How To Negotiate With Terrorists


Buying or selling a house is not easy. What do you do when you are negotiating a house and you find yourself with ridiculous offers from an unreasonable negotiator? Sometimes you will get ridiculous demands. What to do?

According to Negotiating with Terrorists: A Mediator’s Guide, published by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, “The challenge of negotiation is to move total absolutes into conditionals, and to work on terrorists to either reduce or change their terms.” How can we apply the lessons from negotiating with terrorists to help us?

1. “Some terrorists may become open to discussion and eventually moderation of their means and ultimately even of their ends.” If you are negotiating a deal, you want to find out from the other side what their absolutes are and what their conditional points are. Find out what they want ultimately, and try to negotiate the terms of how they get that.

2. “Negotiators must maintain pressure (stalemate) while offering a way out, thereby showing terrorists there is something to gain from negotiation.” Offers to buy and counter offers must show the other party that they can get what they want from the deal. Focus the discussion on what they receive, not on what you are getting.

3. “Negotiators do not negotiate belief systems.” You will not change their mind on what they believe. You should help the other side see an alternative means of getting their belief with your offer.

4. “Negotiation can be short-term tactic; or a long-term strategy.” Patience and persistence will prove key in negotiations. Sometimes it takes time for your offer or counter offer to sink in. Be patient and follow up often.

5. “The negotiator needs to offer the terrorist concessions to his demands as the payment for abandoning his terrorism, not concessions to the pressure of terrorism itself.” If you offers concessions to the other party in the negotiation process, so too must the other party. Even the terrorists have something to offer as payment. You opponent may truly believe in their offer, although you may see their demands as ridiculous. Offer less than you are willing to give, and concede down to your goal or bottom line.

Terrorism is a real and serious topic, and not something to be joked about. However it’s lessons gives us an opportunity to learn how to deal with deeply entrenched belief systems. You may find yourself having strong feelings about the other side in your home negotiation. After all, this is often the biggest transaction of your life. Remember these lessons and you may come out on top. If you need help with your next negotiation …Ask Hollingsworth.