PreneurCast is a marketing + business podcast. Each week, author and marketer Pete Williams and digital media producer Dom Goucher discuss entrepreneurship, business, internet marketing and productivity.
This week, Pete talks to Jenny Radcliffe, an expert in non-verbal communication, specifically when applied to negotiation and deception detection. They discuss how to effectively prepare for a negotiation, and some simple ways to spot a deception
Pete talks to Jenny about non-verbal communication and its application
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Negotiation with Jenny Radcliffe
Dom Goucher: Hello, everyone, and welcome to this week’s edition of PreneurCast with me, Dom Goucher, and him, Pete Williams.
Pete Williams: Hello, hello, everyone. Welcome back to another episode.
Dom: Indeed, indeed. This is another one of your conversations that we’ve got this week, and–very interesting topic. I’ll give you a little heads up, folks. Pete’s been talking about negotiation this week, and I’ll give you a little bit more about that in a second.
But it’s a topic that I’ve been waiting for somebody to talk about for a while, and I’ll give you that much, so far. But before we get into that, what’s been happening this week, Pete?
Pete: Well, yeah, the usual week in the Preneur world. Just continuing my training for some Ironman stuff, and toying with doing a 40-mile run for a friend’s 40th birthday in March, which will be interesting. So just thinking of doing that. Haven’t committed yet, but it’s 40 miles, about 60 kilometers in the Australian language. So that could be a very interesting little attempt in March.
Dom: Yeah, if it was anybody else, I’d probably say you need to look at who you’re hanging out with if they want you to run 40 miles for their birthday.
Pete: Yeah, a relatively new friend of mine, I guess you’d call it. He’s very, very fit. We’re trying to be very, very fit at least. Yeah, for his 40th, he wants to run 40 miles. Looking for a few people to either do part of it or all of it with him, and I put my hand up to be his second brain during the run. So, yeah, it could be interesting.
Dom: Cool, cool. So you’re back on the training for the Ironman again?
Dom: Have you got a date in mind for that?
Pete: Yeah, I’m doing two Half Ironmans. One, I think, is the last week of January, and then the other one’s the first week of Feb. So a week apart, two halves.
Dom: So it’s that long, old training regime again?
Pete: It’s all back on. It’s daylight savings in Australia, now, too. That means it’s a little bit lighter at night, and that makes it easier to get out and do stuff in the evening if I have to after Eli goes to bed. But, other than that, already starting to think about 2014.
It’s getting close to the end of this year, it’s the last quarter. Most of the stuff, this year, is planned out now. It’s just about execution, which is, funnily enough, probably the easy part if you do the planning right.
Now it’s just about thinking through what 2014 looks like, what are the big projects, what stuff are we not going to do, what are we going to do that’s new, what we’re going to keep doing that’s worked really, really well this year. Just keep the foot on the accelerator and move forward.
Dom: Well, there’s a whole bunch of topics that I think we could probably wrap up into a show on planning and forward thinking. Just to pull you back a little bit, because I know when you’re doing your training, you are pretty much always listening to some form of content, usually an audiobook or one or another. What’s currently on the old iPod or iPhone at the moment?
Pete: It’s still Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Total Recall book. I think I mentioned it (I don’t know if it was the last episode, or a couple of episodes back), that it’s 23 hours and a half hours long.
Dom: That was a while ago.
Pete: That’s a lot of runs, and you can’t listen to a whole lot of stuff on the pool. So I’m listening to that when I’ve been running. On the bike, I’m listening to another Audible book, The Warren Buffett Way, an investing book. I tend to try and have different books for different activities.
The problem with riding is that I don’t have the headphones up as loud as I do when I’m running because there’s cars and traffic, and safety is a much better issue on the road than it is when I’m out running. So I pick a book that I’m interested in but not devoted to, if that makes sense.
Because sometimes I’ll miss words occasionally if I’m doing a certain thing on the bike, or there’s lots of traffic around the area that I’m riding for that three or four-minute stint of the journey. So I listen to a book that I’m not engaged in or devoted to.
The Warren Buffett Way is an interesting book, hearing about Warren Buffett’s story and Berkshire Hathaway, and his investing process and things like that. I’m finding it intriguing, but it doesn’t really bother me to miss parts of the story. Whereas with Arnie’s book, I’m really, really engrossed by his journey from growing up in the European countries.
He moved around a little bit with his bodybuilding. He suddenly just appeared in California, he wrote it in the book. He’s now in Cali working out in Gold’s Gym and starting his domination around in the United States. It’s been very cool.
Dom: Yeah. I’m still shocked by the length of it, but it’s keeping you engaged, which is a great testament to the book. And I do find that story another one of those examples of what, at the time, may have appeared like an overnight success, but really took a really long time and a lot of hard work.
Pete: And planned. With any book, how much of him writing down saying it was all planned and thought through, like, really, how detailed was his planning? You don’t know. He talks about very clear examples of the things he did from a very, very young age, from 17, 18.
His goal was to get to America and wanted to make it big in America. There was a huge bodybuilder at the time who had played Tarzan, I think it was in the movies. That was one of the very first movies that Arnie saw growing up. He was like, “Oh, I want to do that,” in terms of being a big, muscly bodybuilder, and then going to the movies.
He really structured a lot of stuff to get to that place and worked damn hard at it. This is the thing that so many people don’t really realize about Arnie. I think a lot of people will probably be familiar with it, given his success in three or four different areas – politics, movies, business, and Mr. Olympia and the bodybuilding.
But he is one determined, hardworking son of a bitch. You have to grant him that everything he’s got has come from reps, whether it’s reps in the gym or chops while he’s acting. I haven’t got to the in-depth part of the acting and the politics stuff yet. But it’s really inspiring how hard he worked to get to what he wanted to do. It’s incredible.
Dom: Yeah. I love those stories, and I think there’s as much to be learned from reading about people like that who may seem completely unrelated to our businesses. Just for the determination, the planning, the goals, the focus, the hard yards, as you call it. All that kind of stuff, it can be just as inspirational, as helpful as reading about the strategies and tactics of business.
