Negotiation Myths – Busted

Welcome to February 2013’s issue of the leadership e-zine Life without Limits. Solid content for a time-starved executive since 1999. I enjoyed meeting or connecting with you on Linkedin, during or after my Everest/leadership presentations in the past quarter in Singapore, Saigon, Bali and a few other places.  This month’s tips and content include negotiation myths you have to bust – in order to succeed, as well as details of our March 4th Negotiating to Win programme and main feature –

Negotiation Myths – Busted

NTW-for-speakers-dec2012-e1360047518356The photo above shows the group of mainly professional content experts who speak, train and consult to deliver their expertise. Included were dealmakers, and business owners used to dealing with millions of their own and other people’s money. It was a great day of fun, learning and sobering self-discovery. The little blue books lifted high are the Quick Reference Guides that summarise key points in the 2-day programme. More pertinently, the workshop gave me some time to think about several negotation myths that need busting – if you want to succeed in 2013.





So here they are:

1) You have to be ‘tough’ in negotiations to ‘win’

Busted – you can be ‘tough’ , and win, but it is unlikely you will do business with the same people ever again. Companies who have come in from a strong bargaining position and ‘squeezed’ their suppliers, have found this principle out to their cost. So, in a negotiation, factors like the deal design and the set up come into play; including issues like – will the deal be repeatable? And are you dealing with the right party in the right circumstances? If you do the set-up perfectly, and deal allows both parties to gain great value, you don’t have to be anywhere near ‘tough’ to do well

2) women aren’t really good at negotiations

Really? Once negotiations begin, there are not many differences in gender. However, research ( see Babcock) show that the big issue is that many women don’t even choose to negotiate many times. When asked to describe a metaphor for negotiations, most men in a study said ” It’s like a ball game” – while most women said” Like going to the dentist”……..But when they do negotiate, they impart greater interaction to the situation (International Studies Quarterly 2009);and often bring value to a negotiation

3) We should always aim at getting a “win-win” solution

Nope – not necessarily so if you do not think the relationship is worth preserving, or if there will be a need to repeat the negotiation. In such cases, there could be justification to go for a win-lose situation, taking most of the value in a negotiation for oneself. That being said, most businesses are interdependent, and regular use of such an approach will likely be counterproductive. I always teach how to look for a “mostly-win-mostly-win” scenario. if parties cam be imaginative, bith might walk away with more than what they had expected. Come for our March 4th Negotiating to Win workshop!


Looking Ahead:

Wishing all my Chinese associates and friends a Happy Chinese New Year as we enter the year of the Water Snake. While I wish you the best of luck this year, many of us also know that we tend to make our own luck – if you are interested to know how, go to the article –  Making Your Own Luck