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How to negotiate for a raise using advanced psychology - Nick Kolenda

The Psychology of Negotiation by Nick Kolenda: Summary & Review

The Psychology of Negotiation is a 6-chapter book on negotiation in which Nick Kolenda, the author, teaches how to maximize the net value of any negotiation. In the interest of practicality and real life application, this entire summary and review has condensed Kolenda's guide and applied it to negotiating for a raise.

Bullet Summary

  • Before the Negotiation: How to prepare
  • Starting the Negotiation: How to navigate the beginning stages
  • During the Negotiation: How to handle the actual discussions
  • Ending the Negotiation: How to make your offer
  • After the Negotiation: What to do after negotiations have ended

Full Summary

About The Professor: Nick Kolenda has been researching behavioral science for the past decade. He's known for explaining complex ideas in a clear and lighthearted style. He's also the author of Methods of Persuasion and founder of

Before The Negotiation 

Kolenda says, “It doesn’t matter if you’re buying a car, interviewing for a job, or requesting a raise. Your work starts before the actual negotiation. This section explains those initial steps. You’ll learn clever tactics that will help you secure a better deal in the future negotiation.”

STRATEGY 1: Increase Your Power

Kolenda notes, “Power is crucial. When you have power, your counterpart will give larger (and more frequent) concessions (Kim, Pinkley, & Fragale, 2005). In negotiations, the most powerful party usually walks away with the best deal. But that sparks an important question: what if you have less power? What if you’re negotiating with your boss? Even if your counterpart has higher authoritative power, you still have hope. This section will teach you a few negotiation tactics to balance the odds, even when your counterpart has higher power.”

Tactic 1: Gather Benchmark Data

“To gain leverage, you need knowledge. You need to understand the type of deal that you should be receiving.

If you’re interviewing for a job, research average salaries for similar positions. You could gather those benchmarks through:

  • Salary Websites.
  • Visit free resources like PayScale or Glassdoor.
  • LinkedIn. Contact people in similar roles.
  • Recruiters. Ask employment agencies for comparable salaries.

Without that knowledge, you’ll be negotiating blindly. You’ll be at the mercy of your counterparts, allowing them to dictate the size of your deal. Don’t let that happen.”

Ramit Sethi calls this the “know your leverage” step of his Dream Job system (Playbook 8).

Tactic 2: Enhance Your BATNAs

Kolenda says that power comes from two main factors:

  1. Value: Which party benefits more from a successful agreement?
  2. Alternatives: How many alternatives exist for each party?

In terms of value, Kolenda is saying, “Which party has more WIIFMs for the deal to work (and is therefore more likely to be more invested in the deal)?”

And, as far as alternatives, negotiation expert Herb Cohen refers to this as “the power of competition” in Phase 2 of his process for negotiation for a raise (a section titled “Leverage Various Sources Of Power”).

Kolenda continues, “You could alter the first factor by offering more value. When you offer more value, your counterpart becomes more dependent on a successful agreement (giving you

more power). Fisher and Ury (1981) described that second tactic by coining the term BATNA [Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement – Similar alternative deals you could pursue if you don’t reach a successful agreement]... 

...If you don’t have strong alternatives, you become dependent on your counterpart. You’re at their mercy. Since you have less leverage, you’ll need to make larger concessions. That’s not a good position. 

Instead of putting your eggs in one basket, you should enhance your BATNAs before any negotiation. 

Ideally, you should enhance the (a) quantity, (b) quality, and (c) plausibility of your BATNAs (Kim, Pinkley, & Fragale, 2005). 

If you’re applying for a job, apply and interview with multiple companies. Those BATNAs will reduce your reliance on any individual company.”

Ramit Sethi recommends the same approach with the process he calls, “Build a VIP Network”.

STRATEGY 2: Control the Logistics

With a note on controlling the logistics, Kolenda moves into power dynamics. 

He says, “When planning the negotiation, you’ll need to coordinate when, where, and how it will occur. Negotiators with less power are usually accommodating with those decisions.”


