“Can Lying Help You Win More Negotiations”


Negotiation Lying Trust


When asked if lying helps win negotiations, I say it depends on several factors. It depends on what is considered a lie and how such is perceived by the other negotiator.

As an example, some negotiators don’t consider having told a lie if they omit information or they misquote it due to faulty memory; the latter will be classified as a mistake by them. Based on how that negotiator has positioned himself (i.e. trustworthy, versus someone to be cautious of), he may be forgiven for an omission or chastised by the opposing negotiator.


  • Consider What’s Normal:

Consider what’s normal in the opposing negotiator’s world to assess how believable your offer may appear. When it comes to lies, most negotiators will base their perspective on what’s normal for them; they’ll do so based on their culture and background while considering the same about yours. From which, they may have preconceived notions as to how truthful or deceitful you’ll be during the negotiation. With that perspective as their backdrop, they may fit you into a category and be less or more forgiving if they sense you’re lying. Thus, if something sounds too good to be true, even if your offer is bona fide, it may be perceived as suspect if that’s their perspective.


  • Positioning for Perception:

To the degree you’re perceived as someone that’s honest, trustworthy, and respectful, you’ll be perceived as someone that can be forgiven if you lie. That perception will be altered based on the number of times you’re perceived as lying and the purpose for which you may be lying.  Another factor to consider is the opposing negotiator’s negotiation style or node (i.e. hard, easy, open, closed). Depending on the negotiation style/node, one negotiator may allow you to lie for a longer period of time and not say anything while one with a different style/node may admonish you quicker per your nonfactual statements.

If you make an honest mistake during the negotiation and you sense the opposing negotiator has called your statement into question, correct what might be misperceived sooner versus later. By doing so you’ll project consistency with your pronouncements, which will serve as confirmation per your intent to be truthful.


  • Your Negotiation Reputation:

As you engage in negotiations throughout your life, your negotiation reputation should be carefully crafted. If you acquire a reputation as one that’s trustworthy, you can point to this fact as a reason to be believed. A savvy negotiator will have done her homework on you and gathered such insight prior to entering into the negotiation. In so doing she’ll know that you’re someone that can be trusted, if that’s the case, and be more lenient if a lie is told by you. That leniency in such a case may prove to be the difference between a tumultuous negotiation and one that floats on the wings of ease.


During your negotiation, don’t consider it to be a one-off situation (i.e. once and done). To the degree you learn from the experiences you encounter in a negotiation your negotiation skills will be altered. Thus, if you keep in mind that you’re always negotiating, you’ll also remember that you reap what you sew, but you also sew what you reap. In so doing, never consider a truth to be a lie or a lie to be a truth simply because it becomes an obsession in your mind … and everything will be right with the world.


 Remember, you’re always negotiating!




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