Negotiation is about preparation, skill and organization. The more you are able to get organized prior to a business negotiation, the higher your likelihood of success.

In the book The Negotiating Game, Dr. Chester L. Karrass has proposed a four-part program to improve negotiation performance.

The four parts are these:

1. Improve negotiation planning. Planning is crucial, and depends on various steps such as improving information gathering; understanding the difference between strategic, tactical and administrative planning; and high-quality analysis.

2. Establish a broad-based negotiation training program. Negotiation training offers high return on investment due to improved skills it imparts.

3. Improve the negotiator selection process. Not everyone has the temperament or knowledge to be a good negotiator, even if he/she has lots of negotiating experience. Selecting the right people for the job is a function of disciplined observation and some psychological profiling (those with low self-esteem, for example, are not good candidates for negotiation).

4. Establish a high-level negotiation activity. This is especially important in large organizations, which would benefit from having an elite group of negotiators to conduct essential corporate negotiations. This elite group could also create a negotiation climates among all departments of the business and assist in selecting good negotiators at all levels.

As Dr. Karrass concludes:

A skilled negotiator can change the outcome by as much as five or ten percent. For a large firm this may mean tens of millions of profit dollars….These gains can be realized by organizing to win.

How are you organizing your negotiations?

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