Posted on

3 Negotiation Mistakes Even Smart People Make – Life Reimagined At Work

My career coaching post for Life Reimagined At Work focuses on negotiation — i.e., don’t be your own worst enemy when you go for more dough:

I once coached a very polished executive with years of fundraising experience and deep influential connections. She was an expert negotiator for her constituents. But for herself, she still needed help. Experienced professionals have natural advantages in negotiating – the wisdom from living through different market conditions and business environments, the perspective from navigating different relationships over time. But just because you have more years in the workplace doesn’t mean you have more negotiating experience – maybe you haven’t negotiated recently, or maybe you never negotiated at all. Just because you negotiate for others on the job, as this executive did, doesn’t mean you can negotiate for yourself. Here are 3 key negotiation mistakes even smart people make:

You forget to practice in performance conditions

Preparing for a salary negotiation, the development executive did her research and knew what her predecessor had earned, what similar organizations paid for the same role, and how current market conditions affected what the organization could and would pay. She had beautiful data and a compelling script. By all accounts, she was ready to go. So I played the role of her prospective boss and improvised her upcoming salary negotiation — asking her what she expected for salary, pushing back, listing my objections – and she stumbled her way through, utterly taken aback that her painstaking preparation and years of hard-fought development wins didn’t help at all.

Mental preparation is only the beginning. You absolutely must practice out loud, with someone else, ideally in a similar environment where you will be negotiating (say, a conference room). You must feel the nerves, push through the objections, and say aloud what you want and deserve. It feels different than you imagine it, regardless of how smart your preparation is or how articulately you might have negotiated before.

See two other ways this talented executive (and perhaps even you?) sabotage negotiations at Life Reimagined For Work: 3 Negotiation Mistakes Even Smart People Make.