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A. In practice, none of these defensive strategies may be necessary. Most good negotiators understand the importance of creating long-term trust and protecting their reputations, so they’ll do their best to keep you happy. This is one reason why used car salesmen aren’t as manipulative as we might expect them to be – they have a reputation to build and protect. B. Good negotiators build strong long-term relationships. In many ways, this is even more important than the traditional ‘bargaining’ element of negotiations. If you leave the negotiation feeling defeated or cheated, you’re not going to want to negotiate with that person again. If you find out later that the other person took advantage of your naivety, again, you’re not likely to want to do business with that person. You may even try to get out of the contract you have agreed; in many situations, it is legal and normal to declare a contract null and void if you have been deceived. You’re also unlikely to recommend the deceptive negotiator to other friends and colleagues, and you may even go public with the story of your bad experience, which will damage the person’s reputation. C. But if you do find yourself in a negotiation with a professional manipulator, what can you do to protect yourself? The three keys are awareness, preparation and control. Firstly, simply be aware of the situation and its risks. Think very carefully before making any commitments. Secondly, find out as much as you can before the negotiation, especially concerning prices – what price are other people offering for similar products and services? You also need to research your own needs very carefully, including a deep understanding of what you don’t need. Thirdly, make sure you don’t lose control. Don’t be afraid to walk away from a negotiation if you’re not sure, and take time to discuss your concerns with friends and colleagues. Of course, the other negotiator may tell you that you can’t go away and think about it, that the decision must be made right here, right now. But that’s almost always just a bluff. In a high-stakes negotiation with a professional, a rushed decision is almost always a mistake.

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