Other pages in this series:
What is leverage?
Leverage is situational advantage--the ability to HELP or HARM the other party. No matter how hopeless it seems, every party has SOME leverage. (If not, there's no negotiation, simply demand and obedience.) Unlike formal authority and power, leverage can change often during a negotiation.
To get a sense of how leverage is playing out, ask yourself:
At this moment, who has the most to lose if there is NO DEAL ?
Increasing Your Leverage
If you have less acknowledged power in a negotiation situation (fewer resources, less knowledge, lower status, less authority, etc.) you have to work harder to find ways to tilt the negotiation in your favor. But there is always *some* aspect of the situation you can turn to your advantage. Remember, if you didn't have any ability to help or harm the other parties, they wouldn't bother negotiating with you.