How Not to Prepare for a Negotiation

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Got a Negotiation Coming Up? Don’t Start with Powerpoint!

There are many ways to prepare for a negotiation. Some of these ways, though popular, will set you up for failure. I’ll be touching on one of these failure traps as well as better alternatives to help you prepare for a negotiation.

Parallel universes – we’ve all heard of the idea of infinite similar worlds with just a few changes. Maybe there’s one where you are the Prime Minister? Maybe.

Well, in our universe, the Best Version of You (BVY) has come to visit. They’ve used the newly built tech Teleporter 1000X that’s obviously discovered in their universe because Elon has his hands full with rockets on ours.

While Speaking to your Alternate Self, this is how the Conversation Might Go…

BVY: ‘Looking a bit podgy. And what’s gender fluid? Anyway, I hear you have a negotiation coming up?’

You: ‘Yep, two weeks Thursday. A toughie. Difficult customer who wants the world. I mean multi-universe.’

BVY: ‘Okay, so what are you doing to prepare?’

You: ‘I’ve started building the slides.’

BVY: ‘Slides? WTF.’

You: ‘Yep, we always do a slide presentation when we meet customers.’

BVY: ‘I know. We do too. But this is a negotiation. PowerPoint is for presenting, not negotiating. This is no time for pictures, graphs, and text on slides. We need a discussion. Not a presentation. Square donut.’

You: ‘Erm. Eh? What? We always use slides.’

BVY: ‘Do you have the term on this universe – if you do what…’

You: <interrupts> ‘…you get what you’ve always got. Yes. Oh, okay. Alright smart Alec with the two tie thing from Back to The Future, what should I do?’

BVY: ‘What’s Back to the… Doesn’t matter. You want to formulate a plan to win, not present a bunch of slides, hoping that what you show they’ll accept. But they won’t. You need to add structure to your thinking.’

You: ‘I do. I have a think when I create the slides.’

BVY: ‘Heavens above, was I this uninformed? You need to know your ‘negotiation compass.’

You: ‘What?!’

BVY: ‘Negotiation compass. Here you call it a squaredance. In simple terms, North is what you want, South is your walk-away, East is your Takes and West is your Gives. And the middle is the negotiation tools you’ll use, like silence, or if you then I, or up & over.’

Links to YouTube negotiation video if you then I by Darren
Watch the video to know about the if you then I technique


Back to the Conversation…

You: ‘Oh! I see. Well, we sort of do that… Maybe we don’t. Okay, we don’t… No, we don’t do any of that. We do a lot of calculations before we go in, but none of that.’

BVY: ‘It is the only way because it structures your thinking. Forces you to consider your bargaining arena and what the gives & takes are, for when you get stuck. They are like the oil that keeps the negotiation engine moving forward.’

You: ‘Okay, thank you, me. Great work me! By the way, where can I get a Teleporter 1000X?’

BVY: ’You’d be dangerous. Bye. Or ‘PLH’ (Peace, Love, and Harmony), as we say where I come from.’

Action: For even more useful content on negotiations, check out our ultimate guide on negotiation skills.

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Negotiating Skills Articles and ContentNegotiation Skills TipsNegotiation Techniques

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