An agenda gives form and structure to the discussion of issues that you and your opponent will negotiate. When you control the agenda, you not only control the order of the issues discussed but also what issues will be discussed, what will not be discussed, and the timing of decisions. By controlling the agenda, you significantly increase your chances to leverage your position and control the outcome.
Negotiate the agenda before negotiating the issues. Focus on the following:
1. Create your own agenda by paying special attention to what you do not want to discuss as well as what you want to discuss.
2. Think about the order in which to best introduce each issue.
3. Think through the consequences of the other person’s agenda before accepting it.
4. Carefully read your opponent’s agenda and focus on what it leaves out. Doing this will give you insight into what your opponent does not want to discuss and what is important to him or her.
5. If the agenda is not working effectively for you, have the courage to renegotiate it.
When engaging in any mediation or settlement process, put these negotiating skills to use to help you achieve the optimal outcome. This free monthly “One Minute Negotiating Tip” is based on Linda Bulmash's highly acclaimed column, "Negotiate Like The Winners."
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