Counterpart: When are you free?

Less Powerful Negotiator: I’m free any afternoon next week. Let me know which day works best for you.

“That approach is harmful. When coordinating logistics, don’t be overly accommodating (and never reveal an empty calendar). Ideally, you should dictate those logistics.”


Counterpart: When are you free?

Powerful Negotiator: I’m free at 10am next Wednesday. Does that work for you?

This is also a strategy recommended in business and professional networking when scheduling a meeting with a new contact / potential connection (see Advanced Connector’s Package).

Kolenda also says that the benefits of dictating the logistics go beyond being able to choose a date and time that’s more convenient for you.

He says, “Even if your counterpart needs to suggest a different time, your assertiveness will increase your perceived power, giving you a more favorable deal in the negotiation (Diekmann, Tenbrunsel, & Galinsky, 2003).”

Tactic 3: Choose a Day With Nice Weather

"Weather has a powerful — often subconscious — effect on our behavior…when the weather is nice, you’re more likely to help people...when the weather is nice, people feel happier. In turn, they develop behaviors that are conducive for negotiation, such as:

  • Cooperation
  • Creative problem solving 
  • Tendency to concede 

If you need to negotiate in bad weather, you should discuss the bad weather before the negotiation.” 

Kolenda’s reasoning on addressing bad weather before negotiations start is that, in one study, the negative subconscious effects of bad weather were eliminated when researchers began their conversation by talking about the weather (Schwartz & Clore, 1983). 

Thanks to that discussion, people attributed their dampened mood to the weather instead of to the person or conversation (or negotiation), effectively adjusting their moods to compensate (see positive / negative associations)."

Tactic 4: Choose an Early Time

Kolenda recommends that you pick an early time for the negotiation, usually between 9am and 10am for two main benefits:

  • First, an early time ensures that you’ll have ample time to negotiate. As Malhotra and Bazerman (2008) note, “The more time and other resources a negotiator has invested in the negotiation, the more willing the negotiator will be to accept the agreement offered.” (See cognitive dissonance.) 
  • Second, “If your counterpart is negotiating with other people that same day (e.g., a company that interviews multiple applicants), an early time helps you generate a stronger impression [see the primacy effect]...If you’re competing with multiple applicants, you should strive to be the first interviewee in that sequence. That position will make your interview more memorable.”

Kolenda notes that memorability is important for more reasons than we might think, such as conceptual fluency.

“When information [such as a job candidate / interviewee] is presented earlier in a sequence, it generates a stronger impact on long-term memory...When hiring managers eventually choose the best candidate, your interview will enter their mind more easily. Thanks to conceptual fluency, that ease of recall will be misattributed to your performance. Because they’ll remember you more easily, they’ll falsely infer that you’re a better fit for the position.”

“If you can’t choose an early time, you should choose a later time (perhaps 4-5pm). If you can’t be the first interview of the day, you should strive to be the final  interview (which will trigger a recency effect).”

If you’re striving to be the final interview of the day, you will be the final, last impression in the interviewer’s long list of interviews that day. And, Chris Voss stresses the importance of leaving a positive last impression and lasting impression (see “The Art of Negotiation”).

Tactic 5: Choose the Right Medium

Kolenda says:

  • Female negotiators receive better deals when they communicate face-to-face.
  • Male negotiators receive better deals when they communicate via email.


  • If you’re negotiating with a male, you should reduce nonverbal cues (e.g., negotiate via email or phone). If you need to negotiate in person, reduce the level of eye contact.
  • If you’re negotiating with a female, you should increase nonverbal cues (e.g., negotiate in person). Eye contact is particularly effective.

*Note: The rest of this guide / summary assumes you will be negotiating face-to-face, and the tactics will still work for any type of communication.

Tactic 6: Negotiate at Your Office

Back to the negotiation power dynamics, Kolenda makes the recommendation: 

“Some researchers would argue a neutral location. By remaining unbiased, you cultivate a shared focus on problem solving (rather than competition). 

