Establishing a Baseline for Negotiation

Negotiations, whether between individuals, businesses or even countries are nothing more than a process in which concerned parties come to an agreement that serves everyone’s best interests. Instead of one dominating or imposing power over the other, the parties attempt to reach a consensus in which everyone is satisfied.

When preparing to negotiate you need to ask yourself three questions: Why am I negotiating? Who am I negotiating for (myself, my company, my family)? And how much is my ego involved?

These questions will help you establish the importance of the negotiation – what the outcome will affect.

After answering those first three questions, additional ways to assess the situation include:

  • Set goals and limits – what are your walk away triggers? You must be able to walk away from the table.
  • Win or lose – Make sure you have a plan to deal with the outcome; both near and long term benefits
  • Are you prepared to lose/win? What did I lose/win, if anything? If you did lose/win, what will it affect?
    • Long-term, short-term benefits
    • What will happen to the relationship?
  • Will your relationship with the other party be intact when the negotiation is over? If not, is that the outcome you want? Could this negotiation come haunt you in the future?
  • How do you want to be remembered once the negotiation is complete?

Taking a brief minute to answer these issues will leave you better prepared once you sit down at the table.