“To uncover hidden secrets, get others to disclose them. The real secret is knowing how to entice them to do that.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert
“Why were you blathering in there? You disclosed our secrets!” Such were the words of one exasperated negotiator to her team member.
When was the last time you disclosed too much information? Were you aware of doing that? The methods good negotiators use can expose hidden secrets. They know how to silently probe your mind and get you to divulge those secrets when negotiating.
Continue reading to discover what those techniques are, how you can use them, and how you can prevent them from being employed against you.
1. Broad Perspective
Begin your hidden interrogation by speaking from a very broad perspective; I’m talking about ‘side of the barn broad’. The intent is to arouse suspicion that you might be on to something greater than what you’re portraying. Hang just enough bait to get the other negotiator talking. Note what he talks about, how he does it, and any mood and/or body language alterations that occur as he’s speaking. Look for displays of calmness versus tension.
2. Known Unknowns
Consider citing unknown knowns. Cite information the other negotiator doesn’t think you have. You’ll get his attention. Enhance this ploy by making proclamations that are slightly off the mark. That will loosen his tongue. Observe what that tongue divulges. Even if you think it’s the truth, state otherwise. Note the degree that he’s consistent and convincing. Repeat this process if his words remain suspect.
3. Images and Words
While engaging in the negotiation, invoke conjured thoughts from the images your words create. The effectiveness of this ploy will appear in glazed eyes, him retreating into a dazed like state or one in which he’s melancholia. During that state, pose probing questions to uncover hidden secrets. You should know what questions to ask based on what you suspect is undisclosed.
4. Pattern Interrupts
Introduce confusion into the negotiation by saying or doing something unexpectedly; for the best effect create an impression that’s random. The purpose is to jolt his mind away from his current thoughts and instead focus on something that’s superfluous. Then, ask him to resume where he left off. No matter what he says, provide your assessment of what you thought he was saying before the interruption occurred. Present a perspective that’s aligned with an outcome you’re seeking. Watch what he says in response and how he says it (i.e. lean away/look to the side = putting distance from himself and your words, focusing his eyes on you/leaning towards you = aligned with the intent of his words). Based on your assessment, challenge him with your version of the story and observe how he reacts. If he alters his position, even slightly, you’ll be at the threshold of hidden information.
Sounds and the deepness/richness or lack of can lead to different thought processes. Seek to understand the sounds and pace that move your negotiation counterpart to experience different thoughts. Then, employ those sounds as your assistant to uncover deeper/hidden thoughts; you should also consider using a cacophony of sounds to disrupt her current thought process.
If she’s stymied in thought, use the ‘universal focus’ or ‘infinite depth of field’ approach to assist her in liberating those thoughts (Note: In some movies, multiple scenarios occur simultaneously. The viewer decides which one to focus on.) Observe the one she chooses and assess the degree of hidden information that’s contained in that choice.
In your very next negotiation, attempt to uncover hidden information by utilizing the above strategies. You’ll be amazed at what you uncover … 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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