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Tricks, Kicks and Bricks


Disciplines > Negotiation > Negotiation tactics > Tricks, Kicks and Bricks

Tricks | Kicks | Bricks | See also


Many negative negotiation tactics can be divided into one of three categories: Deception, coercion or prevention. An easier way of remembering these is 'Tricks, Kicks and Bricks'.

These are not always 'bad', as the rules of negotiation in which you are working may allow a certain amount of trickery. It is often important to know these rules, particularly if you are in a foreign culture where seemingly-aggressive tactics are the norm.


Many negotiation tactics are designed to deceive the other person in some way, making them think or believe something that is perhaps not wholly true or valid.

Deception (or 'tricks') is a very common part of many people's lives and there is an evolutionary viewpoint that suggests we have big brains because tricking others is a good strategy for survival and procreation. The bottom line is that we all have experienced much deception and, if truth be told, have probably used a lot as well.


A more overt method of getting people to do what you want is to make it impossible or at least rather uncomfortable for them to refuse.

Coercion (or 'kicks') occurs when a parent tells their child what to do or when a manager orders their subordinates, with the underlying threat that non-compliance will lead to dire events such as disciplinary action or termination.

Coercion can also be physical, of course, but mostly it is psychological. It also takes two to tango: one to attempt coercion and another to believe that they have no alternative but to obey.


A third method used during negotiations is to block the other person in some way. By definition, both people in a negotiation have something that the other wants, and each has the ultimate sanction available of not giving what is required.

Prevention (or 'bricks') may occur when a person acts as a gateway to other people or places. I can also prevent you from acquiring information simply by refusing to fully and honestly answering your questions.

See also

Competitive negotiation, Deception in Negotiation


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