Negotiation Myths (PowerPoint)

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Negotiation Myths
see The Heart and Mind of the Negotiator by Leigh Thompson
1. Negotiations are Fixed-Sum
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the assumption that whatever is good for one person must be bad
for the other
links to trust issues
truth is that most negotiations are variable-sum, meaning that if
the parties work together they can create more joint value than a
purely combative approach
however, pure undiluted trust is unrealistic because any value that
is created must ultimately be claimed by someone at the table
Walton & McKersie (1965) suggest that negotiation is a mixedmotive enterprise, with incentives to cooperate as well as compete
2. You Need to Be Either Tough or Soft
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traditional views of negotiation, and negotiators, are that you need
to be either tough or ‘reasonable’ to the point of being soft and
concessionary
Bazerman & Neale (1992) suggest that effective negotiators are
neither
along with Fisher & Ury (1981) they suggest that effective
negotiators correctly recognise that to achieve their own outcomes
they must work together to generate value – cooperate,
collaborate – but should also leverage their own power and
strength
3. Good Negotiators Are Born
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there is a belief that these skills are in some way ‘natural’ and this
can’t easily be learned
Thompson suggests this is not true, and may be due to the
selective nature of the reporting of negotiation events e.g. one-off
events
she suggests that the most important negotiations are those that
we engage in every day with colleagues, supervisors and business
associates and that these are a better index of performance
to develop your skills you need practice and feedback
experience is helpful but not sufficient
4. Experience is Enough
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experience, without feedback, is largely ineffective at improving
negotiation skills*
without feedback then it is difficult to improve
memories and perception are selective – we focus on our
successes and forget/ignore our failures
psychologists call it the locus of control – who is responsible?
experience leads to confidence and this can be beneficial but
accuracy and focus must also be maintained.
confidence may lead to increased risk-taking, misguided
assumptions, cutting corners on preparation, underestimating your
opponents, reduced motivation, miss-reading signals and so on.
* Loewenstein, Thompson & Gentner 2003, Nadler, Thompson & Van Boven 2003
5. Good Negotiators Take Risks
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the idea that effective negotiation involves risks and gambles
using statements like “this is my final offer” and using a tough
style, involving bluffs and threats
this may seem impressive (when recalling the story) and suggest
an ‘experienced’ approach but Thompson suggests it is often
ineffective and that risk and uncertainty must be handled carefully,
not superficially
6. Reliance on Intuition
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a pervasive idea in negotiation – and indeed in decision making in
general – is that ‘gut feeling’ and ‘intuition’ are valid drivers of
behaviour
however, good decisions are usually made after sound
preparation, clear planning, deliberate thought, rational analysis
and an evidence-based approach
proactive approaches and strategies tend to be more effective
than reactive ones, where you are dependent on others

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