Letting Past Negative Outcomes Affect the Present Ones

Research shows that negotiators who had previously experienced ineffective negotiations were more likely

to have failed negotiations in the future. Those who were unable to negotiate some type of deal in previous

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negotiation situations tended to have lower outcomes than those who had successfully negotiated deals in

the past. [20] The key to remember is that there is a tendency to let the past repeat itself. Being aware of this

tendency allows you to overcome it. Be vigilant to examine the issues at hand and not to be overly swayed

by past experiences, especially while you are starting out as a negotiator and have limited experiences.

Tips for Negotiation Success

• Focus on agreement first. If you reach an impasse during negotiations, sometimes the best

recourse is to agree that you disagree on those topics and then focus only on the ones that you can

reach an agreement on. Summarize what you’ve agreed on, so that everyone feels like they’re

agreeing, and leave out the points you don’t agree on. Then take up those issues again in a

different context, such as over dinner or coffee. Dealing with those issues separately may help the

negotiation process.

• Be patient. If you don’t have a deadline by which an agreement needs to be reached, use that

flexibility to your advantage. The other party may be forced by circumstances to agree to your

terms, so if you can be patient you may be able to get the best deal.

• Whose reality? During negotiations, each side is presenting their case—their version of reality.

Whose version of reality will prevail? Leigh Steinberg offers this example from the NFL, when he

was negotiating the salary of Warren Moon. Moon was forty-one years old. That was a fact. Did

that mean he was hanging on by a thread and lucky to be employed in the first place? “Should he

be grateful for any money that the team pays him?” Steinberg posed, “Or is he a quarterback who

was among the league leaders in completions and attempts last year? Is he a team leader who took

a previously moribund group of players, united them, and helped them have the best record that

they’ve had in recent years?” All those facts are true, and negotiation brings the relevant facts to

the forefront and argues their merit.

• Deadlines. Research shows that negotiators are more likely to strike a deal by making more

concessions and thinking more creatively as deadlines loom than at any other time in the

negotiation process.

• Be comfortable with silence. After you have made an offer, allow the other party to respond. Many

people become uncomfortable with silence and feel they need to say something. Wait and listen




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