9 Terrible Negotiation Mistakes and How-to Avoid Them

Negotiations can be a little intimidating. Many people are willing to concede the other party’s initial offer just to avoid the confrontational environment. Yet some situations warrant them. If you are going into a negotiation, there are a few common mistakes to keep in mind.

1 – Showing A Lack of Confidence

Experienced negotiators know that they are not confronting an idea as much as they are confronting another person. They will look for weaknesses, such as a lack of confidence. You should enter the negotiation expecting that the other party will have to make a few concessions. Maintain eye contact, speak clearly and offer a firm handshake.

2 – Not Preparing

If you have had this sort of negotiation before, you can probably anticipate what the other party is going to say. But for beginners, a bit of research will be necessary. In fact, citing research during a negotiation will give you credibility. People respond positively if you say something like, “According to the January 2011 edition of Business Magazine…”

3 – Failing To Connect

Most salespeople will tell you that you are not selling a product as much as you are selling yourself. The same principle is applicable here. You should develop a connection with the other party. Go out for lunch a few times before the negotiation. Learn what motivates her and what sort of negotiation tactics she will respond to. Beyond that, people are more likely to concede to a friend than to a stranger.

4 – Being Afraid To Offend

In a debate or an argument, the goal is for both parties to lay out their independent cases without much expectation that the other party will concede. But in a negotiation, the goal is for both parties to come to an acceptable agreement. It is expected that both will have to make compromises. So while the desire to avoid offending her might be socially acceptable, it is bad etiquette in the context of a negotiation.

5 – Buckling Under Pressure

There is a common phone scam wherein an aggressive caller tries to intimidate the other party into surrendering private financial information. Some people do not respond well to aggressive personalities. An individual with an aggressive personality could take advantage of this if she senses some weakness on your part. Pay more attention to what she is saying than to her disposition.

6 – Not Considering Your Professional Relationship With The Party

There are broadly two types of negotiations. The first is an asset negotiation. This occurs when the interaction is one-time event. In this situation, it would be more appropriate to seek the best deal possible. This often creates a more competitive atmosphere.

In contrast, there is the relational negotiation. In a relational negotiation, you will have an ongoing correspondence with the other party. The atmosphere cannot be competitive and you cannot be greedy, because you have to consider how this interaction will impact your professional relationship. As you are preparing, consider which type of negotiation it will be and adjust your method accordingly.

7 – Greediness

Anybody who has tried to buy or sell an automobile on CraigsList has probably encountered this. There are a lot of outrageous offers. When you receive an outrageous offer, you probably form the impression that the other party is unreasonable and you do not pursue the interaction further. Similarly, in a negotiation, greediness might suggest to the other party that you are unreasonable. This could yield a zero-sum result for both parties.

8 – Being Too Uncomfortable With Silence

Interestingly, talking too much in a negotiation can effectively talk the other party out of the deal. There is some wisdom in silent contemplation followed by brief offers and counteroffers.

9 – Failing To Rein In Your Emotions

Emotions can be a useful tool, but too much emotion can distort your reasoning. You should know not to take a negotiation personally.

There are basically two extremes that amateur negotiators fall into. First, there is the lack of confidence and assuming that the other party is an immovable object. On the other hand, some think that the other party is a doormat. You should expect that both of you will make compromises. But if you keep these mistakes in mind, you will come out with a better deal.

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