Pete: Yeah. This is the thing I find really interesting. A lot of people I talk to go, yeah, yeah, of course he worked hard, but he had the God-given talents to start with. That’s probably partly true, but you still have to work your butt off. It’s interesting. A correlation that popped into my head recently was, I listened to another podcast interview with a comedian.
He’s an Australian comedian who set out to New York to do a whole bunch of stuff. Scott, the comedian getting interviewed, was talking about him preparing for a recent comedy festival gig. He was writing his comedy and trying to get his skits down.
He sublet, I guess you call it, a desk in a friend’s office and went there every day to write jokes. And that just, when I heard that, sounds so incongruent. Like a comedian–not that you write your jokes and plan out your jokes, that’s pretty obvious as a comedian.
But during this preparation period for the comedy festival, he would get up, leave his house, go to an office, sit in a cubicle, and write comedy every day. That just really blew my mind about the dedication that even comedians need to display to be funny, and I think comedy and humor is an innate kind of ability.
If you’re funny, you’re just funny. You sit there and you think on your couch, and you start writing about it in your notebook your countless cool jokes. But he was very, very disciplined to the point of going into an office and sitting in an office to do his comedy.
So, for people who are trying to be entrepreneurs, doing it on your kitchen table or your laundry room, if a comedian goes to an office every day to be a professional at his craft, what should entrepreneurs be doing?
Going into an office every day to be a professional in your craft. That was a very interesting, similar kind of thing to what Arnie talks about quite a lot in Total Recall.
Dom: Cool, cool. Interesting. Well, I think, with that, we should move on to your conversation for this week. I said it at the beginning, it’s a topic that fascinates me. Usually, listeners, this is a little secret, if something fascinates me, it’s usually because I suck at it.
I’m a bit like Pete, I don’t like being bad at things. But this week, Pete, you were talking to Jenny Radcliffe, a very interesting specialist in the art and science of negotiation.
Pete: Yeah. She’s got quite a long resume in terms of various different types of negotiation, and training and consulting. It was a great little conversation about these different tactics that you think about when you’re negotiating–what your mindset should be, what are some of the things that you should be doing, how do you read the other people that you’re negotiating with.
That’s where a lot of her skills and advice is around in terms of reading people, and the micro-nuances that the person does that you can get a non-verbal understanding of what they’re trying to say, or where they’re really at in the negotiation sequence.
You can use that to your own advantage. It was a really cool conversation, a lot of stuff to take notes on, and some books and resources that she recommended too, which, if you’re interested in this, highly, highly recommended. Check them out because they’re fun, engaging and interesting reads.
Dom: Definitely. And listen, folks, it’s a fascinating conversation. But listen how–as Pete said, Jenny’s got a perspective and mindset about negotiation, and this is not your standard textbook sales negotiation-type of stuff. This is real world, very practical, very applicable stuff.
So, even if you think you know about negotiation, this is definitely worth a listen for a different perspective on stuff. So, with that said, get your pencils and paper out ,or just listen carefully into this conversation with Pete and Jenny Radcliffe.
[Pete’s conversation with Jenny Radcliffe starts]
Pete: Well, Jenny, thank you so much for joining the show. Really appreciate your time.
Jenny Radcliffe: Great to be here.
Pete: Now, I know you are super busy consulting with governments, corporations, and everyone in between on negotiations. Could you give a more formal background of what you do and who you are?
Jenny: Sure. I’m Jenny Radcliffe, and I’m a consultant and a trainer in a couple of different areas. Originally, I did training in normal (if you like) business disciplines. Everything from project management to procurement stuff. But I ended up specializing in negotiation because I did a lot of work in Asia and other places.
And I was terrible at languages, I just couldn’t pick them up. So I used to watch body language and non-verbal communications. From that, I studied that, and I became, I guess, an expert in non-verbal communications and particularly in deception.
And so, in terms of what I do these days, is I negotiate, I do a lot of persuasion and influence training, and communications in terms of what people say and how credible it is, but also in the way people’s faces and body language move and connect to those types of things as well.
Everything about persuasion and influence techniques is applicable to every type of negotiations. There are lots of types of negotiations. But in the same way a crisis negotiation requires certain levers that you push (or levers, you guys call them). The thing is, everybody is motivated in certain ways.
What you have to do in any situation, any kind of negotiation situation, is you have to leave your emotion to one side and try and look at things rationally. So you’re looking to see what motivates this person, and how we can achieve objectives for that person based on a motivation.
In the same way you’d look at anything else, you would look at what this person is trying to achieve, what does this person not want to happen. On a basic level, everyone is motivated by pleasure and pain. So you look at what makes this person comfortable, what makes this person uncomfortable.
How can we get movement? You’re always looking for movement. You’re looking for people to come towards a conclusion. And really, I have to say, in a crisis situation, there isn’t anything else, it’s just those things.
Things change from minute to minute, and there isn’t a formula for any type of negotiation. Although, there are rules in terms of the way people act and behave, which, if you follow those, means it’s more likely that you’ll get a good outcome. I hope that all makes sense.
Pete: Absolutely. You know any rules you can share to give a more in-depth look at this?
Jenny: As I’m saying, the things that you’re looking at; if you’re looking to take the emotional temperature of any situation down, what you don’t want is people being led by emotions, whether that be anger or fear. You want people to see situations more rationally. And so, there are a few things.
If you talk about things in a traditional negotiation, like a contract negotiation, a lot of the time you’re looking to think win-win. But, in any negotiation, some of the training that we tend to give the guys is about let’s not look at that, let’s just look at what everyone’s trying to achieve.
Let’s look at objectives. Because the minute you talk about things like win-win you reduce it to a competition, to the sports field. It’s the language of the sports field. And you want to leave your ego behind. The thing is that people bring egos to negotiations, all types, and that ego needs to be left behind.
And if you leave that ego behind, you’ll see things more clearly in any situation, and be able to come to a good outcome for everyone. But it’s not necessarily win-win. Of course, win-win is better than win-lose.
