Negotiation is the process of settling disputes using different views and objectives. If you’re a naturally negotiator in your own right or you have to learn how, understanding the basics can help you to construct and assert value, manage fairness concerns and be successful in achieving a result.

You must prepare for the negotiation by defining your goals and obtaining required information and research to reach them. This helps you anticipate possible counterarguments, and develop a strategic plan for achieving success.

It is also important to know the other party’ interests, including their needs, desires and worries in order to anticipating any potential objections. Additionally, you must be able to articulate clearly your own interests, and the motivations for these interests. If you do that you will appear more credible and persuasive.

In the end, you must be open to compromise within reason. Making a rigid position at the beginning of negotiations is generally not the best strategy, since this could be interpreted as a lack or inability to reach an agreement. Instead you should propose to concede on something you value, but only if the value is matched by the other party’s desire.

Another important element of preparation for negotiations is to know your walk-away point (your BATNA, or your best alternative to a negotiated deal). This will aid you in deciding when to end the conversation, as you won’t be able to continue to negotiate to try to reach an equitable agreement if the other side is in a state of despair.

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