“Master Negotiation Advice Now – How To Avoid Manipulation To Win More Faster” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

“Manipulation – the tactics others use to make you accept their reality.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert

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“Master Negotiation Advice, Now

How To Avoid Manipulation To Win More, Faster”

People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.

Do you know how to protect yourself from manipulation during negotiations? If not, you should. Do you know what to observe to prevent other negotiators’ attempts to manipulate you during your talks? If not, soon you will.

The information in this article will allow you to insulate yourself against the dastardly deeds some negotiators engage in when using manipulation to win negotiations. It will also offer insights on what to observe when someone attempts to manipulate you. But first, you should know the difference between manipulation and persuasive negotiators.

Persuasive Versus Manipulation Negotiation Tactics

Negotiators use persuasive negotiation tactics when discussing mutually beneficial options. They seek win-win outcomes. In comparison, manipulative negotiators seek to enhance their position at the expense of their opposition. They are more win-lose-oriented. Observe the following to highlight the point.

Persuasive Negotiator

  • Negotiator extends offers that are perceived to be mutually beneficial to all parties. And if they are not perceived to be so, the negotiator corrects the perception.
  • Negotiates from a fairness perspective while focusing on win-win outcomes for all parties
  • Display honest collaboration to give the impression of openness.

Manipulative Negotiator

  • Emphasis placed on win-lose negotiation
  • Negotiators may lie intentionally to mislead to gain the outcome they seek.
  • Display a lack of collaboration and push firmly for their position.

Recognizing the differences between persuasive and manipulative negotiators will give you the insight needed to defend yourself as you strive to reach your negotiation goals.

Why Manipulation Occurs

Manipulation occurs when one party tries to gain an advantage by skirting the boundaries of respectful negotiation. That can happen for different reasons, for instance:

1. Win-Lose Mindset

When one party becomes blinded by winning, at all costs, they may use manipulative tactics to gain an advantage. Be on high alert when dealing with this type of negotiator.

2. Knowledge Seekers

In some situations, people negotiate to obtain knowledge about the negotiation process from one they perceive to be more masterful. In reality, what they offer to entice the better negotiator to engage is an unattainable outcome.

3. Lack Of Trust

When trust is lacking between negotiators, one or both may attempt to manipulate the other to advantage their position. Be aware of when such is occurring.

4. Power Imbalance

When one negotiator is stronger-positioned than the other, the weaker-positioned negotiator may use manipulative tactics to strengthen his position. And if stronger-positioned negotiators feel threatened, they may use such tactics to maintain their position.

Avoiding Manipulation During Negotiation

When a negotiator feels manipulated during negotiations, some will rail against the opposition. That can become the starting point of tiresome efforts seeking an impasse as its resting place.

That is one reason you should be mindful of not being perceived as someone attempting to manipulate your opposite. To avoid manipulation during your talks:

1. Consider How Someone Might Manipulate You

In the planning stage of your upcoming negotiation, think about what the opposing negotiator may do to manipulate you. Consider your strengths and weaknesses as they pertain to segments of the discussions. What you are attempting to uncover are your points of vulnerability. Once exposed, strengthen them.

2. Be Observant

Manipulative negotiators leave tells when they begin their efforts of manipulation. Sometimes, they may start by fidgeting with inanimate objects or squirming in their chair. They may do so because they feel uncomfortable about what they are contemplating.

Observe what follows if you sense a mental shift in the opposition’s demeanor and suspect it may lead to manipulation. Raising your awareness will allow you to become better positioned to defend yourself.

3. Play Your Game

Negotiators may also manipulate you to throw you off your negotiation plans. They want you to play their game instead of your own.

To stay on track, pause when the opposition attempts to sway you away from your strategies. Question what is occurring and why. You can do that internally or by posing questions out loud.

The point is, to play your game, you must do so on your field. That will make you the home team with an advantage.

4. Observe Misinterpretations

Negotiators also use misinterpretation as a form of manipulation. Some will offer statements as facts only to reposition their assertions once you expose them as fallacies. Then, they may say that you misinterpreted their meaning. They may be testing you or attempting to alter the negotiation flow.

If you note a negotiator doing this two to three times, do not assume they are making errors. Most likely, they are attempting to manipulate you.


When manipulation occurs in negotiations, the attempt by one of the parties to gain an unfair advantage can lead to untold frustrations. That is but one of the reasons negotiators should be mindful of using manipulation as any part of their strategy during bargaining sessions.

Nevertheless, by incorporating the insights I have mentioned in this article, you can negotiate better and be better positioned to thwart those using manipulation tactics against you.

Using these insights will also make you a smaller target and less likely for the opposition to perpetrate their manipulation schemes. So, that is a double win. And everything will be right with the world. 

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

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

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