Top 5 Most Common Mistakes Made When Entering a Negotiation
1. Approaching negotiation as a war where whoever haggles the most “wins.”
A better approach: The true winner in a negotiation leaves all members in a “win- win-win” scenario. Haggling assumes that there is no room for cooperation and ends in a win-lose or lose-lose scenario; negotiation assumes that collaboration is possible and that everyone’s interests can be satisfied. The most important thing you can do in a negotiation is to find out each party’s interests and then work toward a mutually beneficial outcome.
2. The “if they get more, I get less,” or vice versa assumption.
A better approach: Discover the underlying interest of each party and don’t assume it is always like dividing a pie evenly. A “win-win” outcome doesn’t always equate to a completely equal division. Creative solutions that satisfy each individual’s goal are often uncovered when true collaborative discussions take place.
3. Coming to the negotiation table with a fixed position as opposed to a
A better approach: One of the laws of Enlightened Negotiation is the Law of Flexibility. Approaching a negotiation with an open mind allows you to flow around possible impediments. The key is to focus on the goal, not a specific path to it.
4. The belief that speaking first weakens your position.
A better approach: In most cases, there are very good reasons to speak first, to set the tone and focus of the meeting on your own terms, and to capitalize on a key tool called anchoring. Anchoring is setting the starting point for a negotiation by establishing a first “offer” or parameter for the discussion.
5. Believing that a dominant tone or body language equates to achieving a better deal and making fewer concessions.
A better approach: A dominant tone or body language is not appropriate for a negotiation for many reasons. For one, when you exhibit dominance, the other party will either do the same or become closed off and protective. Studies show that when in a “fight-or-flight” mindset, adrenaline inhibits cognitive performance, therefore prohibiting parties’ creativity and ability to collaborate. All of this energy wasted on projecting domination or on protection would be used for creative collaboration.
Mehrad Nazari, PhD, MBA is a corporate executive, educator, acclaimed lecturer, author, and devout yoga/meditation practitioner who has dedicated his life’s work to helping thousands of people around the world elevate their personal and professional interactions by enhancing their negotiation skills. His book, Enlightened Negotiation: 8 Universal Laws to Connect, Create, and Prosper is a guide to real-world, mindful negotiation practices. Dr. Nazari has delivered workshops for esteemed Global Fortune 500 companies such as Sony, Brookfield and eBay, regularly working with executives to help them engage and energize all stakeholders in their interactions in order to achieve their higher purpose.