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Negotiator: Embrace Right Buy-In, Cure Stupid Hidden Disasters

“As a negotiator, getting the right buy-in helps you stop disasters before they occur.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert

A good negotiator knows, when you embrace the right buy-in, you cure hidden disasters before they can occur.

For almost a year, they secretly planned the rollout. They touted it as a facelift that would change the name and position of the association. Doing so would give it a fresh look and appearance for the 21st century. But when the rollout occurred, the backlash was severe. All the money, time, expenses, and efforts that went into the new face of the association went down a drain of despair. The question that buzzed throughout the association was, how could this have happened? The response was when you embrace the right buy-in, you stop hidden disasters. And this disaster was easily avoidable.

First, as a negotiator, what do you think went wrong? What buy-in do you seek when thinking about the obstacles you might face in your negotiations? To the degree you obtain the right buy-in, you have a better chance for a successful outcome. To the degree you get the right buy-in at the right time, your chances of a successful outcome increases substantially.


Secrecy – In the opening situation, the president of that association assembled a team of prominent members – all were members of the association. Their expertise stretched across the spectrum of branding, marketing, and social media. None were members of the vanguard that had watched over the association for decades. And the omittance of that group’s input was a silent blinking red light that foretold the death of the project.

Negotiating in secret environments can be beneficial. It can prevent unwanted distractions from slowing the progress of the negotiation. It also serves to gather the buy-in of stakeholders that might torpedo the negotiation. Thus, secrecy can be a form of control – it can also be the deliverer of disaster if not used right.

Forgotten power players – The name of the association had stood for four decades. And some of the revered founding members were still active in the association. When the new name was revealed, that vanguard was the catalyst that caused the committee’s efforts, and the new name, to meet a swift death. Had the committee consulted this vanguard, the committee would have known its efforts were doomed. They could have avoided a hidden disaster.


Had the committee charged with creating a new name involved the vanguard of the association and brought them along during the planning stage, at minimum, the new name would have stood a greater chance of becoming implemented successfully. At worse, the committee would have known that the new name was in trouble. Losses could have been averted at an earlier point and resources could have been spared.

The challenge a negotiator faces when employing secrecy is making sure the right people are involved. If they’re not involved, hidden disasters may lie in wait.

Always take into consideration who might be involved in a negotiation even if they’re not physically or visually involved in it. Seek those individuals that might have a stake in the outcome of the negotiation no matter how small you think their stake might be. There’ll be times when you won’t know the power source behind some people’s means – that’s something else to consider. There’ll also be times when smaller stakeholders will combine forces, which will present a more powerful force for you to contend with.


Getting the right buy-in is a vital component of every negotiation – even when it’s just you and the other negotiator. Doing so when you have multiple participants is even more vital to the negotiation’s success. Therefore, when you assess the impact of the buy-in component during your negotiation planning stage, consider its impact thoroughly … 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

Listen to Greg’s podcast at https://anchor.fm/themasternegotiator

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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Negotiators: Negotiate Better – Know How to Use Words Right

“Good negotiators listen for what’s not said, in order to hear words right.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert

People’s thoughts give life to the words they use to influence others. Thus, their words move people to actions. As a negotiator, to negotiate better, know how to use words right.

Using His Words:

When engaged in a negotiation, listen to the words used by the other negotiator and the way he uses those words. As an example, he makes the statement, “I only want to address one thing at a time.” Later in the negotiation, if he asks you to address multiple items/situations simultaneously, you can state, “I only want to address one thing at a time.” Citing his own words as justification for your actions will psychologically put him into a state of reflection. Note his body language to discern the effect that your words have on him (e.g. leans back resting towards one side of his body, laying a pen/pencil down/aside, looking up into the air). Any such signals will serve as validation that he’s taking your words into his thought process.

Emphasized and Changing Words:

During a negotiation, the opposing negotiator will emphasize certain words. Listen for them. Through his action, he’s denoting the importance that word has in his thought process. You can use that insight to reposition your negotiation efforts to fit the altering situation based on the way he’s thinking.

As an example, if he begins a statement by saying, “Weeee, I think I can do it.” Note the word choice change from ‘we’ to ‘I’. Plus, note how he drew ‘weeee’ out. While making that change, he was likely considering to what degree he’d have to rely on others. By changing his words, he displayed his belief that he has greater control over producing the outcome in question. That display gives you insight into where he believes his abilities lie in that situation. You can clone it by posing similar questions to move him in the direction of your needs throughout the negotiation. That insight will also allow you to cite his pride of authority and position him as such. Then, if you reach a point of decision and he refers to his need to consult others, remind him of what he’s implied about his authority. Even if he states the situation at hand is above his authority, you will have uncovered his limits.

Unspoken Words:

People say a lot through the words they don’t use. Thus, what’s not said can be more important than what’s said. It too gives insight into their thoughts.

During a negotiation, closely observe the word choice used by the other negotiator to convey his thoughts and offers. Consider what he’s not saying and why he may not be using specific words. If you sense he’s attempting to prevent you from uncovering something, ask him about it. Use the words that you believe he’s not saying and observe his reaction. If his reaction is one of dismissiveness, pay attention. You may have stumbled upon a point that requires greater probing.

When people hesitate, pause, or alter their words, they’re giving you insight into their shifting mindset. That shift represents a change in their thinking. If you’re astute, you’ll observe the cause of that action and use it to advantage the negotiation.

From the way you use words to convey your offers, to the way you use the opposing negotiator’s words to shape his perspective, if you use words right in a negotiation you’ll experience greater negotiation outcomes … 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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