Bargaining Is Not Negotiating

A “good” compromise dissatisfies both parties equally. But a good negotiation finds creative solutions that most fully satisfies both parties.

We’re conditioned from birth to compromise and to believe that compromise is negotiating. It is not. From an early age, we learn to think that we should each lay out what we want and split it in half. We equate compromise with negotiation and it leads us to bargain.  Bargaining is not negotiating.

When we compromise too soon, we may miss more creative solutions.  Even worse, we may reach a solution that satisfies each party the least and leaves value to either party (or even both parties!) on the table. 

In fact, we often describe “a good compromise” as one that dissatisfies both parties equally. 

The very idea of compromise assumes that both parties can’t be fully satisfied—one party must give-up something to the other.  Sometimes situations are that way.  Many aren’t.  A skillful negotiator knows that compromise is the last effort, not the first.  And that sometimes “acting dumb” and asking questions can surface new information that points to more creative solutions that are better for both parties.

Our Successful Negotiating Skills course teaches the tools and techniques negotiators need to find the best outcomes—and avoid compromising too soon.