Lovely story heard over the weekend from a good friend of mine about negotiating with BP. He worked with a smallish gas company and was negotiating with BP, a much larger company with considerable market power.

However, the smaller company had 3 representatives in the room at the negotiation and BP only had one. There is an inherent bargaining power associated with out-numbering your opponent. If you have more people in the room you have much more time to think and observe than your opponent, who will have to deal with multiple responses and contributions all by himself. So, by allowing the negotiation to develop as three against one, the smaller company was able to neutralise BP’s greater market power. Never underestimate the power of numbers – and if you find yourself out-numbered in a negotiation meeting, then get out of there!