Intentional Misrepresentation of Your Position or Words

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Good communication basics discuss the concept of mirroring, or saying back to the party what you heard: “What I heard you say is that delivery will be in two weeks.” Some negotiators use a tactic of misrepresenting what one says to frustrate, annoy, and cause anxiety to gain advantage. Mistranslating your legitimate negotiation points into flaws can be very personal. This is a common tactic for malignant narcissists or sociopaths[xi].


A dramatic response that is not in proportion to the original ask falls into this tactic may sound as follows: Negotiator 1: “We want to revisit the pricing, given you are requiring we carry additional insurance.” Negotiator 2: “So you want to throw the deal out because you can’t get your pricing? That is very destructive to this negotiation and a callous way to reopen closed issues, penny-pinching like that.” Negotiator 1: “No, you misunderstand.” Negotiator 2: [Interrupting] “I understand completely. You wasted everyone’s time.” Negotiator 1: “Enough. You are misrepresenting what I said. Shall I let you continue to tell stories, or shall I repeat my position and see if we can solve it?”


A correction as shown in the above example may not work if the person persists. This is one of the few times it is appropriate to simply walk out.

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