“Here Is How To Detect Deception In A Negotiation” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

“Sometimes, you embrace deception. At other times, it’s granted life through the deeds others commit against you. In either case, know when someone’s deceiving you, be it yourself or others.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (Click to Tweet)

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“Here Is How To Detect Deception In A Negotiation”

He stated emphatically, as he said to the opposing negotiator, “We will abide by the letter of this negotiation agreement.” Then, the negotiator that made that statement turned to a member of his team and winked. That wink was a silent gesture that negated the words he’d just stated. He had no intentions of abiding by the agreement. He’d engaged in yet another step of deception, another that the opposing negotiator had failed to detect.

Do you find yourself tricked, deceived by deception in your negotiation? If so, when that occurs, it’s usually due to not being aware of the signs that indicate a negotiator may not be forthright with his statements. At other times, he may state something as being factual because he suspects you want them to be your reality. In either case, you must be on guard for those that would perpetrate deceitful practices during negotiation. And this is how you can observe, control, and stop that practice.

Signs of Deceit

Question: What does deceit look like – what sounds does it make? Answer: The appearance and utterances of deception can appear as:

  1. Constant clearing of one’s throat – When deception is afoot, someone’s body will attempt to adjust for their words’ harmful intent. Thus, this is one of the gestures to be alert for that indicates deception might be in your midst.
  • Shifting of one’s body – If a negotiator begins moving more frequently than before making a statement, observe his gestures. Once again, he may be exhibiting the fact that he’s uncomfortable with the comments or requests he’s making. While this gesture doesn’t have to indicate deception, it’s a sign that you should observe because something about it is making him uncomfortable. And whatever it is, it’s something that should signal your attentiveness.
  • The pace of speech – When a negotiator alters his rate of speech, note it. If it accelerates, he may be moving into hypertension mode. He may also be speaking quickly to get his words out – meaning, “there it is. I said it!” If his speaking pace becomes noticeably slower, he may be in deliberation mode. Meaning, he may be assessing what he should say and the effect it’ll have on you and the negotiation.

Once again, in either case, his speaking pace may change due to his excitement about a contemplating thought he has. Or, it may stem from an assessment he’s making about how he may pull you under his control by using underhanded schemes to deceive you. Be on guard and understand what he may be attempting to do.   

Detecting Possible Deception

A negotiator may ask for anything within the realm of what you can produce. He may also ask for things outside of your purview. The purpose of his request is to alter your perspective about what he expects of, and from, you. By setting higher expectations, he sets you up to possibly deliver more than he wanted, or at minimum, get you to give him what he wanted all along. To accomplish his act, he may lie, use deceptive techniques such as creating a façade about his delivery capabilities, etc.

To thwart his efforts, be aware of his tests. A test may appear as an outcome request or offer that has a hidden disguised intent within it. For example, you or he may make a request, and he may hesitate to give the impression that he’s contemplating it. Then, he’ll ask for something in return that you’re either uncomfortable with or something that you can’t provide. That’s his setup. After that, when you inform him that you can’t deliver on his request, he falls back to one whereby you can agree to, which was his intent. He used a deceptive technique to deceive you into thinking he was after one outcome when, in reality, his goal was for another. With the insight you now have about this tactic, you can avoid falling prey to it in your future negotiations.  

Controlling and Stopping Deceit

Now that you’re aware of the signs of deceit and how you can detect them, anytime you suspect someone’s not truthful, exercise one of two steps. Your response would depend on how their deception might impact your actions in the negotiation. To that end, you might consider using a combination of the following two tactics.

  • One – Let the other negotiator know his words are suspect about the validity they’re citing. Do this when you want to put the other negotiator on notice that you’re aware of the façade he’s projecting. It will also silently signal that you’re keeping a watchful eye on his maneuvers.
  • Two – Allow your negotiation counterpart to continue his falsehoods. Do this to assess how long he might continue them and his objective to use deceiving means to reach his goals. You’ll gain a lot of insight about this negotiator type by using this method to address his deceit. For one thing, you’ll discover more about his character. For another, you’ll gain additional insight into the attributes he’s injecting into the negotiation.

Once you confront him, observe if he continues his attempts to sway you and how he goes about doing so. In particular, pay close attention to his efforts to continue down the same path or if he alters his actions. The latter will signal that you’re getting through to him. The former may indicate that he doesn’t give a darn about your thoughts.  


While there are certainly more ways to detect deceit, the ones mentioned can serve as a starter to help you avoid being the victim of deception. Therefore, if you use the preceding information you’ve garnered in your future negotiations, you’ll be more capable of detecting deceitful intents and less likely deceived in your negotiations. And everything will be right with the world.      

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

Listen to Greg’s podcast at https://c-suitenetwork.com/radio/shows/greg-williams-the-master-negotiator-and-body-language-expert-podcast/

After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com

To receive Greg’s free “Negotiation Tip of the Week” and the “Negotiation Insight,” click here https://themasternegotiator.com/greg-williams/

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