negotiations mistakes sharing information

2 Common Mistakes People Make when Sharing Information in Negotiations

Your online dating profile is a carefully curated version of yourself. You choose the most impressive statistics to share, and you share with intention. You share enough to make you sound interesting, but not so much they you scare potential dates off. If underwater basket weaving is the most important thing in your life, you want to be right up front about that because you have a clear goal: to get a date or find a mate.

Are you giving the same careful consideration to the information you share in your negotiations?

About 81% of people misrepresent their height, weight or age in their profiles, according to a study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison*. These exaggerations tend to be small ones since people will eventually meet face-to-face: a few inches in height, a few pounds in weight and a few years in age.

What are you sharing, what are you withholding and what are you exaggerating?

Two common mistakes when deciding how much to share

Like your dating profile, your strategy should have a clear goal: to progress your negotiation or get a deal.

Two common mistakes:

  • You share too much in an effort to be transparent and end up damaging your position.
    If you’re sharing too much, you may be delivering the villain’s monologue. This is the last scene in movies where the villain shares all his evil plans and shows you what a genius he is. You may share too much because you want acknowledgement, or you want others to know that you put some effort into your position. You may want to share your great ideas, or to tell your supplier that you are knowledgeable and that they can’t fool or mislead you with exaggerated or false information.
  • You withhold too much in an effort to be strategic, leaving creative ideas off the table because you’re afraid that you’ll accidentally give something away that will damage your position. Don’t avoid sharing creative ideas with your long-term suppliers, they might be your ticket to innovation with ways of thinking that would never occur to you on your own.

The super-power of data

There’s super-power in data. Want proof? Look up “Data Analytics” to read about one of the fastest growing sectors in business today: finding patterns, connections, trends, and customer preferences that you can use to grow your business. Despite the fact that business leaders are always trying to find the best information that will help them make the right decisions, the impact of shared information is often miscalculated in supplier negotiations. Ask yourself:

  • How will the other party respond to the information you’re about to share? If it’s information that is difficult for the supplier’s position, like a change in price or quantity, be prepared for an unfavorable or emotional reaction. You can be empathetic without changing your position
  • Is it relevant information? When you’re partnering with your suppliers, share information that is appropriate to the situation. As the negotiation progresses, be willing to share more when the time is right to get creative. Think of this as slowly opening the curtain to reveal the inner workings of previously hidden mechanics.

The bottom line

Although 81% of people misrepresent their height, weight or age in their online dating profiles, studies show that these exaggerations may motivate you to actually DO what you’ve claimed in your profile. Like lose a few pounds or take up mountain biking again. So, is it ok to exaggerate with your negotiation partners? Remember that you’re in the relationship for the long-haul, so curating the most relevant information can give your suppliers what they need to make decisions that benefit both of you. This builds trust in your long-term strategic relationships, and can help both of you meet your goals.

* New York Times: Love, Lies and What They Learned