"Avoid Bias Mistakes – How To Negotiate Better" – Negotiation Tip of the Week

Negotiator #1 – “I knew they’d back out of the deal. All of them negotiate like that.”

Negotiator #2 – “As I was negotiating with those guys, I knew I’d have to back out of the deal. They never negotiate fairly.”

In the above situation, neither negotiator was aware of their bias. The absence of that mindfulness brought unrecognized pressures on the negotiation. Each negotiator made mistakes because of it. It was also the reason the negotiation fell apart. Are you aware of your biases when you negotiate?

To negotiate better, note when you might possess the following bias mindset.


  • These are biases that you’re aware of. They can easily slip your mind when you negotiate. It’s like breathing, automatic. The potential danger arises when you negotiate in an automatic mode and having this bias unknowingly directing your actions. To address it, be aware of what you’re aware of. Don’t shrug off a thought too lightly because you think you’ve addressed it. The more aware you are of how you feel, the better you’ll be at identifying why you feel a certain way.


  • To be unconscious of anything is to be unaware of it. In a negotiation, when you’re unaware of a driving force, unconscious biases may be the source. To combat this possibility, note the source of your emotional sensations. Identify if you’re fearful, elated, expectant, or cautious. Then, note if it stems from a visual, kinesthetic, or auditory source. Doing that will sensitize your emotions to your state of mind. That will alert you to the realities of what’s motivating your action.


  • It can be risky to lump everyone from the same culture into the same category. People are individuals with their own perspective of reality. The more you view someone as an individual, the greater the chance to see that person for the unique qualities they possess. Negotiating with them on that bases will enhance the opportunity to connect with them at their level. That will lead to better understandings about why they negotiate in a particular manner, while you help them obtain what they seek from the negotiation.


  • Some people bully others and some are just tough. Based on what you’ve experienced in life, you may deem someone a bully when negotiating. The person may just be a tough negotiator. There’s a difference in those personality types. Be very cautious about how you brand someone when negotiating. Because, the way you brand them will affect the way you view them, their actions, and the way you negotiate with them.


  • We see what we expect to see. That affects our perception. Realize that your perception of reality won’t always be right. That should cause you to pause when you think, “I know he’s like ‘x’. Everyone in his group is just like that.” When making broad assumptions, be aware that anything which seemingly supports your beliefs may serve as confirmation about those beliefs. The truth may lie further from reality than you think. Don’t conflate like-appearing assumptions that should be thought separators.

The more you’re aware of the biases you carry into a negotiation, the less mental baggage you’ll have. Being aware of that fact and heightening it in the negotiation should lead you to greater negotiation outcomes… and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

Do You Know How To Negotiate With A Bully? Negotiation Tip of the Week

Negotiating with a bully, or anyone that acts in an obstinate manner can be a difficult proposition. Such encounters can leave you haggard, bewildered, and in a sense of bedazzlement. Stated simply, it can leave you emotionally drained. But, if you know how to negotiate with a bully, you don’t have to risk jeopardizing your sanity or peaceful state of mind.

When you find yourself negotiating with a bully, consider employing the following strategies to lessen his impact.

