“3 More Big Mistakes Bad Negotiators Make That Depress Negotiations” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

“Never allow stupidity to silence you when knowledge is close at hand.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (Click to Tweet)

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“3 More Big Mistakes Bad Negotiators

Make That Depress Negotiations”

People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.

How many opportunities do you miss as a result of making negotiation mistakes? Even more so, how many negotiation mistakes do you make because you ignore signs that direct you to a different tactic or strategy?

Bad negotiators error by not observing signs that point to disaster and depress their negotiation efforts. Good negotiators may miss them too. But they miss fewer of them.  

What follows are three ways you can increase your negotiation outcomes by observing foretelling mistakes to avoid. In so doing, you will have greater control of the negotiation development, flow, and conclusion.

Mistake #1 – Not Knowing How To Control The Negotiation

Negotiators, good and bad, lose negotiations due to a lack of control of the negotiation process. During such times, they lack the insight required to execute or implement the proper procedure. That can be in the form of not knowing how to control the negotiation’s flow or how to keep it on track.

Controlling Negotiation Flow

As with the pace of any activity, there are times when things need to become sped up or slowed down. Doing so alters the momentum of the negotiation. And, that is one way to control it.

When an issue threatens the progress of your negotiation, getting it stuck in an idle state, consider putting the issue on the side to address later. Do not allow one point to prevent you from moving forward. Bypassing the issue until later will allow you to accelerate the negotiation flow.

Steering Conversations To Keep On Track

When good negotiators know their counterpart may be time-limited, they may use distracting statements to run time down. They are aware that as time runs out, negotiators are more apt to engage in a deal. And sometimes, they do so even when the agreement is not optimum for them.

When time is pressuring you, keep small talk to a minimum. You can do that by asking the other negotiator to be mindful of time. And depending on the situation, you can remind him that you may not reach an agreement if the two of you cannot obtain it within a specified period. The point is, do not allow yourself to become disadvantaged due to your opponent wasting time.   

Mistake #2 – Not Knowing When Or How To Insert Discomfort Into The Negotiation

You may be familiar with the cliché, no pain, no gain. When negotiating, there’s hidden truth in that statement. If the negotiation is too easy, the other negotiator may push to increase her advantage. If it is too difficult, she may dig in her heels and become obstinate. In either case, either of those positions could present problems and depress the negotiation proceedings.

To combat those positions, seek a balance between those points. Do that so your opponent does not feel the negotiation is too easy or difficult for her to acquire what she wants. And to accomplish that balancing act, create the impression that she earned the concessions you give her. She will feel as though she earned them. And that will make your compromises more valuable to her.

Always consider the pain and pleasure points at which a negotiator will move in one direction or another. Therein will lie greater power that awaits you in the negotiation.  

Mistake #3 – Not Controlling Emotions

I have seen, and have personally been involved in, shouting matches between negotiators. In some cases, one negotiator initiated it as an intimidation tactic, which escalated tensions when the other negotiator did not back down. At other times, tensions were so razor-thin that they fizzed into uncontrolled outbursts.

Negotiations are usually fraught with some angst, no matter how smoothly they flow. And that is a good reason to control points of anger, yours and your opponent’s. To anticipate when tensions may rise, take note of your moods. Do the same of the other negotiator as they shift.

Genuine tension does not erupt into outright uncontrollable emotion without warnings. There’s a heating-up process that occurs. It is that heating-up process that you want to control. Like the water in a teakettle steams before it starts to whistle, so do the tempers of negotiators during negotiations. Before the whistling occurs, lower the temperature.  


Challenges will abound in negotiations. But you do not have to feed them by making unforced negotiation mistakes. You should even avoid the little ones when possible. That will keep your negotiations from becoming depressed and weighed down by negotiators belittling one another.

So, if you wish to negotiate more effectively, do so by decreasing the negotiation mistakes you make. Yes, bad negotiators may make the most negotiation mistakes during their talks, but utilizing the information that has preceded will move you from the bad to the better negotiation column. And everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

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