During a negotiation process, the other side may dig in on some item or issue that just won’t work for you. The more you discuss it, the more things grind to a halt. This is called taking a “position,” and it is one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome in any negotiation. Before you can find a way to resolve this impasse, you will need to read between the lines. Shift your focus away from the “What,” — the specifics of the position itself — and try to understand more about the “Why;” why is this position so important to them? Carefully, patiently, ask a few questions; see if you can get them to open up and explain why they value this particular item so much. You may discover an underlying need or fear that you didn’t know existed before, such as a concern that if they let go of this item their profitability in a certain market will be damaged going forward. Once you identify the underlying need hidden between the lines, you can begin to offer concessions to address those fears, and perhaps get things back on track again.