Negotiation mistakes event planners must avoid

Negotiation mistakes event planners must avoid

In a fast-paced Event industry, negotiation can be a much-needed skillset for event planners.  Event profs need to negotiate their way from the event venue discussions to finalizing a keynote speaker.

All the discussions involve some form of negotiation and if done right can be a great way of planning a successful event.

There are times when you feel you could have negotiated that deal better or maybe it was far too stretched on the negotiation stage. We have all been there especially when it comes to planning an event there are various different scenarios where a tactical and well-routed negotiation discussion can help you get the best of services and sometimes land you on great deals.  

As a part of this people-driven industry, the skill to have a great negation dialogue is always an appreciated talent for event planners but sometimes we end up doing some really common mistakes. 

These can be avoided with a simple mindful approach. Read ahead to know what are these mistakes and how to avoid them 

Confusing negotiation with a bargain

Confusing negotiation with a bargain

“We often tend to negotiate the way we bargain!” Negotiation and bargain sound synonymous but they are two different techniques. While bargaining is the negotiation of price alone, negotiation includes much more than price. Sometimes, negotiation may even be free from price and it might add value in other ways. This value addition may be in the form of some extra service or future commitments or even the barter of offerings. In terms of negotiation within the organization, it may simply be about convincing superiors for a new idea or pushing subordinates one notch ahead. Great event organizers have an innate instinct to go out of the box in recognizing various ways of negotiation. 

Lack of empathy

“If it’s one-way, it’s not negotiation!” This is a common mistake and can be avoided with a mindful approach, what differentiates negotiation from the bargain is the tactic used, where bargaining can be to be forceful, negotiation is empathetic. As a negotiator, we can’t be self-centered. A good negotiator looks for what he can give in response to what he’s getting. 

This becomes more important in an industry like ours. Be it the company offering peanuts for planning the event or tight-fisted exhibitors, event planner needs to negotiate with almost every stakeholder. He needs to look for convincing measures to make the negotiation empathetic. 

 Intuition vs evidence

“Intuitions are good as long as they don’t empower evidence” Convincing measures are the key to negotiation. But how to find them?  Instead of over-relying on intuitions, it’s better to do homework well before the negotiation. Thorough research is the core of negotiation. It not only gives confidence but also helps us create momentum. As Dr. Jim Hennig puts it, “Negotiation is like athletic contest; Momentum is paramount”.  Wise negotiators take ample time to analyze several aspects of negotiation carefully.

 Intuition vs evidence

BATNA (Best Alternative to a negotiated agreement), a term coined by Roger Fisher is common among negotiators.

While negotiating, we should try to estimate the other party’s BATNA. This will help us make more rational decisions. After all, negotiation is about getting the best out of the other party. 

Either too much or too little

“Quick compromise or No compromise: Both are equally dangerous approaches to negotiation.” Negotiators in the event industry are usually of two types- Soft negotiators and hard negotiators.

While soft negotiators keep on underestimating the extent to which they can negotiate, the hard negotiators go beyond limits, often giving it an ugly end! 

Great negotiators of the event industry save themselves from either of the extreme ends. Negotiation needs a balanced state of mind. A thing like negotiation may be challenging, even awkward at times. The best way is not to take negotiation as something personal. It’s a business skillset and needs to be implemented likewise. Respect for the other party and focus on seeking a solution is all you need in negotiation. 

Don’t negotiate 

“Sometimes, the best way to negotiate is not to” It sounds strange but yes! sometimes, avoiding negotiation can help you make long term industry relations. Events are routine in the life of an event planner, so are event contracts. And the visionary event planners know that event contracts aren’t just confined to a single event. They focus more on professional connections beyond the current event. 

Such connections come handy at times. Imagine a situation when your star speaker couldn’t appear at your event because of some unavoidable reasons. A bucket full of connections comes handy at times. 

Negotiation is not a static subject, it’s evolving. In the cycle of event planning, every situation is different. And every new situation demands a different negotiation tactic. The way we negotiate with the event app developer might not match the negotiation with the venue owner. 

It may also vary across various industries within the event industry. A good negotiator experiments and tries various options to find what suits him and his field the most.

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