“Negotiation Thief How To Prevent Losing Gains And Winning More” – Negotiation Insight

“Be careful of the words you speak. They can reveal your silent thoughts.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (Click to Tweet)

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“Negotiation Thief – How To Prevent

Losing Gains And Winning More”

People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.

The perils, or good fortune, of a negotiation thief, lurks inside every negotiation. Whether the outcome of the thief’s deeds is beneficial or detrimental is determined by his activities.

Question: So, who is this negotiation thief, and why should you be so concerned with his actions during the negotiation? Answer: The thief is you and the person with whom you are negotiating. And the reason you should be concerned with the thief’s activities is due to the loss of gains you could incur throughout your negotiation. The following is what to be watchful of and how to benefit from the negotiation thief’s efforts.  

Pattern Interrupts

There you are. You are in the ‘flow’ of the negotiation, and everything is moving along fine. Then, it happens.

The other negotiator does or says something completely unexpected. What is even worse, you had not anticipated it. At that point, you lose your flow, focus, and momentum.

Pattern interrupts can do that, cause you to forget your line of thought. And they are also negotiation ploys you can use during negotiations to prevent losing the gains you have achieved. To do so, consider making unexpected offers, good or bad, and change your mind before the other negotiator can respond. If you do that when he is challenging the gains you have made, interrupting his line of thought may become what takes him off of your track. Do this as needed until its usefulness diminishes.

Change Your Tone

The altering of your voice inflection and pace of speech conveys subtle messages about your thought process. It also transmits your current state of emotion. To project a sense of displeasure with an offer, you might consider slowing your pronouncement about your position.

For example, “I cannot accept that offer” – with the emphasis on “cannot accept.” Subliminally emphasizing those words heightens your point while setting anchoring markers – a line in the sand as to what you will not accept. Consider using tone in this manner when you seek to protect your gains in the negotiation.  

Use Of Language  

In your mind, what is the difference between “can I have 33 seconds of your attention” and “can I borrow 33 uninterrupted seconds of your attention?” You are asking for the same amount of time. But the mindset created in your opposition sets the stage per how he will respond and engage with you after that point.

The use of language is powerful in communicating our thoughts. Thus, you must parse your words carefully to represent the actions you seek and those to follow explicitly.

Using the example presented a moment ago about “cannot accept,” if you were willing to concede a point of less interest, you might say, “it may be difficult for me to grant that.” Positioning your statement in that manner suggests that you may be open to a trade for one in return from the opposition. And you can use that to protect more significant gains you have achieved.

Asking Question – Open and Honest

Another way to prevent the loss of gains is never to place them in jeopardy of being lost. And one way to do that is to ask the other negotiator if he will be open and honest with you. If he says yes, test him by asking a crucial question; make it one that protects your gains.

Example: You are negotiating the price of a car. You received the salesperson’s best offer, which is close to the point you will pay, but you sense he will try to get a little more from you. At that point, ask him, are you open and honest with me? He has to say yes because not doing so decreases his negotiation position and makes him appear not forthright.

After he says yes, ask him what commission he will make from the sale. He may be apprehensive about divulging that information because he knows you might use it in an attempt to get a lower price. You will have created angst in him at that point, too.

Then, when you do not use that information against him, he will be relieved and more than likely not attempt to tamper with your gains. He knows at that point that you have a chit that you may use at any moment.      


There are different points at which a losing negotiation can become irretrievable. But the best way to prevent negotiation loss, and losing gains you have made, is to avert that possibility before it occurs.

A negotiation thief lurks in every negotiation, waiting for the opportunity to rob you of the progress you have made. If you implement the forgoing thoughts and ideas, you will have a greater chance of thwarting his efforts. And everything will be right with the world.  

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

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