The Best Negotiators Have a Plan
Kelly is director of informatics at Pennsylvania State Institutes for Energy and the Environment, and research faculty member who focuses on informatics and technology, environmental topics, and crisis leadership.
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Many people make one big mistake when they approach a negotiation: they fail to plan effectively. This is particularly a problem among individuals who feel they have an innate gift for negotiation.
Planning and preparation are the key to success. Of course, they require time and attention. But if you want the optimal result, isn’t it worth the investment?
With proper planning, someone who has a tendency to be too accommodating can learn to stand ground to reach his or her goal. And an individual who often focuses too much on the competition—at the risk of alienating others—can become a collaborative, results-oriented negotiator.
So what’s essential to the planning process?
- Identify your goals: know exactly what it is you want to get out of the negotiation.
- Understand your priorities within those goals: which points are essential to an optimal outcome?
- Predict what the other party’s goals and responses might be: by doing so, you can be on the lookout for opportunities and be prepared to manage emotions effectively.