The Seven Most Common Negotiating Mistakes

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Not building relationships first

This is probably one of the biggest mistakes individuals make in regards to negotiation and in business in general. Perhaps you have attended the standard "networking" event where you give dozens of cards out without having a real conversation with anyone. It's time to slow down and start making real connections with people — particularly those you might be involved in a deal with later on. Find out something about them and their lives. Get personal. Much useful information can be gleaned during casual conversation, including what they value in life, what motivates them, what annoys them, their ethics, etc. Find out something about them, personally, and not just their business. You might be surprised how well you can leverage what you learn through a genuine conversation with someone.

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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