5 Negotiating Tips to Uncover Hidden Agendas

Hidden agendas are the personal are the private goals and objectives that impact how we publicly negotiate. Everyone has these agendas. Very likely your hidden agenda will be far different than the other person's or even those of co-negotiators.

Hidden agendas are the meat and potatoes of good leaders/managers. Good leaders have a sense of mission, a purpose that garners the respect of others. Negotiators who can demonstrate these same leadership traits will garner the same respect. Just as leaders can impact the outcome of meetings so too can effective negotiator-leaders impact the outcome of a negotiation.

fingers_crossed_behind_back_sm.jpgEvery participant in a negotiation has a personal agenda. Those agendas are hidden unless they are shared with the group and most people don't openly share personal agendas. If they did, there would be little mystery or drama in life or our personal interaction.

So how do you uncover another's hidden agenda? By being a good detective:

1. Ask questions. Soliciting the other person's needs and wants is essential in setting the parameters of the negotiation.

2. Think like a reporter: Ask follow-up questions designed to cross-check or validate previous answers.

3. Feel free to question responses. It is important to understand what you are being told.

4. Gather and digest the responses to develop a basic understanding and appreciation of the other person's perspective, basic needs and stated wants regarding the situation.
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5. Observe the non-verbal reactions that may indicate responses that are less than forthright.

Negotiation is far more than simply sitting at the table and exchanging proposals. It is the process of learning enough about the other person to be able to engage the person in a dialogue that makes that person want or need to work with you.

Remember, negotiating is persuading someone else to do what you want them to do.