Misconceptions of Win-Win Negotiating


Everybody is a negotiator. But not always win-win. We negotiate all the time without even knowing it and we do it everyday. Starting as young as 4 years old, or even younger. When I was little I use to trade my Barbie doll for my cousin’s Optimus Prime Transformer toy. Needless to say today I do understand the infatuation he had with the plastic thin-waisted blonde stick insect because he became a hairdresser and a very good one at that.  

However, we still do it today when purchasing a new car, asking the boss for a raise or deciding on a bed time for the kids.

People avoid negotiations like the plague and like mentioned before even though you are not thinking about it, you do it anyway without realizing. Negotiating is a dialogue between two or more parties, intended to reach a beneficial agreement for both or all parties involved. Now, there are certain skills involved in the purchasing process when negotiating deals. Some people have a natural inkling and a number of people become so aggressive that they do not consider reaping the rewards of a win-win deal with employees or clients.

In business, we have a misconception that negotiations are comparable to bringing a knife to a gunfight. One opponent stepping out as victorious and the other with its tail between its legs, rather than seeing the whole process of negotiating as a way to solve an issue where both parties will benefit. When approaching negotiations with this type of mindset chances are that the outcome might lead to win-lose or lose-lose situations that have a negative impact on business in the long run. Changing your mindset to adopt a more productive way of thinking about negotiating, requires getting rid of some old ideas about how to negotiate effectively. Out with the old and in with the new.

There are a few misconceptions that businesses have perfected over the years which makes simple negotiating difficult, to create successful transactions:

Negotiating is a highly aggressive process

Being aggressive has never served anyone very well in business. In fact it could have a negative impact for your business if that is your way of showing superiority. Negotiations involve exchanging information and resources in order to reach an agreement to satisfy the different needs of two or more parties.

Negotiating is the same as bargaining

There is a clear distinction between negotiating and bargaining. Bargaining is about focusing on “who” is right, also, what people typically think of as haggling. What I want, when I want it, what I’m not willing to give up and what I’m willing to offer in order to get what I want. It is a one sided process with one winner, thus win-lose. By bargaining, the risk is created that contracts won’t last, because the losing contender always insists on a re-match to get even or walk away and create a lose-lose situation. Negotiation, on the other hand, is about focusing on “what” is right. It is an allied and “win-win” partnership where both parties clinch a deal from the transaction. Negotiating creates long-term deals and partnerships.

Negotiating always ends up in a compromise between parties

A compromise is a win and lose agreement in which both parties get something of what they want but not all of what they want.

Negotiations should be plied with lies

Honesty is still the best policy. Business negotiations should be kept professional and ethical between all parties involved at all times. Partners and opponents will be more than capable to tell if you are lying. Make sure you have proof of any claims you make because trust is not an easy thing to earn.

The bottom line is to create win-win outcomes, both sides must strive to understand the other person’s wants and needs by bringing honesty, clarity and trust to the negotiating table. This is a mutual attempt to solve one another’s problems and switch to a mindset of flexibility.  

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