Preparatory Questions for Negotiation

What is your overall, initial objective?

  • Why are you doing this?
  • What are the issues at stake?

What are the main reasons that your goal is important to you (underlying interests)?

What are your constraints?

  • What is non-negotiable?
  • What are you prepared to give?
  • Are there any deadlines that affect this situation?

Who are you negotiating with?

  • What do you know about the person (communication style, level of authority)?
  • What might they want from the negotiation?
  • What are the most important issues for them?
  • What might be their underlying interests?
  • What are your expectations of the mentor?

How might my hoped-for outcome be beneficial to the other person?

What are the possible downsides (side effects and or losses) for me and for the other person if I reach my goal?

  • Note: When negotiating with someone with whom you have a long-term relationship, it is helpful to highlight both benefits and drawbacks for yourself and the other person. Transparency can build trust with the other party.

Do you and the other person have the authority to sign off on the deal?

  • Are there limits on what you and the person can agree to?
  • Do you need someone else’s approval before agreeing to something?
  • Are there others who may need to be involved in supporting decisions reached during this negotiation? If so, what is the plan for communicating with them?

What impact will the negotiated agreement have on others not directly involved in the negotiations, and should they be consulted?

What outside influences may be impacting this situation?

How will you react to potential responses (tangible and emotional) from the person?

  • If the person says X, I will respond by saying ____________________.
  • If the person says Y, I will respond by saying ____________________.

If my communication is successful, the person will know the following information:

  1. ______________________
  2. ______________________
  3. ______________________