  1. First, identify why the bully feels he can bully you. There’s something that he’s perceived about your demeanor that marks you as a target. Once you discover that, you can alter your demeanor to appear more formidable. Just an FYI, you should alter his perspective of you prior to entering into the negotiation.
  2. Understand his source of power. A bully’s mindset is one of picking on people that he perceives to be weaker than himself. His perception stems from his support system (i.e. those that back him), along with his perspective of what he’s achieved versus what he perceives you to possess (e.g. he has friends in higher places, more money, greater status, etc.) To combat his perception, create the persona of someone that’s also connected. You can do this by emulating the bully’s support system.
  3. Appear fearless when such is required. A bully will ‘push your buttons’ to discover ways to manipulate you. Everyone is familiar with the schoolyard bully. He picks on the kids that won’t stand up to him. When they do, he usually moves to a target that is less challenging. When dealing with a bully in a negotiation, you have to be defiant when defiance is called for. Remember, the bully will only push you to the point that you allow him and, he’ll continue to push as long as you allow him. Unfortunately, history has taught us this lesson time and time again when dealing with tyrants; tyrants are nothing more than bullies with a bigger platform.
  4. Observe body language – In particular, look for nonverbal signs of submission and those that are out of sync with his verbiage (e.g. bully leaning away from you when making a demand – potential sign of him retreating and testing your resolve, softening his demeanor when he senses that you’re displaying backbone, making request with ending statement sounding like a question). Such observations will give you greater insight into what his next action(s) might be and his psyche.
  5. Consider how you can have embedded commands in your offers, suggestion, and/or concessions. As an example, observe the statement in bold in the first paragraph of this article. It states, ‘you know how to negotiate with a bully’. Such subliminal messaging may not be observed by the conscious mind, but they will be perceived at a subconscious level. Therein is where it can have an influence on the other negotiator. To combine the effects, lace several subliminal messages together. Use them as needed and apply them judiciously.

While negotiating with a bully can be trying, if you employ some of the suggestions mentioned above, you can decrease the bully’s effectiveness. In so doing you’ll make yourself less desirable from being targeted for bullying by the bully… and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating.

How To Get Better Insider Information When Negotiating – Negotiation Tip of the Week

When negotiating, insider information is a valuable commodity. Getting better insider information when negotiating is even better!

Consider using the following strategies to acquire insider information in your negotiations.

  • Time:

Depending on the time you have to gather information, consider how you’ll pose questions to yourself and stakeholders that will be beneficial to your negotiation efforts (Note: Keep in mind that the questions you ask will determine the answers you receive; that in turn will determine the strategies you adopt. If you pose the wrong questions, you’ll start upon a path in the negotiation that might be less beneficial). Asking the right questions entails knowing the outcome you seek, how you might achieve it, the roadblocks you may encounter, and what alternative strategies you’ll employ to overcome impediments that would preclude you from achieving your goals. Also, keep in mind that the quality of the answers you receive will depend on when you pose questions. If someone is hurried, less rested, or filled with angst, they may be prone to disclosing insider information simply because they’re not as guarded as they might otherwise be.

  • Assumptive Questions:

In your assessment of what questions you’ll utilize to maximize your negotiation efforts, consider how you’ll employ assumptive questions; in a negotiation, assumptive questions are questions that give the fa├žade that the questioner knows more about the situation that he’s inquiring about (e.g. ‘You’ve given discounts to other buyers in the past, correct?’ The implication being that you’re aware, right or wrong, that discounts have been granted in the past).

Assumptive questions are excellent ways to gather information. Even if the responder states that your assumption is wrong you will have gathered additional information/insight.

  • Body Language/Nonverbal Clues:

When in person, observe to what degree the person leans closer or further away when pondering an answer to your question(s); this will give insight as to whether they’re embracing or putting distance between you and their answer. Leaning away can indicate that they don’t wish to engage, which can imply that they don’t want to disclose the answer to your question. Leaning forward can imply that they’re willing to engage. Note how and when they lean.

If you’re on the phone, listen for intonations, pauses, and emotions displayed. Take note of the words that emphases are placed on, too. Such will bear noting for the possible hidden messages contained in them.

To practice and increase your listening skills, close your eyes while speaking with someone on the phone. Toss a question that’s not generic to the conversation and listen to the response. In particular, take note of how long the other person pauses before responding, their intonation, voice quality (i.e. puzzled), and the follow-up question(s) they raise as to the timing of your question. Then, ask for the thoughts they had when you asked the question. Over time, you’ll become better at deciphering the thoughts and thought processes of others.

To acquire insider information that can be used to your benefit in a negotiation, know what questions to ask, the best time to ask them, and how to validate the responses you receive. By implementing the strategy of gathering and using insider information in your negotiations you’ll increase your negotiation win rate… and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

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