I always teach people to just take that, take all of that away and just think, what are we trying to achieve? So you can chose to lose, as long as you achieve what you set out to achieve. It doesn’t really matter.
Pete: So, redefining loss in that regard, you’re saying the other person may get a better deal. But as long as you’ve got your (for want of a better term) minimum expectations or minimum requirements, that could be a positive outcome. Is that a fair assessment of what you’re saying or not?
Jenny: Yes, that’s fair enough. It’s that type of thing. What you’re looking to do is you’re looking to achieve what you set out to achieve. And as long as you set yourself a good target, there’s no reason why everyone else can’t win, as well. Perhaps slightly different in the criminal situation. But if your target is that everyone gets out safe and that type of thing, then that’s a win, isn’t it?
Pete: Absolutely. The interesting thing is, do you ever discuss this probably in training: the emotional baggage that can come with a situation like that? I’ve seen many times when someone’s going to a negotiation with, I would love this outcome, whatever it might be.
You find it threaded out in the negotiation that you get that outcome, yet it appears by where the conversation’s gone, or some other stuff is still after the fact, that you could have gotten a better deal, or you felt like they still go the better deal even though you got your minimum expectations or minimum requirements.
You have this almost negotiator’s remorse, which seems to have come well after the fact. But how do you deal with that, as well? It’s, I think, an issue that people do have during a negotiation. They say, okay, I’ve hit my minimum targets, but this person’s doing a better deal. How do you keep that ego in check so you don’t have that remorse after the fact?
Jenny: You’re touching on such a cool thing because this is so true. Can I just frame it in terms of contracts and business negotiations? What happens is, you go in and you achieve your expectations. And then, why are we not all happy with that? There are two things.
The first thing is, psychologically, in a negotiation, you don’t feel that you’ve won unless you think that the other guy has lost. You’re not happy, and most people are not happy until they see the pain on the other side, right? Because it just doesn’t feel like a win unless the other guy looks like they’ve lost.
Again, the whole way that we frame the situation is really not productive, but it’s taught by numerous trainers in negotiations. It’s taught by the media and by movies. You’ve not won unless the other one loses. So that’s the first thing. The first thing is you’re not happy unless they’re experiencing pain.
Pain can be, “Oh, this guy drives a really hard bargain.” If the other side goes, “Great, what a great deal, I’m really happy.” There’s something about, “I could have pushed him harder.” That’s the first thing. The second thing is, if somebody feels that they’ve hit their minimum expectations, but there was more on the table, it usually means they’ve not done their homework.
Because one of the most important thing about any negotiation is the preparation that goes up front. I’ll give an example in training. People will accept the list price for a house. Let’s just, for ease, make it a $100,000.
If someone comes and gives you it, you should be happy, right? That’s what the house is worth, and that’s what you wanted to achieve your goals. And especially if there’s been a little bit of haggling around that.
Pete: You need to haggle.
Jenny: Yes, because negotiation is a ritual. If you don’t go through the ritual haggle, you’ve not made gains, you see, and so you’re not happy. So let’s assume that you’ve got a clever opponent, and they let you work hard for it a little bit. Maybe you come out for a bit more than it’s worth. Maybe $105,000.
And then you find out that, actually, they’re going to invest $20,000, convert it to flats, and have an annual income of say, $200,000 or $75,000. In other words, with a bit of homework, you could have upped your minimum requirement anyway because now you know what it’s really worth to them.
So it’s a case of you need to know what you want, but you need to know what the deal is worth to the opposition. And there’s a simple way to find that out, which is to keep asking why. Why do they want to buy from me? Why do they want to buy from me right now?
It’s those simple, investigative questions that mean that you will get not just your minimum goal, but the maximum value available on the table. And if you don’t, you should feel annoyed. That’s negotiator’s remorse because you’ve not done the job.
Pete: Yeah. I think that thing is you’ve got to be smart about asking the why as well, not to be very blatant about it and sit there and go, why is that? And they answer the question, and then why is that? You just mix it into the conversation so you can come back to it and keep away, and come back to it again, so it looks more natural. Is that a fair take on how to make that happen?
Jenny: The thing is, we’re talking about important negotiations, what is important to you. But you should never try and negotiate on your feet. You should always have planned it, which includes planning good questions, understanding what information you need from the other party, and how you’re going to get that information from them.
And that is not something that most people can do very easily without planning. You need to say, I need to know why they want it, I need to know why they want it right now. I don’t want to ask blatantly because they may not tell me. But sometimes they do, and sometimes you’ve just got to ask.
The house example is based on a real example. The house of a friend of mine not long ago, sold the house that she was selling. If she had just asked why, that buyer would have said, “We’re converting it.” That tiny piece of information that the buyer didn’t think was important would be a massive flag for me.
Because that changes everything. What people tend to do is, when new information or surprising information is presented, what they don’t do (and it’s a little trick, but it’s such a clever thing), they don’t just take a break and think about it.
They keep going. If I hear the surprise or information I didn’t know, I say, right ,I’m just going to take a comfort break. I’m going to take a few minutes just to absorb what you’ve just said.
Pete: You do try and break the conversation so you can absorb it, and reevaluate, and reassess, and take stock of where you are right now, and what you can do with that information.
Jenny: Absolutely. You might want to wait a little while, if you don’t want to flag to the other party, oh, my God, we didn’t know this, and this is important to me. You might want to plan for it. If you’re in a team, you might want to have a signal, a non-verbal signal or something.
Pete: A kick under the table.
Jenny: Kick under the table, or fake a seizure or something, whatever that signal is. You say, that’s something new and we just need to reassess. It’s a dynamic situation. You need a plan, and you need your preparation. But you have to be prepared to flex as well.
That’s what turns one from being a good negotiator to being an excellent negotiator. It’s that you change as the information changes and circumstances change. Flexibility. Always flexible.
Pete: Obviously, that type of stuff comes from experience, and you can’t go and negotiate a property purchase every single week to get up to that experience, or keep going back to your sole manufacturer every week and renegotiate the price of your widgets. A lot of that just comes with experience.
