Top Four Tips for Preparing for a Negotiation

Negotiating is a process which people often go into blindly without adequate preparation. However, it is crucial that you do all that you can beforehand to ensure you get the most out of a negotiation. Regardless of what the negotiation is about or who you are negotiating with, these 4 tips can help you be better prepared and ultimately get a better negotiated outcome.

  1. Know what your interests are…and rank them: while you may think you know what you want to get out of the negotiation in a general sense, it is not until you carefully consider all your specific interests that you can properly work to achieve them. Say you are negotiating with your employer about receiving a raise. You know that you want a higher salary, but what about all your other associated interests; a change in title, a better car spot, a secretary or the corner office you always wanted. It is helpful to make a list of all these various interests and rank them. That way you will know which of these interests you are most willing to compromise on and which you should be firm on. Knowing your interests also allows you to take a multi-faceted approach to your negotiation, bringing up issues you may otherwise have neglected to discuss: “Ok, I’m glad we agree on my increased salary figure; now let’s talk about where my new office will be”.
  1. Know what your BATNA is: Your BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement) is the most advantageous alternative course of you can take if the negotiation fails and you cannot reach an agreement with the other side. Your BATNA provides you with a reservation point; a worst-case scenario in the negotiation, being a point which is the minimum you will accept at the negotiation. Having a clearly defined BATNA allows you to know whether you should accept the deal and helps ensure you do not agree to anything that would make you worse off than any alternatives you may have. If you have a job offer for $80,000 per year from a similar firm and with similar work conditions, that may become your BATNA. You then know that no matter what happens in your negotiations with your current employer, you will not accept any offer for lower than $80,000. Of course, this does not mean you cannot try to achieve a better outcome than your BATNA, rather it merely ensures you do not accept a worse one.
  1. Do the same for the other party: While it is important to know your own interests and BATNA it is equally important to try and gauge the other party’s interests and alternatives. It is difficult enough to try and pinpoint your own interests and BATNA and trying to do the same for the other party can be very challenging. Try to put yourself in their shoes and think about what is important to them and how they may be approaching the negotiation. Knowing this information will give you greater confidence in the way you go about the negotiation. If you know you have become indispensable in your current position and you will be very difficult for your employer to replace, you can be more confident in asking for a higher raise and playing hardball if at first you do not receive what you are after.
  1. Finally, consider whether to make the first offer: People are often reluctant to make the first offer. This may be due to the belief that doing so will be perceived as a sign of weakness, reluctance to give away too much about your position or just general nervousness. However, despite all this, the consensus is that it is usually best to make the first offer, especially in light of the anchoring principle. According to this principle, the first offer made in a negotiation establishes a powerful, subconscious psychological anchor that acts as a gravitational force pulling the other party towards your offer. The first offer creates a cognitive bias in the mind of the other party, resulting in them relying too heavily on the first piece of information they have, namely your first offer. Research shows there is a strong correlation between the opening offer and the final negotiated outcome. However, there are still risks associated with making the first offer, particularly if you do not know much about the other party’s position and what they are prepared to offer. For example, you may make a first offer of $100,000 per year, not knowing that your employer would have started off the negotiations by offering you $120,000 per year. Pleasantly surprised, your employer counters with an offer for $60,000 and you end up settling at $80,000 when you could have received somewhere around the $140,000 mark had you let your employer make the first offer. Once you have completed tip number 3 and you know more about your employer’s position you will be better placed to decide whether to make the first offer and what exactly that offer should be.

By following the above tips, you can ensure you are properly prepared for your negotiation and in the best position to achieve a positive outcome.

You may also be interested in

    Fixed Pricing Agreement

    The initial consultation is FREE, discussing the scope of services and outcome. You will be provided with the total agreed cost in our pricing proposal, no estimates, hourly rates or ranges – just a FIXED PRICE AGREEMENT.

    Because we believe in certainty.

    If you have a question or a query you can email us using the contact form or call us on +61 3 9212 0238

    CLIENT TESTIMONIALS

    Cameron Deane

    “The assistance provided by Harriet with reviewing and negotiating the terms of our building contract, which encompassed both a significant financial commitment and extensive amount of renovation work, was essential to providing us with peace of mind that our interests were covered legally at all times. Harriet's professionalism, attention to details and expertise in this field were beyond reproach and I highly recommend her services to anyone considering any building related work.”

    Cameron Deane

    Construction Client

    “Harriet, can I just thank you for being so incredibly kind to us. Sean was right – you are amazing.  I wanted to try and express that in person during our meeting but it’s been such a difficult week I knew I would blub all over you if I started.  Never a good look – especially when you’re on the other end trying to juggle London and Kyrgyzstan! We really appreciate everything you have done (and are doing for us).  Without you, all we would have is a slowly imploding bathroom with a loadbearing wall that could collapse without warning. Gives me anxiety every time I think about it!”

    Construction Client

    Chanoch Serebryanski

    “Very professional and easy to deal with. A real pleasure to use at a great value.”

    Chanoch Serebryanski

    David Cherny

    “Highly recommend Warlows Legal. Harriet and her team were professional and supportive throughout, couldn't have asked for a better service.”

    David Cherny

    Chaim Korik

    “Harriet and team took the time to listen to our needs and ensure we had all the contracts in a timely manner. Felt like working as a team!”

    Chaim Korik

    Sarah Chanah Sufrin

    “Harriet really cares for her clients and works tirelessly to achieve the best result for them every time.”

    Sarah Chanah Sufrin

    Chaya Wolf

    “Excellent experience with Warlows Legal. Harriet is personable, professional and of a very high standard. Would recommend to everyone seeking legal advice.”

    Chaya Wolf

    Avi Kluwgant

    “My experience with this company has been an absolute breath of fresh air. I cannot recommend the legal services offered here enough. Thank you!”

    Avi Kluwgant

    MySmallHelp Australia

    "I'm Matt from MySmallHelp Australia. I was looking for a friendly, trustworthy legal firm to set up the charity.  After talking with Harriet for a short time I found her to be knowledgeable and able to communicate fairly complex legal terms simple manner. Harriet and her team delivered exactly what they said they would in a very timely fashion. Warlows Legal team achieved these deliverable above my expectations. I can t recommend them enough. Thanks you so much for your help and guidance."

    Matt Rai