October 08, 2009

Coaching Visitors to Handle Deception

The Harvard Program on Negotiation Blog offers some tips that may be useful to visitors attempting to negotiate their own resolution. Maurice Schweitzer, associate professor at the Wharton School, points out that individuals in negotiations must make decisions based on incomplete information. Furthermore, the use of deception is common in negotiation—and, unfortunately, most people are poor lie detectors. Schweitzer offers two tips if you are afraid of being hoodwinked:
  • Square verbal and nonverbal cues. Whenever possible, meet with your negotiating counterpart in person so that you can take in both her verbal and her nonverbal behavior—and any discrepancies between the two.
  • Ask lots of questions. By asking many questions during a negotiation, you can increase the “cognitive load” of a possibly deceptive counterpart and increase your odds of exposing the truth.
These tips are generally consistent with the kind of coaching offered by Ombuds, but it's good to have advice for this specific concern. (Harvard PON Blog.)

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