Negotiation should be a positive experience for both parties and ultimately, a win-win for both sides. However, when I deliver Negotiation training, I often find clients falling into the same pitfalls that result in a poor result for them or the people they’re negotiating with. 

Here are a few of the most common pitfalls I come across which – if avoided can lead you to a more positive experience and result.

Trying To Win An Argument  

Trying to win an argument or prove a point will distract you from what’s important – finding a mutually satisfactory solution. 

It is unlikely either side will be willing to show weakness or concede, but if you keep focusing on winning the debate, you will harden the other side’s resolve, and you are unlikely to find a solution that suits both of you. If those you are negotiating with are on their game, they will recognise your approach and use it to their advantage, knowing your focus is not on achieving a deal.  

Instead, channel that desire to win towards finding the best solution for both sides. You might beat them in your argument, but you won’t win the negotiation. 

Negotiation 2

Being Personal

Another issue can be taking things personally. If your negotiation is personal involving family or other areas of your personal life, it can be challenging to remove the personal element. However, the core principles remain the same – what is the best solution for both parties. 

In this case, when it comes to negotiating in a business sense, you must avoid letting your personal feelings become part of the equation. By definition, personal judgment means you are focused on what is best for you, not the business. While you may think both are aligned, very often the broader business interests are separate. 

Letting your personal feeling encroach on a negotiation detracts from your focus, and when things don’t go the way you would like, your reaction is amplified. Those you are negotiating with may, and probably will use this fact against you to help you lose focus. 

If you start with the business interests as your guiding principles, it will make decision making far more straightforward, more objective and you will likely find a common solution.   

Being dismissive

You might be laser-focused on your own side’s needs and be committed to getting what you consider is a good deal, but never dismiss your opposite number. You are entering a negotiation which, means you need something from the person you are sitting with, so overlooking them belittles what they have to offer and reduces their desire to find a solution. 

Respect is vital in a negotiation because if you do your job well, this will not be the last dealings you have and you will build a relationship that benefits you both. 

Lacking clarity 

This final pitfall is a common flaw amongst many. You must start negotiating knowing what a good deal looks like for you. This means you need to have a firm handle on future plans and your current situation and how you see this negotiation impacting either of these.

If you start to discuss a deal without knowing precisely what point it is of no more benefit, you are likely to agree to something that you don’t like and leave you with a negative feeling about the solution. 

Start with a clear concept of what success will be, which means you need to have a good grasp of every aspect of your business and know as much as you can about the company you are negotiating with and the market in which you operate.   

Negotiation 1

Negotiating Pitfalls

The challenge of avoiding any of these pitfalls is not easy, practice, experience and self-control are all needed to manage them when other personalities are involved. 

However, one piece of advice I would offer that runs as a common theme through all of these is, stay firmly fixed on what is best for your business now. 

This approach will guide your decision-making and remove emotion from the situation. It will ensure you make timely decisions based on facts and for the benefit of the wider business. 

If you would like to discuss running 1-1 or group Negotiation workshops please contact me on 07768 414025 or mj@maryannejohnston.co.uk

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