Before they began the negotiation, he heaped constant prays on her. She blushed and wondered if he had a deeper affinity. Finally, she said, “okay, enough with the manipulation efforts – let’s get down to business.” To which he replied, “I’ve been discussing business all along.” That’s when she said in a snarky tone, “the way you were carrying on, I thought you wanted to date me.” At that, he became a little crestfallen. That’s when he realized his prays had been perceived as manipulation. He had made a big mistake! Do you know how to avoid negotiation manipulation mistakes?
Continue reading and you’ll discover how to avoid and use manipulation in your negotiations.
Manipulations – good – bad – it depends:
Whether someone feels manipulated depends on their perspective. If you ask most people what the definition of manipulation is, they’ll state that it’s a negative act. It can mean to advantage oneself based on the skill applied to do so. It can also mean to address with skill a process or treatment – in that case, it’s neutral – neither negative or positive.
Before engaging someone in a negotiation, understand their perspective of prays, deference, and appreciation of one’s achievements. And be mindful not to be perceived as effusive. You don’t want your intent to be misperceived.
Some negotiators begin a negotiation unaware of how their actions are being perceived. Those individuals should acquire greater negotiation skills.
Smart negotiators are aware that every action may be scrutinized to disclose hidden intents. They look for body language signals to indicate indifference to offers and counteroffers.
Being unobservant opens the door to misperception. When you observe signals that indicate you’re being perceived as brownnosing or deceitful, those may be signs that you’ve wandered into the realm of making manipulation mistakes. Seek feedback as to how you’re being perceived and if necessary, clarify your intent.
Body Language Observance:
When detecting perceived manipulation through someone’s body language, there are a few signs to observe.
- Head-cock to either side – This gesture indicates interest. It may be saying, where’s this going? Take note of the number of times the head moves from one side of the body to the other. That’ll indicate a greater intent to gain more insight about what’s being said. Look for other signs to add deeper meaning to head-cocking gestures. Smiles, along with interruptions, can lend to that insight.
- Smiles – A smile doesn’t necessarily mean agreement. With perceived manipulation, a smile may indicate, let’s see how far he’ll go. Or, I don’t believe he’s saying that.
If you have doubt about a gesture’s significance, inquire about how it’s perceived. Some people find themselves on a slippery slope because they don’t recognize the first step. Don’t let that happen to you.
- Interruptions – When someone interrupts you, they want to alter what they’re hearing. They may be asking you to cite your case differently for greater clarity.
The point is, they’re seeking more information. Take heed. They may be signaling hidden thoughts that states they’ve become more attuned to what you’re saying. Understand why that’s so.
Manipulation can be an effective tool if it’s used correctly. To do so, understand the mindset of the other individual – and his boundaries about perceived effusiveness and lack of respect. Those boundaries will be the sweet spot to place your praise. Skirt those boundaries and you’ll venture into murky waters.
The best time to manipulate someone is when you slightly alter what they already believe to be true. It’s even better if you’ve established trust first. Thus, the more they see themselves in your reflection, the greater the opportunity for manipulation.
Please be aware not to abuse this technique. It can have deadly consequences in a negotiation. Always treat your opponent with the utmost respect. If you don’t intentionally manipulate someone towards harm, you’ll have greater negotiation outcomes… and everything will be right with the world.