Negotiation – Planning For A Successful Outcome

In any kind of negotiation the planning stage is probably the most important. Too often we go in badly prepared and end up giving concessions that reduce the overall profitability of the final deal. The importance of planning is in having a very clear idea before entering into the negotiation i.e.

o What are my objectives?

o What does the other side wish to achieve?

o What information will influence the final outcome of the negotiation?

o What concessions can I make?

o How am I going to achieve my objectives?

o What part will other people play in the negotiation?

Generally, the more time that is spent in planning and preparing for the negotiation,
the more beneficial will be the final outcome.


Before entering into the negotiation, you need to have a clear idea of your objectives
and try to work out those of the other side. Ask yourself the following questions:

o What exactly do I wish to achieve from this negotiation?

o Which of my objectives:

- Must I achieve?

- Do I intend to achieve?

- Would I like to achieve?

o What options or alternatives would be acceptable to me?

o What are the other sides. objectives?

o How does the other side see the negotiation?


It has often been said that information is power. In any negotiation, there will be four types of information that is important to the final outcome.

o What information do I have that the other side has also?

o What information do I have that the other side does not have?

o What information do I need to have before negotiating with the other side?

o What information does the other side need before it can negotiate with me?

This can be particularly important when negotiating with people who concentrate
on price issues.

o What other things are important to this person?

o What pressures does he have on him to conclude the deal?

o How well is his company doing at the moment?

o How important is it that he deals with my company? etc.

The early phases of negotiation consist of both sides finding out more information
before talking about a specific deal or set of alternatives. For example, if you find out
the other side has a time deadline that only your company can meet, it may give you
the chance to negotiate on more favourable price. If you know that the other side
has recently expanded their production capacity, you may be able to negotiate more
favourable terms in return for a commitment to buy certain volumes over an agreed
time period.

By spending time as part of your preparation in listing what you already know and
what you need to know, you will give yourself a better chance to negotiate well on
your company’s behalf.

Concessions :

Negotiation is a process of bargaining by which agreement is reached between two
or more parties. It is rare in negotiation for agreement to be reached immediately or
for each side to have identical objectives. More often than not, agreements have to
be worked out where concessions are given and received and this is the area where
the profitability of the final outcome will be decided.

When preparing for negotiation, it is advisable to write down a realistic assessment
of how you perceive the final outcome. Find out the limits of your authority within
the negotiation and decide what you are willing and able to concede in order to
arrive at an agreement, which satisfies all parties.

Concessions have two elements; cost and value. It is possible during negotiations to
concede issues that have little cost to you but have great value to the other side. This
is the best type of concession to make. Avoid, however, conceding on issues that
have a high cost to you irrespective of their value to the other side.

When preparing for negotiations, ask yourself the following questions:

o What is the best deal I could realistically achieve in this negotiation?

o What is the likely outcome of the negotiation?

o What is the limit of my authority?

o At which point should I walk away?

o What concessions are available to me?

o What is the cost of each concession and what value does each have to either side?


Planning your strategy is important in negotiation. Once you know your objectives,
you need to work out how you are going to achieve them. It is also useful to try and
see the negotiation from the other side and try and work out what their strategy will

During the negotiation there will be opportunities to use various tactics and you
need to decide which of these you feel comfortable with and at the same time recognise the tactics being used by the other side. Ask yourself the following questions:

o How am I going to achieve my objectives in this negotiation?

o What is the strategy of the other side likely to be?

o What tactics should I use within the negotiation?

o What tactics are the other side likely to use?

And Finally – Tasks :

If you go into negotiation with a colleague or colleagues, you need to decide during
the preparation phase:

o What role will each team member take in the negotiation?

o How can we work together in the most effective way?

Some teams of negotiators appoint team leaders, note takers, observers and
specialists, each with their own clearly defined authority and roles to perform.
Having a clear understanding of roles within the negotiation will make the team
approach much more effective.

Copyright © 2007 Jonathan Farrington. All rights reserved

Presentation Handouts: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I was on my way to a national conference when I met a fellow speaker in the airport. “My carry-on suitcase is filled with handouts and few clothes,” I commented. He shook his head and said he didn’t distribute handouts any more. If an attendee needed a handout, he or she could go to his website and download it.

As an experienced speaker, I can tell you I still distribute printed handouts. Why do I use them?

First of all, attendees like and benefit from written materials. However, the idea of giving attendees your Power Point presentation is fading. Attendees want and expect more. Olivia Mitchell describes the benefits in her Speaking About Presenting website article, “13 Best Practice Tips for Effective Presentation Handouts.” She says handouts allow the speaker to cut down on the material that is presented. Handouts guide the speaker and you don’t have to worry about forgetting what you planned to say because you’re referring to your handout(s).

