If there were one thing you could do to improve the outcomes of your negotiation, it would be to prepare… thoroughly.
Thorough preparation for your negotiation requires three areas of focus: operations, tactics, and strategy.
Operational prep boils down to logistics. How will things get done? What mode of communication will be utilized? In person or virtual meetings? Who needs to be in the room, and who should absolutely not be there?
Tactical prep has to do with how to be nimble in the moment to obtain your desired outcome. Things like asking open ended questions, using silence, making precise requests are all tactical considerations. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide of 161 Negotiation Tactics, which you can access here.
Meanwhile, strategic preparation is a little bit more in-depth, and requires some digging. It requires you know your desired outcomes for the negotiation, and in what order of priority. Not only that, but you need to be able to understand your counterpart’s desired outcomes. If nothing else, your preparation for strategy should allow you to understand the ZOPA: the Zone of Possible Agreement.
The Persuasion Lab is designed to help you achieve predictable (and repeatable) negotiation results. Anything outside the ZOPA will be a non-starter for one side or the other. So if you want to achieve a positive result (and be able to replicate it again and again), you need to know how to predict what outcomes lie within the ZOPA – and then work towards the options most desirable for you.
This article will provide you with a step by step guide to determine, again and again, where the Zone of Possible Agreement lies for your specific negotiation.