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Can't Fool You (Anymore)

The best tools for mounting your defense against fibbers--and no, we're not talking about a polygraph machine.

By Marc Diener Originally published May 1, 2002

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As J.P. Morgan once said, "A man always has two reasons forthe things he does--a good one and the real one." Nowhere isthis truer than at the bargaining table. Of course, any attempt tofigure out what's really on your opponent's mind is, atbest, a speculative endeavor. But the following strategies are thenext best thing to having a mind-reader on your negotiatingteam.

Make conversation. Open-ended queries get the other sidetalking-questions that begin with who, what, where, when, how orwhy. Avoid closed-ended questions that your opponent can answerwith a terse yes or no. The best time to ask your questions, ofcourse, is before the other side starts negotiating in earnest. Forexample, early in the interviewing process, one of my prospectiveemployers (foolishly) revealed (at my prompting) how desperate theywere to hire someone with my experience. When we got down totalking numbers, I easily bargained for a much higher salary.

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