5 Reasons People Don’t Negotiate — and Why They Should

Negotiation

 Simply say the word, and some people cringe. The idea of going to the table with another party, whether a potential employer, a salesperson or someone they’re engaged in a dispute with and hashing out a solution is more than some people want to deal with. “It’s just easier to go with the flow,” they may think. “And besides, trying to negotiate could make me lose the deal altogether

.” Granted

Few people ever get everything they want when it comes to negotiation, but those who do go through the process often find the outcome is better than they could have hoped for. But still, the majority of people avoid negotiations for several reasons.

Fear

Fear is perhaps the biggest reason people avoid negotiating to get what they want or need. For example, perhaps you received an offer for a job you know is perfect for you, but the salary is less than you wanted. You may be afraid to negotiate for more money because what if you get off on the wrong foot with your new boss, or worse, take yourself out of the running altogether with your requests? The truth is, most employers expect prospective hires to negotiate; if you can do it skillfully, you may even gain more respect and admiration. Also, it’s unlikely an employer will rescind a job offer because you want to negotiate the terms of your employment; the worst case scenario is they say “no,” and you have to make a decision about whether to take the job or not.

Lack of Negotiating Skills

Some people avoid negotiating because they do not know how to do it well. According to one survey, 22 percent of respondents said they did not negotiate the terms of a job offer because they lacked negotiating skills and assumed they would negatively impact the process by not doing it “correctly.”

Anyone can learn how to negotiate (there are even master’s in negotiation and dispute resolution degree programs to prepare people for careers requiring negotiation skills) but you don’t have to be an expert to get better results for yourself. Before entering a negotiation, review the basics of negotiation theory, have a clear idea of your best possible outcome and consider role-playing with someone else to practice how you’ll present your case.

Situation Avoidance

There’s no denying that in some cases, negotiation can be a tense and contentious process. When both sides are determined not to budge or come to the table with defensiveness, anger or animosity, it’s not going to be a pleasant process. Thus, some people are tempted to give in to avoid it altogether.

However, avoiding unpleasantness now may backfire later, when you regret not fighting harder for what you want. Going into the negotiation with an open-minded attitude and a vision of your best possible outcome, and leaving emotion at the door, can help you get through the process and feel more comfortable with the outcome.

Lack of Confidence

“I can’t negotiate,” some people think. “That’s for higher-level, more important people.” Particularly when it comes to negotiating job offers, some people erroneously believe that, because they aren’t looking to fill the corner office, they aren’t in a position to negotiate. Or, maybe they feel like they have nothing special to offer, and that the employer could easily find someone else who is willing to do the job without asking for more money or benefits.

In reality, you can negotiate at any stage of your career. Again, most employers expect some sort of negotiation process, and even if you’re filling an entry-level position, you can ask for some concessions. Think about the skills and qualifications you bring to the table, and use them to support your bargaining position.

Lack of Knowledge Finally

Mؐany people don’t negotiate because they don’t realize they can. However, these days, it’s true almost everything is negotiable. From the price of your utilities to the perks you get from an airline, sometimes all you need to do is ask. In any situation, ask yourself whether you can negotiate a better deal and what you can offer in return. You may be surprised at how often you can get what you want by just asking for it.

Negotiation does not have to be a frightening or unpleasant prospect. By understanding what’s holding you back and taking steps to overcome those barriers, you may find that negotiation is easier than you thought — and highly rewarding.

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