Planning the negotiation

A checklist of considerations

Successful negotiation is all about preparation. If you have not given prior consideration to the other party's position, you will struggle to understand their breakpoint let alone drive them towards it. Understanding their position and perspective can only come from thorough preparation. I hope that this short checklist will help you as you prepare for a successful negotiation.

Negotiation position

  • What do we want to achieve?
  • How will we open the negotiation?
  • How might they respond?
  • What will their reaction actually mean?


  • What is the appropriate behaviour and strategy to adopt?
  • What is our long-term business strategy and what is theirs?


  • Where is the balance of power?
  • How much do they need us?
  • How much do we need them?
  • What is the least that I think they will accept? (note: if we are the buying party)
  • What is the most that I think they will pay? (note: if we are the selling party)
  • What are their objectives and how are they rewarded?
  • What do they want to achieve?
  • What is their best alternative?
  • What is our best alternative?
  • Who has the greater time pressure/urgency, us or them?


  • What are the main trading variables?
  • Which are most important to us?
  • Which are most important to them?
  • How might they link the variables?
  • Which are least important to us?
  • Which are least important to them?


  • What further information do we need?
  • Where can we get that information?
  • What information,if any, do we want to share with the other party before we begin to negotiate?

You and I know that without thorough preparation we are effectively negotiating wearing a blindfold. I hope this checklist will help you more easily get inside the head of the other party enabling you to more effectively understand their perspective,pressures and position.

(c) Gary Gorman 2008

Gary Gorman helps businesses attract more customers and grow sales quickly and easily. For more free articles visit or follow Gary on Twitter at

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