“Manipulation is a means to an end. If you don’t like what may lie at that end, control the means.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert
Everyone’s manipulated. Are you aware when it happens to you? If you know when it’s occurring, how does it feel? Sometimes, when people knowingly allow others to manipulate them, their mind becomes susceptible to being tranquil. Without knowing it, they become more vulnerable to manipulation. Are you aware when you’re in such a state?
“She said she was waiting for me. So, I sped up and a cop stopped me for speeding. When I arrived at the meeting location, I discovered she wasn’t there. She wanted me to think she’d arrived. I realized she’d manipulated me. The cost of that manipulation could have been a speeding ticket had the officer given me one; fortunately, he let me go with a warning.” Those were the solemn words of an account manager to his business associates about how he’d been manipulated.
Every day of your life, you’re manipulated. To control the degree that you’re manipulated, take note …
The degree of manipulation:
The more desperate someone becomes to reach a goal, the more irrational their efforts may appear to obtain it. Note the ratcheting degree of their efforts. Heightened attempts to manipulate you may occur during such times. If someone appears to border on irrationality, intensify your sense of awareness. It’s also the time that you might be most vulnerable to being manipulated, due to a proposal appearing too good to be true. Raise your guard higher and be mindful of your thought process during such times to ward off manipulative tactics.
Understand the intent of manipulation:
There are different forms of manipulation. Thus, the word ‘manipulate’ does not necessarily have to convey a negative sentiment. There are good forms of manipulation (e.g. keeping you from harm’s way). Thus, you should assess if the attempt to manipulate you is for your betterment or detriment.
If attempts to improve your plight are made through disguised means, you should be aware of such tactics even though they’re not as potentially damaging as those that might be applied for nefarious purposes. The point is, someone is still attempting to manipulate you, which means they’re trying to control you. For better or worse, you should always maintain control of yourself. Even if you wish to relinquish control, you’re the one in control of that decision.
The greater your understanding of someone’s manipulation intent, the more understanding you’ll possess about the efforts and where such is attempting to lead you. If you don’t wish to go there, don’t allow the manipulation to continue.
Someone attempts to manipulate you every day. You can control their efforts by controlling yourself. Once you do, you’ll exert greater control over your life … and everything will be right with the world.
What does this have to do with negotiations?
Manipulation occurs in every negotiation. You and the opposing negotiator engage in it to alter the other’s perspective. The more insight you have about his goal for the negotiation and the strategies he might employ to obtain it, the greater insight you’ll have about the manipulative tactics he’ll employ to reach it. That will give you a mental form of protection, which should allow you to be more understanding of how to control his efforts. In so doing, keep your emotions in check. That’ll lead you to even greater control of the negotiation. To control your emotions, remember, you’re attempting to do the same thing to him that he’s attempting to do to you.
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
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