Do you know how to win more negotiations by using misdirection? Misdirection is a ploy that negotiators use in negotiations to alter the perspective of the opposing negotiator and/or expose that individual as possessing a different outlook than the norm from others involved in the negotiation.
A negotiator named John was engaged on a project to negotiate on behalf of his clients. He noted that the opposing negotiator’s modus operandi was to go into attack mode anytime someone voiced or wrote an opinion that was contrary to hers. She constantly created problems on and for the project. In an attempt to get her removed from the project, John thought he’d use a misdirection tactic on her to show everyone how volatile she was, which meant she’d jeopardize the project if she stayed on it. To that end, John wrote an email with content that appeared to be meant only for his clients’ eyes and sent the email to the opposing negotiator; the email outlined what attempts the opposing negotiator was engaging in and why she might be engaging in such actions. As predicted by John, based on her prior actions, she responded with a scathing email laced with profanities that would have scorched someone’s hands had they read her response on paper. John displayed the email to everyone as further proof as to why she should be released from the project. The others agreed with John’s assessment and she was excused.
John had employed one of the oldest tactics in negotiation, misdirection. In order for misdirection to work effectively …
- You must have insight into the thought process of your target per the way they think and how they might react in a particular situation. That insight will allow you to assess the probability that they will perform according to the stimuli you apply.
- Create a backdoor through which you can reposition your offer if the stimuli doesn’t work and/or it’s identified as being manipulative (if it is, you can still frame the manipulation in a positive perspective (i.e. I was doing so to help you) if that’s the case, be sure it can be viewed as such by the opposing negotiator and anyone else that has a stake in the outcome of the negotiation).
- Understand which personality types misdirection works best with. Some people are very astute and will handily identify such efforts, while others will never recognize the fact that anything occurred at all.
In your negotiations, if you sense misdirection is at hand, question the validity of what you believe to be real. Always consider how you might employ misdirection and be mindful of having the ploy used against you.
Misdirection can come in many forms (i.e. the need or greed factor being played on, security per what the deal will bring, playing weak to lure the other negotiator to a different state of mind, etc.) As such, you have to be alert from the moment you sense that misdirection is introduced into a negotiation. By doing so, you’ll be more aware as to what’s occurring in the negotiation, what the other negotiator is attempting to do to win the negotiation, and to what lengths he’ll go to win. You’ll be better positioned to thwart his efforts, which will bode well for the enhancement of a positive outcome for you … and everything will be right with the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!