“Negotiator – This Is How To Avoid Manipulation Of False Choices” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

“To avoid manipulation from offering false choices, know their intent.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (Click to Tweet)

Click here to get the book!

“Negotiator – This Is How To Avoid Manipulation Of False Choices”

As a kid, when my friends and I played games that required choosing who’d go first, we flipped a coin. While one person flipped the coin, the other person would call heads or tail. Then, one day before a coin flip, one of my friends said to the other, “heads I win, tails, you lose.” And after the coin flip, he won the call. We were very young, and initially, we were unaware of the manipulation that had occurred. Later in life, as a negotiator, I understood how choices could lead to manipulation and how manipulation can lead people to engage in actions that are against their self-interest.

The following information will help you avoid being manipulated, as a result of people offering you false choices.


A good negotiator is aware of setting goals for a negotiation. And she’s doubly conscious that she’ll have to make choices throughout the talks to achieve her goals. Part of that process is setting the expectations of the opposing negotiator, such that he will have a perspective of what he can achieve. The setting of expectations also assists in avoiding being manipulated by an opposer that might offer false choices.

Thus, before, and sometimes during a negotiation, the better you are at setting expectations, the lower the probability will become that false options will thwart you. And that will enhance your negotiation abilities, interactions with the other negotiator, along with a smoother negotiation process.

Identifying Choices

Okay. Now that you’ve set expectations, what should you be aware of when offered choices during the negotiation? The answer is, it depends. It depends on the strategy you’ve set per what you thought would occur during the process. And you should take into account the events that happen during the negotiation that you’d not anticipated. Per the latter, if someone offers you a choice such as the “heads I win, tails you lose” scenario, which you now know is an attempt to manipulate you into a false choice, you can turn the tables. One way to do that is to let the other negotiator know you’re aware of the manipulation attempts that might occur. If she asks why you’re making that statement, tell her you’re stating it so both of you can avoid them, which will make the negotiation process less challenging.

Weighing Options

There’s another facet to consider when weighing choices. Some negotiators will offer options in a yes or no format or an either-or perspective. The point is, some choices lead you to a false premise. Those choices limit your options, and the ability to improve your outcome.

Be aware of when a negotiator offers such decisions to you. And be mindful of when someone is attempting to place you in an untenable position. By being alert to their efforts, it’ll help you slip the bind they try to put you in with false choices. So, make sure you weigh your options and consider where someone’s attempts may be attempting to take you.   


An antithesis is a direct opposite of what’s said or done prior. Thus, you should be aware of when a negotiator presents a choice in this manner because it can be the beginning stage of manipulation. The reason being, an option offered in this manner, might be akin to a good cop, bad cop offer.

That means, if you don’t accept the first choice, the second one will be worse, and the following options will be worse than the preceding ones. Thus, if you’re not mentally alert to what’s occurring, you could find your emotions pulling you down a path that you should be avoiding. Why? Because the pathway will be taking you further away from your goals.

Negative Thoughts

Another form of manipulation stems from negative thoughts your opponent has about you or those you have about her. That’s why you should assess her thoughts before the beginning of a negotiation – because negative thoughts impact one’s perception, and it influences their interaction.

Suppose you’re aware that negative thoughts exist between negotiators. What should you do? It would be best if you attempted to improve the relationship before you negotiate. If you don’t, both of you may become drawn into a manipulative course of negative actions as the result of ill feelings.

To combat negative emotions, offer to be collaborative in your efforts to achieve an acceptable outcome. In a worst-case scenario, your opponent may reject your offer. If she does, you might consider asking her how, or if, she’d like to proceed. If she says she doesn’t want to continue, you may have avoided a tumultuous experience from which you’ll probably be better off. On the positive side, if she’s amenable to your offer, you may be able to lower your guard. But don’t drop it too much, you may have to raise it quickly.   


Above all, when engaging in a negotiation, control your emotions. Don’t let anger shade your decisions or how you view the other negotiator. If you don’t control anger, you invite the opportunity for manipulation to foster choices that may not be pertinent per the solution required.

When you sense anger is on the rise, get away from the environment. Call a time out. When you’re in an angered state, it’s best to calm yourself before engaging in any action. Doing that will save you future challenges and problems in the negotiation.


To a degree, it’s a negotiator’s job during a negotiation to pose questions that help her maximize her outcome. Thus, it behooves her to offer manipulation choices that take her counterpart in the direction that suits her goals. As her counter negotiator, it’s your job to present her with manipulation choices. Thus, both of your efforts are to thwart the other’s attempt from causing the outcome to be lopsided against themselves. Therefore, by being attentive to the choices offered, and where those choices may lead, you can avoid the manipulation that’s inherent in every negotiation. 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://www.themasternegotiator.com/greg-williams/

#Choices #Manipulation #BodyLanguageSecrets #csuitenetwork #thoughtcouncil #Negotiator #NegotiatingWithABully #Bodylanguage #readingbodylanguage #Negotiation #NegotiationStrategies #NegotiationProcess #NegotiationSkillsTraining #NegotiationExamples #NegotiationTypes #negotiationPsychology #HowToNegotiateBetter #ReadingBodyLanguage #BodyLanguage #Nonverbal #Negotiate #Business #SmallBusiness #Power #Perception #emotionalcontrol #relationships #BodyLanguageExpert #CSuite #TheMasterNegotiator #ControlEmotions #GregWilliams #success #Howtowinmore #self-improvement #howtodealwithdifficultpeople #Self-development #Control #Conversations #Howtocontrolanegotiation #howtobesuccessful #HowToImproveyourself

Scroll to Top