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What cats can teach us about negotiation


Picture the scene - I'm sitting outdoors in a beautiful hotel complex, eating breakfast and enjoying the late summer Mediterranean sun with a good companion. Only we are not alone.

A local cat has taken a sudden interest in us (ok, in our breakfasts). Being a good negotiator I know that one of the fundamentals of negotiation is to never give anything away for free. And given that the cat is a notoriously untrustworthy deal maker, I choose to ignore it.

My companion on the other hand has decided to give the cat something so that it will go away. Hah! The cat eats the offering and comes back for more. And more again. No matter how much breakfast goes to the floor, the cat eats it and becomes more and more demanding. Eventually, sensing a certain weakness, the cat grabs my companion's hand (with its claws) to elicit further contributions. Ouch!

So whether you're negotiating with a cat or a Capita, a Moggie or a Mitie, remember: never give anything away for nothing in return.

Image by kind permission of Guy Hainge, all rights reserved.