“Persuasion Methods How To Create Control Contain for Negotiation Success” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

“Good persuasion skills is altering someone’s perspective and having them perceive it as beneficial.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert

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Do you have problems persuading people in negotiations? Persuasion is a powerful tool we use every day, especially in negotiation, and every day, we negotiate. When negotiators effectively use persuasion, it can help them create better negotiations by controlling the flow of the talks and containing situations that might otherwise disrupt them.

This articlehighlights the foundation of persuasion’s psychological schemas, the pros and cons of being skilled at persuasion, prevalent persuasion techniques, and how negotiators can create a sense of control while persuading their counterparts to follow their lead.

Psychological Schemas

Psychological schemas are mental frameworks and patterns that help individuals organize and interpret information based on previous knowledge and past experiences. In negotiations, understanding and leveraging cognitive schemas assist negotiators in becoming better influencers, building rapport, and reaching more favorable outcomes. Several schemas are most prevalent for negotiators to use.

1. Confirmation Bias

Confirmation bias occurs when people seek and interpret information in a way that confirms their prevailing views. Savvy negotiators can strategically position information that aligns with the other negotiator’s prevalent schemas, creating the impression that their proposals align with their counterpart’s perspective. That increases the probability of having proposals accepted. For instance, if the other party values cost savings, the negotiator could highlight the cost-saving value of their offer.

2. Reciprocity Principle

Another beneficial schema is the reciprocity principle. It submits people experience a sense of obligation to return the perception of good deeds.

Negotiators activate this schema in the opposition by offering minor concessions early in the negotiation, which initiates a sense of debt. That increases the likelihood the opposition will reciprocate by making more compromises as the negotiators deepen their talks.

3. Framing Effect Schema

How information is presented (framing) and when it is presented affects the negotiation. Thus, negotiators who understand the opposition’s timing of information schema can frame offers based on when doing so is most valuable, making offers more appealing.

4. Likeability Schema

The likeability schema is one of my favorite schemas because I like people. Negotiators are inclined to interact and cooperate better with people they like. It makes establishing and creating rapport easier when seeking common ground on dicey offers.

Persuasion Pros

Negotiators can acquire benefits from using good persuasive tactics during negotiations. Such as:

1. Being Perceived as Influential: Persuasive negotiators can control the perspective and opinions of those they negotiate with by shaping the opposition’s viewpoint. That assists in moving the negotiation towards favorable outcomes.  

2. Build Stronger Lasting Relationships: Active persuasion increases rapport while building trust and fostering long-term relationships, which can benefit future negotiations.

3. Greater Conflict Resolution Abilities: Strong persuasion skills help defuse potential impasses when negotiators perceive offers as mutually beneficial in contentious negotiations.

Persuasion Cons

Like anything in negotiation, relying on a perceived benefit can become a curse. To that end, the cons of a good persuader are:

1. Becoming Overly Dependable on Persuasion Skills: When a negotiator becomes overly reliant on their ability to persuade their opposition, they may overlook points in the negotiation that warrant greater attention.  

2. Moral Concerns: Some people liken persuasion to manipulation. While both perceptions may be accurate, depending on the perceiver, negotiators must be mindful of not having their persuasion efforts perceived as being manipulative.

3. Possible Negative Consequences: If the opposition feels the other negotiator deviously controlled them with questionable tactics, blowback may occur against the controlling negotiator. Thus, negotiators must maintain awareness of how they are perceived when using persuasion.

Common Persuasion Techniques

Negotiators employ a varied amount of persuasion techniques as they attempt to influence their counterparts, such as:

1. Building Rapport: Negotiators achieve this by creating positive connections and finding mutual ground to engage in discussions.

2. Using Reciprocity: Negotiators tend to comply with requests faster when receiving concessions first. Negotiators who extend concessions, which may be insignificant to them but valued by the opposition, may curry favor, which becomes the setup for reciprocity later in the negotiation.

3. Using Social Proof: Bargainers implement social proof to infer that they have others aligned with their position. They cite similar situations in which others have adopted their perspective.

4. Appealing to Emotions: Appealing to emotions such as fear, desires, and wants can be powerful when attempting to persuade others. It can also be the source of angst. So, negotiators should be cautious when they use this tactic.

5. The Principle of Scarcity: Negotiators become more open and susceptible to accepting deals they want when they feel them slipping away – especially when they believe the agreement is in hand. During such times, some negotiators will stress the need to move faster before the opportunity dissolves due to a dwindling supply, etc.

Creating a Sense of Control in Negotiations

As stated, persuasion is a powerful tool for negotiators to wield in negotiations. They can enhance that power by:

1. Establishing Agreeable Objectives

In establishing mutually agreeable objectives, negotiators preempt situations that might disrupt the negotiation. And by doing that, a sense of control is heightened.

2. Control Information Flow

Information is the lifeline of negotiations. By controlling how and when information becomes injected into the talks, negotiators determine the flow of the negotiation, which is control in its purest sense.

3. Anchoring

Anchoring in negotiation is a way to preset the perception of future offers. Thus, to gain greater control, negotiators should use anchors to preposition the opposition’s mind per the perception of offers to come.


Persuasion is a skill negotiators must possess to obtain negotiation success. Without it, they will flail aimlessly to reach successful negotiation outcomes. But, by adopting the insights mentioned, negotiators can offset that dilemma, increase their persuasion skills, and sail their negotiations toward the port of success. And everything will be right with the world.

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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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