When negotiations break down, it’s never over the things that you do agree on, but over the things you don’t. A negative can be read by some business partners as a full stop against considering any new business angles or an outright refusal to further bargaining. But it’s not all that bad to use a negative in a phrase. If, as some people say, “the truth hurts”, then a nicely placed negative before a critical-sounding adjective can take the sting out of it. Instead of saying something is terrible, the wise negotiator says that it isn’t very good. A negative sentence may use ‘not’ somewhere in the middle, but the sentence generally ends on a positive term, rather than a negative one. This is particularly true in the case of using “I don’t think” with a positive adjective when expressing doubts or negative opinions. This may provide a diplomatic way to voice concerns or express disapproval without undermining the negotiating process. Try to determine which phrases sound more positive, and then check how many of them were negatives.