If 80% of the outcome of a negotiation can be attributable to the preparation, then quick footwork when face to face must account for the rest. Right?

The popular culture of good negotiating does appear to favour the gambler. The tricks, shout downs, stubbornness and on the spot, tactical play seem to be the focus of most negotiation development. No doubt being sharp, fully present, is important.

Some hard-nosed, pressured operators (maybe some lawyers or snr engineers as general examples), using a quick scan of the file, and bullying tactics feel powerful and efficient. They crash or crash through, use speed as a bullying tactic, rush to conclusions, and move on – with even less time for preparation on the next problem. Success creating failure.

When time is short, where does preparation sit in our priorities? Optional, so just wing it and use bravado to cover up.
When the other party is familiar to us, what type of time is least essential? Preparation.
When we are certain of victory, why prepare, or waste time on due diligence?
When we have lots of experience, there is nothing new under the sun…

“80%” clearly doesn’t translate into common practice the way evidenced-based endorsements suggest they should. All professions have a technique – a style used by the elite that others want to copy, that maximises strengths and limits risk. Drift away from technique, and the consequences are inevitable. Do the maths. 80% of the value of a negotiation is decided prior to walking into the room. Hope is not a strategy. Do the work.

What’s your technique like now? Would you want others to copy your style? How able are you to articulate your style, or is it all self-taught gut-feel?

If you want to learn the best technique, then ENS International delivers the gold standard, with RioTinto, BHP, Thiess and Optus as long-standing, loyal advocates for the best technique. Call them – www.negotiate.org – and on +61 2 9299 9688.