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Fellow monkeys, in my last blog post, I discussed my inability to negotiate things for myself and how I went on to rectify this short coming by reading some books (mainly Negotiation Genius) on the topic.

Many of you said that the advice that Professors Malhotra and Bazerman give on negotiating was very academic and too complex to be properly utilized in the real world. While I agree with you guys on that point, I think there is still some value to be had when one looks at negotiations from a theoretical standpoint and has some framework to go by when involved in a negotiation.

With that said, I’d like to share some simple defense strategies that the authors discuss in their book when dealing with people who lie or are being deceitful.

The authors claim that the best way to counteract lies is to get rid of the other party’s temptation to lie. Many people will lie to you because they want to negotiate a better deal for themselves. These same people are also afraid to lie to you because if they are caught in a lie, the entire deal could be compromised or their reputations could be permanently damaged. So what’s the best way to make sure that people will not lie to you?

Strategy 1: Look Prepared

The rationale behind looking prepared is simple. If you look like you’re prepared, you might be able to convince the other party that you can detect their lies, making it a bigger risk for them to lie to you. So how can you look prepared? Professors Malhotra and Bazerman suggest doing things like:

-Arriving on time for everything

-Be well prepared to discuss every issue in a lot of detail

-Be organized and efficient

-Be able to speak intelligently on issues that relate to the other party’s business and industry

-Remembering the details of prior discussions (making notes during the negotiations and referring to them later on)

-Responding to requests for more information or to the other party’s offer in a timely manner

Strategy 2: Signal Your Ability to Obtain Information

If the other party thinks that you can somehow discover their deception in the near future (by talking to other people, etc.), they may be less inclined to lie to you in the first place.

Strategy 3: Ask Less Threatening, Indirect Questions

Don’t give anyone more motivation to lie to you. Don’t ask questions like, “What’s the lowest you would be willing to accept for xyz” or “How much does your company pay to produce product abc”. The authors claim that asking threatening questions like this will just motivate others to lie to you. Instead, you should ask indirect questions like, “Can you please give me some more information regarding your production process?”
By asking indirect questions, you can get some more information that will help you hone in on the answers to the more direct questions that you have.

Strategy 4: Don’t Lie

The authors claim that you can make it easier for the other party to not lie to you if you make it a point to not lie to them. The authors do recognize that it won’t deter someone who is out to exploit your honesty, but claim that it will deter those who lie in self-defense. The latter will be more honest with you as time goes on. How can you develop this kind of relationship with someone? By revealing information that makes you seem somewhat vulnerable to the other party. The authors claim that the other party will appreciate this trusting gesture and reciprocate in kind.

What do you guys think about all of this? Academic hogwash? Or is there some value to what Professors Malhotra and Bazerman are suggesting? How would you guys deal with people who are being dishonest with you?

2

Comments (7)

  • Determined's picture

    Sometimes when people lie to me I just repeat it back as if I'm thinking about it. The key is to not say anything else and let them wonder what you're thinking. Their mind will fight a portion of the battle for you as they try to take in the unexpected and emotionally vague response.

    Example 1:

    A: We can't possible get the project done in 2 weeks, there's just not enough time.
    B: 2 weeks...
    A: Yeah, 2 weeks.
    B: (Silent, but pensive)
    A: Well, maybe we might be able to make a few adjustments and finish ahead of schedule.

    Example 2:

    A: Sorry I have a boyfriend.
    B: Boyfriend... (penetrating silence)
    A: Want to come to my apartment?

    In many cases, saying less is more.

    Talent is hitting a target no one can hit.
    Genius is hitting a target no one can see.

  • TheSquale's picture

    Which work would you say negociation is the most important aspect ? Sales ? Lobbying/ Politics ?

  • In reply to Determined
    randyross's picture

    Determined wrote:
    Sometimes when people lie to me I just repeat it back as if I'm thinking about it. The key is to not say anything else and let them wonder what you're thinking. Their mind will fight a portion of the battle for you as they try to take in the unexpected and emotionally vague response.

    Example 1:

    A: We can't possible get the project done in 2 weeks, there's just not enough time.
    B: 2 weeks...
    A: Yeah, 2 weeks.
    B: (Silent, but pensive)
    A: Well, maybe we might be able to make a few adjustments and finish ahead of schedule.

    Example 2:

    A: Sorry I have a boyfriend.
    B: Boyfriend... (penetrating silence)
    A: Want to come to my apartment?

    In many cases, saying less is more.

    excellent point - does work well

  • In reply to Determined
    Mr. X's picture

    Determined wrote:
    Sometimes when people lie to me I just repeat it back as if I'm thinking about it. The key is to not say anything else and let them wonder what you're thinking. Their mind will fight a portion of the battle for you as they try to take in the unexpected and emotionally vague response.

    Example 1:

    A: We can't possible get the project done in 2 weeks, there's just not enough time.
    B: 2 weeks...
    A: Yeah, 2 weeks.
    B: (Silent, but pensive)
    A: Well, maybe we might be able to make a few adjustments and finish ahead of schedule.

    Example 2:

    A: Sorry I have a boyfriend.
    B: Boyfriend... (penetrating silence)
    A: Want to come to my apartment?

    In many cases, saying less is more.

    lol. I'm gonna have to try this.

  • In reply to Determined
    Tupac's picture

    Determined wrote:
    Sometimes when people lie to me I just repeat it back as if I'm thinking about it. The key is to not say anything else and let them wonder what you're thinking. Their mind will fight a portion of the battle for you as they try to take in the unexpected and emotionally vague response.

    Example 1:

    A: We can't possible get the project done in 2 weeks, there's just not enough time.
    B: 2 weeks...
    A: Yeah, 2 weeks.
    B: (Silent, but pensive)
    A: Well, maybe we might be able to make a few adjustments and finish ahead of schedule.

    Example 2:

    A: Sorry I have a boyfriend.
    B: Boyfriend... (penetrating silence)
    A: Want to come to my apartment?

    In many cases, saying less is more.

    maybe it's an age thing but this could come off as creepy

  • m2's picture

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  • In reply to Tupac
    Determined's picture

    Talent is hitting a target no one can hit.
    Genius is hitting a target no one can see.