The check-list to prepare your negotiation

According to the experts, a successful negotiation consists of 90% preparation and 10% improvisation. Perhaps this proportion is exaggerated, but it is clear that relying solely on improvisation can be very risky. Preparation depends on factors such as time, availability, the people involved, the issue to be addressed, the information obtained, external pressures and more.

Some negotiators view preparation as designing a road map that must be followed to the letter. However, this is not always useful because we often disregard the other party. With such a strict viewpoint, anticipation is nearly impossible.

Preparing for a negotiation can be compared to the work of an airplane pilot before taking off: although there will be circumstances that you cannot control (a possible storm or a sick passenger, etc.), you can review other things, such as how the aircraft is operating, the weather forecast, the profile of the crew, the number of passengers and the state of the airport. The more you can forecast, the better, but you must understand that some factors will not depend on it. As a negotiator, you should always have your checklist handy. The effort invested in preparation will always be rewarded with additional success.

What does the checklist contain? To be useful, it must include the following points:

To structure all these questions, I suggest that you prepare the negotiation in 10 phases:

  1. Identifying a satisfactory result.
  2. Creating value and searching for options.
  3. Identifying the BATNA and the reservation value.
  4. Authority and anticipating the decision.
  5. Knowing who the negotiator is and how he or she behaves.
  6. Anticipated
  7. Searching for objective criteria.
  8. Predicting the negotiating process.
  9. Logistical
  10. Physical


How to Have Difficult Conversations Virtually

Today we share an interesting article by Art Markman that talks about How We Can Get Difficult Conversations Virtually. Thanks!

As the psycholinguist Herb Clark has pointed out, human communication is optimized for small numbers of people to talk together face-to-face in real time. The further we get from this ideal situation, the more opportunities there are for communication to go awry.

And, yet so many of us work with people who we never see in person because they (or we) work remotely, are in different offices, or in different parts of the world. This can make communication challenging. This is particularly true when the situation or topic of conversation is going to create stress for you, the other person, or both of you.

When you are trying to explore topics with your colleagues that are emotionally or conceptually difficult, it’s good to get as close to the ideal situation as possible. Being able to interact in real time lets people interrupt a speaker if they get confused or have trouble following the conversation. This coordinated negotiation is a hallmark of effective communication.

When a situation is emotionally challenging, visual contact is even more important. Facial expressions provide a lot of information about what people are feeling. Even fleeting changes in what people display, so-called micro-expressions, can provide useful information about people’s initial reactions to information. When you’re exchanging emails or texts, or even if you’re on the phone, you’re likely to miss momentary changes in people’s facial expressions — and the meaning they convey.

If you need to have what you expect to be a challenging conversation with someone, there are several things you can do.

Create a sense of co-presence. The more difficult the conversation you are having, the more you need to think about the technology you are using and how to make it as seamless as possible. You need to create a sense of co-presence, which is the ability to feel as though you can interact effectively with another person. For example, you might consider using a phone connection for voice and to reserve bandwidth for video if you do not have a great internet connection. Also try to keep the environment free from distraction so everyone can concentrate on the conversation itself. This is particularly important if you work in an open office environment.

Have eye contact, if possible. When having emotionally difficult conversations — particularly when delivering bad news — it’s best to be able to make eye contact with the person you are talking to and to present information in a sympathetic and caring manner. It can be difficult to use your facial expression and tone of voice to convey your attitude in virtual environments. Try to use technology like videoconferencing or Skype if you can’t get together.

Be specific. There are two kinds of distance created by virtual conversations. One is physical distance. The second is that the barriers to making a connection can increase the sense of distance between people in a conversation. Research on construal level theory points out that the more distant you are from something or someone socially or in time or space, the more abstractly you are likely to think about them. However, having difficult conversations often requires providing specific feedback not abstraction. This is particularly true when addressing problems with someone’s performance at work, where you need to give specific demonstrations of problems and particular actions that someone can take to fix the problem.

Take care to override the effects of distance and make your discussion as specific as possible. It can be helpful to take notes before a conversation so that you have examples to bolster your main points. Otherwise, you run the risk of having a conversation that does not help people to address the difficulties you have noticed.

Having difficult conversations is hard to do successfully under the best of circumstances. When you must have that conversation virtually, a little extra preparation can go a long way toward making the interaction feel more like it would if you were in the same place at the same time.

