What are Negotiation Mistakes?
Every negotiator makes mistakes, but some of the most common negotiation mistakes are easy to avoid.
One of the biggest negotiation mistakes any business negotiator can make is failing to thoroughly prepare. Wise negotiators understand the importance of taking ample time to analyze several aspects of negotiation carefully, including their best alternative to a negotiated agreement, or BATNA, and their reservation value, or walkaway point.
Furthermore, in some corporate negotiations, negotiators often care most about getting the best price possible, assessing the other party’s ability to follow through, and closing the deal, that they overlook potential ethical concerns. Add to the emotional aspect of a negotiation, and it’s easy to see how you can fail to notice many negotiation mistakes.
Another common problem centers on communication. Poor communication explains many of our negotiation mistakes, write Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton in their landmark book Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In (Penguin, 3rd edition, 2011). Especially during intense negotiations, it’s easy to lose connection with our counterparts. When negotiations get heated, try taking a break to let everyone cool down. When you regroup, talk about what happened, giving everyone time to air their concerns.
While these mistakes can lead to bad deals, soured relationships, and less than desirable outcomes, they’re also largely within our control to manage. Sometimes just taking a few deep breaths might be all the reset we need to avoid making negotiation mistakes.
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