You should want to have a systematic preparation to each negotiation and always be polite and mannerly, yet logical, reasonable, persistent and patient. You will also want to address relationship issues of the negotiation separately from substantive issues, separating the people from the problem.
Here are steps to help you prepare.
Know yourself. Be aware of your particular style of negotiating, with its strengths and weaknesses, and be in control of yourself and your emotions.
Know the other side. Know as much as possible about the person you will be negotiating with, including his/her negotiation style. Talk with colleagues or associates who may have interacted with this person before and are aware of particular strengths and weaknesses.
Plan before the negotiation how to defuse your emotions. If you have negotiated with this person before with a satisfactory outcome, that’s great. However, if the quality of that relationship was less than optimal, mentally review what went wrong and why you reacted as you did. Remember, you can control your emotions and reactions easier than you can change others.
Manage the working relationship. Take unconditional responsibility and control over the quality of the working relationship you develop. The key to this is pre-planning how to build that effective working relationship and continuing to look for ways to build trust and respect, keep reason and emotion in balance and enhance communication.
Be ready to listen and observe. Prepare for a two-way communication and be able and ready to listen. Do not rehearse lines or stay with a prepared text, because that won’t allow you to be flexible enough to pay attention and listen to what the other side is actually saying. You must have flexible assumptions and be alert that distractions during the negotiations might interfere with your ability to really hear what the other side is intending to say. If you think you heard what you thought they said, you had better ask some clarifying questions. You should anticipate what the other side will say, but have a plan if you recognize a different message. Be cognizant of that little voice in your head that keeps you from listening fully and effectively.
Deliver your message so it is understood. Think of how the other side might interpret your statements in light of their assumptions and bias regarding you. Reframe your statements when possible to accommodate the listener and be attentive to cues reflecting uncertainty or confusion. Speak in a style and manner that mirrors a comfortable communication pattern for the parties.
Effective negotiation occurs when both sides get something from the interaction. If you know what’s important to you, and you know what’s important to the other side, you need not fear the result of a hundred negotiations.