What are some ways to fast-track that? Is there any good books you could recommend or things people can do to learn that habit? Because that is, I think, a really important habit to build up, to be able to take stock, reassess, and move forward, but not doing it on your feet, on the fly, like you suggested.
Jenny: There’s a few things. Books I could recommend, I could sit here and empty everyone’s bank account to recommend book after book after book, seriously. There are some books that I recommend in terms of negotiation. I’ll perhaps do that in a minute.
In terms of being more attentive in the moment, being more or less likely to keep going, to not take stock of the situation, there are a few things. I’m a very talkative person. I had to learn, very early on, to shut my mouth. You’ve got two ears and one mouth.
The biggest mistake people make, and the biggest thing that you can work on, is to listen more than you talk. The person in control of the negotiation is mostly not the person speaking, it’s the person listening. It sounds so simple, but it’s so hard because we are desperate to get all the information out.
We hear something, we’ve got an opinion on that or we want to make a comment on that. What I find is, people just keep going and dig holes for themselves. We start talking, and then it’s not planned. There’s so much information comes out in that stream of consciousness.
In the conversation, the other person’s just letting you talk, it can be quite dangerous because you’ll show your deck. You’ll show all the cards that you hold. The first thing is, is to listen more than you talk. Anyone who knows me well knows that for me, that’s the hardest skill I had to master.
But in a negotiation, I talk a lot less than I speak. That’s the first thing. And the second thing is you have to try to master your emotions. Because negotiation tends to be a pressure situation, tends to have high stakes in terms of you’re going to spend money, or you’re on deadlines, or you’re in front of your boss.
For small businesses, any investment that you make is a huge commitment. We get emotional. People are emotionally driven. It’s very easy for people who know what they’re doing to say an emotional word and have somebody click into an emotional state.
When you’re in an emotional state, and you might hide it well; you’re not necessarily crying or red in the face or punching somebody. But you are suddenly you’re focused more on the emotion than your logical side. It’s very difficult to really be reasonable.
What you have to try to do is master your emotions. There are a couple of ways to do this. One of them is mindfulness meditation, which I know sounds crazy. When it was first put to me as something to do, I’m like, “I’m too busy for that. I have enough of career commitments and family commitments.
I’m not going to sit down and just empty my mind.” But it really helps you think more clearly, and it really helps you not be so reactive to the situation. It helps you take a step back. The other thing to do is to keep a diary of what makes you angry, sad, emotional. I’m going to say emotional–that’s a bad word in our culture.
People think I mean it like I’m going to hug a tree and knit my own [yogurt]. I don’t mean it like that. I mean nothing less than having control of your mind so that you can observe other people more acutely. That is a skill. That’s a Jedi skill, but you have to practice it. Now, those two things alone help you control that room.
Pete: I want to delve into that stuff from the other side of the table a little bit, in a moment. You talk quite a bit about reading deception, and reading other people’s, and their body language, and trying to pick when they’re emotional so you can react.
Before I go in that rabbit hole, I want to touch on something that you mentioned before about if something’s important to you, when you’re negotiating something that’s important to you. One of those–I wouldn’t call it a truism, but I’ll call it maxim, is that is in this negotiations space, is this, those who want it least wins.
That whole traditional argument that those who go into a negotiation with the least amount to lose, or the least desire for the outcome, always tend to win. I think it’s true to a certain extent. But I’d love your take on this, Jenny, about how do you deal with that? When you’re going into a negotiation for something that you’re really excited about.
Maybe it’s a contract negotiation of something that you’re super excited about. Maybe it’s a joint-venture deal, or a potential client signing on, or whatever it might be that you’re really interested in that outcome. How do you not supplicate to them? How do you go in there with the right mindset but still have that control?
Jenny: It’s true, and I’ve made those mistakes in my own business.
Pete: Everyone has, absolutely.
Jenny: Over the years, even doing this for a living because you think, oh, God, this will be so cool. This would be the best thing ever. It’ll sort us out financially for a while, and I’d love to work with these guys. The answer is, it’s the same one as before, it’s very boring, but it’s preparation.
See the thing is, when I prepare, I would say, as a down and dirty pointer for preparation would be, what is it that I want to get from this negotiation and give myself a zone of agreement, high and low figures, those types of things. You also always put yourselves in the other party’s shoes.
There’s a guy called Stuart Diamond, and he wrote a book called Getting More, which is a book I’d recommend for negotiation and to get you guys up to speed on negotiation because it’s very nicely, easily written. It’s a very strong concept. Stuart Diamond says, see the pictures in their heads.
If I was this guy, or I was this lady, why are they there? Because if they’re talking to you, they’re interested. Why are they there, and what would they want to see from me? Again, it’s about that preparation. I was being interviewed on another podcast a while ago.
I said, if I was in a really high-stakes negotiation, I’d try to spend at least double the time in preparation as I expect that negotiation to take. If I think the negotiation’s going to be less than half a day, then I automatically default to a day. If it’s two hours, I don’t say four, I say a day. The reaction I got was like, really? Really?
Pete: What do you do for eight hours?
Jenny: Yeah, really. That much, because, if it’s high stakes, if it’s that important, it is worth your time. If you want to go in there, and you want to ace it, and you don’t want to seem like a little puppy dog, when someone’s holding this little bone just out of your reach, you’ve got to be focused, prepared, and know where they’re coming from.
Pete: What are you doing those eight hours? You’re spending six and a half in mindful meditation, or are you looking on LinkedIn? What are you doing for that time? A lot of the time, you have no idea what the other person wants before you go into that meeting. That’s the reason you’re having that discussion is to have that investigation come out, as you alluded to earlier. What do you do in that time to prepare yourself?
Jenny: The thing is, I would take issue with that. I think you do know. You have some idea of what the opposition wants, and you have to make informed assumptions. There is some search. I want to know everything about someone I’m going to negotiate with. I want to know what type of person are they? What’s their background?
