The Seven Most Common Negotiating Mistakes

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Lacking confidence

Many people think they need to show a certain kind of confidence, like being loud, bold or brazen, to successfully negotiate a deal. Others think that a lot of experience is required to be a good negotiator. Most of the time it merely takes tenacity and good old preparation to ensure you are aptly equipped to assert mutually desirable terms, anticipate objections, and discern what motivators or "hot buttons" will resonate with your opponent. Projecting confidence also means having heart, which is endearing to others whether or not you have years of negotiation experience. This can also result in the opposition having a less defensive stance, making them more amenable to your stipulations. Without projecting a notable level of confidence, and backing that up with solid, well-researched information, failure will surely prevail.

While even the word "negotiation" can evoke fear, stress and anxiety for many, the intent is quite simple: to discuss and ultimately agree on a deal. Whether it's a multimillion dollar contract or just deciding where to meet for lunch, life is rife with negotiations. And, the negotiation process is a lot like a chess game where strategy reigns supreme — one thoughtfully considered move at a time. Make a careless, short-sighted, ill-conceived move and suffer the perilous consequences.  

"Even when faced with the most daunting of deals, regarding the act of negotiation as a 'game' may alleviate the apprehension and give you the confidence to make power plays that will ultimately facilitate your desired result," notes veteran negotiation and contracts expert Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, author of "Think Like a Negotiator." "Unlike strategy games like chess, however, the most effective deals are a win-win proposition for all parties rather than a winner-loser result."

Whether you are a seasoned negotiator or avoid wheeling and dealing with people altogether, you will vastly improve your results and be motivated to "get in the game" by knowing how to avoid these prime pitfalls. Whether seeking to gain advantages in your business or personal life, the art of "thinking like a negotiator" will profoundly impact your ability to actualize your desired outcome.

To help individuals maximize their bargaining prowess in business and in life, Eldonna cites the seven most common mistakes that are made during a negotiation.


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