Defining Impasse, Stalemate, and Deadlock in Negotiations

In longer or extended negotiations, it is not uncommon for parties to encounter impasses, stalemates, and deadlocks with the opposing side. This is especially true in certain passionate, heated, or emotional negotiations. It can be easy to confuse an impasse with a deadlock, and some people even use the terms interchangeably. So I think it is good to have a working definition of the three to recognize the differences when labeling such an event during a negotiation. I think Roger Dawson did a good job defining the concepts in the 15th Anniversary Edition of “Secrets of Power Negotiating: Inside Secrets From a Master Negotiator.” Here is how this updated for the 21st century text defined these concepts:

Impasse: You are in complete disagreement on one issue, and it threatens the negotiations.

Stalemate: Both sides are still talking, but seem unable to make any progress toward a solution.

Deadlock: The lack of progress has frustrated both sides so much that they see no point in talking to each other anymore.

The importance of understanding the differences, especially between an impasse and a deadlock, is that deadlocks are very rare, and more than likely when you reach a difficult situation where it appears that you are deadlocked, you will find that it is only an impasse and with some creativity and good negotiation skills, you can go beyond the impasse and continue toward your deal or resolution.

The key, when looking at Dawson’s definitions, is that an impasse is complete disagreement on one issue that is threatening the negotiation. Most negotiations, if not all, involve more than one issue, and with complex negotiations you’ll find issues within issues and multiple layers of issues all through the deal. It’s easy to become fixated on a single issue, and become so frustrated that you believe you are deadlocked, and then give up on the entire negotiation. You must recognize there are other issues, or if not, create them. Negotiations with only one issue are more easily looked at with a winner and a loser, with multiple issues, it is much simpler to reach win-win agreements that make both parties more satisfied.

The Stalemate is a bit different. Parties are not ready to quit yet, but the negotiations are sort of going in circles with no one making any progress toward cementing a deal, finding a solution, or resolving the problem. For stalemates, effective negotiators have strategies to help the negotiations move forward again. In a stalemate, both parties are still trying to find a solution. However, neither can see a way to move forward. The fear of stalemates is the frustrations they can cause, leading to parties believing they are at an impasse or worse, a deadlock.

Once you have defined these terms, it is easier to recognize what is happening during a negotiation. You will then be able to use strategies and tactics to overcome these roadblocks to successful deal making. First understand the problem, then work both toward solving and resolving it.

Arrogance Can Cause Zeal To Be Added To Negotiations

When negotiating, how do you respond to arrogance? Do you use arrogance as a ploy in your negotiations? When arrogance is infused into a negotiation, it can add zeal to the process. It can also cause the negotiation to wander into unexpected territory.

When confronted by arrogance, some negotiators shrink, while others become emboldened. To contemplate the usage of arrogance in a negotiation, and how to combat it, consider the following factors.

Weighing the use of arrogance as a strategy:
In the planning stage of your negotiation, ask yourself if being arrogant will achieve the advantage you’ll seek during the negotiation. If the answer is yes, play the role of someone that’s arrogant. If you feel uncomfortable playing such a role, don’t fret. In a negotiation, everyone plays a role. Just be sure to consider the mental makeup of the other negotiator. If you’re not sure how such a stance will be perceived, avoid using arrogance as a strategy.

Using arrogance as a ploy:
When confronted by arrogance, some negotiators will become meek and easy to maneuver, while others will become hardened in their position and immobile.
If the negotiation is not progressing significantly, and the other negotiator is someone that withers at the sign of authority, you may consider using arrogance to influence the progression of the negotiation. With this type of individual, you’ll more than likely receive little push-back about your persona. If on the other hand, you’re dealing with a strong willed individual and your negotiation position is tenuous, you may consider being more tolerable in your persona and exchange of information.

Combating arrogance:
Negotiating with arrogant people can be daunting. At times, you may have the desire to become combative. Such an emotion can cause you to lose focus on your strategy for the negotiation. When dealing with arrogance in a negotiation, recognize it for what it is and don’t be influenced by it. If you’re using arrogance as a ploy, be sure it’s the appropriate tool for the task you’re trying to accomplish.