What was their degree in? Did they do a degree in engineering? Or are they sales? Are they likely to be flamboyant, or are they introverted? I’ve worked with lots of different people over the years, and I always knew if this guy got an engineering background or a finance background. What is his attitude to risk?
What are they likely to be like? Then you test those assumptions in the meeting. You see if you were right or wrong. That’s when the flexibility comes in. What I’m trying to say before, I’d be looking at everything from the actual people I’m going to be negotiating with.
Because you never negotiate with a company, you negotiate with an individual. People forget that. People say, oh, my God, I’m going to negotiate with giant corporations. No, you’re negotiating with individual people, all of whom have emotional levers. See, I got it right?
Jenny: Motivation for and against things, have interests, their fears; you’re negotiating with individuals on behalf of a company. I’m looking for as much information as I can get of who I’m opposite to try and pull as much out of that deal in terms of value for everyone that I can.
The best negotiation is when, not only to achieve what you wanted to achieve, but so do they, and then there’s more value added as well. You’ll only do that by really doing your homework, knowing what the marketplace is like that they’re in. If you’re buying a product or you’re selling a product, where does that fit with them?
Is that in their product life cycle? Is it something that they’re very excited about, because it’s new technology, and it’s going to take the company forward if they develop it? Or is it something that they kind of left behind that’s caused them problems.
Then you look at the different ways that you can negotiate around those different situations. If you don’t know at all, and you’ve not even tried to find out–that’s the point. You won’t find out everything, but you shouldn’t sit there at the end of the day and have lost money or value in the deal because you didn’t make one phone call or spend half an hour on the Internet.
Pete: So, there’s Facebook stalking and LinkedIn stalking?
Jenny: Well, you see, it’s important that you don’t want to kick yourself because you just didn’t spend the time. There’s people I meet who say, I never do preparation, I get great deals. That’s true, and you also don’t know what you ever missed. Maybe it was nothing. Maybe you’re a natural.
Pete: Let me ask you this in terms of a practical question around that. Do you think it is better to do your homework and then ask questions so they’ll answer and, as you said, reinforce homework you’ve done? Or, do you show your cards a little bit? If so, when to show the cards that you are prepared and you have done some stalking prior to the conversation?
Is there a time and place to show your cards, or should you always just keep it close to your chest and get them to reinforce or articulate or prove that what your theory was correct by asking questions?
Jenny: There’s no hard and fast rules. You don’t want to come off like a stalker. You do want to show that you’ve done your homework, don’t you? That’s going to depend on the situation. In terms of do you show your cards, to link it back to the question you said about what if you really want the deal.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with going in and saying, “You know what? This deal’s important to me. I’m real excited about it. I’m going to try my best to make this work for everyone here because I just think it’ll be a really good, really positive relationship going forward.” There’s nothing wrong with that.
It’s just, like you say, you don’t want to be too eager. I might think, then, you’ve got your information. Mostly, again, back to the preparation and knowing what you’ve got, you’ll know the appropriate time to reveal what you found out. We’re not going for creepy here. We’re going for informed and prepared.
Pete: Yes, you don’t normally walk into the meetings and say, “I saw you went to the baseball game on the weekend and your son hit his first homerun.” You don’t want to go down that avenue to break the ice.
Jenny: No, that’s exactly what I would do if I was pulling in a social engineering job. But if I was being hired to psychologically test whether I could get past the company’s defenses, that’s exactly the information I’d be looking for. Sometimes that information is scarily available on the internet.
People put stupid amounts of information on the web. Actually, no, I’m looking to say, after my homework, I know your position or I can make some guesses. You can say, I believe this is the biggest real estate deal you guys have done this year, am I right in that?
You might be able to put things to them and say it in a way doesn’t sound creepy, but lets them know you’re in a powerful position in terms of data. That’s okay. But again, not on your feet. Think about how you’re going to do it, definitely. Here’s the thing that strengthens your position (and this is just standard negotiation stuff), but it’s one of those things that’s forgotten.
It is your alternatives. What are your alternatives if this deal doesn’t work out? It’s what we call a BATNA, which is a best alternative to negotiated agreement. If I can’t talk with this team today to a solution, then what do I do? What’s my alternative?
If you know what that is, if you know your walk-away position and you know what you’ll do if you can’t come to a conclusion, you’re much stronger than if you’re in there and this is last chance. And also theirs–what’s their best alternative? Sometimes, when you analyze just that one thing, what would they do if they can’t agree with me today, and what will I do if I can’t agree with them today?
That sometimes alters the perception of power in that conversation. Suddenly, you realize really what the stakes are like for either of you. If you’ve got a great big client, and you really want to nail them. You want to make sure you get that client, you’re so excited about it. But then, if you say, what’s my alternative?
What if this is a car crash and I just don’t do the deal? Well, I go after another huge corporate client, and tomorrow is another day. Suddenly, they’re less scary, and you want it a little less. Because you think, all right, if today doesn’t work out, I’ll just carry on tomorrow. I’ve done it before. It’s a very important thing to know what you’ll do if it doesn’t work.
Pete: I think it all comes back down to this preparation and being prepared. I think that’s such an important thing to do. It just reminded me of a funny quote that a friend of mine, Osher Günsberg, who’s the host of The Bachelor TV show here in Australia.
He said to me, he learned this from a guy on a bus. I’m sure this is the place which, is why I remember that, being such a really odd thing to find a nugget of wisdom. It was the 6 Ps: Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance.
Pete: I thought it was the greatest little 6 Ps overhead, and especially learning it from a guy on a bus.
Jenny: I’ve heard these people in buses, or like a homeless guy, sometimes just drop these really great nuggets of information, I don’t know. Someone said maybe they’re angels or something.
Pete: I should ride public transport more often. But on that note, let’s turn the conversation a little bit. I want to talk about deception. I know this is a big area of your skill set, picking deception. It’s a shame we can’t start turning the podcast into a video.
Because we can start talking about reading body language and show some examples. I’d love to talk about reading people a bit when they’re deceptive, when they’re emotional, and how to deal with that. I’d love to hear your take at some point as you discuss deception is, when and if you call someone on something you’ve realized, do you say, hang on, is that the truth?
