Do You Successfully Perceive Deception Throughout Negotiations

When you negotiate, how do you detect deception? When negotiating, observing the body language of the other negotiator will give you insight into whether he’s being truthful, or intentionally attempting to mislead you (lying).

When people outright lie that’s deception, but they can also lie unintentionally by misrepresenting a fact they believe to be true. Would you know what to look for to detect lies in either situation? As you negotiate, take into account the following thoughts to detect when someone is not being forthright.

  • The eyes may have:
    • When questioning the other negotiator about a past situation that he’s not sure of, do his eyes tend to look up and to the left? If so, he’s trying to gain access to the area in the brain that stores past occurrences. In most cases, this is a natural reaction. If he looks up and to the right in the same situation, he’s more than likely in the process of concocting a story that’s born of deceit, or at minimum, he’s mentally contemplating the possibility of leaning in that direction.
  • There’s something in the tone:
    • Do you lend attention to the tone used by the other negotiator while negotiating? When it comes to deceit, the tone associated with the delivery of a thought or pronouncement will convey the level of conviction and belief that’s attached to it. That of itself will not be a definitive declaration as to whether one’s statement is deceitful. It will however give you a level of insight into how believable he wishes you to perceive it. If the other negotiator allows his tone to consistently trail off at the end of his statements, he’s displaying through the hidden insight of nonverbal, verbal (follow me on this) communications that he’s not sure about what he’s saying. To the degree that you astutely detect his level of uncertainty, you may consider probing further to uncover the ‘real’ story.
  • Rephrase and paraphrase questions to seek detail:
    • When people lie, by definition, they fabricate a story that’s not truthful. Thus, the more you probe, by asking for detail, the more extensive the lie will become. As you probe deeper, be aware of the other negotiator’s attempt to ‘waive you off’ and move to another topic. If an attempt is made to ‘waive you off’, that of itself will give you insight into the fact that the other negotiator feels uncomfortable and realizes you may be ‘on to him’. He’ll be ‘feeling the heat’ and you may observe him physically ‘tugging’ at his collar.

The above insights will assist you in detecting deceit, most of the time. While no ‘fool proof’ system is available to detect deceit in every situation, the more aware you are of gestures that occur around you during negotiations, the better equipped you’ll be at ferreting out deception. By being observant of body language, you will add another arrow in your quiver from which to defend yourself … and everything will be right with the world.

The Negotiation Tips Are …

  • When it comes to detecting deception, be attuned to what you don’t hear and see and what’s not said or shown. The absence of information is information. It’s information you can use in the negotiation.
  • Adept negotiators, that know how to read body language and detect deceit, possess more abilities to succeed when negotiating. If you want to become a more dynamic negotiator, increase your deception detection abilities, by improving your body language reading skills.
  • When you detect deceit, don’t ‘jump on it’ immediately. Let the other negotiator continue in his dastardly ways. By doing so, you’ll receive insight into how he lies and what he’s attempting to accomplish.
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