Sunday 2013-06-16

Bare-Knuckle Negotiation by Raoul Felder

Felder's now a divorce lawyer and in this book he covers some tactics of negotiation he has used over the years. It seems that he's either read or practiced martial arts, as he details physical fitness, mental acuity, and learning your enemy by background research, live-testing via feints, and psychological manipulation.

He's old now, so the proof will lie in the abilities of Team Felder to cope with the fall-out from this book.

I followed Nizer's advice and always delved into the professional backgrounds, health condition, and idiosyncrasies of my legal opponents, their clients, and even my own. Knowledge is power, and time and again, some insignificant tidbit of information provided me with a wedge to negotiate for victory.
-- Life is a Minefield
When I sit down for a settlement conference with the other side, I begin by saying: "I am not in business to extort you, and I couldn't care less about the fact that you have unreported income, or that you are supporting a mistress, or a boyfriend or girlfriend or whatever. I want to settle the matter." When I mention those personal points, I look at the other person to see if I hit home on a matter of personal substance. If yes, I will see a pronounced reaction in the eyes, the muscles in the face, or the movement of the hands.
-- Life is a Minefield
I have pictures autographed by US presidents, other political dignitaries, and J Edgar Hoover.
-- Distractions
So frequent were my all-nighters that I came to know by sight and by name the late-night cleaning persons for our offices. They numbered among those mysterious Eastern European women who seem to have the unwritten franchise for cleaning Manhattan's office buildings.
-- Physical Conditioning
( Just to pound home the point )
I can define three kinds of distraction: the personal, the semiprofessional, and the professional. All work, and each one can break up an adversary's measured pace during a meeting.
-- Distractions
The husband was insulin-dependent. I took full notice of his condition during some of the early meetings, observing that he required food at regular intervals to sustain a level of blood sugar...
(delaying tactics, ordering food, dumping said ordered food ...)
Without the strength to continue arguing, he caved into our requests, which were more than fair and reasonable. The next morning, with his sugar stabilized, the husband may have wanted to change his mind...
now that I am older and mellower, I might suggest to a diabetic husband that he take his insulin. And I might even brew him a double latte with extra sugar.
-- Understanding the Pace
( Stupid; if any take-out ever proves disagreeable, this will be used against him. )
The pet shop owner located the piranhas from another state and set up a 50-gallon aquarium in my conference room...
In terms of predator and prey, the sight of a live goldfish being attacked is more upsetting to some people than a cat toying with a dead mouse or a fox terrier shaking the head of a rat...
During heated conferences, I make it a point to feed the piranhas.
-- Acting Crazy
Sometimes stealth can become a valuable collaborator in negotiations. When I bring an ally (client, associate, or another participant) into the room, the secret communication between the ally and me can provide an edge during negotiations...
It is commonplace for a client to forget the signals in the height of a frenzied settlement negotiation...
The eye rub was the best signal I could invent for "yes". I felt that the eye would stand for "aye", which would make some kind of sense to the person with whom I was trying to communicate.
-- Nonverbal Communication
( Old man problems? Better to ask the person to choose which movement they want to mean yes, if they forget the signals during stressful meetings they will likely blame themselves as they chose the signals' meanings.