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Misleading Information


Disciplines > Negotiation > Negotiation tactics > Misleading Information

Description | Example | Discussion | See also



Tell them things that will distract them, hurry them up, or otherwise provide information that will help your cause.

You can do this directly or indirectly, for example through other other people. Misinformation may also be passed to them by playing on their dishonesty, for example by leaving papers behind that they peek at when you leave the room.

Make sure the information is credible. If they do not believe it then they will at best ignore it and at worst feel disgusted and seek to punish you.


At an industry meeting with a competitor, a market manager exposes a flyer for a new product that makes it appear the company has made a technological breakthrough. This encourages the competitor to collaborate on industry standards.

In wartime, a country plants a dead officer with 'secret plans' in a pocket, where the enemy will discover it.

A child tells his parents he has tidied his room in order that he may be allowed out to play.


Misinformation is an opposite of information. Information lets you make good decisions. Misinformation encourages you to make bad decisions.

Misinformation is often lying, although its users will seldom describe it as such. It seeks to distract or inform others in ways that will affect their decisions or make them more open to requests. Misinformation can be true, but is selective in what is communicated such that the other person will come to desired conclusions.

If we believe the source of information then we will likely accept the information as true. This is also helped if the information itself makes sense. Misinformers must hence take care to manage both their own credibility and that of the information they provide.

Misinformation is often subtle exaggeration, such as when a job applicant claims they achieved more than they really did. Misinformation may also be a large and complex lie that needs other support, such as corroborating evidence on websites. The web in general can be problematic when misinforming as it offers so much information that may contradict the misinformation provided.

Misinformation is deceptive and may present a moral dilemma. If discovered, even at a later date, it creates the risk of damaging the relationship and leading to punishing recriminations by the other party.

Misinformation is a classic wartime activity which seeks to confuse and misdirect the enemy. It was used to very significant effect during World War 2.

See also

Lying, Propaganda, Intelligence, Confusion principle, Confidence principle

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