How to Uncover Hidden Agendas During a Negotiation

It’s vital to uncover hidden agendas in negotiations. The ulterior motives and private goals that exist just out of sight can quickly derail and stall negotiations if not detected and dealt with early.

Everyone has agendas, but how do you discover these hidden motivations?

A hidden agenda is not a bad thing – great leaders have a sense of mission that informs their life and decisions. We all have this type of internal motivation. Sometimes this might simply be an intense competitive streak, or, perhaps, the organization you are negotiating with is rife with politics.

Having an understanding of precisely what you are dealing with is essential to being successful in negotiations.

Here are some tips to help identify hidden agendas in negotiations:

1. Ask questions: Asking questions and listening is a great way to gauge needs and wants. Try to keep the questions open-ended, to avoid telling the other person the answer you’d like to hear.
2. Be a journalist: A good reporter asks follow-up questions to gain details. You also can double check information and see if there are contradictions in their answers.
3. Question their answers. This can clarify points and provide much-needed context to what is being said.
4. Internalize the responses. You have to gain an understanding of the other person’s perspective. Understanding their answer is essential to empathize with their point of view – even if you don’t agree with them.
5. Non-verbal communication. Much of our communication is non-verbal and observing body language is a key component to effective negotiation.

A negotiation is not sitting around a table exchanging pleasantries. It is, in some ways, a quest for the truth. Properly engaging with the people you are negotiating with and doing what you have to do to have a productive dialogue is essential for success.

Discover your negotiation style and how to negotiation win-win deals in our negotiation skills training.

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Tom Abbott
Tom Abbott is the author of 'The SOHO Solution' and 'Social Selling' and the creator of the online sales training platform SOCO Academy. Sales leaders engage Tom for his proven solutions to building high performance sales teams that exceed targets and for motivational keynotes that energise their audiences.

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