On the other hand, more aggressive negotiators would recommend your own office. Not only could you convey your dominance and power through that decision, but you could also use your office to incorporate other persuasion techniques.”

An example Kolenda provides of negotiating at your office is, “If you give your counterpart a short and awkward chair, you decrease their testosterone and raise their cortisol. Those biological changes, in turn, reduce their feeling of power — which should give you a more favorable deal in the negotiation.”

Now, that’s the kind of game you might see pulled by Trump. One similar move he might have used is giving reporters a lower-positioned microphone to nudge their submissive body language (see The Art of the Deal).

STRATEGY 3: Encourage Cooperative Behavior

“In Western cultures, negotiation has a bad reputation. People perceive it to be very combative, where you’re competing against your counterpart. Only one winner can emerge...Because only one winner can emerge, people negotiate more aggressively [more outside of a cooperative frame].”

Here are some tactics Kolenda gives to encourage a more cooperative frame from your counterpart / negotiation partner:

Tactic 7: Avoid Negotiation Terminology

“To prevent aggressive behavior from your counterpart, avoid negotiation terminology. Always use words that depict cooperative behavior (e.g., ‘collaborate,’ ‘work together,’ ‘brainstorm’).

You should also incorporate 1st person plural pronouns (e.g., ‘us,’ ‘we,’ ‘our’). Those pronouns emphasize a shared goal with your counterpart, so you’ll usually gain a more favorable deal.” (See trigger social pressure.)

Tactic 8: Schedule a Future Interaction

“When possible, break up the negotiation into separate meetings. People negotiate less aggressively when they believe they’ll be interacting with their counterpart again.”

For example, if you decide to leverage Yale’s three-phase negotiation strategy, you’ll notice there’s a post-negotiation phase called “afterwards”. 

That’s how, at the beginning of phase two (the actual negotiation), you can start by saying that you’d like to schedule another meeting where you both can fully unpack all of the plans you have for doing more for your boss and the company (a form of future-value signaling). And, for you, that second, follow-up meeting would be the final, post-negotiation phase.

An alternative approach without the specifics of the Yale process is as Kolenda says, “Even if you plan to reach an agreement within one day, you could plan a subsequent meeting to review the contract. If you plan that second meeting beforehand, your counterpart will behave more cooperatively during the initial negotiation.”

Starting The Negotiation 

This section is for during the beginning stages of the actual negotiation itself.

STRATEGY 4: Build Some Rapport

Kolenda says, “Next to power, rapport is also crucial. Without it, negotiations are more likely to follow the traditional ‘win-lose’ model — a destructive mindset for both parties.”

Tactic 9: Start with Schmoozing

In the study “Schmooze or Lose,”  Morris et al. (2000) discovered that, in email negotiations, participants of the study gained better deals when they spoke with their counterpart on the phone (schmoozed) for at least 5 minutes before the negotiation.

Tactic 10: Disclose Personal Information

“Before the negotiation starts, always mention unrelated tidbits about yourself, such as interests or hobbies. Those tidbits—albeit small and innocent—will make the negotiation more successful.”

STRATEGY 5: Bring Them Pastries and Coffee

Kolenda lists this as the most devious strategy in the entire process. 

When you bring pastries and coffee to the negotiation, you accomplish four important tactics, all of which are outlined below.

Tactic 11: Mimic Their Nonverbal Behavior

“When you mimic people’s nonverbal behavior, you build rapport with those people...Mimicry can also explain another finding: negotiators gain better outcomes when they eat together.” 

Tactic 12: Provide an Unsolicited Favor

“In his book, Influence, Cialdini (1987) proposed that reciprocity is one of the six principles of persuasion. When you perform favors for people — even unsolicited favors — they become substantially more likely to “return the favor...Even if your counterpart hates pastries and coffee, the mere favor will trigger an inner need to reciprocate. As a result, they’ll be more likely to make concessions during the negotiation.”

