3 Pitfalls To Avoid When Negotiating

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3 pitfalls to avoid when negotiating

3 Pitfalls To Avoid When Negotiating

Many people are afraid to negotiate. Negotiation can be scary, whether it’s negotiating for higher pay or a more significant role. However, if you are ready to negotiate, there are several things to consider before you head to the negotiating table.

3 pitfall to avoid when negotiatingOur CEO and Founder, Jessica Chen, recently hosted a Soulcast Media | LIVE event on LinkedIn where she interviewed Women’s Leadership Speaker, Journalist, and Author, Selena Rezvani.

They shared tips and personal stories about the most common pitfalls people face when trying to negotiate. This Soulcast Media | LIVE event is brought to you by our amazing sponsors at Sabobatage.

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1. Waiting

Most people believe it is better to wait for a raise or a promotion. However, during the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Selena shared waiting is a pitfall you want to avoid. This is because waiting gets in the way of advocating for yourself. Unfortunately, most superiors aren’t handing out raises or promotions regularly. And according to Procurement Tactics, 28,000 people do a Google search on how to negotiate a raise every month!

As you prepare to negotiate, consider these three waiting tactics and why you should avoid them.

  • Speak When Spoken To – During a negotiation, you may feel pressure to wait until it’s “your turn” to speak. However, this gives the other person more control of the conversation. Instead, if you have something to say, you need to say it. You can professionally interrupt, interject, or even speak unprompted. For example, you can say something like, “Excuse the interruption, Jim; however, I must say XYZ.” Or you can say, “I understand you didn’t ask this, but I need to inform you of XYZ.” Sometimes mental barriers can prevent you from feeling confident when speaking to a superior. In our e-course, The Art Of Communicating, you will learn to remove mental barriers and confidently communicate what you want.
  • Take Just Enough – In a negotiation, you may lose the confidence to ask for what you really want, and instead, you ask for just enough to get by. For example, let’s say your team has been working to their limits, and you need to hire at least four more people. However, instead of asking for four, you ask for two. While getting two more people is great, it’s not what you really need. Taking just enough or almost enough to get by is a pitfall you need to avoid.
  • Never Ask For More – Often, in a negotiation, you may feel like whatever is offered is what you should take. This pitfall can leave you feeling resentful, or not appreciated in your role. You may feel like you can’t ask for more. However, this is part of a negotiation. If you want a promotion, you have to ask for it. If you want a higher salary, you have to counter with what you want. For example, if you are offered a three percent increase in salary, but you want five percent, ask for seven percent. When you ask for seven percent, you give yourself a little wiggle room for negotiation. Or, you could be happily surprised when they agree to the seven!

When you wait to speak, or ask for what you really need, you leave the negotiation table without advocating for yourself. Don’t fall into this negotiation pitfall. Be confident when you ask for what you need or what you want.

Speaking Up At Work


2. What Negotiation Isn’t

During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Selena said one of the biggest pitfalls people find is they don’t actually know what negotiation is. She said negotiation is where both people are comfortable with the resolution. 

Consider what negotiation isn’t before you begin your negotiation.

  • Passive And Yielding – Neither party in a negotiation should be passive or yielding. This includes the person asking for a raise, or a promotion. You need to participate in a negotiation. Don’t let the negotiation happen in front of your eyes. For example, let’s say you’ve just asked your boss for a promotion. Your boss says you can have the title but no raise. Instead of being passive and taking the title, advocate for yourself. You can say something like, “I appreciate the title change, but I also believe my new title and new responsibilities deserve a pay increase.” If you never ask for what you want, you definitely won’t get it. In our LinkedIn Learning e-course, Speaking Up At Work, you will learn how to speak up for yourself, and advocate when necessary. 3 pitfalls to avoid when negotiating
  • Dominant And Insisting – The opposite of passive and yielding is being dominant and insisting. This aggressive form of negotiation is a pitfall you will want to avoid. When you are dominant and insisting, you come across as unprofessional. In any negotiation, you want to remain professional. You are most likely speaking with a superior, and you do not want to lose your credibility or authority by negotiating in this manner. 

💡We recommend the e-course, “Negotiation Foundations” to help you learn the fundamentals of negotiations.

Understanding what an actual negotiation is will help you navigate your next negotiation calmly, and professionally.


3. Pushy

During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Selena said people’s number one fear about negotiations is coming across as pushy. They are afraid they will damage the relationship permanently.

However, there is a difference between being pushy and asking for what you need or want. There are two strategies you can use to avoid coming across as pushy.

  • Communal – One way to avoid coming across as pushy is to show how your request will benefit everyone and not just you. For example, you can say something like, “In the spirit of our team’s well-being, I am asking for more headcount.” Or you can say something like,  “In the spirit of making sure I can get XYZ done, I need more time, more resources, more billable hours, etc.” Try using a communal approach if you’ve been afraid to ask for more help or more hours. 3 pitfalls to avoid when negotiating
  • Use Humor – Sometimes, humor can help ease any anxiety you may have when you sit at the negotiation table. And, humor can also reduce the other person’s concern too. For example, you can say something like, “Research shows after I ask for a raise, you will like me less.” Or, “You probably expected me to ask for a raise, and that’s exactly what I’m doing!” When you use humor, you allow everyone to relax, and won’t come across as pushy.

Being pushy won’t help you get what you need or want. You are still speaking to someone you work with, so you want to maintain a good relationship with them after the negotiation is over.

In the end, a good negotiation leaves both parties satisfied with the outcome. To achieve this, you need to avoid common negotiation pitfalls, and focus on communicating what you need.


If you want to see the full LIVE version of Jessica and Selena’s conversation, check out Jessica’s Youtube Channel.

Do you want to learn how to negotiate better? Join our private communications group and level up with our expert guidance.

Sign up for the Soulcast Media Membership today!

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3 pitfalls to avoid when negotiating

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