Emotional Skills and Lie Detection for Negotiators and Lawyers

Negotiation 101

Yes, many people find negotiation scary.  And you really can improve your success at negotiation.  At age 20, Clark Freshman negotiated with the Georgia Board of  Pardons and three Jewish organizations to pardon Leo Frank 70 years after this “American Dreyfuss” was lynched by the people who formed the modern Ku Klux Klan.   Today, Clark Freshman is best known for his work studying and teaching lie detection with Paul Ekman, but he’s also taught negotiation around the world.  In recent years, Clark wed Paul Ekman’s science of microexpressions and lie detection to Clark’s own work on negotiation and emotion.  Harvard Business School, Yale Law School, Harvard Law School, Columbia Business School, General Electric Natural Gas in Florence, Italy, and leading hedge funds and investment firms all hired Clark to speak and teach.  His writing has appeared in publications at Harvard, Yale, UCLA, Columbia, and elsewhere.

Today, you can register for Clark’s workshops at locations across the United States.  Or you can hire him to deliver key notes, coach on your own individual negotiations, or help your organization. [Click here to register.]

How Paul Ekman and Clark Freshman Can Improve Your Negotiation:

  • The emotional science of negotiation success
  • Setting emotional targets for yourself and others
  • Differences in emotional profiles in others
  • How to recognize emotional shifts – before they explode!
  • How to set targets
  • How to use microexpressions to reveal true reactions to your offers
  • How to know when to close

Clark Freshman answers questions on negotiation basics.

What’s the most important thing about negotiation?

Negotiation is all about happiness, but people forget that.  We negotiate for ourselves to be happy.  Or we negotiate for others to make them happy.

Can negotiation really make people happy?

Yes.  I see it all the time.

In small ways, you really can learn to get more of what you want.  That doesn’t mean you’ll always get more in every situation, but it means you’ll get more of what you want overall.  You’ll win more sometimes, and you’ll win less other times.

I teach the science of negotiation. Research shows certain relatively simple techniques increase your odds of success.  One simple way involves using science to set goals high enough.  Too low, and you leave money on the table. It’s quite clear, for example, that even successful women lose money because they don’t set high enough goals.  Most women at one graduate school studied accepted their first salary offer, but men asked for – and often got – higher salaries.  That’s the headline.  The skill – what I teach – involves knowing how high to go in different negotiations.

That’s the small way.  What’s the big way?

There are three big ways.

First, you can see yourself differently: you really do have more control over your life.  Depressed people often have a sense of helplessness.  Learning negotiation means learning how you can help yourself.

Second, you can learn to see ways to connect with others.  Recognizing emotions in others can help you negotiate with them in many ways: it helps you see what others really want, when your arguments work (and when they backfire), when they’re giving you the full truth, when they’re lying, and many other ways.  But recognizing emotion –whether through microexpressions, the facial action coding system, the voice etc – gives you the opportunity to develop real empathy and connection with others.  And research on happiness suggests those kinds of connection make a real difference in your mental and physical health.

Third, you can manage your negative emotions.  Paul Ekman teaches that anger often comes from frustration of not getting what you want.   Many people manage anger badly.  They hurt themselves and others.  Take venting.  One study on negative emotion showed people made to feel angry did worse at negotiation and couldn’t see what others really wanted as accurately as their calmer colleagues.

My own research on law students showed those who said they vented were more likely to get worse grades and have worse mental health.  And yet many people read Getting to Yes, and it says that people might want to take turns venting!

What about lawyers? Do they really care about happiness?

Of course, happy clients pay their bills and come back.  Lawyers need to learn to recognize negative emotions when they are first arising in their clients – not when they stop paying bills or file malpractice claims.  That’s relatively easy to learn with Paul Ekman’s microexpression training tool and the examples he and I have developed.  And you can even get Continuing Legal Education credit!