Negotiation Skills — The Salami Technique

Some negotiators just love to play tactical games. In this article we will look at one their favourite negotiation tactics – the Salami technique – and think about how to rebuff it.

Salami sausages are big things (often spicy) that are eaten a slice at a time. They would be indigestible if taken in a single large piece. This aspect has led negotiators to use the name for a negotiation technique that tries to do just that: to win concessions in small doses (slices) when the other party would probably reject them if they were put on the table all at once. The technique is often used against a party that is mainly concerned with damage limitation.

Consider a tough union negotiating with management. Management would really just like to keep the status quo (damage limitation) but the union negotiators would like a whole host of goodies to take back for their members. These could include a pay rise, more holidays, flexible working hours, private health membership, better pension arrangements, improved canteen, increased allowances and so on. It is not difficult for the union to make a case for each of these and they can probably add to the list.

If the union negotiators use the salami tactic they will present just one of their demands for discussion and push hard to reach agreement. Let’s say they focus on a 6% pay rise and after a long discussion and some haggling they agree on 4%. Deal done, except there is more to come. That’s just the first slice of the salami and there is a whole sausage in the cupboard.

The next slice might be the holiday arrangements. The current 23 days is from a bygone age. ‘Other employers’ have agreed to 25 days plus public holidays. Let’s say they eventually reach agreement at 24 days this year and 25 days next year. Good! The managers might by now be congratulating themselves on their rusty negotiation skills and their damage limitation but the union representatives have been busy polishing their negotiation skills.

‘We would now like to discuss something that is very dear to the hearts of our members, the need for flexible working hours.’ The slicing of the salami sausage continues: private health, pension, canteen, allowances, and so on. By the end of the negotiations, when the management team add it all up they are staggered at what they have conceded, slice by slice. None of the individual items seemed all that great at the time but – add them all together and the cumulative effect is astonishing.

What went wrong?

The management negotiators were beguiled by one of the standard tactics used by skilled negotiators. Of course, presented like this, the salami technique looks so obvious that you might think that no management team could be so stupid as to be caught by it. However, just as a simple magic trick can seem incredible when performed by a skilled magician, so even simple negotiation skills like the salami technique can produce amazing results when used by skilled and experienced negotiators.

The salami is not restricted to management-union negotiations. Any negotiator who has a list of things on which they want to gain agreement can use it. Try it when you next buy a car. Are you buying just one item, the car? Or are you gaining agreement on several things: buying the car, filling the petrol tank, replacing worn tyres if it’s a used car, a free service next year, alloy wheels… and whatever else you can think of. Will they lose the sale over a tank of petrol or one new tyre?

So, what do you do if you are on the receiving end and the other party tries to salami you?

Of course, your first line of defence is to recognise what they are doing and your second is to put a stop to it. You will need to be assertive about this but the response is quite straightforward. The salami tactic works because the person being sliced does not recognise what is happening. Once you do, you can fight it.

How? Simply refuse agreement on any one slice until you have everything out on the table. ‘Is there anything else you want to discuss as part of these negotiations?’ Do not discuss details until you have formally agreed that everything is out in the open. Then put forward a proposal on a collective agreement — bundle the lot together.

The discussion can now begin in earnest and you can use your negotiation skills. You might trade one slice of salami off against another by offering some flexibility on, say, item one provided that they drop, say, items two and three. Continue like that until you are happy with the deal, then close.

Good luck! And watch out for that spicy sausage!

Author: Tony Atherton
© Tony Atherton 2005)

Create Sound and Video Presentation For Your Website

The concept of web video production offers the business community an exciting opportunity to expand their reach. The technological advances in the speeds of internet transmission now make it possible to take the concept of marketing to another level. The availability of high quality video provides an efficient tool for business to reach an expanding customer base. This article will briefly discuss web video production.

Web video production involves the coordination of the efforts of the various team members who will ultimately be responsible for the production of the final video. While it is commonly believed that the production of web videos is a quick and in expensive process this is not always the case. In this regards it is important to have clear idea of the content of the video before the shooting actually begins.

It is important for the video production team to be on the same page concerning the objective of the video. The concept or key idea to be expressed in the video must be communicated to the team members. Once the team shares a shared vision for the content and purpose for the video the production can proceed on an orderly basis.

It should be pointed out that coming up with a concept that will be accepted by each team member can be a difficult task.

It this regards, it is very important to have some input from the marketing department since these are the people in the organization that have their ears to the ground. It is usually helpful to have one person in charge of coming up with the concepts so that the buck can stop with this person. This is also an excellent way to avoid senseless arguments and debates. This will enhance your web video production.

The rule of thumb for selecting concepts for the video is to keep it short and simple. In other words try to steer clear of concepts that have too many twist and turns. Your objective is to present a very well thought out concise message to your target market. The best way to accomplish this is by keeping it short and simple.

You should also avoid the temptation of making the video too long. In this regards you should always remember that people have a great many things that are competing for their attention. If your video is too long there is a good chance that your target market will not even watch the video.

Giving Art As a Wedding Present

Weddings are one, if not the most memorable occasion of a man’s life. The other important pivotal occasion that precedes that is one’s birth but naturally, no remembers the circumstances surrounding that day. So we are left with the most memorable immediate day and that is the day of one’s wedding.

Weddings are commemorated in virtually every part of the world and regardless of the culture one is examining, this is a time of festivity, pomp and general euphoria. Most people who get married spend more money on this one day than they will ever be spent in any other single day. This is a testimony of its importance to the couples and their family and friends. Perhaps one aspect of wedding days that makes them so memorable is the fact that presents are exchanged or rather, the wedding couple is the main recipient.

There is no limit to what the wedding couple can receive. People send kitchenware, clothes, jewelery, electronics and much more. People have even become more innovative when it comes to gift-giving. One of the most innovative and personal ways of sending special gifts has been the giving of art. Art especially as a wedding gift is gaining currency. This is because of its uniqueness and surprise element. To take it even further, we now have word art where a couple’s names can be curved into the art in artistic styles and shapes. Why would art as a wedding present be so important?

The first reason is that art is romantic. Ever since art legends like Michelangelo mystified the world with talented spirals of his brush, art has maintained a place in the world of chivalry. That is why giving of art as a wedding present is considered a very romantic gesture. Sometimes an artist may be employed weeks or months before that memorable day to sketch a mural of the couple and this is then presented to them on the wedding day. Sometimes it is not even presented and it wrapped nice so as to preserve the element of surprise when the couple later gets home and opens their presents.

Another reason why art is ideal as a wedding present is because it is durable. Its durability stems from the fact that it is framed and can be hanging on the wall. Framed photos or artwork can last a very long time. This is because it is away from the possibility of damage.

Art is also used a wedding present because it is memorable. Imagine having a name art framed pierce with both the couple’s name embroiled in the design and then this is hung conspicuously on the wall of their new home. Then visitors, family and friends can view the artwork easily and remember the memorable day of the wedding. Unlike photo albums which be safely tucked away, art as a wedding present symbolizes something much deeper in that it is clearly visible and reminds the couple of their eternal union.