Announcing “negative” commitments: In order to be credible, each commitment must be executed. It is illogical to harm one’s own interests simply to hurt the other party. These types of statements are often made under stress and are caused by negative emotions. Learn to sense your own emotions, and stop, look and listen, alter, or avoid is the advice.
Viewing negotiations as psychological warfare: While negotiation has a strong psychological component, viewing it as a war is detrimental to achieving the integrative potential in most negotiation situations. The advice: communicate clearly, develop listening skills, and keep your own words and actions telling a clear and consistent message.
Burrowing into details without an overarching agreement: Without a foundation and a plan on how to address the various issues, a negotiation can quickly bog down if details are not immediately addressed.
Being unwilling to set or adhere to the pre-established limit: Generally this problem arises from inadequate preparation (failure to establish this limit in advance) or misreading how much an issue or item really is worth in sacrifice.
Failing to commit to agreement when conditions are met: If you are prone to feel that things could “always be a little better,” or that you’ve “left something on the table,” trust your plan. If not, then something else may be wrong, so think about it and decide tomorrow.
Taking an over-aggressive stance early in a negotiation: This turns-off the opposing negotiator, so, if you are prone to this, let others open negotiations or practice “toning down” your opening positions and statements.
Getting distracted by the opposing negotiator’s personality and behavior: Stay focused on the opponent’s interests. If the opponent’s behavior becomes so distracting that negotiations are disrupted, however, ask for a break, then take him or her aside and address the behavior clearly and firmly.
Closing yourself off to any attempt to be persuaded by the other side: Refusing to be affected by statements from the opposing side is a classic “rookie” error. If the argument is valid, it should be addressed; if not, it can be rebutted.
Failing to seek information about the other side’s needs and wants: Even experienced negotiators often fail to really understand the other side’s interests. You should ask questions and keep communicating, even if you’re not agreeing.
Bluffing or lying without the strategic advantage to carry through: If a negotiator is caught actively lying, trust is immediately lost and negotiations can grind to a halt. Due to the risks, as well as the ethical issues, lying should be eliminated from negotiating strategies.
Negotiating skills are inherently intertwined with personality and emotions. The majority of these pitfalls involve situations where the negotiator lets emotional factors get in the way of working a deal that is best for the company.
What is your opinion on our list of negotiating pitfalls and mitigating actions? What would you add or expand upon? Have we lost some of the focus on negotiation skills over the years? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback button below.