Tag Archive for Negotiation skills

Is it true? Lying in negotiations is legal

win win negotiation

Negotiations almost always have an element of deception. This may take the form of dodging a question, answering it in a misleading way, or outright lying. At the simplest level, most negotiators won’t come out and tell the truth about a question like “what’s the bottom line?” A more complex version of misrepresentation is injecting secondary issues that don’t really matter in order to get concessions on important things. When lying in a negotiation moves beyond that to include factual inaccuracies and misrepresentation, it’s obviously not ethical, but is it legal?



Fraud and the law

In any business deal, both sides are out to make the best possible deal. Self-interest in itself is normal, and not a problem. However, if fraud has occurred, then it could be a legal issue, and the injured party could have grounds to sue. The basic definition of fraud is when one party knowingly misrepresents a material fact, the other party relies on this statement, and is damaged as a result.

For example, if a used car dealer resets the odometer on a car so that he can sell it as “new” when in fact it is used, that is a misrepresentation. The fact that the car is used instead of new is material to the buyer, who relies on the odometer’s evidence and believes that the car is new. By purchasing the car for inflated new-car prices, the buyer suffers damages. There are a few different elements that are required in order for this to be fraud, and each of them is explored below.

  • Knowledge

In order for it to be fraud, the person who makes the misrepresentation must know that they are doing so. If a different person reset the odometer and the salesman did not know the car had been used, then he was acting in good faith by telling the buyer the car was new, and it would not be fraud.

However, purposely avoiding knowledge that would be deceptive could be illegal, too. For instance, if a dealership had a regular practice of doing this, but salesmen purposely didn’t ask that question in order to avoid the harmful knowledge, it could still constitute fraud.

  • Misrepresentation

Usually, you have to make a specific untrue statement in order to count as fraud, and if you just don’t say anything about a topic you are on safe ground. However, if you are asked specific questions during a negotiation and avoid answering by saying something like “I’m not sure about that,” it can be a problem. Current law outlines various exceptions where not saying anything can be construed as fraud, so be careful in this area.

Negotiation ComvortBlog

Material fact

As discussed, most people do lie about something during a negotiation, like what their bottom line price would be. However, that is generally viewed as a preference, rather than a material fact, so there is no legal issue with that. However, if you bring up other lies to try to close a deal, it can be an issue. A classic example is a realtor who pressures a buyer into a quick decision by saying there’s another potential buyer who’s offered to pay asking price that day, when in fact no other offer exists. Courts have ruled that this lie could be deemed a material fact.

When lying is legal in negotiations

Can lying in negotiations be considered “ethical”? To some extent, diverting the truth and beating around the bush just to get what you want is perfectly legal. It could be immoral, yet many people see business negotiations as a battlefield, where one party has to lose for the other to win. When you’re bargaining for something, or you’re trying to persuade an opponent to buy something from you, it’s natural to use some sort of manipulative techniques to win. As long as you’re not deceitful, your small white lies are not really considered illegal.

Business negotiations are just like poker games. You should never reveal all your cards to an opponent. Yet, there’s a difference between not sharing information and sharing wrong information. Unlike lying, which is unethical when it is brought to extremes, bluffing is perfectly ethical; the secret to a good bluff – never get caught.


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By Jason Phillips and TheGapPartnership.com!

5 points that can help strengthen or refresh negotiation strategies

Life is full of negotiations, both in work and in your personal life. At work, you may be negotiating a business deal with a client. At home, you may be negotiating with your teenager about borrowing the car and what time to be home. However, even though we all face negotiation situations in our lives, few people have ever been trained in the skills required.



1. Don’t make assumptions

It is easy to assume that you know what the other party in the negotiation wants and needs, but your assumptions can leave you with either an incomplete or incorrect understanding of the situation. The truth is that you cannot really know what their situation is and what they are thinking, unless you ask them. Rather than making assumptions, a good strategy is to start with a blank slate.

Ask open-ended questions, and let the other person explain what they need and why. This will lead you to a better outcome than relying on incorrect assumptions. Assumptions are bad for business as they’re usually used to fill in missing information. Also, these claims can’t be proven, as opponents can easily take you for granted.

2. Practice your listening skills

Too many people don’t really listen. They ask a question, but rather than listening to the answer, they are already planning ahead to what they are going to say next themselves. Listening is a critical skill in negotiation – perhaps the most important skill of all. Ask your questions, and then practice active listening as the other party responds. Rephrase key points back to them to make sure you understand correctly. Ask follow up questions where needed. The information you gain can be valuable.

3. Keep emotions in check

Emotions can cloud your thinking, making it less likely that you will arrive at a rational decision. If you get emotional during a negotiation, it gives an advantage to the other side. As much as possible, try to set your emotions aside, and deal with the negotiation logically, making decisions based on facts, not feelings. If you find yourself getting emotional, try to step away from the table for a break, so that you can regain your composure before proceeding.

