Jan 082014

Tips for Getting Negotiations Off to a Good Start

  • In your opening remarks, try to relieve tension that is undoubtedly there by expressing respect for the other side’s experience and expertise. Frame the task positively, as a joint endeavor. Emphasize your openness to the other side’s interests and concerns.
  •  After the opening remarks, start with the agenda; make sure both parties have a common understanding of the issues to be discussed.
  • Explicitly discuss the process. Make no presumptions about how the negotiation should work since people often hold different opinions about this. Some presume that there will be haggling. Some expect proposals to be made at the outset, while others expect an open discussion of issues to come first. 
  • Listen carefully to the discussion of process – it will tell you a great deal about the other side’s negotiations style.
  • Offer to explain some of your interests and concerns first. This is a good-faith demonstration that you are prepared to disclose information, provided that the exchange is reciprocal.
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