your demands when the other party asks you to make a concession during an offer; instead, indicate that you are waiting for a counteroffer.
  5. Don’t give in to your opponent’s greater and greater demands and clarify that you will only engage in a reciprocal exchange of offers.
  6. Let the other party know that you won’t tolerate personal insults and other cheap tactics.
  7. Don’t let bluffing, puffing and lying throw you off guard and investigate closely about claims that seem too good.
  8. Recognize threats and warnings as hard bargaining tactics.
  9. Don’t let the other party belittle your best alternative to a negotiated agreement.
  10. While dealing with a two- negotiator team, realize that they’re working together and no one party is reasonable or tough.



  • Beyond Winning: Negotiating to Create Value in Deals and Disputes by Robert H. Mnookin, Scott R. Peppet and Andreww S. Tulumello
  • Program on Negotiation, Harward Law School
  • The Art of Negotiation & Mediation – by Anuroop Omkar and Kritika Krishnamurthy
  • Guide to Negotiation, Harvard Business Essentails.

Image Source: IMD