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Tactical Tuesday:  The Big Lie (aka: The Showman)

Posted by Andrew Hupert on Aug 15, 2017 10:29:01 AM

Negotiators lie - but Big Lie is an aggressive tacticAKA: Fake News, Conman, The Showman

 Description: The Big Lie is so over-the-top, so big, and so ludicrous that no sane person would say it unless there was some grain of truth to it. A Big Lie — “my team invented the Internet of Things” — isn’t supposed to be taken at face value. But the listener is supposed to believe that some percentage or degree is probably true.   You might respond, “Maybe his team didn’t really INVENT IoT, but he clearly has some expertise in the field,” when in fact there is absolutely no evidence to support that.

Sample Usage (Alvin and Bob): Once Bob was alone with David Simmons, the CEO of StorageWorld, he started his pitch. “Dave, I was on the team that wrote the first App and we’ve been pushing the envelope ever since. ClausTech was a pioneer in online applications when we started, and 12 years later we are still recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on ecommerce systems.”

Intent: Start adjusting the agenda and positioning yourself as an expert.

FlashMBA's Negotiators Toolkit

Style: Competitive.

Category: Information Manager

pinocchio.jpgPIFH (Power/influence Fear or Hope): Either Fear or Hope  . Someone with real power probably won’t use this — but it’s still a possibility. Usually this leads to influence tactics.

Counter: You could call his bluff, or just ignore it. Big Lie usually indicates that someone is not a suitable long-term partner, but for a one-off transaction or string, it’s not an insurmountable problem. Finding a new partner is a good counter if you need a strategic relationship.

Combination / Related:  Crazy Guy. Bluff. SPITR . Marry Me .

The International Negotiator:  This one is a bigger issue when negotiating across cultural barriers.   Translation & culture issues mean that not all messages get received the way they are intended. You will also encounter negotiating cultures where “laying it on thick” is customary. But it’s not all innocent. Doing international business means that you often face an “information gap”, and may not know when to be skeptical – or have the means to uncover the truth. As you build cross-cultural networks, use information tactics to investigate your counter-parties claims – and his character.


liar-smiley.pngThe Big Lie has made a comeback in recent years. In some ways, the Big Lie is a long-tail tactic — even if only 1% of people believe you, it still works. The point of Big Lie is to influence the agenda, not to be accepted as the new benchmark. Big Liars know they are doing it and that you won’t take their claims at face value. If they can get you to assume that they are 1% accurate, then their ploy has been successful. 


Strategic Planning for Negotiators:  Mind the Gap


Topics: Tactical Tuesday, negotiating tactics, Cross cultural negotiation, big lie

Written by Andrew Hupert

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