Negotiation Planning in Practice
As we covered earlier in the five phases of negotiation, the first and most critical phase is planning. You should also review and refine your plans during and in between all the other phases. There may be exceptions, of course, because in some types of negotiation there will be little chance of specific planning in advance such as in crisis negotiations triggered by threatened self-harm or the taking of hostages. Planning for these situations is much more generic and is an integral part of the rigorous training and skills needed by crisis negotiators. However, let’s consider the example of a complex commercial negotiation for which you have sufficient time to plan. Let’s assume you are not negotiating as an individual in your own right but that you represent an organization. This immediately raises the probability that each of the different stakeholders in your own organization will have divergent views about the purpose of the negotiation and how their various values, interests, and priorities can be represented. Your first task will be to consult with these internal stakeholders: agree on your terms of reference, decide the objective for the negotiation, and obtain the authority needed for you to do your job. This is often easier to do in a sales organization that has processes designed to make this work well or in a buying department that must continually source its raw materials than in a business that only occasionally needs to purchase a product or service that it requires rather infrequently.