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The Most Serious Errors Made by Negotiators: Twenty-Five to Consider

By James L. Greenstone, Ed.D., J.D., DABECI


Negotiator errors come is various sizes and with varying consequences. They occur for various reasons. While this list is not exhaustive, it represents the more serious mistakes that might be made in almost any type of negotiations, by almost any negotiator. Mediators and arbitrators are also included in what is presented.

The perfect negotiator probably does not exist. All make mistakes from time to time. The real effort should be expended in trying to avoid the potentially negotiation-ending or career-ending errors. Please feel free to adapt what is presented to your personal / professional negotiation situation.

The Errors

Error Number One:Choosing the wrong negotiator for the specific negotiations.
Error Number Two:Not understanding the type of situation to be negotiated.
Error Number Three:Timing the negotiations incorrectly.
Error Number Four:Not making meaningful contact with the other party.
Error Number Five:Failing to use appropriate intelligence intelligently.
Error Number Six:Failure to keep all parties focused on problem solving.
Error Number Seven:Not recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of the other side.
Error Number Eight:Not understanding the mind-set of the other party.
Error Number Nine:Avoiding safety issues.
Error Number Ten:Negotiating without sufficient time.
Error Number Eleven:Not knowing when to walk away from the negotiations.

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May 2006