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July 17, 2014

6 Common Negotiation Mistakes

Negotiations

Jeff Cochran

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There is a dearth of information available on how to be a successful negotiator. A person needs to be confident, decisive, and articulate. He or she must also fully understand the negotiation situation, and the negotiator must go into negotiations with a clear idea of his or her company’s goals as well as the goals of the opponent. Nonetheless, there are certain common, avoidable mistakes that negotiators make consistently such as:

  • Failure to compromise: Everyone knows that compromise is the key to successful negotiation. Compromise is the tool that has made it possible for companies to enter into successful partnerships for decades. When a negotiator becomes proud or feels offended, they may refuse to make compromises, putting their company in an undesirable situation.
  • Becoming too emotional: A good negotiator keeps their emotions off the table, working with their opponent in a calm and efficient manner. When people allow emotions to dictate their actions, they often make poor decisions. Anger, frustration, and embarrassment can be the cause of a failed negotiation and missed opportunities.
  • Acting overly formal: If negotiators are tense and exceedingly polite or formal, coming to a successful solution or partnership could take much longer than anticipated. Negotiations should flow smoothly, and as such the negotiators should develop a loose camaraderie or pleasant working relationship. Negotiators who remain tense might take offense or cause offense when none was intended, damaging the negotiation relationship.
  • Lack of research: Before entering into negotiations, a businessman or woman must make sure they have all of the information they might need and more. Successful negotiators research all information relevant to the individual or company they will be working with, the topic or area of business which they will be discussing, and the goals and desires of each party involved in the negotiation. Failure to research thoroughly can lead to an opponent quickly gaining the upper hand and taking control of the negotiation.
  • Not listening: The best way to find out information about what your co-negotiator wants is by listening to them. When a negotiator speaks more than they listen, they often fail to understand their opponent’s position and end up making poor negotiation decisions.

Preventing future collaboration: Even if a negotiation is unsuccessful, it is unwise to not leave an option open for future collaboration. There will always be a time when two parties can each provide something the other needs, and precluding that option is a foolish negotiation decision.

When entering into negotiations, a person should always practice good negotiation techniques such as remaining confident and decisive. He or she should also take steps to ensure that the mistakes listed above are avoided, so the negotiation can go smoothly and successfully.

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