People are generally predictable animals. For most of us there is a very good chance we will do tomorrow what we did yesterday. Look at a person’s history. When negotiating with someone, a careful study of their habits, temperament, opinions, and values will reveal useful patterns. The personality traits of a person tend to guide their behavior. People react to frustration and stress in recognizable patterns. Some behave with patience, humor, and creativity. Others are defensive and unrealistic and make excuses, bury facts, forget, blame others, become hostile, withdraw, or become emotional under stress. If we know what they did yesterday, we can make good assumptions about the defense they will use tomorrow. Values do not change from day-to-day. A person with a reputation for taking risks will be predisposed in that direction in the future. A person who places great value on status will go on searching for status. People act in accordance with what they believe to be in their own self-interest. They generally believe their behavior to be rational and wish to protect their self-image. As an outsider, you may think certain people wrong, but recognize that their behavior makes sense from their viewpoint. Ask questions, listen, speak rarely, observe, and be nonjudgmental. If you have the patience to listen, they will reveal their self-image to you. In negotiating knowledge is power.