How to Handle a Stalled Conversation, Negotiation, or Sale

A stalled conversation, negotiation, or sale happens when one or more parties feels unsafe, like they might lose out. Defensiveness and resistance increase. Logjam. When this happens, you’ve lost a shared sense of trust and common ground.

You may be tempted to make your case more eloquently, forcefully, persistently, or cleverly. This will usually be met with more defense and resistance.

Instead, pull back a step, layer, or level in the conversation. Find or re-establish common ground. Ask what it is that they see as the context and purpose of the conversation. Then state your perspective.  Establish or reinforce your commonly-held intentions (e.g. to go for a win-win-or-agree-not-to-play solution). Once you’ve reached common ground (again), the logjam will be gone. Start from the newly (re-)stated common ground and continue your conversation, negotiation, or sale.


In your corner,


P.S. There is always common ground to be found between you and others. Always.


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