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Mistakes in Negotiation and How to Correct Them

5th April 2017

Here are common mistakes which you should avoid in your negotiations:

1. Fail to listen

There are plenty of people with poor listening skills. The capacity to listen is probably the best asset you can bring to the negotiation table. In order to learn more about the other party, you have to listen.

Listening is the key to the mystery of great negotiation. It can be listening to both the verbal and non-verbal signals that can give you clues into the intentions of the other party. If you genuinely listen to the person you are negotiating with, take an interest in their view points, you will end up having more to offer in your future negotiations with them.

 2. Talking too much

Information is king. The chance of winning in a negotiation is positively correlated to the amount of information which you have. One of the most common mistakes that people make while negotiating is talking too much. The more you talk, the more information about yourself you give away. Giving the other party useful information will diminish your chances of winning in a negotiation.

You have to stop talking and learn to question in such a way to get the kind of information you need to make good decisions. Learning to listen and asking questions open them up to providing useful data. Moreover, you build strong rapport and bonding with the other party.

3. Insisting that you are right

Different people have had different experiences. If you fail to understand the deal from the other party’s perspective, you will not be able to solve the problem at hand. Insisting that you are right will not only decrease your chances of winning in a negotiation, it will also ruin future relationships with the other party. It is better to keep a good relationship going by not insisting you are right and the other party is wrong. Sometimes, sacrificing on a short term win can result in a big win in the future.

 4. Being too tensed up

Poor negotiators more often than not, put a lot of pressure on themselves before a negotiation. They approach a negotiation like how a boxer will approach a match. They believe that there is only one outcome in all negotiation: either they win or lose. So when they start to think like that, they are afraid to “lose”. They start to give themselves a lot of pressure and this will only affect their negotiation in a very negative way.

Having a walk away point will give you more confidence during a negotiation. You will be less tensed if you know you have other options and when to walk away from the negotiation table. Negotiation is not about winning or losing. It is about collaborating together and to explore the best solution which will benefit both parties.

5. Not thinking of win-win

Win-win is to arrive at a solution that will benefit all parties involved. With a win-win solution, all parties feel good about the decision and stronger relationships are built. Steven Covey introduced the “Win/Win or No Deal” approach in his book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. If you approach a negotiation with a win/lose approach, you are setting up to lose big time. Even if you emerge the winner at the end of the negotiation, the damage to the relationship will cause you to lose big time in the future.

The relationship with the other party is very important, especially in a business setting. Rather than thinking of a win-lose situation, look for ways to make sure that all parties benefit at the end of it.

 6. Not negotiating with the right person

Ensure that you are negotiating with the person who can make decision right from the start. Before you begin your negotiation, start by checking if the person you are negotiating with has the authority to make decision. Sometimes, you might get a lower rank executive negotiating with you. He does not have any power to close the deal. This will result in time wastage.

7. Fail to prepare

“You can’t overestimate the need to plan and prepare. In most of the mistakes I’ve made, there has been this common theme of inadequate planning beforehand. You really can’t over-prepare in business!” – Chris Corrigan

You should never enter into a negotiation without any preparation. This is setting yourself up for failure. Master negotiators spend huge amount of time gathering information and preparing for their negotiation. Many poor negotiators crash and burn due to lack of preparation. Go into a negotiation with an agenda which you have to prepare beforehand.

Consider these 5 factors during your preparation:

  • Objectives
  • Needs
  • Wants
  • Bargaining points
  • Walk-away value

8. Not knowing what you want

To be successful in life, we have to know what we want. Same goes for all negotiation. Defining what you want is the most critical first step in any negotiation. According to Warren Buffet, his companies are able to generate large profits is because they are able to focus on what is really important and never lose sight of what they want. In the midst of a negotiation, you are very likely to get distracted from your initial goal. The best way to avoid losing sight of your initial goals is to have them written down somewhere. Perhaps on a piece of paper which you can refer to during the negotiation.

 9. Fail to correct your mistakes

We all make mistakes. Mistakes are inevitable. What makes mistakes worse is failure to correct your own mistakes. It is hard to imagine any negotiation without any mistakes. Once you make a mistake in your negotiation, correct it immediately. Do not allow your mistakes affect you in anyway. While making mistakes is good, repeating mistakes is definitely not. Apart from correcting your own mistakes, learn from your mistakes!

Insights gathered from different sources.


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