9 Negotiation Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

Coming up with a perfect negotiation strategy is an essential skill, even for those outside of the business world. There are several tactics and best practices to help you negotiate effectively and maximize value for your organization.

While negotiating is an essential part of business, it can be tricky when you’re not clear on what you’re supposed to be doing.

Here are some common negotiation mistakes to watch out for so you can make your negotiations more effective.

Common Negotiation Mistakes

1. Forgetting the Handshake

By not shaking hands with your counterpart, you could sign that you’re not interested in working with them. Whether you’re in a negotiation or not, it’s always good to shake hands with your counterpart.

If you don’t shake hands, they may interpret that you aren’t interested in making a deal.

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Negotiators can use body language to determine how their counterparts feel and learn about their motives and intentions.

A handshake is an excellent way to start a negotiation. When you shake hands, you’re signalling that you’re ready and willing to work toward a fair agreement.

2. Being Led By Emotions

The most critical choice in a negotiation is how you will act and react to the other party’s behaviour.

Negotiations are like war. If you are not in control of your emotions, you can lose control of the negotiation and make a crucial decision that will affect your future success.

It’s crucial to be in a good mood before a negotiation. It would be best if you controlled your emotions to don’t carry negative emotions into the negotiation.

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This may seem small, but it can significantly impact how you perform during negotiations.

Emotions can get the best of us in any given situation. However, people who have controlled emotions are more productive and more successful.

You can positively use your negative emotions and channel them into something productive.

3. Ignoring the Other Party

Negotiations often don’t go as smoothly as you would like. Instead of assuming that you have the right to demand what you want, you should always be open to the other side’s perspective.

Always listen to what they have to say, and understand the other side’s point of view.

Instead of asking for what you want, you should seek to understand the reasoning behind the other person’s motive.

Understanding the other person’s reasons can help you gain their trust, build a rapport, and ultimately make an effort to understand their needs.

4. Negotiating Against Yourself

The other side will show you their version of their target if you’re in the middle of a negotiation. It would be best if you kept listening and reevaluating their goals until you have your desired outcome.

Be aware of your own goals and objectives when bargaining. When negotiating, you should have a clear understanding of your own goals and objectives.

Once you have achieved your goals, you should not go too far ahead and take action before you have thoroughly planned your negotiation strategy.

If you don’t know what the other person needs, don’t try to provide a solution that could jeopardize the relationship. Stick to your original stance and let the conversation reveal more about what’s really at stake.

5. Rushing

You can’t rush the process of reaching a mutually acceptable agreement. There is a lot at stake, and there is a lot that can go wrong.

It would help if you made sure everyone involved in an agreement receives the best possible outcome.

Take your time and communicate your progress to your stakeholders.

It’s okay to have a good idea in the beginning and then refine it over time. Expect to reach agreements that satisfy everyone and avoid a rush to a conclusion.

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When you agree to a proposal, sometimes you need to hold out a little longer to make sure the other side knows you mean business and you’re not going to cave in.

This negotiation strategy can allow you to keep your cool and avoid costly negotiations.

6. Not Understanding your BATNA

One of the best ways to evade failure is to understand your BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement). If you can’t see a way to get everything you want, it’s not worth negotiating.

A BATNA is a possible solution to a potential problem.

Not all negotiations end with a successful deal. A common mistake is failing to consider your BATNA in cases where the zone of potential agreement (ZOPA) fails, and a mutually satisfactory solution isn’t possible.

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Understanding your BATNA is crucial to ensure a win-win negotiation. It also allows you to evaluate the best course of action and achieve the results you desire.

By consulting the available alternatives well in advance of the negotiation, you can better prepare yourself for what might happen if you fail to meet your BATNA.

Sure, it’s always possible that you won’t reach your BATNA. But if you do, it’s essential to be ready to make a decision.


Spending time thinking about what to say and what not to say before a negotiation is the best way to prepare. Learn to consider before you speak and avoid making mistakes.

It’s also important to remember that the person you’re negotiating with may have different goals than you, and the negotiation process should be collaborative.

About the Author

Eugen Spivak is a multi-award-winning author, business strategist, and a business coach. Eugen is the founder of the Canadian Institute of International Business, an organization focused on a better way to learn business!

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