Preparation improves the emotional climate of a negotiation. A well-prepared negotiator walks into a meeting with emotional confidence about the substantive and process issues, as well as with clarity about how to enlist each party’s positive emotions.
There are two important activities involved in effective preparation:
- Establishing a routine structure of preparation. You want to prepare in terms of the process of the negotiation, the substantive issues, and the emotions of each party.
- Learning from past negotiations. Experience is of little value unless you learn from it.
After a negotiation, review the interaction in terms of process, substance, and emotions. Ask yourself what each party did that worked well and what could be done differently in the future.