5 Simple Ways To Negotiate With A Liar

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Everybody lies. And they lie more than you think. As a matter of fact, a study shows that people tell one or two lies every day, on average. And studies done in 1999 and 2005 suggest that if you have a motive and the opportunity to do so, you lie even more because people see it as a way to gain the upper hand.

Source: https://hbr.org/2016/07/how-to-negotiate...

An article published in Harvard Business Review argues that you can’t really spot a liar through behavioral cues, contrary to common belief.

And the article suggests another way of spotting liars and negotiating with them in 5 steps.

A study found out that people can correctly identify whether someone is telling a lie only 54% of the time, which is not really better than flipping a coin.

However, there’s a better way of negotiating with liars: Focusing on prevention rather than detection.

Here are those 5 steps:

1. Encourage Reciprocity

When someone shares sensitive information with us, our instinct is to match their transparency. Which means, simply telling people that others—even strangers—have divulged secrets encourages reciprocation.
A good way to jump-start reciprocity is to be the first to disclose on an issue of strategic importance (because your counterpart is likely to share information in the same category).

Imagine you are selling a piece of land. The price it will command depends on how it’s developed. So you might tell a potential buyer that you want to sell the land for the best use. This could prompt her to divulge her plans; at a minimum, you are encouraging a conversation about interests, which is critical to creating mutually beneficial deals. This strategy lets you frame the negotiation, which can enhance your chances of finding breakthroughs.

2. Ask the Right Questions

Most people like to think of themselves as honest. But we also tend to hide sensitive information that could undermine our competitive position. But you can use this information for your own good: Research indicates that people are less likely to lie if questioners make pessimistic assumptions (“This business will need some new equipment soon, right?”) rather than optimistic ones (“The equipment is in good order, right?”). It seems to be easier for people to lie by affirming an untrue statement than by negating a true statement.

3. Watch for Dodging

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When a sensitive issue is on the table, people tend to answer questions that weren't really asked, rather they choose to answer the questions they wish they’d been asked. And most of the time, we cannot detect this.

The thing you should do is to remember your question during the conversation. Take time after each response to consider whether it actually provided the information you originally wanted. Only when the answer to that question is “yes” should you move on to the next issue.

4. Don’t Dwell on Confidentiality

Research shows that when we try to assure others that we’ll maintain their privacy and confidentiality, we may actually raise their suspicions. And this actually causes them to share less information with us. A study shows that strong privacy protections can also increase lying. In addition, they’ve found that when questions are posed in a casual tone rather than a formal one, people are more likely to divulge sensitive information.

So, there’s no reason to announce that you will be protecting the information they’re giving you unless they specifically asked you to.

5. Cultivate Leaks

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People leak information even without knowing. And when they leak mindlessly, the information tends to be accurate.  That means, beware of what people are telling even when they’re not officially in an interview: an everyday conversation may sometimes give you what you didn’t even ask for.

So it’s also important for you to develop listening skills very carefully.

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