People make mistakes when negotiating. It is understandable because there is so much pressure. They say things they shouldn’t and make concessions that are not warranted. They sometimes present statistics and data to defend their position which the other party discovers to be wrong or irrelevant. That’s the natural order of things in a heated negotiation. You will make errors which the other side will be overjoyed to point out.
From now on, when you make a mistake and are confronted by the other party for doing so, fight the tendency to become passive. Accept the fact that negotiators under fire are less than perfect. The final outcome will have less to do with your mistakes than with the many other factors involved.
Sometimes in the tension of bargaining, you will make a concession and discover afterwards that you made a mistake. You have the right to change your mind. You have the right to back off at any time before the agreement is closed and signed. Don’t be embarrassed or passive about exercising this right.
You even have the right to correct mistakes after the negotiation is over. When you discover that you have made a mistake, you have the right to ask the other party for help. Whether they will grant relief at so late a stage may be in their hands, but the right to ask for relief is yours.
The next time you make a mistake of any kind, say to yourself, “I’ve got a right to be wrong.” Nobody is perfect. Continue to be assertive in presenting your viewpoint.
“The Third Amendment”-You Have a Right to be Indecisive
Don’t force yourself into making a decision under pressure of deadline or deadlock. My research has found that people panic as a deadline approaches. They make very large concessions. A psychiatrist friend of mine is convinced that most personal decisions made under stress are wrong. The same appears to be true in bargaining.
You have a right to be indecisive. In fact, it is not a bad position from which to negotiate. In my experience, the indecisive party in a negotiation has something of an advantage in one regard. If the other party wants to settle, they will do something to make the indecisive person make up his or her mind. At a minimum they will provide more information. At best they will make concessions to move things along.
You have a right to be indecisive as long as you want to. I personally find it difficult to deal with indecisive people. My impatience to make them decisive leads me to make concessions I later wish I hadn’t.
In a strange way, indecision requires strength. Because it teaches us to live with the ambiguity of being neither here nor there, it can work for us in bargaining.