Tactic 13: Increase Their Glucose Levels

“Glucose plays a role in aggressive behavior. When glucose levels are low, people are more likely to behave aggressively...Since pastries and coffee increase glucose levels, they can reduce the amount of aggressiveness in your counterpart.”

Tactic 14: Generate Physical Warmth

“Research suggests that warm beverages (e.g., coffee) cause people to behave friendlier. When participants in one study were holding something warm, they more likely to give a gift to a friend (Williams & Bargh, 2008).”

Kolenda also notes that this point underlines another benefit of negotiating at your office: “You’ll be able to control the temperature of the room (and adjust it to be warmer).”

During The Negotiation 

This stage is for the actual discussions.

STRATEGY 6: Convey the Proper Emotions

Tactic 15: Show Signs of Disappointment

“Displaying a positive mood can help at the beginning of the negotiation (when you’re establishing rapport).

However, when you start discussing the terms of the agreement, visual signs of disappointment or worry can cause your counterpart to make larger concessions (Van Kleef, De Dreu, & Manstead, 2006).”

“If you follow this tactic, be careful. Research also shows that your counterpart will develop a more unpleasant perception of you. You might want to consider using this tactic only for short-term relationships.”

Tactic 16: Become Angry (When Appropriate)

Much like a couple of the above tactics in this strategy, I’ll be fully quoting Kolenda to avoid misconstruing his message:

“Past research found anger to be harmful. Anger provokes negative emotions from your counterpart, such as self-centeredness and retaliatory behavior. Those emotions can result in worse outcomes for both sides.

In recent years, however, the tides have been turning. Many researchers are now finding positive outcomes for showing anger. When negotiators seem angry, their counterparts make larger concessions to avoid reaching a deadlock.

However, the benefits of anger depend on two conditions:

  • Condition 1: Your counterparts must find the discussion important, and they must recognize (and make inferences from) your anger.
  • Condition 2: Your emotional response must be reasonable. Always direct your anger toward the offer – never at the person.

Similar to disappointment, you should only show anger when your relationship with the counterpart is short-term.”

STRATEGY 7: Demonstrate Your Power

This section covers how to convey your power during the actual discussions.

Tactic 17: Mention Your BATNAs

“Honesty, especially in regards to your BATNAs, can cause your counterpart to give larger concessions, giving you a better deal.”

Kolenda also notes here that by showing honesty—even when it comes to your BATNAs—you trigger reciprocity in your counterpart, influencing them to be more honest in return (which can lead to a better outcome for everyone). 

Kolenda recommends, “If you’re negotiating a job, mention the other companies that you’ve been pursuing (and what they’ve offered you). Ask how the current opportunity will be different.”

Tactic 18:  Avoid Disclaimers and Weak Language

“When your counterpart is more powerful (e.g., your boss), you might feel intimidated. You might feel pressured to use soft disclaimers, such as:

  • ‘I know this might sound like a lot, but ______.’
  • ‘I hate to ask for this, but ______.’
  • ‘Would you ever possibly consider ______?’

Never use those disclaimers...You’ll walk away with a worse deal. 

Instead, show signs of confidence and dominance. Don’t be a jerk. Never insult or degrade your counterpart. Just be firm and confident in your requests. People receive better deals when their language and nonverbal behavior convey power and confidence.”

Tactic 19:  Address All Relevant Terms

“In negotiation, your biggest enemy isn’t your counterpart. Your biggest enemy is a fixed pie mentality [a competitive frame].

Consider a job negotiation. The employer offers $70,000. But you wanted $80,000. With a fixed pie, at least one party would need to make a concession. All else being equal, both parties would usually concede to the middle — in this case $75,000.

That approach isn’t great because the final agreement is usually worse for both parties. However, with the right approach, you can avoid a fixed pie mentality (and you can create a deal that’s favorable for both parties).

To understand, let’s analyze the root of fixed pies. They usually occur because both parties focus on a single metric (e.g., salary). To avoid a fixed pie, you need to address all terms. For example, job negotiations include more than just salary. They include:

  • Vacation days
  • Commissions
  • Working from home
  • Scheduled raises
  • Other perks

By listing all of the terms, the negotiation becomes less fixated on a single metric. With more terms on the table, you create flexibility to negotiate. You might accept the $70,000 salary if you can earn a higher commission and work from home two days a week.”