The Objectives of the Negotiator

We will start this post with an everyday example. If you go on a weekend trip to Rome and you don’t prepare anything (you don’t have a plane ticket, you don’t have a hotel booked, you don’t have restaurant reservations, you don’t have a tourist guide and you have no idea what you will do), what will happen is that your weekend will most likely be a disaster because you will not have anything prepared and you will waste a lot of time organizing all these things. You will pay more money for plane tickets; it will cost you more to find restaurants available and you will miss interesting things to visit because you didn’t even know they existed. On the other hand, if you prepare a trip well in advance, you can get cheaper air fares, you will not have problems going to the restaurants you have chosen, you will have more hotels to choose from, you will be better able to find out which places you should not miss, and your weekend will be a success.

Preparation is the starting point of any negotiation, and of many things in life. As a negotiator, you should know that preparation is an essential part of the process. According to some experts, 90% of success lies in good preparation. Without an established program, you will improvise, which will provide you with unpredictable results and a limited view of the situation. Most accidents or bad negotiations that I have witnessed are due to poor preparation. If I am poorly prepared for the negotiation, unforeseen things will happen to me due to my lack of anticipation.

A more extreme example could be that of a person who wants to climb Everest. No matter how willing he is, no matter how much money he has, if he does not have good physical, mental and logistical training, he will not be able to reach the top. Preparation is therefore a complex and necessary process for the success of our projects and challenges.

It is believed that one hour of planned negotiation requires two hours of advance preparation to go well and work on all the necessary aspects. However, many negotiators hardly spend any time preparing. Preparation is always a profitable investment in negotiation.

If you know what you want and know the other party’s strategy, you will always get the best deals. If you want to get a good deal, you must prepare to foresee all possible risks and to have all the information for the best strategy to use.

Therefore, it is very important to be prepared for the negotiation from three very different perspectives.

  1. Technical preparation: the author.
  2. Oral preparation: the actor.
  3. Personal preparation: the individual.

Ten Commandments of the Good Negotiator

Today negotiation is a necessary tool for any person or professional who wants to preserve their interests and obtain their own benefit, while preserving their relationship with others.

A good negotiator is not born but is made. In other words, a good negotiator is formed through experience, learning from others and from himself. Here we present the Ten Commandments of the Good Negotiator, which must be always respected to get good agreements. Remember, the secret of any negotiation is that in the end, if we don’t all win, then nobody wins.

To be a good negotiator:

  1. Prepare, prepare, prepare.
  1. Develop observation skills and manage information well.
  1. Do not compromise on your main interests.
  1. Identify and imagine the options (solutions) that can create value.
  1. Count on the interests of all the parties involved.
  1. Maintain a medium-term and long-term vision of your relationships.
  1. Always work from a perspective of trust.
  1. Finalize the negotiation agreement after exploring all possible alternatives.
  1. Design an alternative solution in case the agreement does not bear fruit.
  1. Manage your emotions based on the effectiveness and knowledge of the objectives.

Anticipating and Managing Conflict: Problems, Tension & Crisis

When we talk about conflict management we don’t like it, we are uncomfortable with it, but in reality the conflict itself doesn’t have to be negative. What is negative is the bad management of it that can cause economic losses, loss of image or reputation and even loss of the relationship with the other party.

The paradox is given because during our lives we all have conflicts: personal, professional, sentimental, etc. And we are not taught to manage the conflict.

We know that there are techniques to manage conflict, there is a lot of research in this field that shows that there are a number of tools that will allow us to manage and/or avoid conflict. For example, one of them is the one that says that conflict is a universal law and that at the beginning it is very easy to identify and to solve. The more advanced in time, it will be easy to identify but more complicated to solve. Therefore, the sooner we identify the conflict the better solution it will have and the easier it will be to manage it.

The conflict does not understand types of people or companies, the conflict affects everyone of any size, age or position and arises at the time when two parties have differences and do not understand each other.

Differentiating problems, tension, crisis and conflict.

And now, we will begin by seeing the difference between conflict, tension and problem as they are often treated as synonyms and actually are not so.

Problem definition:

Conflict and problem are two words that traditionally refer to negative situations or issues. A conflict is a disagreement or clash, which can be between two or more people or concepts. A problem is an issue or situation that is considered harmful or unpleasant. A conflict can be described as a problem. The key difference between conflict and problem is that a conflict always has two or more parties while problems do not have such parties.

