Planning and Negotiation

No matter what level of negation skill that you have or what techniques that you may be using you will substantially increase your chances of a successful outcome some with one key activity and that is PLANNING.

Even a little bit of planning before a negotiation begins can go a long way and really help you in your negotiation but when the proper amount of time is spent in the preparation phase of the negotiation process the advantage that you will have over your adversary that does not plan will be substantial. If your adversary has spent time planning and you have not you have not you will be at a distinct disadvantage.

Failure to provide adequate time to gather information, perform research, develop proper questions, and craft a negotiation agenda will hamper your ability to reach some to a satisfactory agreement.

But many times we are placed in a situation where there is limited time to plan. In these circumstances consider focusing on the following 12 steps for a quick down and dirty guide when there is limited time to plan:


  1. Before the negotiation begins write down your goals as well as your “needs” and “wants”.
  2. Develop a list of problems that will need to be discussed during the negotiation.
  3. Develop a list of questions that will clarify the position of your adversary so you do not spend time on any assumptions that you may have made.
  4. Develop a list of questions that will show your adversary that you have an understanding of their issues.
  5. Develop a list of questions that determines the exact authority of the other party.
  6. Make a list of questions that you anticipate will be asked of you, and determine how you will address each and every question.
  7. Determine where and what time to meet.
  8. Plan how to support your positions with backup information and data.
  9. Make a list of leverage items that supports your position.
  10. Make a list of any leverage that you feel may support your adversaries’ position and determine if there is a way to reduce the impact of that leverage on your situation.
  11. Negotiate a deadline with your adversary (and know what to do with it).
  12. Keep in mind that once an agreement is reached you must have it documented and develop a list of any steps to be taken to make sure the agreement does not evaporate or that your adversary has a chance to change their mind.