Tactic 20:  Rank Order the Terms

“Once you create your list [of terms to negotiate], how do you negotiate those terms? The research is clear: you should rank the terms in order of importance.

Once you and your counterpart rank the importance of each term, you can spot areas of flexibility.

  • You might place high value on commissions (because of your strong work ethic).
  • Your potential employer might place less importance on commissions (because it means you generated a sale).”

Even with this clear advice of creating a list of terms ranked by importance, Kolenda doesn’t recommend negotiating in the discussion with a “let’s go down the list”-like approach. 

“You should never resolve terms sequentially. In other words, don’t resolve salary, THEN commission, THEN vacation days. Resolve everything at once.

When you lump everything together, you retain bargaining power. You can make concessions in less important areas so that you can receive greater value in more important areas.”

This is a bit different from Ramit Sethi’s recommended approach in the ladder of negotiation technique.

Ending The Negotiation 

This section covers the best way to approach delivering your offer.

STRATEGY 8: Anchor Your Offer

Even if you’re already familiar with anchoring, you’ll still be influenced by it in a negotiation. That’s how powerful it is.

It’s effective and is certainly not to be underestimated (see the anchoring bias).

Tactic 21: Make the First Offer

The two main benefits of making the first offer that Kolenda notes are:

  • Benefit 1: Increases Your Perceived Value. (“The high anchor point primes your counterpart to focus on the best qualities about your offer...If you request a high salary, for example, suddenly your best qualities become a focal point.”)
  • Benefit 2: You Secure Their Outermost Range. (“If you’re negotiating a salary, your employer likely determined a range of possible salaries before the negotiation — perhaps between $60k - $75k. When you provide a high anchor point (e.g., $80k), your employer will start at $80k and adjust his offer until reaching the outermost value in his range — in this case $75k.”)

Tactic 22: Request a High Precise Range

There are different ways to go about using the anchoring tactic.

The example Kolenda provides is to say you want an $80k salary. Your options for making an offer are:

  • Backdown Range: You request $70k - $80k (with your target at the top)
  • Bracketing Range: You request $75 - $85k (with your target in the middle)
  • Bolstering Range: You request $80k - $90k (with your target at the bottom)
  • Bump Up Point: You request $90k (a single high anchor point)

And, “The researchers found that you’ll get the highest salary when you use a bolstering range. Compared to a single anchor, ranges seem less rigid. You’re more likely to reach an agreement (and the agreement will also be higher).”

Kolenda also provides another tip, “You should also request a precise range (e.g., $81k to $84k).” (See the precise bid tactic.)

STRATEGY 9: Frame Your Offer

Salary negotiations are as much frame negotiations as they are “business” negotiations.

Here are some frames that will help you secure a better deal:

Tactic 23: Separate Gains / Combine Losses

To illustrate this concept, Kolenda encourages you to answer this question. 

Which option will make you happier:

  • You find a $20 bill
  • You find a $10 bill, and then you find another $10 bill later

Kolenda says that, “Both outcomes are the same. However, most people feel greater satisfaction with the second outcome (see ‘drive the momentum’).”

And, the inverse is also true if you were to lose $20 versus losing $10 and then losing $10 again.

So, I’ll quote here how Kolenda recommends implementing this tactic in a real, live discussion:

“Consider the following benefit:

  • The project will be completed under budget and ahead of schedule

With some strategic rewording, you could separate that benefit into smaller pieces:

  • The completed project will fulfill all of the quality requirements
  • The project will be completed under budget
  • The project will be completed ahead of schedule – no later than May 3

Voila. You just turned one benefit into three. Whether you present those benefits in writing or whether you present them at different points in the negotiation, your counterpart will perceive greater value in the deal.”

And, the opposite can be done for combining losses. This is very similar to the strategy of “romancing your work” in order to promote yourself with your boss.

