5 Signs of an Untrained Negotiator

You are in a board room and there are two groups of people sitting across from each other. Each party is there to discuss an offer that is on the table and to work towards a mutual agreement.  Both parties strive to attain the better end of the bargain, so what separates the pros from the amateurs?  People might think they can conceal their lack of negotiation training and hope that the other party won’t notice, but lack of experience and proper training does not go unnoticed.  Here are 5 red flags that will help you spot an untrained negotiator.

Untrained Negotiators: Don’t Ask the Right Questions

People that lack proper negotiation training don’t realize the critical importance of gathering information about their counterpart.  They are there to speak and not to listen, when in fact listening is the most important aspect to any successful negotiation.  Trained negotiators know what to ask and how to listen.  An untrained negotiator might ask questions that create small talk such or that only pertain to their side of the negotiation, while trained negotiators know how to ask open-ended questions that reveal information about the other party’s goals, preferences, needs, fears, and priorities.

Untrained Negotiators: Think They Must Dominate in Order to Win

Untrained negotiators look at negotiation as a win-lose situation, whereas they feel the need to use bullying tactics to get what they want.  They use power and size to dominate the conversation instead of proper negotiation strategies.  In contrast, a trained negotiator knows that a successful negotiation is one in which everybody wins.

Untrained Negotiators: Don’t Bring Enough to the Table

An untrained negotiator comes to the table with only one goal in mind and only one solution to get there.  Essentially they are saying, “You have to give me exactly what I want if you want to make a deal.”  A trained negotiator understands that the more you bring to the table, the more successful your negotiation will be.  You can negotiate areas of low value to you for points of high value to your counterpart.  This creates trust and confidence that ultimately leads to a successful negotiation.

Untrained Negotiators: Show it Through Their Body Language

Some people think they can conceal their nervousness but their body language says more than they realize.  An untrained negotiator is likely to show signs of nervousness such as swallowing hard, clasping their hands, giving a fake cough, taking a sip of a drink, or scratching their head.  They can also reveal their lack of experience through their speech pattern.  They might be talking very quickly or the tone of their voice gets higher.  All of these signs reveal their lack of training and can allow the other party to take over the negotiation.

Untrained Negotiators: Can Be Bullied

An untrained negotiator is usually so worried about losing the negotiation that they allow the other party to take over.  Rather than showing a willingness to walk away, they succumb to the bullying tactics of their counterpart in order to reach an agreement.  Skilled negotiators on the other hand, have learned effective counters for these bullying tactics and are not swayed so easily.  They remain confident and in charge and do not allow the bully to dominate the negotiation.