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This probably isn't the immediate answer you're looking for, but I've found a lot of value in a book called Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss (no affiliation, just loved the book.) It provides practical guidance on the subject of negotiation. However, in reading it you'll find that a lot of these rules of negotiation apply to broader aspects of life. The author, Voss, was a former negotiator for the FBI and was involved in a number of high profile hostage negotiations. (You can't be much more of an asshole than a kidnapper!)

Anyway, he says you can look at most situations as a negotiation. Once you fully understand the needs of your counterpart, you can assess your ability to meet those needs, or work with them (using "tactical empathy" and other strategies) so that both parties understand what the realistic outcomes are. Once both parties truly understand what the other is ultimately capable of providing, they will see no use in demanding more than that.

I’m half way through that book now and so far it’s been a real eye opener. I think the challenge, which is assumed in most of the book, is being able to stay calm in these situations.

My guess is that the only way to get that is practice. Bring on the bad clients.

I'm suffering serious Frequency illusion with Chris Voss - I feel like his stuff is popping up everywhere around me (ended up watching two videos yesterday).

I find myself actively fighting the impulse to read the book. I can't decide if I'm a savvy, advertising-aware consumer; or maybe I'm just another sucker.

Research shows that advertising works even better on “smart and advertising savvy” consumers. So, probably both, just like me :)

Can’t source the research but I did skim an article at some point.

I cannot recommend this book enough!!!

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