Do you really mean that? When is it the right time to call somebody out? Because I think that a lot of people have a certain innate ability to have a bullshit meter, say, hey, that’s not quite right. Do you call people out on it, or do you just leave it up your sleeve and close to your chest?
Again, it’s probably going to be a situational thing, but what’s your general take on that stuff around deception? I’d love to hear some of your take on deception tricks and deception reading.
Jenny: Do you call someone out? You’re right, it depends on the situation, doesn’t it? Do I call the kids on it? Yes. Do I call Andrew on it? Yes. Don’t lie to me, I know you’re lying. In a business context, you wouldn’t be so overt about it. In an investigative interview, you’d say, “Just go over that again for me.
I’m not sure I understood it.” You’d have to lead people to talk. The more people talk around a lie, the more they will give away, as a general rule. What happens is this. When you lie, the cognitive load, what your brain is having to do, is very heavy.
If you’re just remembering the truth, you’re just telling a truthful story. The only thing you do is tell the story as you remember it, there’s not a lot of effort in your brain. But when you tell a lie–now, it depends on the lie, so the higher the stakes, the more important the lie is, the more stress, the more pressure on your brain.
What happens to most people is that they’re trying to be convincing in the way that they’re telling the story. They’re trying to not tell you the truth, so they’re processing, “Forget that, don’t say that.” They’re focusing on a rehearsed story, which is the lie. They’re trying to see if you believe them, so they’re watching you quite closely.
And that feeds into one of the biggest myths about lying, which is that people don’t make eye contact. There’s some evidence to suggest that an accomplished liar or a big lie, they’ll hold your eye contact probably more because they want to see if they’re believed, is one hypothesis.
They tend to really look you in the eye. What happens is all these processes are going on in the brain. It’s like having a computer with every application and 10 websites open, and a DVD in the background, and it just takes up a lot of bandwidth to lie.
What happens is that you’ll find motor skills become a little bit slower in a lot of people because it knocks it out, it’s a process, it’s another thing that people tend to not do so much. They shut down a little bit and become a little bit less animated, sometimes, some people.
I’ll talk to you about why I’m saying that in a minute. But also hesitations in the way they speak. And really, what you’re looking for in the face is a lack of congruence between what their body language is telling you and what their voice is telling you.
So there’s a whole heap of ways that you can detect if someone is potentially lying. Do you call them on it? It depends on the situation. I’ve been in front of people in my time where there’s no way I would say, “You’re lying.” But I still know that they are, know as far as anyone can.
Pete: Well, I think that what you alluded to earlier, just asking. Tell me more about that. Can you explain that? I find that interesting as a way to flag it a little bit with them, but get them to continue to try to elaborate on that little story, and that will help reinforce it to a certain extent as well.
And I think, subtlety, too. If you were right, my take would be that people would potentially realize that you’re half-calling them on it anyway. It’s a very subtle way of calling them out without being very blatant, and allowing them to save face to a certain extent, as well.
Jenny: Yeah, people will have no problem, or less of a problem, telling you silly details. If someone told the lie that they were trapped in a lift, and you say, “Well, what color was the carpet?” This is what people do when (in my workshops and things that I run) they’re trying to ascertain a lie.
They say things like, well, what color was the carpet, or how many buttons were there? And people will tell you lies about trivia easily because you remember a lift you’ve been in. It’s more about, again, it’s back to emotions. How do you feel about that?
How did that make you feel? Were you scared? How did it feel when you were scared? So it’s partly getting people to keep talking and keep telling you about this experience. A truthful person–and the thing is, there’s no hard and fast rules about this, unfortunately.
There’s no one thing that gives everyone away as a liar. There are just some things that happen often to most people when they lie. But if you were to say things like, “Keep going on that,” “Was this important to you?” “Tell me more.” And the more that they talk, the more lies that are in there.
Whereas, a truthful person will go, “Well, that’s it,” often. Because the fact that you’re not trying to convince anybody, you go, “That’s it, that’s all I remember,” or “I forget that now.” Whereas, a liar might try and keep going.
Jenny: Yeah. Because if you go, “I don’t remember what color the carpet was in the lift. I wasn’t concentrating on that. I was scared because I was stuck,” or whatever. So it’s surprising things that give lies away sometimes. What you’re looking to do is–in a lot of situations, people just admit it.
Because the relief to say, “Oh, actually, that’s not true,” sometimes is very tempting when your brain is overloaded to the extent that you can overload someone by keeping them under pressure. They just want it. The truth wants to come out, it just wants to see the light.
Pete: The biggest takeaway today is, if you want to lie, say very little.
Jenny: But then, that, you see–this is the problem. That’s a big tell, as well, because lack of detail is also a clue that it might not be true. There are 19 criteria, under one of the systems I use, to show whether someone is credible or not. That’s just one system, and that’s within a story.
Although it doesn’t say this is a lie or this is the truth, it just adds up to almost like a probability score on either one, and they contradict each other. So lack of detail could be lack of credibility, but too much detail could also be lack of credibility. It has to do with the way your memory works, and the way the brain works.
Pete: You’re making this very hard.
Jenny: And I’ll tell you what the thing is, the conclusion is that, with the right tools, in terms of linguistic tools, psychological tools, and non-verbal clues, let alone some of the technology that’s coming through at the moment, it’s very hard to lie and not be caught by the right lie-catcher. Having said that, there are some people who are naturals who mostly will get you.
Pete: So let’s go with this. You’ve opened a very big loop that I’ve got to at least start to close a little bit, this system, these 19 criteria. Can you talk around that a little bit? It’s intriguing that there’s this system or criteria around this.
Jenny: Well, there’s lots of different ones, and they’ve been devised mostly by law enforcement over the years to try and test credibility for witnesses, for example, or people who’ve been accused of something. And the one that I’m referring to today is the system called CBCA or Content-Based Credibility Analysis.
It was devised in the Netherlands by a guy whose name I can never pronounce, but I think Undeutsch was his name. It was linked to child witnesses who would retell him accounts of abuse. One of the problems is that your memory is full of holes. You don’t remember things well. People don’t remember things very well.
