Before you sit down at the negotiating table, think about your interests and concerns and what’s really important to you. This is necessary so you can formulate a content goal, which should be specific, precise, and measurable. Think of it as the “what” that you wish to attain in the final agreement.
For complex negotiations and multiple objectives, it is wise to obtain input from those who might be affected by any outcome. Also, you may want to prioritize among your goals, while contemplating fallback positions and potential trade-offs.
In this case, your objectives might fall into three categories:
Must Haves — This primary group consists of items that are of prime importance to the deal. These are things that have substantial economic impact on the bottom line.
Would Likes — This group is of importance, but on these matters there is more room to maneuver since they are not deal breakers. Indeed, often a concession can be made here, in order to obtain a more profitable edge on a primary objective.
Tradeables — These are items that have relatively small economic impact to you, but may have value to the other side. Invoking the reciprocity norm, these can be swapped grudgingly for a concession in a category that has a higher priority.
Very much related to goal setting is strategy, an overall plan of action that involves a coordinated and synchronized use of all available means to attain the objective. If the goal is What you want to achieve, then the strategy is How you will get there.
Once the objective is set, you should think strategically to formulate a game plan that provides a vision of the direction you will go to hit your target.
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