When used strategically, arrogance can be the catalyst that progresses a negotiation towards the point of completion more expediently. On the other hand, if it’s misused, it can serve as the catapult that sends the negotiation to unexpected places. Just make sure you observe the influence that the use of arrogance has on the negotiation and be prepared to adjust quickly, if you’re not receiving the expected outcome you seek… and everything will be right with the world. Remember, you’re always negotiating.

The Negotiation Tips Are…

• When negotiating, don’t be pushed into becoming a living corpse, if arrogance becomes a strategy used against you. Have a plan prepared to combat such tactics.

• If you negotiate in a team environment, don’t become the protagonist against someone that’s being arrogant, unless you’ve predetermined that’s the best course of action to adopt.

• When using arrogance as a ploy never put yourself in a position that requires you to back down. If you have to back down, exact a toll from the other negotiator to do so.

Audiovisual Techniques Make a Huge Impact on Public Speaking and Presentations

Recently, there has been a rise in the popularity of public speaking as a career choice. Only a few years ago, the idea of earning a living by speaking to groups of people would’ve seemed laughable to most people. These days, the opportunity to make great money in public speaking is no joke. With an endless variety of topics to speak about, the possibilities of finding your niche in this seemingly impossible industry are quickly growing.

There have been several things to spark this recent trend in the pursuit of a public speaking career. Movies such as “The Secret” have inspired many people to look into the Law of Attraction as a creative force in their life. Books in the self-improvement genre are gaining popularity, and everyday, more people are finding out the benefits of reading such books. Motivational and inspirational speakers such as Tony Robbins have convinced countless followers that life can be everything they can imagine.

These movies, books, and speakers have convinced many of their fans that the best way to achieve the life of their dreams, is to tell others how to achieve it. It is not uncommon for someone to begin learning about self-improvement, and eventually decide that they would like to teach others the same principles they have learned. Often times, these people will build great careers in public speaking.

With the increase in public speakers, comes an increase in competition. More and more people are competing to get a speaking engagement. There may be an unlimited number of topics to speak on, but there is a limited number of people willing to pay you to talk about it. Like anything else that involves competition, the key here is to set yourself apart from all the other public speakers. If you are able to find a great niche for your presentation, you have made the first step in being a successful public speaker.

There is another way to stand out in the crowd of aspiring public speakers. One of the often overlooked elements of presentations is the audiovisual aspect of it. Most presentation, no matter what the topic, will include things like sound, video, and lighting. Equipment like microphones, projectors, and screens are typically thought of as just a minor part of the whole presentation. In reality, you can use audiovisual equipment to enhance your message and create an huge impact on your audience. You don’t have to bore people to sleep with endless powerpoint slides. You can liven up your presentation and leave your audience wanting more.

When it comes to formal training for those seeking a future in public speaking, there is no lack of products and services trying to meet that need. The interesting thing is that with all of these opportunities for training, there is a limited number of people teaching the audiovisual skills. Most training courses teach the essentials of making eye contact, conquering a fear of public speaking, and organizing your presentation materials. Unfortunately, once these areas are mastered, the budding public speaker finds himself or herself without further guidance. For the most part, at this point, they’re on their own.

There is a “next step” to furthering a career in public speaking. Learning important techniques of the audiovisual part of a presentation will help move that career to the next level. It’s the forgotten step that can give a public speaker the edge needed to succeed amongst all the competition. It’s possible for speakers at any level, speaking in front of any size group, to benefit from learning the audiovisual equipment involved in a presentation.

The next time you are in the position to put together a presentation of any kind, think about what you can do with the audiovisual elements to make it more interesting. How can you pull in your audiences attention and keep them on the edge of their seats? It’s not all about making eye contact, knowledge of the topic, or even the way you present yourself. Much of the importance lies in evoking an emotional reaction from your audience. There’s no better way to do this than with the aid of audiovisual equipment.