1. Make sure you set aside time to prepare.

Even if it is only 10 minutes between receiving a phone call and having to return it, some preparation is better than none.

2. Think about an agenda for the negotiation.

What are the issues on the table? It may be valuable to set the agenda prior to the meeting commencing so that both sides can prepare effectively.

3. If you are about to negotiate on a set piece issue think about taking along a team with you.

The team should be prepared effectively and have set roles. A well drilled team creates an advantage when the meeting begins.

4. Practice your response.

In your team think about how you will respond to the various 'plays' that the other side might make.  Spend time developing 'what if' responses to how the other side may play their agenda.

5. Test any contentious issues with stakeholders.

Make sure you have the authority and backing to take any tough decisions you may need to take.

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So, there I was in the hotel lobby telling the team behind the desk all my woes. This was about the fourth hotel I had been to; no, I didn’t have a booking but I had my wife and three children outside in the car and I was kind of desperate; no, I didn’t know that there was a major conference in the town that we were visiting and yes, had I known about it, then I would probably have either avoided the place altogether or, at the very least, booked a family room. “Oh, you have...

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