Career Negotiation, Negotiating in Life, Negotiating Tips, Business Negotiation April 20, 2010

What do you expect?

Everyone has expectations about all sorts of things, including business negotiations. We expect things to go our way or we expect that the other party will respond a certain way. And then things don’t go as expected and we are disappointed or frustrated.

Expectations are not the same as aspirations. Merriam-Webster defines aspiration as: “a strong desire to achieve something high or great.” Aspirations are our highest goals, and we usually are motivated to pursue those goals. Expectations, on the other hand, involve the anticipation of how a situation will unfold, what we think will happen.

Assumptions are closely related to expectations because they involve projections. When we make an assumption or have an expectation, we are using our perceptions about what might happen in a given situation. Assumptions are based on our assessments and ideas—in a sense, they are educated guesses. In negotiation, we are taught to test our assumptions. And we should also challenge our expectations.

Going into a business negotiation with unrealistic or unwarranted expectations may result in an outcome we are not planning for or are unhappy with.

As Peter Bregman writes in Harvard Business Review blog entitled “Don’t Let Your Expectations Fool You:”

“...how easy it is to mistake our expectation for reality, the past for the present, and our desires for fact. ... There's a psychological term for this: confirmation bias. We look for the data, behaviors, and evidence that show us that things are the way we believe they should be. In other words, we look to confirm that we're right.”

Next time you go into a business negotiation, ask yourself what you are expecting. And then, try to confirm the reality versus the expectation. Bregman suggests this:

“Instead of looking for how things are the same, we can look for how they are different. Instead of seeking evidence to confirm our perspectives, we can seek to shake them up. Instead of wanting to be right, we can want to be wrong.”

Read the blog post here: http://blogs.hbr.org/

Have you ever been fooled by your expectations for a negotiation?

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Deanna D.
CASE MANAGER at THE JACKSON LABORATORY

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Jeff G.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER at THE M.K. MORSE COMPANY

EXCELLENT COURSE, BRINGS MORE CONFIDENCE IN MY ABILITY TO NEGOTIATE. I THINK THIS COURSE IS A MUST FOR ALL EMPLOYEES WHO DEAL WITH CUSTOMERS.

John S.
CHIEF ENGINEERING MANAGER at EXXONMOBIL

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SENIOR ANALYST at BLUE CROSS/BLUE SHIELD OF MICHIGAN

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Kim C.
PROCUREMENT at AMERICAN EXPRESS

THIS PROGRAM HAS GREATLY INCREASED MY CONFIDENCE AND ABILITY TO NEGOTIATE FOR MYSELF AS WELL AS MY COMPANY.

LaDonna E.
SENIOR STRATEGIC BUYER at HALLMARK

THE NEGOTIATING CLASS WAS VERY INFORMATIVE. THE INSTRUCTOR PROVIDED AN INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGE THAT CAN BE APPLIED TO EVERYDAY LIFE.

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INTERNATIONAL SOURCING at FMC TECHNOLOGIES

WE NEGOTIATE EVERY DAY OF OUR LIVES, BOTH PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY. THIS COURSE DEFINES THE PROCESS AND PROVIDES TECHNIQUES TO ACHIEVE SUCCESSFUL RESULTS.

Phillip H.
VICE PRESIDENT at GE

PRIOR TO THIS CLASS I FELT AS THOUGH I WAS GETTING EATEN ALIVE BY INTERNAL NEGOTIATIONS WITH SALES REPS. NOW I FEEL PREPARED TO CHALLENGE WHAT THEY ARE SAYING AND BET TO THEIR REAL NEEDS.

Steve Q.
PLANNER at HONEYWELL

MANY PEOPLE FAIL TO ACHIEVE THEIR POTENTIAL BECAUSE THEY DON’T SEE THE OPPORTUNITIES TO NEGOTIATE A WIN/WIN AGREEMENT WITH THEIR COLLEAGUES. THIS CLASS IS AN EYE OPENER TO THIS DYNAMIC..

Stuart B.
CONTRACTS MANAGER at HEWLETT-PACKARD
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