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In Negotiations Be On the Alert For Setup Questions

“Setup questions can be to a person what a snake charmer is to a snake, mesmerizing. Watch the person that uses setup questions to mesmerize you!” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert

“I can’t believe he asked me when I stopped beating my wife. I’ve never beaten my wife; I love her too much to do that! Those were the dejected words spoken by a man that was in the throes of a messy divorce proceeding to the question posed by the lawyer of his soon to be ex-wife.

Are you aware of how and why setup questions are designed to motivate you to a particular thought or action? In negotiations, you should be on the alert for setup questions.

A setup question (e.g. Most people would be horrified if that happened to them, right?) is used to position someone’s response as measured against what is viewed as being normal by others; it can also be used to alter the thought process of an individual.

The challenge to the responder is, if he answers contrary to the norm, he appears to be outside of that norm. That makes him appear to be abnormal. That’s a position that most people attempt to avoid, especially when such is exposed to others. The perception of abnormality can position someone as, he’s not like the rest of us, which can place that person in a squeamish position. It’s another way to apply a sense of unseen but felt leverage upon him.

When this tactic is used to alter someone’s thought process, it can be even more devastating, due to the attack on that person’s mental psyche. Thus, it can also be used to take someone off the offense and put them on the defense.

This tactic becomes more burdensome to the recipient of this ploy when used by someone that’s an aggressive or bully type of negotiator. The reason being, when confronted by an aggressive negotiator, more than likely, you’re already experiencing a heightened sense of anxiety. That may be in the form of just being more aware of your negotiation environment. The point is, you’re not relaxed, you’re on edge. That will prohibit your normal thought process from occurring which could lead to making errant decisions.

To recount, in all of your negotiations, be aware that setup questions may be posed at different times and for multiple purposes. They can be used:

For the purpose of altering your mental state. Once your mental state is altered, you may be more susceptible to falling into a defense that simply keeps you off the offense.

For positioning purposes, a setup question may be used to have you viewed in an unflattering manner, so as to marginalize the perception that others have of you and to disallow them from having empathy to your point or position.

To alter one’s mind, such questions may also be used in an attempt to make you forget, defuse, or confuse the point you were attempting to make.

The more alert you are to the possibility of setup questions being used in your negotiations, and how they might be used, the better prepared you’ll be at defending yourself against them. Doing so will give you an advantage in the negotiation … and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating! 

After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d really like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com 

To receive Greg’s free “Negotiation Tip of the Week” and the “Sunday Negotiation Insight” click here http://www.themasternegotiator.com/greg-williams/

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Growth Human Resources Management Personal Development

What Is an Emerging Leader and How to Help?

When I decided to write my book for emerging leaders, I interviewed people to learn how
others understand the phrase, “emerging leader.” I asked a random sample of individuals the
simple question: “What is an emerging leader?” It was quite illuminating to hear the various

The most popular response was that an emerging leader is a high-performing employee in a
corporation who shows great promise as a leader. Perhaps the next most popular response was
that an emerging leader is a young person who shows leadership potential.

Those definitions are certainly accurate. However, there were other definitions I heard and
others I have experienced in my corporate career. Individuals who are fresh out of college, those
early in their career, and even students are emerging leaders. Also, there is increasingly a new
class of employee who transitions into a completely different career than the one they started in.
They may not fit the traditional definition, but they, too, are an emerging leader. Finally, we might
say that anyone embarking on a leadership opportunity is an emerging leader.

Because there are several interpretations of what defines an emerging leader, I believe it is
important to expand our traditional lens. Let’s examine each word independently.


Merriam Webster provides a simple definition of emerge. It means to “become known” or to “come
into view.” That definition is quite fitting in our examination of what it means to be an emerging
leader. If we look at it as “becoming known” as a leader, that means it is far more applicable
than the traditional definition. With this expanded lens, the opportunity is open for many more
people to “come into view” as a leader in the eyes of others.


What does it mean to be a leader? Many definitions exist. Having followers makes a person a
leader. The act of leading. Having a title or position of superiority. These are basic concepts of
leadership. Leadership, however, is far more complex than these rudimentary definitions.

What good leadership is, what moral leadership is, what transformational leadership is, and
much more needs to be considered when defining leadership at its highest level.