I do tricks in my courses to prove that. I implant false memories in people, and have people seeing blue cars when it was a red van, and all this type of thing. And your memory is all over the place. So what they were trying to do was establish whether or not what these witnesses were saying had happened or not.
So they assessed some criteria (there’s actually 21 of them, but there’s 19 main ones) to see whether or not the truth was in there, whether or not it was likely to be true, and it’s only likely to be true. I’m given it now, but there’s lots of different criteria, but they almost seem to contradict each other.
But a lot of the time, it’s around feelings and emotion, as well as details. Also the way stories, the way someone’s account of something runs. So if it runs very, very smoothly, does that mean it’s rehearsed? Because often, I wouldn’t have rehearsed the truth. Why would I rehearse the truth?
But, if I’m a liar, I would probably rehearse my story. Then can the person move backwards and forwards through the timeline with ease? One way to catch people out sometimes, some people some of the time (such an academic argument), is to say start at the end.
Tell me the story backwards. Because a liar wouldn’t have rehearsed it backwards. Whereas, somebody (typically, anyway) telling me the truth probably can tell me fairly easily because it happened, you see. So deception, lies are something that we all tell.
Typically, lots and lots of lies every day. And depending on how serious they are, it usually dictates how easy they are to detect, or how much clues you give away. We call it leakage. The bottom line is, then, most people are terrible.
I mean, you said people have this BS detector. It’s just not borne out by the data. Most research suggests that people are terrible, terrible at spotting a liar, absolutely awful. And most people are no better than chance, even law enforcement.
They believe all the myths of lies, like eye contact, that people break eye contact when they lie. There’s no evidence to support that. There’s no evidence to support almost everything that you believe about it. It just isn’t proven in research, and people are hopeless.
There are two groups that were tested that were better than chance: people who work for the secret service (so, spies, effectively), and the people who were the best at spotting lies were prisoners, criminals in high-security units. They were the best people that the research, so far, has found at spotting a liar.
Pete: There you go. So Neal Caffrey, in that TV show where he now works for the FBI, is a perfect employee for the Federal Bureau.
Jenny: The evidence would suggest that if Neal Caffrey was real, then yes.
Pete: So let me ask you, because one thing I love reading is books about subject matter that aren’t in the business suit. And what I mean by that is books about negotiation that are like a private detective handbook, for example, at how to spot a liar in these scenarios.
Are there any books around that that are worth checking out around this CBCA framework that is not too dry and dull, but is engaging for a businessperson to read, and then apply and think through that material in the business world?
Jenny: Most of the books about lying, certainly, are horribly academic and difficult to read. This is one, I follow Paul Ekman‘s work. He was the guy who was the inspiration behind Lie to Me.
Pete: Ah, okay. Yes.
Jenny: So the courses that I’ve done on this (and I’m currently on a pilot MSc, which is the first-ever MSc in deception being run in England), is inspired by his work and others’. His stuff is all about emotion, deception, and nonverbal signals. Quite heavy, though.
There’s a book that’s a really nice guide to lie detection, which is called Spy the Lie. I forget who it’s by now, but I’ll let you know. But Spy the Lie is a nice, easy, workable guide. And for negotiation, I suppose there’s a blog called The Accidental Negotiator that’s very good.
I think Stuart Diamond’s book, Getting More, is a good book because it’s anecdote-based. So, everybody can pull something from that. That’s a nice book. I’m just trying to think if there’s anything that would be around CBCA and those types of things.
Your best bet would be to start with something like Spy the Lie. And for me, I listened to it, I bought it on Audible. I listened to it all day. It’s not that heavy, and I have to listen to it a few times. Obviously, I’m comparing it with some theoretical stuff that I already knew.
That gives you, I think, about 15 pointers towards deception, which are very good, if not as scientifically based, perhaps, as the Ekman stuff, which is all very rigorously proven. But the guys who wrote Spy the Lie were CIA. So, you can’t argue with that, really.
Pete: No doubt, once you get into that book, I’m sure they reference other books in the acknowledgments and do the traditional reading, dive in one and then just follow the rabbit hole as it grows.
Jenny: They do, but they talk about microfacial expressions, which is something Ekman proved, and that our emotions show in our face regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, personality. Well, Ekman proved it, 40 years of research. No one has disproved it, although people are trying to all the time.
And the guys in that book say, well, that won’t help you in a negotiation, and it won’t help you if you’re trying to detect deception because it’s so difficult to see an expression on someone’s face that only lasts for 1/25 of a second. I’m here to tell you that you can learn it very quickly.
And as long as you keep practicing, you can see what people feel. I mean, for me, the most interesting thing that I do is the fact that I can read what emotion you feel in your face, even though I won’t know why you’re experiencing it because I’ve learned to read microexpressions.
It’s there. So that, to me, is the keys to the kingdom. That’s what makes me a good negotiator. Because if someone feels contempt for something, I know that they felt contempt, even if they’re telling me that everything’s fine.
Pete: You’ve got to love that technically, we’ve been going for 50 minutes, and you suddenly drop the bomb about microexpressions. So we are coming up to the end of this show. We don’t try and make this go too long, but can you touch on that a little bit? Because we cannot leave people hanging with the keys to the kingdom, and then dangle it and take it away.
Jenny: Okay, so, in a nutshell, Dr. Paul Ekman and others proved that there are seven–well, there’s academic debate here. But let me just, for brevity, say he proved it. There are seven universal emotions, which are disgust, fear, and sadness, contempt, anger, surprise, and happiness. Underneath those titles, everything else that a person feels can pretty much go underneath one of those titles.
So, if you feel excitement, it’d probably go under happiness, or maybe surprise. What Ekman did was he went out to New Guinea, and he took photographs of the tribes that had been isolated. He asked them things, like, if you saw the rotten carcass of an animal, what would your face look like?
