In this article we consider the various aspects of negotiation preparation such as: setting the time and place, establishing common ground, and creating a negotiating framework.
If you need to conduct negotiations, you may want to attend the one-day Negotiation Training Course offered by pdtraining in Brisbane, Sydney and other cities.
Even at this early stage it is important to have certain principles in place. If you allow them to be compromised, then you will already have put yourself in a position where you can be considered as prey for hostile negotiators. Getting the groundwork in place may seem like a formality, but it is the first stage of negotiations, and therefore as much a part of the arrangements as any other.
Setting the Time and Place
Setting the time and place can give you an advantage in a negotiation. People feel most comfortable conducting a negotiation on their home turf in Perth. Most people have a particular time of day when they feel most alert and clear-headed.
There are also environmental factors can interfere with negotiations, for example:
- A noisy setting
- Frequent interruptions
- Crowded conditions
- Lack of privacy
If you are conducting a negotiation at your own site in Perth, you have control over most of these things. If you are negotiating at the other party’s site, ask the other party to remedy these conditions as much as possible before the negotiations begin.
In sport, every game takes place at a venue, and in most cases one of the parties involved will be the “home team”.
In the vast majority of cases, where the parties are evenly matched in terms of talent and preparation, the team that wins will be the home team. They are playing in familiar surroundings, where things such as climate and ambient noise are to their advantage. The away team spends the early part of the game acclimatising to their unfamiliar surroundings.
In political negotiations leading on from a war (or trying to prevent one), there is a tendency to hold the discussions in a neutral venue, where both parties are equally unfamiliar with the surroundings, meaning that neither has the advantage and allowing the negotiations to be even-handed.
In business, it is rare to have the opportunity to hold negotiations in a neutral venue in Perth, and frequently there will be a “home side”.
The time of negotiations is also important. Human beings are always in some part at the mercy of their “biorhythms” which cause the body and the mind to function differently at different times of day. Some people, as you will know, tend to be “morning people” while others are more comfortable the longer the day goes on.
If you want to build in an advantage in negotiations, it is worth making sure either that the negotiations are held at your home venue, at your most comfortable time of day, or both. Sometimes there will be debate about the setting for a negotiation – and often, this is where the first negotiations and concessions will take place.
Getting the Negotiations Started
Sometimes the parties in a negotiation in Perth will begin by discussing the issue on which they are farthest apart. It might seem like they are working hard and attacking the most important issue, but they are not working effectively because there is an immediate disagreement that poisons the attendees and the whole discussion becomes difficult and unmanageable.
It is often more effective to begin by discussing what the parties agree on first and then move to an issue on which they are close to agreement. Then they can take on progressively tougher issues until they reach the issue on which they are farthest apart. This gradual approach sets a positive tone for the negotiation. It also helps the two parties get into a pattern of thinking about issues in terms of shared interests.
Momentum is an important thing in negotiations.
If the meeting is continually stalled by disputes over the smallest of issues, the outcome is likely to be less desirable for both parties as the goodwill which is necessary to drive negotiations forward will be extremely thin on the ground.
For this reason, having an agenda which is stacked in favor of positive items at the beginning is a way that will work best for both sides. Concessions will have to happen in the end, but if both sides are in a positive frame of mind it creates a positive dynamic in which to negotiate.