“Investigative Negotiations – How To Really Win By Uncovering Hidden Information” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

“Hidden information will hide until you know the form in which it will appear.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (Click to Tweet)

Click here to get the book!

“Investigative Negotiations – How To Really

Win By Uncovering Hidden Information”

People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.

There are times when negotiators lose ground in a negotiation because they do not ask questions that uncover hidden information. They lack the skills to reveal such information because they lack the investigative negotiation knowledge to do so. And while they allow insights to remain concealed, they could be negotiating off of false premises. The longer that exists, the more tenuous and tedious the negotiation can become. That also places them in the untenable position of defending a weakening position.

Continue to discover a few methods you can use to uncover hidden information by using investigative negotiation techniques.

What You Do Not Know Can Hurt You!

Do you buy into the premise, “what you don’t know won’t hurt you”? I heard that many times when I was a boy growing up. Back then, it was a sentiment meant to calm me – the meaning being, do not become afraid of what you do not know; it will not harm you. My goodness, I am so glad that I grew up and recognized how that fallacy could wreak havoc in one’s life and a negotiation.

Uncovered knowledge is power in a negotiation when you expose it and apply that information right. That is to say, when you properly discover information and use it correctly, it becomes power. To do so accurately, depending on the negotiator type with whom you are negotiating, do not browbeat information out of him. That may backfire against you and cause your counterpart to dig in their heels.

Instead, judge the demeanor of the other negotiator and assess the proper time for extraction of information, what that individual has to lose or gain for giving it to you at that time, and how it will impact the rest of the negotiation. Timing is the utmost consideration to make when seeking to gain greater insight from hidden information.  

Assessing How To Extract Information

Have you observed that some people want you to pull information out of them? In some situations, that may be due to their lack of assuredness about divulging the information. At other times, it may be due to the cat-and-mouse game a negotiator wishes to play. And in the latter situation, he may do so to extract a concession or information from you later in the negotiation.

In every situation in which you negotiate, assess why someone seeks to conceal information. Question if a negotiator is doing so because he is unsure of what may occur from releasing it, meaning he may lose control of the negotiation. Or, is it a situation where he is toying with you (i.e., use to call in a chit later).

Before you can extract information, you must be aware of your target’s propensity to protect it and the purpose of doing so. Without that insight, you may waste time pushing and pulling on the wrong mental levers. So, make sure you not only know what a negotiator wants but why they may want it. Also, consider what someone that is not at the negotiation table may be seeking. The more you can think of reasons someone may not want to disclose information, the more you can hone in on their reasoning to keep it from you.

Who Else May Be In Control

Another point to ponder is who or what controls the person’s actions with whom you are negotiating. In some cases, she may be motivated by another source that wishes particular bits of information not become disclosed. Thus, no matter what you sense about concealed information if you attempt to unleash it from her, you are most likely talking to the wrong person. When seeking to uncover vital information, make sure you seek the right source to obtain it.

Uncovering Information Through Word Choices

Her greed put the negotiation in a tenuous position. Her tough bargaining style put the negotiation in a tenuous position. After observing those two statements, what image do you have about what occurred? Was it her greed that captured your attention more, or was it her tough bargaining style that did so? The answer depends on your personality. And that is the case with other individuals with whom you will negotiate. 

Engaging in investigative negotiations can become dubious. But by considering specific words to use when uncovering hidden information, painting pictures with your words that will affect your negotiation counterpart most prominently, you can overcome that feeling. And pondering which words will have a more subliminal effect than others (e.g., quit versus exit) during the process will assist you in those efforts.

So, be mindful that you can uncover hidden information based on the word choices you use during a negotiation. And allow word choices to become another tool you can use in investigative negotiations.


In some situations, negotiators do not know what they do not know – why what may appear to have an easy solution is not acceptable. And it is during those times a negotiator may lack the investigative negotiation expertise required to gain a greater understanding of what is occurring in the negotiation to uncover hidden information. And that prevents them from negotiating more successfully.  

So, if you wish to become more adept at investigative negotiation, consider adopting the previous insights. That will assist you in increasing your ability to uncover hidden information in your negotiations. That will also level up your negotiation skills and enhance your negotiation efforts. And everything will be right with the world.   

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

Listen to Greg’s podcasts at https://megaphone.link/CSN6318246585  Once there, double click on the one you would like to hear.

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

To receive weekly free 5-minute sneak peeks into the brilliant techniques offered by Greg, click here

https://www.themasternegotiator.com/negotiation-speaker/   and sign up at the bottom of the page

Scroll to Top