10 myths about negotiations that keeps you from growing

myths about negotiation
Image (CC) by Sebastiaan ter Burg

Those who dread business negotiations are used to believing everything that happens at the bargaining table, even some things that are completely untrue. How do we burst some of the most credible things people know about negotiations?

A lot of business individuals don’t negotiate, and it is because they are influenced by all kinds of unfounded allegations regarding negotiations. You can’t believe everything you hear! Check out these 10 myths about negotiations that might keep you from growing.

1. Winner takes it all in negotiation

The most widespread myth concerning negotiations is the win/lose approach. Some people believe that there’s only one way a deal can be close – by winning the deal or by losing it. However, there’s a third way of negotiating.

Win-win solutions are viable ways of closing a good bargain. Sadly, very few are aware of this alternative. Some don’t even believe that win-win agreements can bring any benefits to the success of their business. That’s because they associate the win-win approach with loss.

2. Cross-cultural negotiations are difficult to approach

Dealing with international negotiations is not difficult but rather puzzling. Many people assume that bargaining on an international level is tough due to language and cultural differences. Providing that you can maintain a professional attitude, nothing bad can happen.

Show respect and your partners will return the favour. Engage in a dialogue, and if you find it difficult to make yourself understood turn to the services of a translator. It will make the negotiation meeting go a lot smoother.

3. Aggressiveness is the key to win

Aggressiveness in business can’t have many advantages. In fact, an assertive attitude can have a lot of negative effects on opponents. A negotiation is a conversation between two or more people with the purpose of reaching an agreement. It’s not a war where only the toughest candidate will win.

Some business people use aggressiveness to convey superiority. This kind of approach may trigger a lot of tension at the business table. Nothing good can come out of a stressful situation.

Aggressiveness is the key to win
image (CC) by Sebastiaan ter Burg


4. Lying helps

Lying doesn’t get you out of a challenging situation. On the contrary, it can make opponents lose trust in you and your company. Let’s not forget that in business negotiations all the parties involved are professionals.

This means that they’re more than capable of telling if what you imply is the truth or not. What will you do if an opponent asks you for proof on a claim you made (and lied about)?

5. Niceness is often linked to naiveté

Naïveté in business is a myth. We can talk about inexperience, but a nice attitude doesn’t mean you can’t close a good deal. Many people are drawn at the thought that if you’re being polite and have a pleasant attitude you are not dangerous.

It’s never a good idea to judge about appearances. The nicest, quietest negotiator can end up being the most skilled and experienced person you have ever dealt with.

6. Successful negotiators always make more money

Yes and no, both answers apply. But a negotiation is not “just” about making more money. It is about gaining more value. In certain situations a meeting can be about financial incentives, but in other cases it could involve all kinds of things that are not related to money.

7. Win-win negotiations are not successful negotiations

Win-win negotiations are not for losers. Sadly, many believe that if you don’t walk out of a meeting with more than 50% you haven’t won anything. When money is not a priority, win-win solutions are the best. You give something up but you get something else (equally valuable) in return. It’s worth taking the risk!

8. Bullet-proof rules

Negotiating is a process, a collaboration that can have more than one variable. Just because you abide by certain rules doesn’t mean you can succeed. It is important that you strategize.

Adapt to a given situation and if you can afford to go with your gut, do it. Don’t allow anyone tell you what to do, and if you feel that breaking a rule is the right thing to do, then that’s exactly what you should do.

9. It’s so easy/difficult to negotiate

It’s wrong to assume that some negotiations are easy while others are difficult. This may be true in real life when you bargain at the flea market, but it doesn’t apply to business.

For some, bargaining with investors and suppliers may appear straightforward, logical and normal. For others, it can be terrifying. It’s all about experience here. The more you negotiate and learn about negotiations, the better chances you have to attain greatness.

10. Emotions are bad in negotiations

False! There are ways to bargain with emotion without appearing weak in front of your counterparts. All you have to do is control feelings of anxiety and fear by turning them to your advantage. Body language can help you relax.

Look opponents straight in the eye when talking; use hand gestures to create movement and engage your audience, and last but not least, keep your speech short and to the point Avoid long sentences and tricky words; you don’t want opponents to sense your nervousness.

Know more myths about negotiations?

Do you have your own myths about negotiations? Please do share them here!

By Davis Miller and TheGapPartnership.com!

About Aleksej Heinze

Passport to Trade 2.0 project leader. My research interests are in the area of disruptive innovation using information technology (IT) and the use of IT in business management. Topics include: enterprise 2.0; web 2.0, international business culture, search engine optimisation, and social media marketing.