Control your body language as well; nervousness and anxiety lead to excessive sweating, shaking, and mumbling. Stop biting your lip and have the courage to look your opponents in the eye. Talk less if you’re too nervous to state your mind, use short sentences and only answer questions when somebody ask you something.

4. Don’t be desperate

If you are seen as being needy or desperate for a deal, then it gives the other party an enormous advantage. They will perceive that they can ask for any terms or concessions they want, and you will give in because you are desperate to close the deal. You are no longer on an even playing field – you have given the other side an advantage. In order for you to achieve a better outcome, you need to avoid seeming needy. Remember that you want this deal, you don’t need it.

5 points that can help strengthen or refresh negotiation strategies

5. Be ready to walk away

Have a fallback plan in mind before you enter the negotiation. What will you do if you don’t reach an agreement? Is there another supplier you can use? A completely different solution you could implement? When you are prepared to walk away from an unfavorable deal, it puts you in a more powerful position in the negotiation. The other party will realize that in order to close the deal, they will have to come up with terms that you like.

Although classic negotiation techniques can help business people get a good deal, sometimes it’s good to refresh your style by strengthening the technique. Never allow opponents to see the real you, control your emotions, and be honest. Ask for what you think you deserve, don’t hold back! Too many people assume that negotiations are confrontational and stressful. While that can happen, it’s up to you to make the whole meeting laid back and relaxed. Talk gently, maintain a proper attitude, be professional, and find a way to reach a solution without having to use an aggressive behavior.


By Jason Phillips and TheGapPartnership.com!

Here are som emore tips to help you strengthen your negotiation techniques.

Are your current negotiation techniques that efficient?

Negotiating skills are important in both business and life. You may find yourself negotiating a business deal, a compensation package for a new job, or the price and options on a new car you want to buy. No matter how much negotiating experience you have, there’s always room for improvement. You just have learned some basic principles first and then devote a lot of time to mastering the art of negotiation. Here are some great tips to improve your skills.

Prepare your plan beforehand

Quite simply, the better prepared you are before you enter the negotiation, the better your prospects of ending up with a good deal. While many people enter a negotiation with their basics figured out (such as maximum price or desired delivery date), good negotiation planning will cover much more than that. Here are a few things that a good plan will include.

  • Make sure you know what you want, and why. The why is important?
  • What are the other side’s interests? What do they want, and why? Try to look beyond the obvious.
  • What do you know about the other party’s negotiating style?
  • What could you offer, that would be worth more to the other side than it is to you?
  • How could you position this as joint problem solving?

What is your alternative to a negotiated agreement? This is your fallback plan, in case the negotiation does not work out. It also gives you an alternative to gauge against any offer they make. Don’t accept any offer that does not beat your alternative plan.

Listen, listen, and listen

Many people are not good listeners. Rather than paying attention and absorbing what the other person is saying, they are already planning their own response. Listening is a key skill for negotiation, perhaps one of the most important. This is how you can dig out information about the other party’s interests that could be useful to you later in the negotiation.

Practice active listening

Respond to the other person’s statements, asking for more detail in places. Also, restate back to them what you heard, with something like “So what you’re saying is that you really need …” This makes it more likely that you will have a correct understanding of what they meant. It also lets them know that you really are listening and paying attention to them. This sends them a positive message, and increases trust.

Think beyond just compromises

What is your approach to negotiation? Do you see it as a game that the other person has to lose in order for you to win? Or do you see it as something that can end in a win-win outcome, where both parties are happy with the result? Many tough negotiators take the first approach, and want to win in the battle against their adversary.

A different approach is to look at the “whys”. Why do you need this project completed by July 1? Why are they concerned that this does not leave enough time for testing? Rather than just looking at the fact that you disagree on the delivery date, you can try to understand the underlying reasons. You may find that there are some common interests that you both have. This lets you turn an antagonistic negotiation into one where you are both seeking to address a shared problem. That changes the dynamic of the negotiation, and can lead to a win-win outcome.

Collective negotiation

Collective negotiation

Work on your technique

There’s no such thing as the perfect negotiation technique. Things can always go south no matter how prepared you are. Regardless of your business domain, it’s important to have a good strategy laid out. Gather as much information as you can about your opponents and be honest and frank when it comes to making demands.

Dominating negotiations in marketing can be challenging. You have to really know what you’re doing to persuade people that your ideas are the best. Communication is vital; remember that; it’s just as important as patience. Let counterparts talk first and listen carefully to everything they have to say. Ask questions to get clearance and be ready to negotiate. Think in the best interest of your organization, and if a deal doesn’t live up to your expectations, walk away.

By Jason Phillips and TheGapPartnership!