“The difference between disinformation and a lie is the degree that one doesn’t want to disclose the truth.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert
“How To Combat Bullies That Use Disinformation When Negotiating”
“He said there were four other companies competing for the contract. He told us that we’d better submit a very low bid if we wanted to be the winner. Later, I discovered there were no other companies bidding. He used disinformation to get us to lower our bid.” That was the information disclosed in a debriefing session after members from an organization had engaged in what they thought was a negotiation opportunity to acquire additional business.
Bullies use disinformation in negotiations to enhance their negotiation position; this can be anyone in a perceived position of authority, be they in that position for a short or long-term. Some people label disinformation as lying. The difference between the two is the severity with which the bully wishes to keep you uninformed via the information he delivers to you. It’s very important to confront the bully when you become aware that he’s using disinformation tactics because, if you don’t confront him, you lay yourself bare to more deceit.
Here’s how you can confront, combat, and conquer a bully that utilizes the tactics of disinformation in your negotiations.
First, identify why the bully is using disinformation as a tactic. Understand what he’s attempting to conceal and what he believes he’ll achieve by doing so.
Once you have a handle on what you believe his intent is, verify your assumptions by confronting him with them. Note how he responds to your queries. While misinformation (i.e. he’s misinformed) can be thought of as him possessing unintended callousness, disinformation is more strategic. In using disinformation, the bully is signaling that he’s going to be more devious in dealing with you.
One way to combat a bully that employs the tactic of disinformation is to use the tactic on him. It’s even better if he knows that you’re using it. You can state to him that you’re doing so because, if he’s not going to be forthright, then you won’t be either. You can adopt a stern body posture/image to enhance your message. Just be aware that this may take the negotiation into a territory fraught with angst. Thus, you should weigh the degree that you combat him against the possibility of completely alienating him.
To conquer the opposing negotiator that’s using this ploy, be prepared to combat him until he relinquishes its use. That may require using leverage to ‘out’ him to others about his usage, along with stating that you won’t allow yourself to be treated in such a manner. It may also require that you threaten to end the negotiation if he persists. Recognize that you’re playing hardball at that time and to win, you may have to get bloodied and/or dirty.
Negotiating with someone that uses disinformation as his ally can be a vexing proposition. The better you can identify this tactic, and the reason it’s being employed against you, the faster you’ll be able to address it. That will help you determine how and to what degree to continue in the negotiation … and everything will be right with the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!
After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d really like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com
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