TOP 5 TIPS FOR NEGOTIATION PREPARATION 

 

1. Make sure you set aside time to prepare.

Even if it is only 10 minutes between receiving a phone call and having to return it, some preparation is better than none.

2. Think about an agenda for the negotiation.

What are the issues on the table? It may be valuable to set the agenda prior to the meeting commencing so that both sides can prepare effectively.

3. If you are about to negotiate on a set piece issue think about taking along a team with you.

The team should be prepared effectively and have set roles. A well drilled team creates an advantage when the meeting begins.

4. Practice your response.

In your team think about how you will respond to the various 'plays' that the other side might make.  Spend time developing 'what if' responses to how the other side may play their agenda.

5. Test any contentious issues with stakeholders.

Make sure you have the authority and backing to take any tough decisions you may need to take.

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Negotiators don’t necessarily derive their power from the relative size of their organisations. In fact, many negotiators fall into the trap of being scared by a seemingly “bigger” opponent on the other side and end up striking deals that belie their significance to the other side. As I have written before, these deals can be commercially ruinous. In fact, they derive their power from the incentives and sanctions that they have at their disposal. The problem that negotiators face when deploying their power, exerting their leverage as I once heard it described, is that some incentives seem relatively indivisible. They have one enormous “chunk” of a concession and then it’s over to threats and counter-threats – never a place where nice people like to be!

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