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Has the tone in negotiations become harsher?

Nov 15, 2018

"America First" – a vision that shapes negotiations

Having spent the last two weeks in the US, I was struck by the far-reaching impact of the current US Administration’s vastly different negotiation style. Recently, our Institute concluded a challenging negotiation with a US Government department. We knew our US partners’ strategy from the NAFTA negotiations earlier on in the year, and already had an idea of what was to come.


However, I was still surprised to see the extent to which Mr Trump’s vision was reflected in departments that don’t even report directly to the President. This new spirit of entering negotiations with high demands paired with a confidence bordering pride, maybe even arrogance, is challenging for most negotiation partners.

Many politicians and managers still believe that the US President is a delusional madman roaming aimlessly about the White House. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is a method to the madness, and whatever your political leanings, it is indisputable that the negotiation style of the US Administration has changed dramatically in step with the vision of the man at its helm.

Negotiation tips for Trump-era talks:

  • Accept this new reality and prepare extensively for it.
  • Place high demands from the outset.
  • Embrace the impending conflict.
  • Show respect at all times – even if the opposite side does not.
  • Negotiate confidently: act, don’t avoid.


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