1. Know when to speak and when to hold your silence. – Everyone wishes to be heard, especially in the midst of confrontation and the careful negotiations surrounding a conflict. When you are in the role of a diplomat, it is best to say less than necessary. So many statesmen seem to get a thrill listening to the sound of their own voices without the slightest notion that the more they say the more common they appear. And the more that they say, the more foolish they appear. When this happens, any hope to manoeuvre the situation, let alone control it, is lost. It is a far more dangerous thing during negotiations to say foolish things than to actually do them. Silence and the appearance of interest often renders the other side unable to read you and to judge your intentions. Humans especially like to have a clear notion of where you stand on any given issue. When you can control exactly what you wish them to know and nothing more. Silence is mysterious and so many cannot stand the suspense of that mystery.
2. Reveal only what you wish your opponent to know by using selective honesty. If you are in negotiations with someone and you wish them to go your way, use the tactic of revealing something that you infer is at least some sort of secret that could potentially be damaging to you if it were to be more widely known. This serves to open up even the most carefully constructed shields of so many and you can, with this new trust to your advantage. Manipulation is far easier if the other side believes that they have a vulnerable spot by having earned your trust. If you give before you take, it softens the ground and makes it far easier to plant and germinate seeds that benefit your cause. Call it a Trojan Horse if you like, but it is still a very effective means in getting to the ultimate goal in negotiations.
3. Pretend to be mailable toward their cause more than your own. Appear to give a little way and be amicable to your opponent’s demands. Even if what they are saying makes your cheeks flush with rage, plead it as being something else and never loose your cool. In fact, it can be far more beneficial to appear dumb enough to buy what they are actually trying to manipulate you toward in order to gain the advantage. If you even appear to surrender, it gives you more time to find more weak and vulnerable spots to attack. If you have done the other two steps prior to this one, chances are this one will be quite easy to do. When your opponent thinks you weaker, they are more apt to reveal their soft underbelly and find the most effective place to strike.
4. Be an adept courtier. Being able to negotiate around any given Court is a something that requires much skill and political acumen. If you flatter someone, make certain that the flattery is real and not empty. You must make the ruler feel more royal, the host feel more generous and the warrior feel more brave. Those who play the Courtly game with precision know it can be a tricky proposition at best, but if used effectively there is a great deal of power to be had. From this point you can get these same people to play with cards or game pieces that you yourself have dealt and get them to do exactly as you wanted in the first place.
5. Crush your enemy completely and without mercy. At this point you will have discovered where your opponent stands upon the issues in question and you can offer them a tentative peace. Once they are quite satisfied by the outcome that they have been able to get from you – it is at that moment when it is best to strike. There were small parts of the deal that were not revealed, or an important piece of the negotiations were not what they planned but what you had in mind the whole while. Once you have sent them reeling back it is at that point you must strike without hesitation and without mercy. It is at this point that all remaining opposition will either bend to your Will or flee. But do not let those who do manage to escape live to come back and fight you another day. A snake whose head is not struck from it’s body will come back and bite you. Do not risk it. Destroy them utterly and reap the rewards.
Muse: Fanny Fae / Faelyn
Fandom: Original Character / Folklore / Mythology
Word Count: 768
(credit and apologies must be given to Robert Greene’s “48 Laws of Power” for the inspiration for this post.)