Preparing for a negotiation is the most important, difficult and challenging part of the entire process; and setting objectives is the most demanding part of preparation.

There is a very high risk that if you do not finish your homework sorting out what you want (or want to avoid) it might lead to the opposite result to the one for which you planned ending in a No Deal, a Lose / Lose, or worse! After all, if you do not know what you want, then no one else will.

Professional negotiators are diligent in the way they investigate, challenge, distil, and set the objectives they will work to. The best negotiators are crystal clear, not only about what they want, but also about what they want to avoid! Constant priority checking and continually asking why? Why is that important? Why is that not?

Further, when acting as agents on behalf of others (the most common situation), they press their client hard (leader – the one setting the objective) to establish the “real” limits, walk away points, essentials, non-negotiables – so important to know before being able to develop strategies and tactics and to weigh up all the options about information, proposals, style, relationships and much more.

One has to be so careful that by pursuing a goal blindly without attention to consequences and identifying what must be avoided, one might imperil one’s organisation, business, stability and in very extreme circumstances – existence.

As a negotiator one has to constantly be sifting through issues, goals, concerns, opinions, and facts to refine one’s goals. At the same time making sure that one resists the temptation to rush ahead and start strategizing before the desired outcome has been identified precisely.

The crime is in not setting clear specific realistic goals and to leave this activity until the negotiations have started. Worse – using the other side’s opening to influence one’s own position. Dangerous, weak and in many ways not negotiating – it’s a form of surrender – slow surrender.

This is why our Sharppractices are so useful and popular. They help the professional negotiator prepare in such a way as to have the right team, right place, right time, right preparation and planning – building negotiating confidence.

Published by sharpdealer

International Negotiating Specialist and Expert.

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