In Adaptive Leadership, the work of Dr. Ronald Heifetz, he explores the roles the words authority and
influence play in relation to leadership. Truly emerging leaders recognize the power of influence
without authority, position, or title in their quest to become known and seen as a leader to others.

How to Help Emerging Leaders

Coaching is a powerful way to support emerging leaders. Coaching helps emerging leaders develop
their leadership potential more fully and faster.

As an executive coach, I have worked with emerging leaders identified as high potentials in their
organization to help them accelerate their performance. I enjoy working with these individuals who
already have leadership titles but are emerging in a new way.

Over the past year, I have had the tremendous privilege of working as an independent professional
leadership coach with a different type of emerging leader: students at Rice University’s Doerr Institute
for New Leaders. Rice has embarked upon what Founding Managing Director General Tom Kolditz
calls, “the most comprehensive leader development initiative at any top-twenty university.” Working
with these young people—starting as early as eighteen, in some cases, and spanning into the late
twenties when working with doctoral graduate students—has affirmed my belief in what an emerging
leader is and why the lens must be broader than traditionally held.

Working with the Rice students and seeing the measurement and results show the value of what can
happen when you use the power of coaching to bend the arch early in developing emerging leaders.
The leadership skills they have acquired are transforming their lives and the lives of those who will
be led by them.

In addition to coaching, I believe using a proper assessment tool to help emerging leaders understand
themselves is important. In working with leaders, I help them understand the difference between
their IQ (intelligence quotient) and their EQ (emotional intelligence). Historically, people were taught
it was important to have a high IQ to be a good leader and achieve success. A growing body of research
suggests that having a high EQ is a better indicator of good leadership and future success.

I am a certified emotional intelligence practitioner. When working with emerging leaders, I use the
EQ-i 2.0® and EQ 360® as my assessment tool of choice to help identify and develop emotional


Everyone, not just a select few, has the potential to become known as a leader. Emerging leaders
recognize the power of influence without authority, position or title in their quest to become known
as a leader to others.

To help emerging leaders continue their emergence, we must help them continue to develop. One of
the best ways to do that is to provide coaching with the use of a proper leadership assessment tool.
The world needs great leaders. Let’s do our part to continue to identify, help, and develop new
emerging leaders!


This post is an excerpt from Eddie Turner’s forthcoming book entitled: 140 Simple Messages to Guide Emerging Leaders. Eddie Turner, The Leadership Excelerator™ is a C-Suite Network Advisor ™ and a change agent who has worked for several of the world’s “most admired companies.” Eddie “works with leaders to accelerate performance and drive impact!”™ Contact Eddie at (312) 287-9800 or eddie@eddieturnerllc.com

Growth Personal Development

How Differentiation Beats Marketing Tactics Every Day

I work with a lot of large companies on their content marketing strategy, and they are always expecting some new technology, a different take on their data, or some exciting new AI technique. What they aren’t expecting is for me to ask them about their differentiation.

Differentiation somehow seems quaint in these modern times. With all the bits and bytes flying around in digital marketing, such old-fashioned marketing seems unimportant. But it’s actually more important than ever.

Here’s why. Content marketing isn’t a victory of technology or analytics or anything else except messaging. Content marketing is the salesperson who never sleeps, who overcomes every objection, and who is there for every prospect who wants to find your product. But you don’t win content marketing on volume. You can’t just make more and more of it and expect people to find it and reflexively buy.

Instead, content marketing is about creating messaging that the people who should buy from you will find. And who are those people? The ones that you are differentiated for.

The problem is that most marketers don’t really understand the full meaning of differentiation–it’s not just more than mere difference. It’s a difference that a particular market will pay for.

And that is where content marketing needs to start. You need to understand your personas, and your buyer journey, but without understanding your differentiation, you won’t know which personas to target. You won’t know what to say at each buyer journey step. And you certainly won’t be persuasive enough to get anyone to buy.

With all the content out there, you can’t just keep creating more messaging targeted at more people with more problems. Instead, you must be more targeted. You must focus on exactly the problems your best customers have. By satisfying them, you create the case studies that persuade even more. Only by doing so can any of the exciting digital marketing tactics make an impact. Your differentiation is the core of your strategy–it drives the tactics.

So, yes, it is important to understand your product. But it is more important to understand how your product is more perfect for your ideal customer than your competitors’. That’s the power of differentiation.