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Making plans is crucial in the business world, as it can make the difference between a successful company and a company predisposed to failure. Unfortunately, many business people disregard this aspect, or they’re not aware of its importance. One of the key matters related to planning is negotiation, as by knowing how to negotiate, how to present your requests, and what to offer in exchange for what you want, you can reach your goals.

These being said, in the following article, you are introduced to the top 8, most significant stages of planning a negotiation. You should consider all of them, in order to make wise decisions, and be ready to deal with any unexpected situations.

1. Understanding


First of all, you must fully understand the main purpose of a negotiation, and establish your priorities and goals. Then, you have to do the same thing for the other party, because by comprehending their aims, you will know how to approach the whole situation in a much more effective manner. Understanding your counterpart implies doing some research and gathering information; this cannot be done in a hurry, so you should start everything with some time in advance.

2. Come up with witty solutions

Once you’ve established your aim and the other party’s aims you can start determining the areas of mutual agreement. Likewise, you should determine what compromises both of you can make, and consider potential concessions that might lead you to a favorable final settlement. Think of a plethora of possible solutions and alternatives, and then present them to your counterpart to select the best one.

3. Determine alternatives

Every professional negotiator will think about alternatives in advance, and will do everything in his power to find common ground. If two parties have nothing in common, a compromise can’t be made, and thus an agreement can’t be reached.

4. Make your BATNA as strong as possible


This is a vital step that can determine the success of your whole business plan; using a powerful BATNA your alternatives will become stronger. This should not be regarded just as a preparatory stage, but as a continuum process and you must always do everything in your power to fortify your alternatives to empower your position at the negotiation table. Be very cautious because a weakened BATNA might force you to agree to a less convenient settlement.

5. Who’s the boss?

Furthermore, it’s very important to determine the decision maker at the negotiating table, both on your side, as well as for the other party. Similarly, you will need to establish certain limits, and respect your counterpart’s too, otherwise things might get dirty, and the negotiation process may fail to end up with a mutually profitable agreement.

6. What can you find out about them?

As you probably know, information is power, so before starting a negotiation process, you will have to find out everything you can about the other party, its purposes, approach to business, weaknesses, background, and so on. Likewise, you may want to find extensive details about the operations run by their corporation, and who are they representing. By finding out all these information, you will be able to determine their main interests, and use them in your favor, to make the negotiation go on smoothly.

7. Be flexible

Negotiating implies making concessions in order to reach a mutually favorable agreement; you ought to be flexible and show some willingness to make things work. You will never sign a favorable deal, if both parties are rigid, adopt an aggressive approach, and are not open to new opportunities. These being said, you should be ready to accept different opinions, and suggestions, and admit when you’re wrong.

8. Fairness for the long run

No business relationship will last in time if one of the parties is convinced that it has agreed to an unfavorable deal. That’s why you need to do everything in your power to create a plan that will be advantageous for both parties. Similarly, you ought to determine some realistic standards and criteria for the proposal. Keep a win-win solution as a last resort, and always think in the best interest of your company. At the end of the day, we’re talking about business and things shouldn’t be taken personal in any way.

Posted by William Taylor

William Taylor is the writer of this article. He is working at a senior level position at a well established company. Also he is a part time consultant at where you can get workshops at negotiation to improve your skills.

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