What’s up on the Yes and No side?


On the No side,

You probably noticed that for many people in many cultures it’s hard or impossible to say No. From there come many misunderstandings and causes of no deal. This topic being quite popular I won’t further elaborate on it but would simply advice deal makers when negotiating with people from different culture, to make sure the Yes expressed by counterpart is a true one and not a not expressed No.

Under some other auspices, saying No is either a need or a demonstration of strength and sometimes, it is both…

On the Yes side,

It is always striking to me that people aiming at negotiating deals sometimes underestimate the power and the benefit of saying Yes as often as they can especially when they have to say No on some hard points or to a série of little but sometimes long list of topics at stake.

When parties are going through hard times in a negotiation, saying Yes to a request valued by counterpart can help restoring a better ambiance and a better climate under which rest of discussion will be more easy and get more chances to come to a deal.

Hence, when you have to say No on some points always ask yourself where you could say Yes to trying to balance your No and help your counterpart to better admit your No. It may appear as being as simple common sens to underline this but in fact when stuck in negotiations sometimes people forget the basics because they are trapped by ego challenge or anxiousness to come to a conclusion of the deal.


I recently came through hard times trying to convince a negotiating team (team A) to say Yes to a request raised by foreign negotiation counterpart (team B).

Teams A and B where negotiating a cross border deal. After a good start and long run negotiations, teams started to get tired negotiating and quite impatient to come to an end and deal. Team A was considering it is now time to conclude and was quite puzzled and upset when received new comments and requests from team B for modifying draft agreement at stake.

Team B was raising some points calling for commitments from team B. Team A was not willing to agree with these requests and in fact became quite suspicious and upset by what they considered as last minutes shots. During an internal conf call set up to get prepared to a new round of negotiation to happen the following day, Team A was getting prepared to say No on each and all points of team B.

Team A wanted to say No. No really matters why but, it wanted to say No.

I felt that if team A says No, teams will hardly come to an agreement because for team B if not all but some of requests were of value. Clearly, for team B, a Yes would have evidence team A willingness to deal were on the contrary a No would demonstrate team A absence of commitment and understanding of team B concerns.

Clock was ticking and moment was critical.

I finally managed to convince team A to agree at least on one request made by team B about services to potentially be rendered by team A to team B. A simple rendez vous clause that keep windows open in the future appeared as to be satisfactory by both teams.

A simple Yes as answer to one of team B last requests made the deal possible even though team A maintained a No to other ones.

Sometimes it is crucial to take a close and serious look at requests made on the other side of the negotiation table to weigh and evaluate them in order to figure out whether if saying Yes to one of these requests would not, in the end, leverage the need and the acceptance of a No as answer to rest of the requests.

As always do not hesitate to share your thoughts and experiences or comment on this post.

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