Summary of Negotiating with a Bully

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  • Overview
  • Concrete Examples
  • For Beginners


Consultant Greg Williams’s second book builds on his first, Body Language Secrets to Win More Negotiations, by showing how to use body language in negotiations with bullies. He stresses developing and practicing a strategy for such negotiations, being aware when someone is angry, and countering bullies by confronting or disarming them. Williams’s examples of bullying center on professional issues in health care, current political leaders – notably, President Donald Trump – and first-person accounts of schoolyard, home and hospital bullying. Williams also shares car-buying negotiations. He tells bullied employees to turn to HR, with perhaps too much faith in HR’s options and likely reaction. Beginning managers, salespeople and HR staffers will benefit from his advice, though it could have dug more deeply into the subject. A careful read can help you recognize, understand and even feel compassion for the bully’s and the victim’s perspectives on workplace situations.

About the Author

Greg Williams wrote Body Language Secrets to Win More Negotiations. He is a negotiator, speaker and consultant. 



Bullies Defined

When US President Donald Trump first met French President Emmanuel Macron, their handshake lasted 29 seconds. The dominant person shakes hands longer. In this instance, Trump started aggressively, and Macron responded with equal aggression. By shifting his handshake to counter Trump’s, Macron sent the message that Trump could not bully him and that he “shouldn’t even try.”

Negotiatiors who understand what motivates a bully can prepare to neutralize bullying, but be aware that cultural and social differences could affect how you perceive a behavior. Bullies exist in all social and economic classes and in all families and corporations. Bullying is endemic in certain groups whose members respect it and even teach “bullying behavior.”  You can classify bullies into three types: 

  1. “Hardcore” – These bullies faced difficult times as children. They pose a danger to others. Their blatant bullying makes them easy to identify.
  2. “Middlecore” – These bullies escalated from lesser bullying, possibly based on a specific situation, and may ramp up behavior...

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