Sometimes a person feels like a failure when they can’t close the deal. People are disappointed when the negotiation is deadlocked and when they are at an impasse. What does a person do when negotiations grind to a halt.

Say something like this, “It is a shame that this is all going to collapse when we have worked so hard and we were so close to agreement.”

Simply stating something like that can jolt the negotiation forward. Sometimes, simply describing the situation, the history of the conversations, the offers, the counter-offers, and the current status, can unleash new conversations and unearth some new possibilities.

It may have been a misunderstanding. It may have been a misinterpretation. It may have been a missed piece of information during intelligence gathering.

Here are some strategies to consider that can help break the deadlock:

Take a break and change your activity.
Change a few of the team members.
Change the environment, the seating arrangement, the setting, or the location.
Offer to facilitate a joint brainstorming session to produce low cost options.
Discuss terms, guarantees and language alternatives.
Offer “subject to“ agreements; subject to management or subject to accounting approval.
Suggest a cooling off period of a day or two to review positions and interests.

It’s okay to reach an impasse or a deadlock. Try to change the emphasis, change the social tone, or explore your other options.

Post-play is what you do when the negotiations have stopped. Be calm and confident. Relieve the pressure with some alternative strategies to resume the conversations. Mix it up a little bit. Move people around. Make it fun. Humor heals. Extend a helping hand and a cooperative intention. Deal?

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