# 1 Lack of preparation
The most common mistake in business negotiations is obvious, but it is made again and again. This is what Katie Shonk says in a blog post from the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation. “You may think that you have prepared carefully because you have a clear idea of what to expect from the deal – but that is nowhere near enough,” warns the expert. Successful negotiators, on the other hand, would look at the upcoming talks from many perspectives. According to Shonk, it is particularly important to define the best alternative to the desired goal and to determine when the negotiations will be broken off. These points should also be analyzed from the point of view of the other side in order to make decisions that are as rational as possible.
# 2 Competition instead of cooperation
In Shonk’s opinion, inexperienced or simply not very talented negotiators stand out because they immediately go on a confrontational course for fear of falling behind. Smart strategists, on the other hand, would take the time to build a relationship of trust. This makes it possible to identify the real goals of the other side: “Smart negotiators recognize that they will achieve more in the search for win-win solutions.”
# 3 Negotiating too impulsively
The human brain has tendencies that can lead to disadvantage in negotiations, warns Shonk. Many people would generally overestimate their chances of success. In addition, more eye-catching factors (in salary negotiations, such as wages) are often given more attention than less exciting aspects (e.g. the length of the commute), although these are ultimately more important for satisfaction with the deal, as the expert explains. In negotiations it is important to counteract these impulses.
# 4 Make emotional decisions
Negotiations can be negatively influenced not only by perception, but also by feelings. Emotions are of course important and as instincts can be a valuable indicator of how the conversations are going. But Shonk warns against underestimating the influence of anger, regret or hurt feelings. She recommends taking a break from negotiations in emotionally charged conversations. All participants should then be given the opportunity to express their concerns.
# 5 Cheating in Negotiations
Not only truly unscrupulous people behave unethically. Shonk points to a study by Harvard Business School professor Francsca Gino that found that most people are willing to cheat in negotiations every now and then if there is a financial incentive and they think they won’t be caught. The expert warns to resist this kind of temptation and self-deception (“I didn’t do anything wrong”), even if it is apparently only a matter of minor violations of one’s own moral standards.
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