Although we associate the term caucus with politics (the Iowa caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus, etc.), caucus simply means that a group of people, united by the same cause, come to together to decide policy or course of action. In business negotiations, you would hold a caucus with your team when you have new issue or direction to discuss.

Why to caucus

You can caucus when you need to give your team a time-out, especially when something that you did not foresee comes up in the negotiation discussions. A caucus gives everyone involved time to think.

There are many other reasons to caucus:

  • To review the negotiations up to now
  • To develop new arguments
  • To come up with new questions
  • To check rules and regulations
  • To discuss possible concessions

Caucuses can also provide tension relief and reduce stress during a crisis stage or a very prolonged negotiation.

How to caucus

The team leader will call the caucus. Gather your team with a clear sense of what you need to discuss.

In order to have a good caucus session, you need to have the following available:

  • Comfortable meeting place
  • Privacy
  • Agenda
  • Somewhere to take notes
  • Displays and information resources (whatever you need to look at to help make decisions)

How and why do you caucus? Have you found caucusing to be helpful in your business negotiations?

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