Negotiating Starts With Assumptions

by Dr. Chester Karrass - Date: 2008-08-27 - Word Count: 253 Share This!

Most negotiations start with both sides having a set of assumptions regarding what the other side wants, needs, or are able to do, or not do.  One of the purposes of the negotiating process is to discover if your assumptions are valid.

Never trust your assumptions because they are likely to be as wrong as right.

Let's look at some common assumptions many business people start with:

"They will never pay that much."
"They don't want to do business with us after the last mess-up."
"We've got to have it done in 60-days."
"There is a lot of competition."
"They would never be interested in this option."
"He doesn't have enough money."
"I'm sure we're not the low bidder."

Assumptions like this can defeat you before you even start negotiating.  These assumptions lower your own expectations, influence the outcome of the negotiation; and may, in fact, be dead wrong!

Be careful!  Your assumptions can:

*  Cause you to make high offers when low ones are called for.
*  Influence you to make low demands and quick concessions when opposite actions are warranted.
*  Seduce you into believing deadlines when patience is by far the better course of action.
*  Create potential hurdles that can move you in the wrong direction.

Don't fall in love with your assumptions.  Part of the negotiating process is to check them out.  Assumptions are neither right nor wrong until proven so.

Assumptions place boundaries on the potential outcomes of a negotiation.  The better you validate these boundaries, the better position you will be in to create truly Both-Win outcomes.

Related Tags: negotiating, assumptions, array tips strategy

Dr. Chester L. Karrass brings extensive experience, advanced academic credentials in negotiation techniques, and over 35 years experience in seminar delivery no other negotiator in the country can match. After earning an Engineering degree from the University of Colorado and a Masters in Business from Columbia University, Dr. Karrass became a negotiator for the Hughes organization. There he won the first Howard Hughes Doctoral Fellowship Award, and spent three years conducting advanced research and experimentation in negotiation techniques before earning his Doctorate from the University of Southern California.

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