Rules for Preparation for Negotiations

Like any competition, a negotiation fight requires preparation. Without it, the probability of losing the competition, which is the negotiations is much higher.

So, the preparation includes:

  • Determination of the goal of negotiations, the possibility of achieving it and tactics – the sequence of arguments and depending on what arguments and what development of events it is appropriate to put forward one or the other;
  • Taking into account the awareness of the other side;
  • High initial requirements;
  • Integrated approach.


the sequence of arguments and depending on what arguments it is appropriate to put forward one or the other, what to say at the beginning, what concessions to make, the minimum and maximum level of concessions from the other side.

Above all, preparation activates previous experience and also lays a solid foundation for the upcoming negotiations. In a sense, preparation is nothing more than putting into practice the time-honored truth of “measure seven times and cut once.”

Preparation may consist of a few minutes of quiet concentration just before the meeting begins. Or it may involve several hours of collective discussion of best tactics. All other instances of preparation probably fall between the two mentioned. Preparation can be a rehearsal. If you rehearse your presentation, it is much more likely that the discussion will follow the script you envisioned.

So, do not spare time for preliminary preparation (despite the scarcity of such, prepare for negotiations in advance):

  • properly select the right people needed for preparation (participants of the upcoming negotiations or just those who can help);
  • collect and analyze the necessary information (take basic materials with you to the negotiations).

Preparing in advance does not mean that everything will go exactly according to plan. It will help you adjust and flexibly change your tactics when things take a sudden turn. Experience can shorten preparation time, but does not replace it.

  • Never neglect preparation, do not regret the time and effort spent on it. Then you will not have to say after the failure of negotiations: “If only I had …”

Unpreparedness in a court hearing is immediately apparent and leads to a loss of trust in you, loss of confidence. Often in the judicial process it is necessary to conclude a settlement agreement.

In preparing to enter into such a settlement, you need to decide:

  • with your specific proposal and its favorability as for your side, and the possibility of accepting it on the part of the opponent;
  • with the maximum concessions at its conclusion;
  • the tactics of behavior during the negotiations – whether it is necessary to take a tough position;
  • the possible risks of not concluding a settlement agreement for yourself and similar risks for the other party. (e.g., taking into account the availability of information about the place of employment and what assets are available).
  • Predict possible arguments on the other side aimed at maximizing concessions.

Consideration of the other side’s awareness.

When negotiating, consider what information your interlocutors may already have about you and your firm, from what sources it may have been obtained, etc.

The extent to which they understand the significance of you entering into an agreement with them. It is important not to give the other party information that they can use in advance.

For example, in one of the cases, before the client turned to us for legal support of the real estate transaction, she managed to inform the other party that she needed to use the money urgently, that she liked the apartment very much and was ready to buy it. At the same time, in the process of supporting the transaction, we realized that there was no real demand for this apartment, the price was overestimated. Moreover, the availability of such information from the other party did not allow us to reduce the price of the transaction, and on the contrary, this party in the relationship allowed itself to behave disrespectfully – was late for meetings without notice, dictated terms. At the same time, our persuasions to take a tough position, which in this case was required, did not bring results, the client insisted on the purchase.

Set high goals

To achieve a successful result, set high goals. As part of your preliminary preparation, identify your top priorities. Think about the best outcome of the meeting and move towards your goal. Remember that there are quite a few variables. Let the agreement reached include mutually acceptable values for these variables.

Negotiators give conflicting opinions and agree to compromise, but you should not start with low demands. Bargaining usually starts at the top; in the course of bargaining, you may give in a little, reducing your benefit. But it is very difficult to increase the value of the initial offer. When negotiations are already underway, you cannot revise your initial position. So start with what you want to achieve – this is a prerequisite for success in negotiation.

Comprehensive approach.

Following this rule, you should negotiate terms as a package, not individually. When you agree on terms one at a time, you lose a certain advantage in the negotiation because many of the terms in the package are fixed (not negotiable). A single condition may seem easy and straightforward.

You happily agree to it, and then you are presented with a clause you would like to bargain over, but you no longer have the bargaining variables.

The principle is simple. Find out the full list of what the opposing party wants to agree to. Going forward, don’t let some of the terms (perhaps the important ones) be “targeted” and negotiated separately so that you can proceed to negotiate the most important terms at a stage when the room for maneuver is limited.