Negotiating can be inherently stressful for many of us because it involves uncertainty and ambiguity. We don’t know how the other party is going to respond to our requests, we may be uncertain of their interests or goals, and the stakes are often high and have significant consequences. The outcome may affect our job, finances, or relationships.
This stress can lead to premature concessions.
A premature concession refers to giving up something of value too soon or without getting anything in return. It typically happens when a negotiator is too eager to close a deal.
Here are 3 ways negotiators work against themselves by conceding prematurely:
1. Rush to break the silence: Many people attempt to fill the discomfort of silence by talking. In negotiations, this can prompt you to make premature concessions. Get comfortable with silence and use it strategically. People often reveal important information when they start talking. So, listen!
2. Miss Opportunities for Trade-Offs: By conceding prematurely, you likely miss opportunities for trade-offs that could result in a more optimal final agreement. When you listen strategically, you will discover what is important to the other party. That gives you leverage. If you have done your homework and know your priorities, exchange something that is not of high value for you, for something that is valuable to them.
Let's imagine a scenario in which you are negotiating with your employer about working from home. You propose to work from home five days a week, as it would improve your work-life balance and reduce commuting costs and time. However, your employer is resistant to this idea, because of the importance of team collaboration and creativity. So, you suggest a compromise and ask for 3 days instead of 5 and agree to be available for video calls during certain core hours to maintain team communication and collaboration.
This way, you get some of the flexibility you desire, and they can ensure regular in-person collaboration by your being in the office 2 days a week.
This is a typical give-and-take scenario in negotiation where both parties make concessions to reach an agreement that satisfies both parties' needs: your need for flexibility and the employer's need for team collaboration.
3. Make consecutive concessions. Effective negotiation is based on the principle of give and take. If you make a concession, you should aim to receive something of equal or near-equal value in return. One concession begets another!
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