Updated: Jun 25, 2019
There are many opportunities for judgment to creep into your mind in negotiation. But these thought patterns generally don't help you or your cause in negotiation... Learning to release judgments you may hold about others, yourself, and even the negotiation process itself, can be instrumental in keeping you focused, on task, and routed towards a more successful negotiation. Here are some examples of common judgments made in negotiation along with suggestions for letting them go.
First, there’s the people…
The person sitting across from you at the negotiation table may approach the conversation as a battle. They may treat you with disrespect. Perhaps they, very plainly, do not understand the issue. Or maybe they don’t care about it as much as you.
It doesn’t matter.
Your evaluation of someone's behavior may be true or false or somewhere in between. But it is definitely based on a judgment that you have made about the situation or the other person. And you have better things to do.
People act the way they do for lots of reasons. Spending your time trying to figure this out, analyze it, fix it, or avoid it... it’s a waste of time. Instead, spend your time adjusting your reactions and focusing on the substance of the discussion - not the way information is delivered to you or the perceived failings of the people who deliver it.
Second, there’s the self-judgment issue…
Unpleasant feelings about negotiation may not only come up for the other people in the negotiation... you may bring it on yourself too. Self-judgment is self-defeating and a tremendous waste of your precious time and energy.
Flashbacks to other less than ideal experiences at the negotiation table, fear over the stakes of the negotiation at hand, or a lack of proper planning for the conversation are all common sources of self-doubt. All of which can and should be eliminated.
Lastly, there’s the game itself…
Lots of people judge the negotiation process itself, which can be seen as combative, stressful, with the decks stacked against you.
If you walk into negotiations believing these things as truth, it will be your experience of negotiation. And you will miss opportunities to build partnerships, create value and develop solutions that are in keeping with your principles.
So how do we address these judgments? By being mindful in the way you plan for and conduct yourself in negotiations. This starts by being aware that there are judgments going through your mind… followed by the realization that such judgments are not tremendously helpful to you… And then having the willingness to let them go.
Tips on how to do this? More here…