Tactic 24: Create a Visual Balance

“People don’t care about absolute value. They care about relative value — how much they receive in comparison to you.” (See the contrast bias.)

“When structuring your agreement, you need to cultivate a sense of equality.

Shouldn’t equality already be a goal? Yes — absolutely. Nonetheless, you should still reinforce that perceived equality, even when a deal is truly balanced.

To reinforce it, you need to consider a common heuristic. People often judge the value of a deal based on a simple rule of thumb: the visual length of benefits.

In the previous tactic, you separated benefits into smaller pieces. When presenting those numerous benefits in writing, always maintain a visual balance. Your list of

benefits should never seem visually longer than your counterpart’s list.”

Tactic 25: Justify with Graphs

“When you provide justification — any form of justification — your counterpart is more likely to accept that justification as valid.” (See the reason-respecting tendency.)

“The researchers concluded that the mere presence of justification (such as including the word ‘because’) makes your message more persuasive. People automatically assume that your message has more credence.”

And, to bring this tactic back around to graphs, “To enhance the persuasiveness of your justification, you should also incorporate elements of science. Research shows that the mere presence of science-related reasoning (e.g., charts, graphs, formulas) enhances the persuasiveness of a message.”

STRATEGY 10: Counter Their Offer

This section dives into dealing with resistance.

Tactic 26: Ask Diagnostic Questions

“You make an offer. And, lo and behold, you encounter resistance. Your counterpart gives a blatant ‘no.’ No reason. No rhyme. Just no.

To make the proper adjustment, you should ask diagnostic questions: who, what, where, when, why, how. Although this tactic is somewhat grounded in common sense, you need to understand why there’s resistance.

Suppose that your boss rejects your request for a raise. You should ask for the reason behind that decision. Maybe it’s due to the budget. Maybe it’s due to your performance. Whatever the reason, you need to know. 

Once you get your answer, you can pivot your questions accordingly. If the reason is based on budget, you can ask when the budget will open up. If the reason is based on performance, you can ask what it will take to earn that raise.” (Hint: it shouldn't be based on performance. See “How to get a raise in 3 months – Dream Job”) 

On this note, when a counterpart says “no” in a negotiation, Chris Voss interprets that as the counterpart believing / implying that their deal / offer is more fair than his. He refers to this as “the F-Bomb”. (See how he recommends responding to the F-Bomb.)

Tactic 27: Always Counter Their First Offer

“What if they beat you to the punch? What if your counterpart made the first offer? In that case, always counter. Countering is good for you and your counterpart.

Countering can obviously give you a better deal. But why would it be good for your counterpart? Wouldn’t it be bad?

Sure, you’ll probably devalue the deal that they receive. However, Galinsky et al. (2002) found that your counterparts will actually be happier with the deal.

If you accept their first offer, they experience negative emotions — as if they could have received a better deal. And those negative feelings are often misattributed to you.

On the other hand, when you counter their first offer, your counterparts will feel more positive about the negotiation — as if they received the best possible deal.”

Still, with all that said, Kolenda also makes it very clear that you should never counter for the sake of countering.

As far as how to react / respond to their offer, Ramit Sethi recommends you always resist the urge to quickly accept their offer even if you’re happy with the number (see “nail the negotiation”).

Tactic 28: Pause After They Make an Offer

“What if your counterpart’s initial offer is extremely generous (and you really don’t want to counter)?

...If your counterpart’s offer is very generous (and you’re too scared to counter), then — at the very least — pause before accepting it. Pausing can reduce the negative emotions that your counterpart would experience from your immediate acceptance.

Pausing can also be great when your counterpart rejects your initial offer...When you pause before making a concession, your reluctance will help retain the perceived value of your offering. You won’t seem as desperate.

Your silence makes the other party feel uncomfortable. In some cases, your counterpart might interject to adjust the offer:

  • Counterpart: We’re offering you an $85,000 salary.
  • You: [pause for 5-7 seconds]
  • Counterpart: If $85,000 is too low, we can go up to $90,000.

