Adapted from “What to Do On Your Own,” first published in the September 2009 issue of Negotiation.
Here’s a quick review of some of the pre-negotiation steps you can accomplish on your own or with the help of others in your organization:
1. Negotiation Goals
Think about your goals, interests, strengths, and weaknesses in the upcoming negotiation.
For more articles about goals in negotiation, see also: Business Negotiations – Managers, Think Twice Before Setting Goals
2. Your Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement and Their BATNA
Assess your BATNA, or best alternative to a negotiated agreement—a strong source of power.
Think about your counterpart’s BATNA—what she’ll do if you don’t reach a deal—as well as her goals, interests, strengths, and weaknesses.
For more information about the concept of a best alternative to a negotiated agreement, or BATNA, see also: Is Negotiation Without a BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement) Possible?
3. Zone of Potential Agreement (ZOPA)
Analyze the ZOPA, or zone of possible agreement: the likely deal space in the negotiation.
For more information about the concept of zone of possible agreement, or ZOPA, see also: Dealmaking – Grappling with Anchors in Negotiation
4. Integrative Negotiators and Creating Value – How to Expand the Pie
List the tradeoffs you might be willing to make to expand the pie.
For more information on expanding the pie and integrative bargaining, see also: Negotiation Skills – Expanding the Pie – Integrative Bargaining versus Distributive Bargaining
5. Negotiate with Authority
Try to secure decision-making authority from your superiors or, failing that, plan how to get their approval later in the process.
For more information on authority at the bargaining table, see also: Business Negotiations – Have You Negotiated the Authority They Will Need?
6. Organize Your Negotiating Team According to Relative Strengths and Weaknesses
If necessary, put together a negotiating team and determine each person’s responsibilities.
For more information on organizing your negotiating team, see also: International Negotiations – The Surprising Benefits of Conflict in Negotiating Teams
Related Article: Negotiation Skills – Are You Really Ready to Negotiate?