Top 5 Most Common Mistakes Made When Entering a Negotiation

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
collaborative mindset.

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.