If they interject, that’s great! You just increased the size of your deal. If not, then you can either accept or counter. Either way, your silence was merely a moment for you to ponder the offer. No harm done.”

After The Negotiation 

This section will explain what you should do immediately after the negotiation (after you’ve reached an agreement). 

STRATEGY 11: Finalize the Deal

Tactic 29: Follow Up With an Email Summary

Kolenda says that you want written proof as quickly as possible.

“Immediately following the negotiation, follow up via email. Thank your counterpart for the opportunity to meet, and summarize the main terms that you discussed.

If you can secure a response to that email, you’ll have written proof in the meantime.

That email can save the day if your counterpart experiences a ‘memory lapse’ before the final contract is drafted.”

Tactic 30: Compliment Their Negotiation Skills

“Pop quiz...what will make your counterpart happy with the deal they receive? Most people guess that the economic value is the strongest factor. Wouldn’t people

be happier if they receive more money?

You’d think so. However, there’s a stronger factor. It’s their perceived performance — how well they believe they performed in the negotiation.

After any negotiation, you should compliment the other party’s negotiating skills. Not only will your counterpart be more satisfied with the deal, but he or she will also be more likely to sign the paperwork and negotiate with you again in the future.”

Another way of looking at this is that you’re adding judge credit awarding to the exchange (dispensing compliments as emotional rewards).

Tactic 31: Be the First to Draft the Contract

“When possible, you should draft the contract (rather than your counterpart). Sure, it could help you solidify an agreement more quickly. However, there’s another major benefit. By drafting the contract, you can create default options. When we encounter an option chosen by default, we usually accept it...Similarly, if you draft the contract, you control the terms.”

Be careful on this part. Kolenda provides a clear warning here:

“Do not be manipulative. Never sneak terms into an agreement. That’s considered ‘procedural unconscionability,’ which will void the agreement. Not to mention it’s blatantly unethical.

Instead, when you eventually present the contract to your counterpart, mention those additional items. Since those options will be the default, your counterpart will still be more likely to accept them.”

Finally, Kolenda offers some lasting wisdom on avoiding treating this step-by-step framework as a rigid, unbreakable set of laws:

“And, as always, use your judgment when implementing those tactics. Don’t blindly use a technique simply because the article told you to use it. Always weigh the pros and cons so that you can determine whether a particular tactic makes sense for your situation. Every situation is different.”


  • Says that offering more value is “somewhat impractical”

When discussing the two ways of increasing one’s power with value and alternatives, he mentions that adding more value is somewhat impractical and that getting more alternatives is more useful.

But, adding more value is quite practical and is a great idea when seeking a collaborative frame in any negotiation (see "How to get a raise in 3 months – Dream Job").

  • Provides conflicting information

Here, in The Psychology of Negotiation, Kolenda recommends you negotiate over different mediums based on your gender.

Yet, in his book Methods of Persuasion, he says, “Always strive to make your request in person. Use video conferencing or, at the very least, a phone call if in-person is not doable.” And, he recommended this as part of his “trigger social pressure” strategy of mirroring/mimicking the nonverbal behavior of your target to appear more similar and gain compliance.

  • Sometimes makes generalizations

Kolenda says, “When you disclose personal information to other people, you build greater rapport with those recipients.”

But, there are exceptions to that general rule. One example is if your counterpart uses self-disclosure as a manipulation tool (see the fake self-disclosure technique).

Another case is if your counterpart chooses not to reciprocate with their own self-disclosure which can actually harm or break rapport. Or, the other side of that coin that MacLeod notes, your counterpart doesn’t balance out their self-disclosure with what you’re comfortable sharing and overshares (see “connecting in conversations” in The Social Skills Guidebook).

  • A couple of risky suggestions

For example, using soft power to persuade your counterpart. Or, as Kolenda puts it, “Conveying the proper emotions.”

While those judge role power games might work with the power-unaware, it can certainly be counterproductive with high-quality individuals. And, those are the exact kinds of people you want to maintain positive, collaborative, long-term relationships with.

