In most negotiations, some form of misinformation is conveyed. That can occur in the form of disinformation, which may or may not be considered misinformation. The way you and the other negotiator perceives the differences between the two determines the path of the negotiation.
“… but I don’t lie!” The person making such a pronouncement, more than likely, just lied to you.
This article delves into how to exploit and use disinformation when negotiating and how you might also consider using misinformation as leverage to enhance your negotiation position.
While misinformation (i.e. information cited wrong, unintentional representation of the facts, information omitted, etc.) can be disheartening in a negotiation, it can be forgiven if the information was not delivered with malice and/or the intent of drastically dissuading you from your negotiation plan. That’s the marked difference between misinformation and disinformation.
Disinformation is the clandestine intent to influence an action that makes you question not only what the truth is, but it also makes you question yourself per the validity of your thoughts. That can be devastating in a negotiation. In such a scenario you’re not really sure what reality is. Thus, you negotiate based on the ghosts you’ve assembled in your mind. That’s like helping the other negotiator negotiate against you.
How To Advantage Your Position:
- Verify whether misinformation or disinformation is being employed against you. This can be accomplished by knowing the facts before assembling at the negotiation table. More than likely there’s a mixture of the two. In that case, discern which is more prevalent by asking the opposing negotiator to provide the source(s) of his information. It’s very important to make that request because the rest of your strategy will flow from that point.
- Seek to catch him in a situation where you know his information is suspect at best and false at worse. If you know he’s ‘on-the- ropes’ while trying to defend himself, let him stew and observe his body language (i.e. perspiring, touching his face, rubbing his hands, etc.) Those will be signs of his uneasiness with the position he’s in.
- Challenge him by asking his perception of the truth and to what degree he’s being forthright with you. Based on his response, assess to what degree you’re willing to continue in the negotiation. Definitively state that you won’t tolerate any form of mistruths. Let him know that trust hangs in the balance and the only way you’ll continue is if you can trust him.
- Understand that the preceding strategy has a maximum effect when you’re in a power position in the negotiation. Therefore, consideration should be given to the degree of power you have and how it’s perceived by the other negotiator before you attempt to implement it.
With a premium being placed on the truth in a negotiation, you might question why a negotiator would convey some aspects of information and omit others. The answer may lie in how far he’ll go to get a negotiation deal and the possible deceit he’ll engage in to accomplish that goal. Thus, the more you probe to uncover his hidden agenda, his source(s) of motivation, the greater insight you’ll gain into the mind that operates his actions. Once discovered, you can become his puppet master, controlling him and the flow of the negotiation. That will align you for the negotiation win… and everything will be right with the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!
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