Tag Archives: Preparation Phase

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?

Preparation is of paramount importance.

Even the great Abraham Lincoln once said, “If you give me 6 hours to chop down a tree, I will spend at least 4 hours sharpening the ax.”

This perfectly depicts the importance of preparation before indulging in any activity.

Time to take a look at some crucial elements involved in the preparation phase of a negotiation.

What Are the Three Key Areas for Which You Need Preparation?

What Are the Three Key Areas for Which You Need Preparation?

  • People: Negotiation takes place between people, so it’s important for one to identify and assess people’s issues.
  • Purpose: The final outcome of a negotiation is a mutually satisfying agreement between two or more parties. It is critical to state clearly the aims of the negotiation. You need also to assess issues such as the interests of each party and the critical points on which both parties will seek agreement.
  • Process: In order to ensure a smooth interaction between the negotiating parties, you will need to clarify and agree on specific steps.

How to Prepare for a Negotiation?

How to Prepare for a Negotiation?

 1. Assess the People Issues: 

You need to reflect upon the relationship with your superior, the negotiating parties involved and other stakeholders’ interest in the negotiation. It is obvious that a positive relationship with any of the parties mentioned above will only facilitate the process of negotiation.

Relationship With Superior

It is important to know about the leeway that you have in the negotiation. You will be complying with the instructions received from your superior. You need to know the limits within which you can make commitments on behalf of your organization.

Similarly, you need also to analyze the relationship of the other party with their superior. They will be working under the instructions of their superior. You need to identify the extent to which they have the authority to make commitments on behalf of their organization.

This will enable you to know the items on which agreement may be reached.

Relationship Between Negotiators

You will need to know about the relationship between your organization and that of the negotiating party. Is there a history? Did the two organizations work together before? Is there any issue that cropped up in the past: for example, has there been any complaint about the quality of service or product, delay in delivery or payment?

Relationship With Other Stakeholders

What is observed nowadays is that negotiation does not happen only between the parties directly involved in the process. There are many other institutions that have a stake in the negotiation, for example, the suppliers or the banks.

The other stakeholders will have an influence on the negotiation process. They have agreed to work with your organization on certain terms and conditions that exert a limit on the flexibility you may wish to have during negotiation. For example, an overdraft limit may be a constraint in placing an order even though at a competitive price.

These issues are similarly faced by the other side in the negotiation. So you need to explore any such issue and expectations of the other stakeholders. This will allow you to assess the potential impact it may have on the negotiation. The overarching objective will be to satisfy the requirements of other stakeholders so as to have the most conducive environment when executing on the agreement between you and your counterparty.

2. Assess the Purpose Issues:

Assess the Purpose Issues

It’s crucial to be crystal-clear about the objective of the negotiation. What is it that you want to achieve? Is the goal to sell your house? Or is it for the rental of a building?

Being clear about the purpose of the negotiation will enable you to identify your interests as well as those of the other side in the negotiation. This will help you in establishing your ‘wish-want-walk’ objectives.

Imagine the purpose is to sell your car. Your ‘wish’ objective is the reasonable highest price at which you would wish to sell your car. On the other extreme will be your ‘walk-away price, that is, the lowest price below which you will not sell your car. You will prefer to ‘walk away’ rather than accept a lower price. The ‘want’ price is the target price at which you will aim to sell your car. This is in between the ‘wish’ and ’walk-away price.

It is important for you to determine your ‘wish-want-walk’ price and estimate the ‘wish-want-walk’ price of the other side. This will enable you to negotiate with more leverage.

If you want to learn about the remaining stages involved in the preparation phase of a negotiation, wait for the second part of this series.

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