Every negotiation starts with an opening. It's what we all do at the start of a negotiation. What a lot of us don't realize is that how we handle the opening of a negotiation can have a big impact on how the rest of the negotiation goes. The very possibility of success may hinge on how we start things off.
There are a number of different factors that go into opening your next negotiation correctly. You need to be able to read the body language of the negotiating team that is sitting across from you: Are they under pressure to reach a deal, or do they have all the time in the world?
Negotiation has a flip side and its name is persuasion. Understanding what persuasion is and, more importantly, how best to use it during a negotiation can go a long way in helping you to change the other side's view and what they are willing to agree to.
It can be very easy to focus completely on the negotiations that are happening right now. However, as negotiators we need to be able to see the "big picture". We will probably negotiate with the other side again at some point in the future.
What this means for us is that we have a responsibility for making sure that when the negotiation is over and done with, both sides leave the table with a feeling of satisfaction. Although important, just exactly how we make this happen can at times be challenging.
The end result of being ready for the opening of your next negotiation is that when you sit down at the negotiating table, you'll have a sense of being prepared. You'll have the ability to understand how you are going to connect with the other side of the table and you'll have a plan for ensuring that both parties walk away from the table with a sense of satisfaction. This is exactly what you're going to need in order to be able to reach the type of deal that will allow you to believe that you accomplished what you showed up to do.