When we want something, or someone approaches us for something, what often results is a negotiation dynamic. Buying a car, asking for a raise, getting a professional introduction, getting a policy amended… the opportunities for negotiation are endless.
Obviously I’m pro-negotiation in pretty much every situation. This is, after all, how you’re able to communicate your needs to the world and get them met.
However, there are eight notable exceptions to the rule, neatly spelled out in Essentials of Negotiation:
Substantial and/or Total Loss Possible. If the risk of loss is high, and the loss is significant, it’s not worth attempting negotiation. Choose another option.
Limited Supply. Successful negotiations require access to goods, time, energy, and often money. If you do not have these resources in ample supply, don’t open a negotiation.
Illegal or Unethical Request. Obviously, if you are asked to break a law, tell a white lie or act against your ethical standards, do not negotiate. Lies lead to misrepresentation, misrepresentation can lead to fraud, and fraud leads to jail time.
No Stake in the Transaction If you have no gain or loss avoidance prospect, do not negotiate. Don’t engage in negotiations that aren’t relevant to your needs or interests. Said another way, mind your own business.
Out of Time Negotiating well takes time, planning, and mental preparation. If you have no time, do not engage in negotiations. Time pressure militates against you getting your needs met.
Opposition Acts in Bad Faith. It’s absurd to think your negotiation adversary with a proven track record of bad faith actions will suddenly see the light and act otherwise. Unless there truly is no other option, don’t negotiate with those who act in bad faith.
Rapidly Evolving Situation When you don’t know what to do because the situation, technology, solutions and/or leadership are rapidly changing, wait. Rapid shifts can turn a good position into a less favorable one, and vice versa. Wait for things to stabilize.
You are Unprepared. If you are unprepared, cancel the negotiation. The unschooled think showing up and staging “the walkout” is an effective negotiation tactic. However, 99.9% of the time “the walkout” means your strategy was insufficiently developed. 80% of your negotiation activity should be on preparation. If you are unprepared, do not negotiate.
If your biggest hangup is being unprepared, look no further. You can create an account and get as many resources as you need to tackle any unexpected negotiation.