And they pulled an expression for disgust. Now, everyone in the world pulls the same expression when they experience disgust. So, if you think right now of a food that you hate the taste of, and what it smells like, your nose will wrinkle, and your upper lip will go up.
Pete: Everyone listening right now is doing that in their car, I guarantee you.
Jenny: Is doing it right now, right? That’s why I said disgust rather than, say, anger. Because we don’t everyone looking angry at each other while they’re listening to your lovely podcast. And what happens is everybody–and Ekman proved that even people who are congenitally blind (in fact, I think it might have been his colleague that did the research on this: Matsumoto).
Even people who had never even a human face, because they’ve been blind from birth, pull the same face. You’ve got 43 muscles in your face, and certain ones activate when the brain experiences one of these emotions, and it’s only quickly, it’s involuntary.
It happens real quick, but it shows that that person felt that. Now, the job is for a negotiator to link that expression to whatever caused it in terms of the language of the conversation. Because you’re never truly in someone’s head, so you never know what caused it.
But you can make a really good guess, and you can, say, bring the subject back again and see if it happens again. But the bottom line is, if someone pulls one of those seven, they have experienced that emotion, which means it is the closest you’re going to get, really, to knowing what someone really thinks, and even to the point where you’ll know it before they do, often.
Pete: Love it. Easy. Just go to bed tonight, wake up tomorrow, you’ll be all good. So, Jenny, thank you so much for taking the time to be on our show. It has been very, very intriguing. I’ve taken a whole bunch of notes. The show notes, as always, will be on the website, to the various books and stuff you recommended.
But, for those who want to get in touch with you for either some more training or some personal advice, what’s the best way people can reach out and find you, Jenny?
Jenny: The best way to find me, we are currently rebranding everything on http://jennyradcliffe.com/. Should be up and running by the time this goes out. So direct your lovely audience to that website, and you can find out lots of stuff about me on there.
Pete: Fantastic, Jenny. Well, thank you so much for your time. No doubt people will get a whole bunch of value out of this. We may have to get you back on the show, based on the demand in the future.
Jenny: Anytime, Pete. Thanks a lot.
[Pete’s conversation with Jenny ends]
Dom: So there you go, folks. Another great conversation between Pete and, in this case, Jenny Radcliffe. Now, Pete, I think you might have coined a phrase in there. It’s one I’ve certainly not heard before. I’ve heard of buyer’s remorse, but you pointed out about negotiator’s remorse. I thought that was quite a great perspective on things.
Pete: Yeah, it’s something. It’s almost a buyer’s remorse. Because in a negotiation, you buy an outcome in a weird way, in a weird sense of the term there. But it really is. Negotiator’s remorse (I can’t even say the word I made up), I think is a real phenomenon that a lot of people have.
You go into a negotiation, you walk away going, you know what? I don’t feel I have the better end of the stick, or I could have gotten a better stick out of the situation. I think it’s a real big thing that isn’t spoken about enough in negotiation.
Dom: Yeah, and that’s what I liked. Jenny’s perspective on that, she reframed that and reframed the situation. Because of that idea of negotiator’s remorse, that basically somebody has lost. Traditionally, if somebody wins, somebody loses. And she talks about that, and the mindset of just making sure people got what they wanted.
It’s not quite win-win. It was a different perspective, and I really like that. I really liked the way that Jenny framed those, what a lot of people have a traditional understanding of. Things like the phrase ‘win-win,’ and so on. I really found that an interesting and useful conversation.
Although I’m still convinced it’s going to improve my negotiation skills. Definitely something for me to work on and put a bit of effort and reps into, going back to our initial conversation.
Pete: Love it.
Dom: So, folks, with that said, just want to remind you that we have our regular competition to win stuff from people that we’ve had conversations with, and you can always find that competition over at PreneurMarketing.com/Win. Competitions change, depending on what we’ve got to give away, who’s given us cool stuff, books and whatnot, so do pop back.
Whenever you’re listening to this recording, it doesn’t matter if you’re listening to it just as it’s released or a year later, it doesn’t matter, just check over to PreneurMarketing.com/Win and see what there is, and enter the competition.
Pete: Absolutely. Right now, people who are listening right now, we’ve got a couple of copies of Ryan Holiday’s fantastic book, Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator. So, if you’re listening right now, check that. If you’re not listening when this show goes live, still head over to PreneurMarketing.com/Win.
Because, as Dom said, we’ll have another contest giving away some other book or piece of awesomeness from a guest or a community member, or someone in between.
Dom: Yup, and while you’re over at Preneur Marketing, which is now the official home of PreneurCast (we’ve consolidated all the episodes onto PreneurMarketing.com), while you’re over there, do drop us a comment. You can find all the shows, all the show notes, the links to things that we talk about, full transcripts of the shows.
Everything you need to know is over on PreneurMarketing.com. You can also leave us a comment underneath any show. There’s also that really cool audio comment feature. We love to get those, and we would love to feature you on the show if you leave us something via the audio-comment feature.
As always, you can leave us a comment on iTunes. And now, you can also find us on SoundCloud, and leave us a comment there. We really enjoy getting your feedback through those different means. If you want to ask us a question, make a suggestion for a show, or just, well, have a general chat, really, you can also reach us via e-mail.
Dom: Just checking if you’re still there. Support [at] preneurgroup [dot] com. And as anybody who has written to us will attest, we personally reply to every e-mail. So please, through one of those means, drop us a line, let us know about how you are finding the show, the topics that we talk about, if there’s something that you’d like us to cover.
Maybe it’s one of those ‘If I Was A’ type episodes that we do, that you’d like us to do one for your particular industry or business. Whatever it might be, do drop us a line. We’d love to get your comments. And so, with that, folks, we will see you next week.
Getting More – Stuart Diamond
Emotions Revealed – Paul Eckman
Spy the Lie – Philip Houston
You can try out a lot of the books we recommend in audio format with Audible:
http://audibletrial.com/preneurcast – Free trial with a free audio book download for PreneurCast listeners
http://jennyradcliffe.com – Jenny’s Official Site
http://theaccidentalnegotiator.com – A blog on Sales Negotiation
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