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Research over the years by psychologists has shown that people lie a lot. Studies have shown that negotiators also lie in order to get the advantage in their dealings and negotiations. Sometimes it works in their favor, at times it creates mistrust and problems.
Whatever the case, it helps to be ready to tackle liars and take steps to get around it. People have a belief that they can figure out when others around them are lying – they claim that they can spot behavioral clues that indicate when someone is being untruthful.
Identifying lies and untruths not that easy
But research has shown this is to be true in just over half the population. In the main people cannot detect lies, and even more so when the lie is disguised as information that flatters or conforms to people’s belief system and expectations. This is the nature of humans, everywhere.
Since identifying lies and untruths is not that easy, it works better if you try and prevent the other person from lying, through methods that help you engage in ways of conversation that inhibit lies from the other person. These techniques don’t guarantee a 100% success but they do prepare you to deal with lies in a better manner.
Reciprocal sharing of information
People have a tendency to reciprocate received behavior. If you disclose something important or if you share sensitive, crucial information, the person you are negotiating with will also do the same. Not just sharing secrets yourselves, but even telling them that others share secrets will make them more open and willing to talk to you, truthfully.
It has also been seen that people lie less to those they know and trust as compared to with strangers. Personal interactions induce greater confidence sharing and less lying than impersonal dealings. So start your negotiations with disclosing an important point / information and the other person will return with something true also.
Asking correct questions
Many people lie, not by speaking untruths but by withholding information that is pertinent and relevant to the issue in hand. This lying by omission is just as bad as a straight-out lie. They later claim that nobody “asked them” so they kept quiet.
The trick is thus to ask the right questions. Directly asking what you want to know may or may not get you the truthful response. Research has shown that people lie less if questioned on negative or pessimistic aspects, rather than on affirmative ones, e.g. “this house needs new plumbing, right?” rather than “the plumbing is good, isn’t it?”
Be alert for dodgers
Many negotiators artfully evade difficult questions by answering at a tangent and many people cannot deal with these evasions, easily – they don’t even spot it in time.
Keep track of your questions and pin others down till you get a proper reply.
Do not promise confidentiality
Strangle enough, studies have shown that people are more likely to lie if they are told that their discussions will be kept in confidence. This assurance actually makes them suspicious so they withhold correct information.
Don’t make such promises while negotiating any deal.
Encourage informal, casual exchange of information
Be smart during negotiations and keep your ears open. Encourage “leaks” in information by slipping in innocuous questions and comments. If you can catch them unawares, they are more likely to give you the right information.
Cloak important questions with inanities so that the other person is not sure of exactly what you are trying to glean – this has a tendency to make them less careful and guarded in their discussions and negotiations. And finally attach a financial clause to your negotiations to ensure that the other party does not manage to deceive you in case of non-completion of your dealings.