5 Negotiation 'Don'ts' That Must Be Avoided

Negotations strategies for success

learn more about Aimee Tariq

By Aimee Tariq

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss says in his viral masterclass on negotiation, all of us negotiate in some way every single day. Negotiation is the way by which we work with others, find win-wins and get things done, which can apply to everything from landing a reservation at a restaurant at the last minute to successfully closing a multi-million dollar deal within just a few meetings. There are many popular books on negotiation from which you can learn exactly what to do, but those strategies weaken when you also succumb to negotiation "don'ts." These sneaky mistakes happen to the best of us, but must be avoided in order to have a successful negotiation and to get what you want out of the situation.

This can apply to negotiating salary, coming to terms for a business deal or partnership, hiring a contractor or any of your other business or financial needs. Everything is a negotiation. In fact, 70% of managers see an offer of a salary and benefits as a starting point that's up for negotiation. Price and features are all relative, and others are more open to negotiation than you may believe. Avoid these mistakes to get more of what you want from a conversation.

Related: 6 Steps to Negotiate Properly and Achieve Better Outcome

Mistake #1: Rushing to reach a conclusion

The best negotiations take time. Unless you're going to forfeit and settle up front just to arrive at an outcome more quickly, you better settle in and get comfortable in the back and forth process. As Erin Egan, the former Director of Strategy and Business Development at Microsoft, shared with Harvard Business School that negotiations are "not a sprint, and if you're not prepared for the marathon, you're probably not going to finish it very well."

It's often been said that the one who is willing to wait longer is the one who has the power. When you're in a rush, you're more likely to concede. Decide that you're willing to give up a speedy process in order to get what you want.

Mistake #2: Saying anything that doesn't ultimately benefit you

Some negotiators believe that befriending the person they're negotiating with will get them to the next level and build trust. To do this, some make the mistake of cracking self-critical jokes or letting down their defenses in the interest of building a friendship through vulnerability. Never do this. Scott Turman is the author of Stop Getting F*cked by Technical Recruiters, which helps those in the technical field have a leg up in job and salary negotiations, and he advises to never tell a recruiter anything that does not benefit you.

This specifically gets tricky if the recruiter (or, the person on the other end of the negotiation) is asking questions that are compromising. Turman says that you can always refuse to answer a question. Make sure you're the one in charge of the narrative, and that you never say anything that can be used against you.

Mistake #3: Not planning ahead of time

Sure, everyone goes into a negotiation with a rough idea on what they want. But the more detailed you can be in your approach, the better. It's not enough to, for example, have a general range of a rate in mind for a negotiation with a brand for advertising space. Ideally, you should have an exact number with a few backup contingencies, as well as research or statistics to back it up. Whoever is more prepared is more likely to win the negotiation.

Mistake #4: Not viewing your negotiation's terms from the other side

Of course, you're coming at the negotiation from the standpoint of what you want, which seems fair and right to you. But, what does the negotiation you're proposing give the other party? The more you can be empathetic and stand in the other side's shoes, the more you'll be able to identify with them and persuade them. Make the negotiation a clear win-win for both sides.

Making it seem like the decision solely benefits the other side will always seem fishy (no one likes to agree to something that feels too good to be true), but only thinking about what you'll get will also result in a dead-end. Seek to find the best-case scenario for all involved instead of a best-case scenario just for you.

Mistake #5: Showing desperation

There are many reasons that you may feel desperate in a negotiation. Maybe you really need the job or the client, maybe the deal has high stakes, or maybe you could just really use a win. Whatever ounce of desperation you have must be hidden. In fact, get into as neutral a place as possible before going into deliberations. Desperation shows that you're more likely to concede.

Think about it this way: Let's say you're hoping to sign a client and your proposed rate is $10,000. If you really need the money, you'll find yourself feeling okay with $7,500, because in your mind, $7,500 is better than nothing. But what's better than $7,500? Ten thousand dollars. When you're desperate, you're more likely to come to a conclusion that benefits the other side more than it benefits you because you're scared of losing the deal. A lack of desperation will also help you to slow down the process so you don't rush the negotiation and ultimately concede.

Related: 8 Negotiating Tactics Every Successful Entrepreneur Has Mastered

Negotiation is an art as much as it is a science, and practice makes perfect. Go in neutral, prepare, and appease the other side. You can only get better the more you negotiate.

Aimee Tariq

Founder and CEO of A Life With Health

Aimee Tariq is most passionate about empowering professionals to live their best lives by removing toxic triggers and maximizing energy, focus and productivity. At the age of 23 she became a no. 1 bestselling author for health optimization.

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

Everyone Wants to Get Close to Their Favorite Artist. Here's the Technology Making It a Reality — But Better.
The Highest-Paid, Highest-Profile People in Every Field Know This Communication Strategy
After Early Rejection From Publishers, This Author Self-Published Her Book and Sold More Than 500,000 Copies. Here's How She Did It.
Having Trouble Speaking Up in Meetings? Try This Strategy.
He Names Brands for Amazon, Meta and Forever 21, and Says This Is the Big Blank Space in the Naming Game
Business News

These Are the Most and Least Affordable Places to Retire in The U.S.

The Northeast and West Coast are the least affordable, while areas in the Mountain State region tend to be ideal for retirees on a budget.

Thought Leaders

The Collapse of Credit Suisse: A Cautionary Tale of Resistance to Hybrid Work

This cautionary tale serves as a reminder for business leaders to adapt to the changing world of work and prioritize their workforce's needs and preferences.

Health & Wellness

5 Essential Steps to Expand Your Vision and Start Living Your Dream Life

It's time to break free from your comfort zone and expand your vision. When you refuse to settle for a mediocre life, you can start building a life you love.

Business Solutions

Learn to Build a ChatGPT Bot for Only $30

If you want to see what AI can do for your business, grab this course bundle today.

Business News

I'm a Former Google Recruiter. Here's How to Land a Job in Tech — and What Can Blow Your Interview

A former Google recruiter says layoffs may be trendy, but tech workers are always needed. Here's how to land a job at a major tech company.

Business News

The 'Airbnbust' Proves the Wild West Days of Online Vacation Rentals Are Over

Airbnb recently reported that 2022 was its first profitable year ever. But the deluge of new listings foreshadowed an inevitable correction.