Be it a business presentation, an exam, a musical competition or a negotiation, the key to success, if not perfection, is preparation.

Going in the same flow as the first article, let’s dive into the second stage of preparing for a negotiation.

The Second Stage of Preparation

3. Assess the Process Issues

You need to anticipate and plan for any issue in the process of negotiation. And, the main areas consist of setting up the meeting and the negotiation meeting itself.

1. Let’s Talk About Setting up the Meeting
Let’s Talk About Setting up the Meeting

  • Venue:

     

    It is critical that the most appropriate venue is chosen for holding the meeting. The location of the meeting has a huge impact on the bargaining power of any party involved in the negotiation. At times, I’d say it’s even best to hold the meeting in a neutral place so as to avoid any apprehension about the unfair advantage to the host of the meeting.

     

  • Timing:

     

    The timing of the meeting refers to two things: first, the clock time at which the meeting for negotiation will be held and secondly, the space between any two meetings.

     

    Would you prefer to hold the meeting in the morning, the afternoon or even late afternoon? When next should the next meeting be set? Does it have to be within a short period of time? Or, a longer timespan between the two meetings is more appropriate?

     

  • Agenda:

     

    What are the items that would be taken up at the negotiation meeting? In which order would the items be discussed?

     

    You need to set the agenda in collaboration with the other party. This will serve as a rapport-building activity ahead of the meeting itself.

2. Next, Comes the Phase Where Negotiation Will Be Soon on the Table
Next, Comes the Phase Where Negotiation Will Be Soon on the Table

  • Rapport Building:

     

    This is when personal introductions are made and the main objectives of the meeting should be established. Here, you can grant the other party to start raising a few points or concerns.

     

  • Information sharing:

     

    Giving a brief summary of background information is not compulsory but relevant in most cases.

     

    What’s crucial is the outlining of the meeting agenda.

     

    Make sure to remember that at this stage, decision-making should be attributed to those with a high level of authority.

3. Time for Opening up a negotiation
Time for Opening up a negotiation

When you have set the scene, the next stage of the negotiation is for all the parties to put their interests on the negotiating table. This is crucial, but you will have to make a judgment about who states their position first. In some circumstances, it will be obvious – for example, if an employee is negotiating a salary increase with his boss, it would probably be appropriate for the employee to open up. Sometimes, however, the employee might need some information from his boss first, so even this type of negotiation needs careful thought.

What are some do’s and dont’s during this stage?

Do’s:

  • Listen well
  • Use open questions
  • Check that you understand clearly the other person’s position
  • Summarise
  • Withhold judgment

Dont’s:

  • Interrupt
  • Immediately put down the other person’s position
  • Reveal all your negotiating points and strategies

4. While Conducting the Negotiation
While Conducting the Negotiation

This stage covers exploring solutions, bargaining, identifying gains and concessions and finding common ground.

  • Explore solutions

     

Once you’ve heard the other person’s position and interests, it is important to spend some time exploring the position further so that you become clearer about where you both stand and can begin to identify common ground and potential sticking points. Don’t rush this stage, because it can reveal important information, particularly what may underlie a particular proposal.

During the negotiating process, it is more helpful to think in terms of ‘different’ than in terms of ‘right’ and ‘wrong.”

5. Reaching an Agreement

Reaching an Agreement

When you reach the agreement phase, you need to ensure that all points have been covered.

Ever engaged in a negotiation? Why don’t you share the experience with us in the comment section below?