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)

Acai Berry – Its Past, Present and Future!

Its Past

The acai berry pronounced as “ah-sigh-ee” has been around and used as health supplements for thousand of years now but it was only in the 90′s when it was introduced and used in the Western world. Even before it was discovered by health experts and medical researchers, acai berries were already known to possess incredible health properties. The Amazonians were the very first people who used the miracle fruit. They used it as a cure for different kinds of ailments. It is also estimated that around 2000 known rainforest are used by the indigenous tribes for medicinal purposes. The Amazon is known as the world’s largest rainforest bordering eight different countries and possessing the highest diversity of freshwater fishes and birds and housing around one third of all the species of animals and plants that ever live on earth.

This fruit is only one of the thousands of fruits that have been discovered in the vast region of the Amazon. There are many tribes living in the Amazon and the Shuar tribes were one of the many tribes that kept the use of this fruit for medicinal purposes for centuries now. The Shuar medicine people or the doctors in this tribe are called the “uwishin”. They use medicinal plants to cure ailments and they are also the people who know even the deepest secret of the Amazon. Because they know everything about the Amazon, the “uwishin” are also the ones who discovered the fruit. They tried using it the first time and from then on, they knew that this fruit possesses natural antioxidant and cholesterol controller properties. According to the “uwishin”, the acai berry can help reduce the bad cholesterol deposits and increase the good cholesterol. The Amazon tribes knew of these acai berry properties and in addition, they also discovered that the acai berry helps build and boost the immune system, protect the heart, fight infection and control and prevent prostate enlargement. Aside from medicinal purposes, this fruit also served the tribes men as a great energy food.

Its Present

After the Amazonian tribe discovered the benefits of the acai berry, it was introduced to the Western world. The acai berry was first used by the modern people as an energy drink patronized mainly by surfers visiting Brazil. The acai berry was even used by the beach boys as a natural Viagra. Because of its growing popularity, the acai berry gained the attention of medical researchers and health experts and from a plain ordinary energy drink, it is now considered a miracle fruit. The importance of this frut is now greatly recognized not only by the Amazonians but also by almost all people who believe that health is very important in one’s life.

Its Future

This product is quite new in the market but the demand is rising since more and more people are now getting hold of this miracle fruit. In a few more years, the importance of acai berry as an antioxidant and health supplement will definitely be recognized by all people. Why not? It is the only fruit that is rich in natural vitamins and minerals that the body needs. It is rich in fiber, protein, vitamin E, essential omega oil and other minerals. It’s not only good to remove the toxins and poisons in the body, it can also help prevent cancer and has natural anti-aging properties.

What more can you ask for? The Amazonians have enjoyed the acai berry for a long time. It’s high time that you take advantage of all the benefits of acai berry for a better and healthier future!

All Presentations Should Tell Good Stories

When you think about it, the end goal of most presentations is to convince, whether that means convincing your audience to agree with your point of view, or convincing them to take the action you want them to take. Professional presenters with vast amounts of public speaking experience are usually great story tellers. In order for your presentations to come across convincingly to your audiences, they require the focus, logic and sequence of any engaging story.

You might or might not be aware of falling victim to some or all of the common mistakes that initially trip up novice presenters. Most of these learners’ mistakes relate directly back to the ethos of story telling in presentations – or lack of it. When preparing for forthcoming presentations, or looking back retrospectively at old ones, you might give yourself a confidence boost by answering a few hypothetical questions honestly.

Are you prepared to offer appropriate answers to the broad range of questions that might be posed by your audience?

If not, might your inability to appropriately answer audience questions be due to a lack of flow in your presentation?

Are your slides truly sequentially ordered?

Are you sometimes guilty of randomly leaping from one aspect of your subject matter to another without any logical connection between the two?

Do you put yourself in danger of leaving gaping holes in your presentations by trying to sound too clever, for example, by presenting answers and conclusions that lack supporting evidence?

Do you try too hard to amplify your knowledge of your subject matter by including information that is indirectly related but not directly relevant to your presentations?

Searching questions indeed and you might be wondering how they relate to the harnessing of your story telling skills to enhance your public speaking effectiveness. They do, as they are all about focus, logic and sequence:-

Focus – keep to the point. Identify information that seem interesting and smart, but realistically bears little relevance to the core messages you aim to send. Once you have identified these curve balls, eradicate them, even if you desperately want to include them because you think they sound good.

Logic – tempting as it is to provide answers and conclusions first, followed by rhyme and reason afterwards, it is illogical. Notice how the stories contained in your presentations flow so much more smoothly when you simply reverse the order of certain slides. Questions first, arguments and evidence in the middle, answers and solutions last but not least.

Sequence – stories lacking in sequential orderliness are confusing, often to the degree that they might initially capture attention, but ultimately fail to retain it. It is impossible for you to over check that your presentations are sequentially correct. When going to the time and trouble that preparation for successful presentations demands, it is a crying shame if your subject matter is right, but the sequence in which you present it is erratic and disjointed.

Your ability to recognise the mistakes you are prone to making, coupled with your willingness to improve your public speaking performances, equates to half your battle being won. So sit tight with a copy of your presentation in front of you and see how you can make instantaneously dramatic differences.