5 rookie mistakes even senior leaders make when negotiating for more money or promotions, according to a negotiations expert

 Negotiation is a crucial skill for anyone seeking a job, promotion, or raise, especially in the current uncertain economic climate. As a management scientist and professor, I have observed that even smart leaders can make mistakes while negotiating, while entry-level managers can excel. However, anyone can improve their negotiation skills by following research-backed best practices. Here are five critical pieces of negotiation advice that will help you avoid common mistakes.

1. Adopt a relational style instead of a transactional one. Avoid taking a hard-nosed transaction-focused approach and instead treat the discussion as a conversation between people with shared interests in creating a productive and fulfilling workplace. Adopting such an approach helps build trust and focus on shared goals rather than just accommodating or capitulating to the other party.

2. Use your Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA) as a backup, not a threat. It is a common mistake to believe that you need an outside offer to get what you want at your job. Instead of using an outside job offer as immediate leverage, keep it in reserve and maintain a productive negotiation atmosphere by avoiding direct references to outside offers.

3. Be proactive instead of reactive. Do not wait for your performance review or the end of the year to ask for something. Be proactive and educate yourself about what is most needed and valuable for your organization and how you can deliver it with specific better employment terms.

4. Seek mutual gains instead of just fairness. Banish the word fairness from your vocabulary and instead use the language of mutual gains. Successful negotiators think about how to expand the pie and grow the sandbox, not how many toys they are entitled to. This approach drives better outcomes.

5. Choose in-person over email. Email (and other non-synchronous communications) can result in miscommunication and negative consequences, while in-person conversations enable you to adjust your message, maintain rapport, and use perspective-taking strategies. Pick the right moment, location, and communication method for an in-person negotiation.

Experienced negotiators serve their own interests and those of others, and by following these research-backed advice pieces, you can achieve success in your negotiations, both large and small.

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