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Everyday Cheapskate: Everything I know About Negotiation I Learned in Order to Survive

Mary Hunt on


If the other party finds out how desperate you are to make the deal, you've just lost control. Anytime you can send nonverbal cues that you are not desperate, you gain an advantage. The simple act of calmly and slowly closing (never slamming) a notebook, briefcase, purse, calendar or newspaper (whatever is handy) is a negotiator's most powerful tool. Without saying a word, you allow the other party to fear you may not continue.


No. 1: Prepare. Do the research. Carefully formulate exactly what you want out of the deal.

No. 2: Set limits. Know exactly how far you are willing to go, and stick with it. This allows you to focus on your alternatives and keeps you from appearing desperate.

No. 3: Create emotional distance. Stick to the facts. Put your emotions away.

No. 4: Listen effectively. You do know why you have two ears and one mouth, right?


No. 5: Communicate clearly. Choose your words carefully, and then be quiet.

No. 6: Know when to close. Perfect skills one through five and you will know instinctively how and when to close.

Negotiating has to be one of my all-time favorite activities. But I do have one tiny regret: I just gave away all my secrets.


Mary invites you to visit her at, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at, "Ask Mary." Tips can be submitted at This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

Copyright 2021 Creators Syndicate Inc.



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