As I grow more, uh, experienced, I often reflect on an article I read a couple of years ago.
The article stated that groups of large mammals (elephants, whales, etc.) do significantly better when there are older females present in the group.
You might think that a “strong, young king” gives a group the best chance for survival, but older females come with some very strong advantages: for one, we are quick to separate a real threat from an opportunity for posturing.
This tends to be a weakness of strong young kings in particular. :-)
For more, read or view here: http://news.sciencemag.org/2011/03/video-old-female-elephants-make-best-leaders
If you are looking at a negotiation where there are not a lot of options and the outcome is important to you, your best bet is to provide the framework of the solution for discussion.
In other words, as in tic tac toe — you want to go first.
Normally if you are “the client” your strongest position is to let the vendor provide a range of solutions so you can browse among them. But when a project is nearing the end and you haven’t yet gotten everything you hoped for, you are better served to take the reins into your own hands.
This will let you ensure that everything you care about is up for discussion, even if you ultimately don’t get it all.
After all – when do you get everything you want?