“Mischief – This Is How To Stop It In A Negotiation” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

“The harm in mischief is its harm can be hidden.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (click to Tweet)

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“Mischief – This Is How To Stop It In A Negotiation”

People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.

Have you considered the impact mischief has on a negotiation? Mentally, mischief can tunnel into a negotiator’s mind and manipulate his actions without that negotiator understanding the unseen forces working against him. If you haven’t given this much consideration, start now. If you don’t, you’ll gain less in your negotiation outcomes and be the worst because of it. The following is how you can spot and stop mischief in your negotiations.

Be Aware of Tactics

Don’t fall prey to the game. To do that, know what the game is.

What’s the difference between mischief and manipulation? It’s the intent of the act per the outcome it’s attempting to achieve. Thus, you can become manipulated by mischief, but you need to separate the actions branded by either before you can address them. For example:

You’re purchasing a car at a dealership. The salesperson says the two of you are close to a deal. Then, she asks if you can add $500 to your offer to close the deal. If you say no, she may state that she’ll talk with her manager to see what else she can do. She disappears for several minutes. Then, the sales manager comes out, and you find you’ve entered into another phase of the negotiation. What happened? Was she up to mischief? The answer is, maybe.

The point is, ‘talking to the sales manager’ can be a ploy or one that delves into mischief. It might be mischief if she goes away, never speaks to the manager, and comes back and says, “I have good news,” the manager said I could accept the deal if you add $200 to your offer. If you give her $200, that’s most likely money you could have saved. And in that case, that would come under the heading of manipulation.   

Additional Mischief Concerns

So, what are some of the other mischievous tactics that should alert you to something being strange at hand in a negotiation?

1. Uncovering found/planted information – Information is the source of input that every negotiator seeks. Thus, when you uncover unexpected information that appears valuable, it adopts the perspective of having more value. In some situations, the opposing negotiator has planted that information. He did so to make you think you’d uncovered something special – a secret. That’s a mischievous tactic good negotiators use to trick you into thinking you have secret knowledge. Be mindful of this ploy.

2. Disinformation purpose – Disinformation is a close cousin to uncovering found information. The exception being, disinformation can be more devastating. That’s due to its potentially deadly effects it can have on you and the negotiation. Thus, this kind of mischief should be caught, addressed, and dealt with quickly. Don’t let this type of activity derail your efforts. 

3. Changing negotiators – This is a mischievous ploy that’s most effectively employed right when you think a deal is at hand with the current negotiator. When you believe you have an agreement, he introduces his superior, and the negotiations continue. To guard against this tactic, be sure you’re dealing with a negotiator that has the authority to close and abide by the negotiation’s agreement.

4. Mindset negativity – This one may surprise you, but you must be mindful of your negative mind. That becomes self-mischief. If you doubt yourself, you’ll project the lack of confidence you have about yourself to others. And if you convey those feelings, people will not take you as seriously as you’d like.

Maintain Your Emotions

In every negotiation, you should always maintain control over your emotions. To do otherwise is to subject yourself to outbursts that most likely won’t serve your purpose. Some negotiators will attempt to irritate you to keep you from implementing your negotiation plans. And they’ll use mischievous tactics to accomplish their goal – which is another reason you must guard against the perpetration of mischief against you. Suffice it to say; if you lose control of your emotions, you’ve lost control of your head. And if your head is not in a negotiation, you’ll engage in it mindlessly. 

Be Wary of Repetition

Question: When does a lie become the truth? Answer: When you accept it as such. Part of receiving something as truthful, even when you suspect it’s not, is the number of times you hear it stated as the truth. And you take into account the source(s) from which it comes. If you believe your sources, and you hear it repeated over and over again, you’re even more likely to accept it as your truth.

Accepting falsehoods as the truth is a way a negotiator controls your mind. He can do it by repeating the message you receive, and mischief can be the deliverer of his intent. Be aware of what you believe. It’ll become the motivator of your actions.


Mischief is a powerful force in a negotiation, which is why you must be mindful of its entrance. No matter the stage your negotiation is in, always be aware when the opposition attempts to use mischief to sway your efforts. By keeping his efforts in-check, you’ll position yourself better to check his mischievousness. 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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