Before Negotiating, Ask Yourself What You Don’t Know


Here is another valuable Management Tip of the Day from Harvard Business Review. To sign up for a free subscription to any/all HBR newsletters, please click here.

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Negotiations are won in the preparation. And a key part of preparing is figuring out what relevant information you don’t have. Of course, you need to research your counterpart, their organization, and the context, but think about what details might be useful.

o Make a list of questions to ask your counterpart that, once answered, will help you unlock new solutions and propose a deal that meets everyone’s needs.

o For example, you might ask about the other deals the person is involved in, their company’s long-term goals, or why the company needs your services.

o And consider what information your counterpart might want about you. Go into the negotiation with a curiosity mindset.

Admitting that the other person has more information than you can be unnerving, but it can also lead to new possibilities. The discovery of new information — on both sides of the table — provides opportunities for creative solutions.

Adapted from “The Most Overused Negotiating Tactic Is Threatening to Walk Away,” by Jay A. Hewlin

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