Preparing for the Negotiation Process

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Preparing for negotiation is as critical as the negotiation process. As you get ready, you have time to consider your needs and wants, the needs and wants of the other people involved, and about the style and approach you will take. You also plan for important aspects like time and place.

Seven Key Considerations

Effective negotiation preparation includes consideration of the following:

  • Establishing objectives or goals. What do you want or need?
  • What do you know about the other person’s wants or needs?
  • What are the positions vs. interests? What is it you would like to see happen vs. what is it you need to see happen?
  • Who will conduct the negotiation—you or someone else representing you? What about the other person?
  • Where and when will you meet?
  • Who will set the agenda?
  • What ground rules, if any, might be needed?
  • What homework is required, before the actual negotiation begins?

Collecting Detailed Information

Even though the negotiation preparation checklist you just used will give you all or most of the idea of what you need to prepare effectively for simple negotiations. Note that these are similar to the steps we have already looked at above; these steps increase the material to cover additional information.

  • Describe in detail the issues that are important to you.
  • Identify and rank the interests that must be met for you to be satisfied with the outcome.
  • Describe various settlement options that will meet your needs, satisfy your interests, and resolve the issues.
  • Identify in as much detail as you can the issues you think will be important to the other party or parties involved.
  • Identify and rank the interests that they would like to have met to be satisfied with the outcome.
  • If possible, describe settlement options that you think will meet their needs.
  • Integrate the issues, interests, and options of your side and the other side to determine where common interests and common ground exist, what alternative solutions might be acceptable to all parties, and what differences will have to be overcome.


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