That said, I understand what made Kolenda include it in this guide. The part of the study Kolenda referenced that prompted him to recommend this strategy stated:

“Disappointment and worry, on the other hand, inform the other that one has received less than expected and signal that one is in need of compensation.” (pp. 137 Van Kleef, De Dreu, & Manstead, 2006).

The issue with this note is that it leaves out that disappointment often conveys more than information, it conveys emotional punishment

So, while I understand Kolenda’s reasoning behind recommending this strategy, one must be very careful not to overdo it in a professional, business negotiation (or do it at all).

The same caution must be taken with the judge credit awarding recommendation in tactic 30 (avoid “you are” or “well done” judge roles when delivering compliments).

  • Minimizes the downsides of some tactics

For example, when Kolenda says, "Your silence makes the other party feel uncomfortable. In some cases, your counterpart might interject to adjust the offer...If they interject, that’s great! You just increased the size of your deal...your silence was merely a moment for you to ponder the offer. No harm done.”

This is called “wielding social pressure with silence”. And, if it’s overdone or executed without any warmth, it can be as rapport-breaking as it is effective.


  • Lots of great references

Had to do my best to leave some of them out in order to avoid sidetracking readers from the main points and tactics. But, if you’re curious, there are dozens of great references inside The Psychology of Negotiation

And, I was especially happy to see that the work of Deepak Malhotra—whose work is currently at the top of the best resources list for negotiation—was also referenced here (see Negotiation Genius). 

  • Turns theory into practical, chronological actionable steps

Kolenda admitted himself that his book, Methods of Persuasion, is a lot of theory. That’s why one issue I had was taking the concepts he taught and identifying new ways to apply them in my own life and career beyond the examples and real life applications he gave.

It was great to be able to learn from his findings and teachings in a format that’s organized, easy to comprehend, digestible, and quickly usable / applicable.

  • Encourages pricing strategy

We tend to think of pricing strategy as only being for entrepreneurs or business people with a product or service to sell. 

Rarely do we think of pricing strategy when it comes to thinking of a “price” (a salary / salary range) to negotiate for when it comes to a raise. Yet, it’s as important for entrepreneurs as it is for ambitious employees who seek career growth.

Lucio Buffalmano, Matthew Whitewood and Bel have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoMatthew WhitewoodBel

Thanks a lot for sharing!
This looks like it ties in with the concepts from the other persuasion and negotiation books.
I should add this book to my reading list.

STRATEGY 1: Increase Your Power

Kolenda notes, “Power is crucial. When you have power, your counterpart will give larger (and more frequent) concessions (Kim, Pinkley, & Fragale, 2005). In negotiations, the most powerful party usually walks away with the best deal. But that sparks an important question: what if you have less power? What if you’re negotiating with your boss? Even if your counterpart has higher authoritative power, you still have hope. This section will teach you a few negotiation tactics to balance the odds, even when your counterpart has higher power.”

As quoted from Ali's review, I think some types of power can help to get a better deal:

  • Showing that you have multiple options
  • Providing more value to get the other party invested
  • Good framing to get a better deal
  • Sounding confident (increases the perceived value of the deal)

At the same time, showing a lack of power to give concessions can achieve a better deal.
One such example is the higher authority gambit from Secrets of Power Negotiating.

I think a good example to show this paradoxical concept of whether power is good in negotiation is a salesperson negotiating a termination clause in an agreement:

Salesperson: $5k upon termination on your end is challenging for us to take on this collaboration with you on our service.
A typical amount would be $10k - $20k. (showing other options & better BATNA; higher power)
I would have to seek my legal counsel on their playbook too. (showing lack of power to give concession through higher authority)

Just learnt the price range instead of a single price point from your review :).

Maybe a rule of thumb could be

  • Showing power to walk away is good: better BATNA, more options, more connections, better industry knowledge, etc
  • Showing lack of power to give concessions is good: concessions constrained by higher authority, legal requirements, etc
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