"If you have a conversation with a [negotiation] counterpart and have no new information when it’s over, you’ve failed; every interaction is an opportunity to learn more."
- Brandon Voss, "Negotiation Training: How To Make A Counter-Proposal?"
This quote resonated for me because of some tough negotiations I've had in the past with sharks who have no reservations about asking for a price reduction or better terms every time you meet with them. In some cases, I've been completely caught off guard and had an emotional reaction that I kicked myself about later.
The key to staying calm in these situations is to have an action plan. Or to use a chess analogy: Be thinking several moves ahead, After one particular encounter that went poorly, Bill and I even went so far as to plan seven moves ahead for our next meeting. One of our key moves was to respond to outrageous request by asking lots of questions. Voss wisely turns this reactive tactic into a proactive standard operating procedure.