“How To Misdirect People To Distract Negotiations” – Negotiation Tip of the Week


Negotiation Tip of the Week


“Through your actions, you choose to be good or better. Choose wisely!” – Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert




“How To Misdirect People To Distract Negotiations”


Do you use misdirection to distract the other negotiator in your negotiations? Have you ever wondered why magicians use misdirection in their acts? Misdirection serves to divert attention from one occurrence while directing it to another. It’s used as a strategic ploy by smart negotiators.

Whether you realize it, some form of misdirection occurs in every negotiation you’re in. If you’re not aware of that fact, you may not be aware that sometimes misdirection is used against you. As soon as you sense a negotiator is employing it, raise your awareness to what’s occurring in the negotiation. Therein will lie why he’s attempting to distract you.

Discover how you can increase your negotiation skills by using and being aware of when misdirection is being used in a negotiation.


Misdirection Tactics:

Act dumbfounded – There are times when acting like the bumbling idiot, or someone that doesn’t comprehend everything that’s being discussed is advantageous. You can use this tactic to get more information from the other negotiator while not giving him more information that he might use against you.   

Cite meaningless statistics (They can even be made up.)Some negotiator types love numbers. If you happen to be negotiating with such a person, quote statistics and/or challenge those that he cites as a way to dilute and/or cast dispersions upon them. In some cases, by raising doubt, you can promote and inject different thoughts into the negotiation. When doing so, promote thoughts that serve you and not the other negotiator.

Ask to have questions repeated –  By asking to have questions repeated, sometimes a negotiator will be thrown off track from his main point. In that moment of confusion, you can attempt to have him adopt a path that serves your negotiation purpose. The way to do that is to state something akin to what you heard that’s different than what was said.


When to use misdirection:

Stalling: – Sometimes when you need more time, for whatever reason in a negotiation, you can use misdirection to buy the time you need. You can do that by talking about prior negotiations you’ve had that are similar to the one you’re in while recounting the outcome; the hidden lesson in your recantation should be the subliminal message conveying what the other negotiator should do in the current situation.

Alter the pace of the negotiation – In basketball, when one team is ‘in the zone’, the opposing team calls a timeout. They do so to change the momentum/pace of the game. If the pace of your negotiation is to the advantage of the other negotiator, change the pace by misdirecting his attention to something else. It can be anything as long as it accomplishes your objective.

Create confusion – Convoluted thoughts can lead to convoluted outcomes. They can also lead to the outcome you seek. In any situation where confusion resides, an opportunity is its partner.

Control – Use references that are irrelevant to what’s being discussed. By doing so, you’ll be exercising more control over the negotiation. Thus, by controlling misdirects, you control what’s being discussed. That increases your power in the negotiation.


As you can see, misdirection can serve you well in a negotiation. Use it wisely and your negotiation efforts will be rewarded with more winning negotiations … and everything will be right with the world.


What are your thoughts? I’d really like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com


Remember, you’re always negotiating.



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