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Winning Negotiations Before They Begin

David Wanetick

Incremental Advantage, Managing Director, Princeton, NJ, USA

Seasoned negotiators are well aware that negotiations are often won or lost before the players reach the negotiating table. At a minimum, negotiators should perform the following preparation before commencing formal negotiations:

  • Achieve internal alignment so that your negotiating efforts will not be sabotaged by players on your side of the table.
  • Score your objectives and walk-away points.
  • Create a negotiating timeline.
  • Insulate your negotiating team from common negotiations tactics.
  • Determine the real goals of the entities and individuals with whom you will be negotiating.
  • Create wedges between your opponents and their agents.
  • Profile the individuals on the opposing side.
  • Gather intelligence on an ongoing basis.

Achieving Internal Alignment. High-stakes negotiations demand a great deal of time; require enormous energy, focus, and resolve; and, are often emotionally taxing. Whether you are about to embark on a six or sixty month negotiating campaign, you should take efforts to ensure that your Herculean efforts will not be sabotaged by members of your own team. In many cases, you will need to spend as much energy negotiating alongside the table as across from it.

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