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PLANNING DOCUMENTS

Before every negotiation you should construct a planning document. The purpose of the planning
document is threefold:

1. It will help you prepare systematically for negotiations.


2. In some negotiations, you will have a partner on your own side of the table with whom you will
develop and implement your negotiation strategy. Having completed a planning document will
expedite your strategy session with your partner.
3. It will help you transfer the negotiation skills you learn in class to negotiations outside of class.

Preparation is a vital part of the negotiation process. Time spent in preparation should focus on
assessing your interests and goals and those of your opponent. The more complete the information you
have about yourself and your opponent, the more control you can assume over your own actions and
reactions during the negotiation process. When you don't have information, especially about your
opponent, GUESS! One way of beginning the negotiation process is to ask questions to try to fill in
gaps in the information you have or to test the assumptions you made in your guesses.

The planning documents on the following pages are provided as examples. The first is a list form that
asks for information about yourself and your opponent. The second is in a tabular form and allows at-a-
glance comparisons of the parties' information. The third document suggests you should assess yourself,
other parties and the situation. As the course progresses and new concepts are added, you may wish to
change the format of your planning document. Just make sure that you do not leave out any of the basic
concepts in doing so.

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Sample Planning Document 1

Name: ____________________________

Negotiation: _______________________

Role: _____________________________

What issues are most important to you? (List in order of importance)


1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

What is your BATNA? Reservation Price? Target?

What are your sources of power?

What issues are most important to your opponent? (List in order of importance)
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

What is your opponent's BATNA? Reservation Price? Target?

What are your opponent's sources of power?

What is your opening move/first strategy? Other important information?

What are my sunk costs?

Have I assessed my risk propensity?

2
Sample Planning Document 2

Name: ____________________________

Negotiation: _______________________

Role: _____________________________

ISSUE SUBISSUE POINTS YOUR INTEREST OTHERS


INTEREST

SELF OTHERS
BATNA
RESERVATION PRICE
SOURCES OF POWER
TARGET PRICE

What is your opening move/early strategy? Other important information?

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Sample Planning Document 3

Name: ____________________________

Negotiation: _______________________

Role: _____________________________

Self-assessment Assessment of the other party Assessment of the Situation


Identify a target point Who are the other Is the negotiation one
parties? shot, long term,
repetitive?

Identify your BATNA What is other partys Do the negotiations


BATNA? involve scarce resources,
conflict of ideologies or
both?

Identify your reservation Are the parties Is the negotiation of


point monolithic? necessity or opportunity?

What focal points could What issues are relevant Is the negotiation an
influence me? to other party? exchange or dispute
situation?
What are my sunk Identify their interests. Are there time
costs? constraints or other time
related costs?
Have I ensured that my Are there influential Are negotiations public
target point is not parties who are likely to or private?
influenced by my not be at the table?
reservation point?
What are the issues? What issues are relevant Where do negotiations
to the other party? take place?
Have I identified What are the other Is third party
equivalent Multi-issue partys alternatives for intervention a
offers? each issue? possibility?
Have I assessed my risk Do negotiations involve
propensity? more than one offer by
each party?

Do negotiators
communicate explicitly
or tacitly?
Is there a power
differential among
parties?
Are contracts official or
unofficial?
Is agreement required?
Is precedent important?

Adapted from Leigh Thompsons book The Mind and Heart of the Negotiator.

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RAIFFA'S ORGANIZING QUESTIONS

In addition to completing a planning document, Howard Raiffa (Refer to his book, "The Art and Science
of Negotiation", a technical but extremely interesting read) has suggested some questions that may help
you to think about the upcoming negotiation situation. I have also added a few questions to the list.

1. Are there more than two parties?

2. Are the parties monolithic? In other words, are the parties presenting a united front? When
negotiations become more complex and each side brings in a team of negotiators, it is possible
that team members do not present a united front or are not monolithic.

3. Is the game repetitive?

4. Are there linkage effects? For instance, will the outcome of this negotiation impact
other/subsequent negotiations? Will giving you a pay raise mean that your employer have
to provide pay raises to other employees as well?

5. Is there more than one issue?

6. Is an agreement required? Can the parties walk away without agreeing?

7. Is ratification required? In other words, do the parties need to get permission from a higher
authority before an agreement can be finalized?

8. Are threats possible?

9. Are there time constraints or time-related costs?

10. Are the contracts binding?

11. What are the group norms? For instance, might there be organizational or cultural expectations?

12. Is third party intervention possible? If the two parties cannot agree, is there a neutral third party
that can help?

13. What is your negotiation style? Do you like to use hardball tactics or do you prefer to make the
other side comfortable and happy?

14. What do you know about the other person? For instance, what is their position? What is their
reputation as a negotiator - do they care a lot about relationships and fairness or do they want to
get as much of the pie for themselves?