How to Negotiate with a Liar

We all tell lies — from little white lies to serious lies that can have a lasting impact on your life. Surprisingly, studies reveal that the average person tends to lie at least once or twice every day.

Being aware of this reality is essential, especially when you're in the middle of negotiating something important. Identifying and dealing with deceit during negotiations can be challenging, but with the right tactics, you can handle the situation and make sure the end result is just and fair.


This blog will delve into the art of negotiating with a liar, outlining effective techniques to unravel deception and help you maximize value. 

What are Signs of Lying?

Before delving into the strategies for negotiating with a liar, it's crucial to understand the telltale signs that can help you spot deception. 


Here are several classic signs that should raise suspicion:


Liars often struggle to maintain consistency when speaking or telling stories.


Anxious body language is a classic sign that someone is telling a lie. Things to look out for are  stammering, blinking excessively, fidgeting, and avoiding eye contact.


It is not unusual for liars to become extremely defensive when questioned. They may also change the topic of conversation as they attempt to deflect attention away from their deception. 


People who are lying will often be vague about facts and avoid providing detailed information. 

How to Negotiate with a Liar

It is natural to feel angry or frustrated if you believe someone is lying to you. However, you must maintain composure and handle the situation delicately. 

Here are some steps to consider: 

Stay calm

The most important thing is to stay calm and avoid any emotional outbursts. 

Stay focused

Keep the negotiation on track. Even if you suspect deception, avoid direct accusations that might create a confrontational atmosphere. Instead, focus on asking the right questions and extracting accurate information.

Use silence strategically

A well-timed silence can be extremely powerful if you believe the other party is withholding the trust. Liars will often feel the urge to fill voids with additional information and ramble, potentially revealing further inconsistencies.

Offer an exit

Provide an opportunity for the other party to exit gracefully if you have mistrust and no longer wish to proceed. This can be an indirect way of signaling that you're aware of their deception without causing unnecessary conflict.

What to Do if You Believe Your Counterpart is Lying

Prepare Appropriately

Thorough preparation is the key to negotiating with liars and securing favorable outcomes. Research the other party’s background and try to identify any potential motivations for deceit. The more you know about their personality and possible reasons for lying, the better equipped you'll be to uncover and address their deceit.

Ask Questions

Strategic questions can be a powerful tool for unveiling deception. Begin with open-ended questions that encourage the other party to provide detailed responses. As the discussion progresses, gradually start asking more direct questions that will bring inconsistencies to light. 

Listen Carefully

Active listening is crucial when negotiating with a liar. Pay close attention not only to their words but also to their tone and non-verbal cues. Look specifically for the physical behaviors mentioned above, such as fidgeting and avoiding eye contact. Observing someone’s body language is one of the best ways to detect potential lies.

Appeal to Their ‘Integrity’

Appealing to a liar's integrity can sometimes be an effective strategy. Show that you value their honesty and encourage them to provide transparent information. This technique might create guilt and cognitive dissonance for the liar, prompting them to reconsider their deceptive stance. 


The trick here is to give the other party the opportunity to come clean and be truthful, without the fear of conflict or judgment.

Assess Why They Might Be Lying

Understanding the underlying reasons for the other party’s dishonesty can help you identify and address deception. In negotiations, people often lie due to fear, desire for advantage, or to avoid conflict. 


By identifying these potential motivations, you can tailor your negotiation strategy to address their concerns directly. Offering alternative solutions that align with their hidden motivations might incentivize them to be more honest.

Final Thoughts

Negotiating with a liar can be challenging and navigating these situations effectively requires careful observation, empathetic understanding, and a strategic approach. While lies can add an extra level of complexity to negotiation discussions, they also present opportunities to uncover hidden motivations and reach innovative solutions that benefit both parties. If you are looking for negotiation training taught by experts, visit Scotwork Global to start your training today.