9 myths about negotiation that keep you from growing

Today we are publishing a guest post by Steve Brown on 9 myths about negotiation that keep anybody from growing and achieving desired outcomes. 

Negotiation happens every day in life on a small scale. It may be a decision as to which supermarket to shop in or where to eat this evening. Every time you raise a question with your partner you start a negotiation. Yet many people feel unable to negotiate and are actually scared of doing so; very few consider negotiation training, and they should because professional advice can help them overcome their fear and master the art of negotiation. Here are 9 misconceptions that might keep you from growing in business.

1. Money
Negotiation is always about money. This is not the case. Money will often play a part in a negotiation but the main aim may be to secure a better quality good or service. This may involve additional costs but may also be resolved by bartering. It can actually be a far more powerful tool in a negotiation. If you have something that the other party would like and they have something you need then you can both leave a negotiation happy – without any monetary aspect.

2. Negotiations are either win or lose
A good negotiation results in both parties leaving the room happy. They have both won as they have both achieved something or gained something from the meeting; it does not mean one of them has lost. Negotiation is simply a sophisticated form of give and take. In fact, if both parties are happy then it is far more likely that a business arrangement will last and future deals can be engaged in together.

3. People believe negotiation is either very simple or very hard
Unfortunately negotiation is neither. Just like everything in life, preparation and practice will make a negotiation easier and almost second nature. It is a skill which can be learned. Even the most experienced negotiator will have difficult meetings when it seems impossible to reach a satisfactory compromise.

Photo: Locus Research

4. Negotiation is a science
There is a certain amount of scientific procedure associated with negotiation. The procedure needs to be followed to ensure both parties have the opportunity to state their case and invite the opportunity to compromise. However, procedures will only go so far. There is also plenty of room to study your opponent and respond to their moves. This way you can stay one step ahead. It is more of an art than a science.

5. Good negotiators are born
This is simply a myth. No matter how good a negotiator you may turn out to be at birth you did not have the brain power or interest in negotiation. A good negotiator is made by becoming skilled in the art of negotiation. This is a result of learning the unofficial rules 0f negotiation and by plenty of practice.

By Arno Volkers

6. Good negotiators are argumentative and opinionated
This is actually the opposite of the skills required to be a negotiator. Yes, a negotiator will need to understand and stand by their view point but they should also be ready to listen to the other party. This may result in a change of viewpoint and a negotiator needs to be open to this possibility. The best negotiators are excellent at both communicating their wants and needs and at listening to the other party.

7. If you don’t make a gain in any one deal you are not a good negotiator
It doesn’t matter who you are or what skills you have. It is simply not possible to win every time. There are occasions when it is simply impossible to reconcile your needs with the needs of another party. Sometimes you may need a deal so badly that any deal is better than nothing. Negotiation is always ongoing. If a gain is not made on one occasion then it can be seen as the foundations for the next meeting or negotiation.

8. Nice people can’t negotiate
Anyone who practices can become a good negotiator. Nice people will listen to the other party and connect with them. Even if the current deal does not work out they will be building a relationship for the future. Most people do not want to deal with nasty people who are out for themselves. They can be unpredictable and back handed. A nice person will lay the facts out and be a pleasure to do business with.

9. You need to lie to win a negotiation
Lying may result in winning a specific negotiation but it will inevitably backfire. Whilst it is not necessary to reveal all the information at once, a lie will certainly lead to future issues and potentially destroy a relationship in the future.

Steve Brown is a regular blogger who writes articles related to small business and negotiation. He is writer at many high ranking sites and loves playing with his dog in his free time.