In previous posts, we already gave some tips on what to do in the evening after a day of negotiation and how to give negotiations a positive twist by going for win-win solutions. In the reality, as negotiators, we also need to be aware of the things we should not do.

Here we go with 5 “don’ts”:

  1. Avoid to start your reply to a passionate argumentation of your counterpart with a negative word or rejection sentence. Especially the word “no”. It is very tempting to counter an argument as quickly and powerfully as you can. But, when the other party explains or requests something, they have some hope that you will agree, at least partly. So, control yourself and don’t go for simple rejection or opposition. Try to find some common ground in their argumentation.
  2. Never get really angry because doing this will get you nowhere! There is no worse combination than the right arguments and anger; nothing worse than being right and angry at the same time. People will stop listening to you and concentrate on observing your angriness. In another post, I’ll give a more detailed REX on how I got “in the angriness trap” and what were the consequences. If you have the arguments to make your case, you also have the luxury to state them calmly. This will allow you to insist, patiently, up to inclusion, in some form, in the final agreement.
  3. Don’t admit that you are under bigger time pressure than your counterpart. Obviously, you will be pushed to accept ever more issues getting closer to that often self-imposed deadline. To get a good deal for you, you need to have the time on your side.
  4. Don’t mention, before each and every concession you need to make, that you first have to go back to your management. People don’t like to negotiate with counterparts that have no power at all. Therefore, make sure you always have some negotiation margin in your pocket and anticipate what your counterpart is going to ask. You don’t necessarily have to give in on the same day. Overnight, you can get those approvals that you need. But don’t admit that you parked the issue just because you have no authority. Only for the really big concessions, you can insist that they are to be approved by your board. This will show the seriousness of a specific concession and allow you to get an equal step-in-your-direction from your counterpart.
  5. Don’t try to benefit from obvious mistakes in the contract documents that are strictly opposite to what your counterpart has been defending. It is tempting to overlook something in the wording that is unfavorable to the other party. But, consider that – sooner or later – they will become aware of this mistake. It will be obvious that you had seen it. You can lose your credibility and their confidence over this.

The above points of things – not to do during negotiation – are pretty straightforward. Keep them in mind during your next negotiation session. You have to stay away from these to remain a credible and successful negotiator.

You can find other articles about negotiation on our blog afitac.com or by clicking on the link here below:

https://afitac.com/?s=negotiation

About AfiTaC

AfiTaC.com is the blog on commercial and contractual subjects for the Project Businesses (Construction, Infrastructure, Oil & Gas, Power & Renewable, Water Supply & Sanitation, etc). Its objective is to stimulate reflection, learning, convergence to balanced contracts and positive dispute resolution. You can subscribe to our newsletter by writing to “newsletter@afitac.com”. You can also connect to our LinkedIn page. Engagement with the readers is what keeps us going. So, don’t hesitate to exchange with us by commenting here below, liking our publication on LinkedIn and writing to us “info@afitac.com”. 


Jan Bouckaert

Jan Bouckaert is a FIDIC Certified Adjudicator (President's list) with 25 years of worldwide experience in negotiation of complex construction, renewable energy, power and infrastructure projects. He is also specialized in contract management, project controls and alternative dispute resolution. During Jan’s career path, he lived in France, Belgium, Egypt, India and Portugal and worked for GE Renewable Energy, Alstom Hydro, Besix/Six Construct. He is a Civil Engineer from the University of Leuven (Belgium) and has an MBA from ISEG (Portugal). He speaks fluently English, French, Portuguese and Dutch. Jan is the founder of AfiTaC, a company giving advice on international tenders and contracts. Be welcome to connect on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/afitac/

1 Comment

Magdy · 27 June 2018 at 20 h 15 min

It is a very useful article.

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