“How To Negotiate Much Stronger With Police And Authority Figures” – Negotiation Insight

“Knowing how to negotiate with people of authority will help you avoid the path of despair.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (click to Tweet)

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“How To Negotiate Much Stronger

With Police And Authority Figures”

People don’t realize they are always negotiating.

It occurred in the flap of a gnat’s wing. So quick was it; one might not have recognized the flaring mood shift occurring. At that moment, the posturing began. It had already started for the person with authority – the police officer in the process of stopping a driver. Meanwhile, the driver thought it’s time to negotiate.

What had occurred? A police officer set his red lights to flash. When the driver of the car recognized those lights, he immediately had a paradigm alteration. He assessed how he might negotiate during the stop. Knowing he was the authority figure, the police officer was also scripting how he might negotiate, based on his interactions with the driver.

So, how do you react to the police when they stop you? Especially when you know, they believe they are the power figure, the ones with authority. With the police and authority figures, the answer is, it depends.

Continue to discover strategies you can use when dealing with the police and those with power.  


When dealing with people of authority and power, consider the points at which frustration might occur. I know it can be difficult when you are unexpectedly stopped by a police officer while driving. But that is precisely what you must do – prevent frustration from strangle-holding your thoughts. The same is true when you negotiate with someone possessing authority. You must control your level of displayed frustration to assist them in managing theirs.

The moment the police officer lights you up, instead of going into a “preparing for combat mode,” decide that you’re not going to become confrontational. And also, consider how you might de-escalate the situation should it begin to get out of control. And that is an excellent point to keep in mind when dealing with other authoritarian figures.

Surging Tension

Why did you stop me? As innocently as you may ask that question when the officer approaches you, those words can serve to inflame the situation and cause tensions to rise mildly. And when spoken to someone that views themselves as the one with authority, your inquiry may be ignored. And it can place you in a disadvantaged position. That would hamper your ability to negotiate more successfully.  

Escalating tensions are never a good indicator of people finding a happy middle ground. Therefore, when dealing with the police and authority figures, control your temper. Let them think they are in control of the situation.

Remember, control is a matter of perception. And if you allow the other party to believe they have it, you can become the beneficiary of their goodwill. Granting them the perception of control will also decrease the possibility of rising tension. That, too, will be to your benefit.

Instead of asking a question, let the officer have control. Be compliant with his requests. Then, after you have allowed him to feel he is controlling the situation, ask why he stopped you. When you negotiate with people of authority and power, there will be times when you will have to curb your words. That is the way to keep tensions in check.  

Establishing Rapport

People can make first impressions as quickly as the wind shifts. After that, the perceiver verifies first impressions based on further acts of the subject. Thus, negative first impressions can lead to negotiation difficulties and hamper the rapport process. Rapport is what you should seek to build in every negotiation.

So, how might you establish rapport with police officers and people of authority? You do so by being subservient. Let them take the lead. And to the degree that it does not diminish your overall wellbeing or long-term negotiation position, remain subservient. Be courteous, respectful, and nonconfrontational. Use rational and logical reasoning to sway their perspective and enhance your points.  


Police officers have a tough job. When they stop a driver, they are not sure of what may occur. Thus, they are on a heightened sense of alertness; the adrenaline is flowing. And they have to control the environment.

Police have standards they engage when stopping a motorist – requesting license and vehicle registration. And where mandated, they ask for the vehicle’s insurance card. That information establishes who the driver is and the vehicle’s owner. When required, they will vigorously request that information before answering a driver’s questions. Why? Because if the driver speeds away, the officer has that driver’s information.  

Like police officers, people of authority have set procedures too. And not until you know and understand those procedures will you be in a position to negotiate a better outcome than the one you might have had otherwise. One way to obtain and use it is by displaying genuine empathy.

To display empathy, do not blow up and lose your cool when the police stop you. Instead, become the police and people of authority’s ally. Show through your demeanor that you are not a threat and that you understand their position.


Whenever you are driving, and the police stop you, or you know you will negotiate with an authority figure, control your mental calculus. To do that, determine how you will project a nonthreatening persona and manage your actions.

It can be challenging to negotiate with the police and people of authority. But that does not have to be true in your case. When you employ the suggestions mentioned, you will be able to negotiate better, which will produce better outcomes. 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

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