Negotiating in Life , Negotiating Tips , Business Negotiation September 16, 2011

Lying during a business negotiation?

Business negotiations are similar to poker games in that you don’t reveal all your cards to the other party (player).   But, there is a vast difference between not revealing information and willfully providing the wrong information...

Business negotiations are similar to poker games in that you don’t reveal all your cards to the other party (player).  But, there is a vast difference between not revealing information and willfully providing the wrong information.

One move—bluffing—is ethical and the other move—lying—can be unethical.  Dr. Chester Karrass says the following: “Discretion in making claims and statements should not be confused with misrepresentation.”

You should not allow your side or the other party’s side to engage in lying. Dr. Karrass recommends the following policies:

  • Never condone lawbreaking, lying or gross misrepresentation.

  • Make your team sensitive to the important of avoiding the above.

  • Only hire ethical people for your team.


Harvard University’s Program on Negotiation tells you how to “Defend yourself against deception.”

The advice is the following:
you will sometimes encounter negotiators who feel comfortable lying to you. To reduce the likelihood that you’ll face deceptive tactics, try prefacing important negotiations with a discussion of ethics. Tell your counterpart that you intend to behave as fairly and truthfully as possible, and ask him to do the same. When you do catch someone in a relatively minor lie, consider discussing the matter directly to see whether you feel comfortable moving forward. If the lie is significant and trust seems beyond repair, walking away may be the best choice.

How do you deal with lying during a business negotiation?
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