Six Habits of Merely Effective Negotiators

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Six Habits of Merely Effective Negotiators The Idea in Brief High stakes. Intense pressure. Careless mistakes. These can turn your key negotiations into disasters. Even seasoned negotiators bungle deals, leaving money on the table and damaging working relationships. Why? During negotiations, six common mistakes can distract you from your real purpose: getting the other guy to choose what you want—for his own reasons. Avoid negotiation pitfalls by mastering the art of letting the other guy have your way—everyone will win. The Idea in Practice NEGOTIATION MISTAKES Neglecting the other side’s problem If you don’t understand the deal from the other side’s perspective, you can’t solve his problem or yours. Example: A technology company…show more content…
Behind the deal-driven headlines, executives endlessly negotiate with customers and suppliers, with large shareholders and creditors, with prospective joint venture and alliance partners, with people inside their companies and across national borders. Indeed, wherever parties with different interests and perceptions depend on each other for results, negotiation matters. Little wonder that Bob Davis, vice chairman of Terra Lycos, has said that companies “have to make deal making a core competency.” Luckily, whether from schoolbooks or the school of hard knocks, most executives know the basics of negotiation; some are spectacularly adept. Yet high stakes and intense pressure can result in costly mistakes. Bad habits creep in, and experience can further ingrain those habits. Indeed, when I reflect on the thousands of negotiations I have participated in and studied over the years, I’m struck by how frequently even experienced negotiators leave money on the table, deadlock, damage relationships, or allow conflict to spiral. (For more on the rich theoretical understanding of negotiations developed by researchers over the past fifty years, see the sidebar “Academics Take a Seat at the Negotiating Table.”) There are as many specific reasons for bad outcomes in negotiations as there are individuals and deals. Yet broad classes of errors recur. In this article, I’ll explore those mistakes, comparing good negotiating practice with bad. But

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