Handouts help attendees to remember your talk and you. If you include contact information, as I do, attendees can easily contact you later. I think handouts help attendees to relax. They don’t have to follow every word or take copious notes because your handouts contain essential information.

Handouts may also include new information, things you don’t cover in your talk. For example, at the bottom of a handout you may list some additional resources. After the attendees have returned home, they can read your handouts and recall your presentation.

The handouts you create fall into three general categories, uncompleted handouts, outlines (also called skeletal handouts), and worksheets. Simple handouts work best for me and I often give attendees an outline of my talk, with space beneath the points for notes. This is an example of an uncompleted handout.

I’ve also developed a worksheet, with bulleted headings for workshop attendees to complete. For the conference bookstore, I’ve created a list of the grief resources I’ve written — a publicity handout. Over the years I’ve come up with my “how to” points for creating handouts, and these points may help you.

1. Use simple words and avoid jargon.

2. Add a visual, a photo, clip art, or symbol, to every handout.

3. Make every handout as attractive as you can; nobody wants an ugly handout.

4. Copyright the handout in your name.

5. Include your phone number, email address, and website address if you have one.

6. Color-code handouts so attendees may find them easily.

You’re probably wondering about when you should distribute your handouts. I give attendees the skeletal handout at the beginning of my talk or workshop, and pass out additional handouts during the talk as needed. This keeps attendees from shuffling papers and losing track of the points you are making at the moment.

No doubt about it, providing handouts costs money, and you are the only person who can decide whether the investment is worth it. Personally, I think handouts speak well for you and your expertise. You provide handouts because you care about the attendees and they will figure this out. Good handouts “speak” for you long after your presentation is over.

Copyright 2013 by Harriet Hodgson

Better Presentations? Stop Telling Your Stories!

CEOs, systems analysts, and civil engineers swear by storytelling these days for a riveting C-suite experience. My point is that presenters should stop telling “stories” that aren’t stories. More often than not, presenters patter along for a few bullet points and then stop occasionally for an anecdote break, under the illusion that they’re telling a story.

Here’s how stories and anecdotes differ:


Anecdotes present a “slice of life.” That is, they describe an interaction, a situation, or a scene.

Stories have a hero struggling to overcome challenges to accomplish a goal. Stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end.


Presenters usually just “narrate” anecdotes. They describe what they heard, saw, said, felt. Most often, the anecdote flows naturally in the past tense because the person is talking about what happened yesterday, last month, or when they were child, a newly wed, or maybe a first-year grad student.

But stories… ah, when someone tells a great story, the listeners feel as though they’re watching a movie. The speaker sets the scene, and then it’s lights, camera, action. The storyteller delivers the dialogue and gestures the action. Listeners envision what’s happening while the story unfolds.


Most often, anecdotes illustrate something-a feeling (frustration, anger, grief) or a situation (poor customer service, stupidity, innocence, helplessness).

Stories may illustrate as well. But they typically add other dimensions-motivation to act, inspiration, emotional tension or relief.


To illustrate the difference in impact, I’ll leave you with examples.


Customer service has deteriorated until I no longer think you can call it “service” in some organizations. The other day I was flying out to Chicago. I’ll admit I haven’t traveled much in the last 12 months, but I felt as if I were in a factory being “processed.” No agents to check me in. Just a computer.

The TSA agents were extremely rude: “Where’s your ticket?”

I had a little trouble finding the email on my phone with my e-ticket to be scanned.

The agent kept saying, “Don’t you have a paper copy? Just give me your paper copy! You’re holding up the line!”

Why do they send e-tickets if they can’t wait a moment for you to access them? The gate agents were equally surly. One even hassled me for “oversized” luggage, which wasn’t! It fit in their sizing container just fine. It’ll be a long time before I fly that airline again.


Customer service has deteriorated until I no longer think you can call it “service” in some organizations. The other day I was flying out to Chicago for a 3:00 pm job interview. I was booked on an 8:00 am flight to arrive at 10:00. Plenty of time-or so I thought. They cancelled the first flight-without notice, no reason given.

Finally, I’m rebooked to arrive at noon. We land. I reach up in the overhead bin for my briefcase, and it’s gone. Then I see a guy heading off the plane ahead of me carrying my laptop! I yell at the flight attendant, “Stop him! He’s got my laptop!”

She acts as if she can’t understand what I’m saying. The guy with my laptop takes off running, so I start after him.

I’m dashing through the airport, but it’s crowded and I lose him before I ever get out of that corridor. Just as I stop to catch my breath, two police officers step up beside me: “Sir, you’ll need to come with us.”

“Me? Why? What’s going on? I have to make my job interview in an hour!”

They slapped handcuffs on me and the officer says, “You’re under arrest for… “

(Wouldn’t you be hooked in at this point? Do you see the difference between a story and an anecdote?)

Don’t get me wrong: Stories make a great presentation even better. Just chose them wisely and tell them well.