Example of a problem: we have a customer who is waiting for merchandise and it will not arrive because the border is blocked.

Definition of tension:

Tensions are due to divergences, differences, oppositions of points of view, ideas of solutions, objectives, values…

Definition of crisis:

A crisis is a process or a situation in which important changes occur. To solve a crisis situation, it is necessary to be able to move from positions of closure and rejection to positions of openness and listening, from selfishness to positions that make us take into account others.

Example of a crisis: with the appearance of an international pandemic that causes everything to be blocked, it is a crisis because it produces very profound changes.

Definition of conflict:

Conflicts are the result of unresolved crises. So we are moving towards confrontation.

There is conflict when one moves from the acceptance and serene, peaceful, mature and constructive expression of differences, disagreements and divergences, to opposition, antagonism, confrontation, struggle, misunderstanding, aggression, intolerance and rejection.

Example of conflict: when we do not agree on the price to pay for a product and/or service.

Conflict is usually a combination of three situations: tension > crisis > conflict.

Discovering the Client’s Needs and Propose your Products/Services

This part is fundamental, nobody buys for buying’s sake if it is not to satisfy some need. When we decide to buy a product or a service, it’s because we hope that it will bring us some benefit either physical or intellectual. If we can identify that need or that lack, we have already got all our motivation. Why? Because we will be able to offer that benefit through that product and we will solve objections.

It is very important to identify the needs of our potential buyer:

– Why are they interested in my product?

– What needs, fears or ambitions do they have?

We will now explain how to discover these needs through three techniques:

  1. Research. You can search for information about what people want through the Internet, via Google, social networks, etc.
  2. Put yourself in your client’s shoes. Try to empathize with your client and you will be able to find out more about them.
  3. Ask your question. Ask open questions instead of closed ones so that you don’t limit the answers and you have a better chance of finding out why.

Propose your products/services

Although you can find an infinite number of ways to put these types of techniques into practice, one of them is to follow the CAB method (Characteristics, Advantages and Benefits) that we have designed at TPG, we are going to see it in more detail:

  1. Characteristics of the product. What is the product like, what defines it? Except in totally innovative products or services, it is not going to provoke the final decision of the buyer but this phase is necessary.
  2. Advantages of the product. What does it provide more than other products? Never talk about devaluing other products in the market but show emphasis on the virtues of our product. Each one of the advantages we want to emphasize must be interesting to the buyer.
  3. Benefits for the client. It is a consequence that comes linked to the previous point mentioned but specify with the client in question.



What does the TPG negotiation and Leadership Program consist of?

The Program consists of two complementary parts. One part is an E-learning training with videos, infographics, quizzes, exercises, and a negotiator personality test. The other part, two monthly webinars with a negotiation expert who will present some theoretical concepts and, obviously, answer all the doubts that may arise for the student.

What do I need to become certified?

To obtain the TPG Professional Negotiator and Leadership certificate it is necessary to pass all the quizzes presented in the online course. Remember that you have three chances to pass each quiz. In this sense, attending and participating in the webinars is a great help. If you encounter any difficulties, you can always contact us.

What if I can’t watch the webinars?

All webinars are recorded so that you can access them at any time. Of course, we suggest that you attend live so we propose several webinars per month at different times, the times and days of the week are changing to give you more options.

These webinars are in English, French and Spanish and you can attend as many as you like.


What happens if I have a technical problem?

For any technical difficulties connecting or accessing the course or the webinars, do not hesitate to contact us by email at


What if I have questions?

The best thing to do is to attend the webinar and ask your question to the expert. If for some reason you cannot attend the webinar, you can send us your question in writing and we will answer it in the webinar that you will be able to watch afterwards.


How long does the Program last?

The Program consists of two parts: the e-Learning (14h approx) and the webinars (24h approx).

You can progress quickly or in small sessions of 15 minutes per day, in any case, you have 12 months of unlimited access to all the material.

At what time of the year can I start the course?

Whenever you want, you can access the course for 12 months 24/7.


Is it an official certificate?

The TPG Professional Negotiator and Leadership Certificate is an internationally recognized and prestigious certificate in the business sector.

In addition, our training is accredited by the CPD


The United Kingdom CPD Certification Service System and requirements.

The CPD Certification Service

The Coach House

Ealing Green


W5 5ER

United Kingdom

Can I mention this certification on my CV and social media?

Of course you can, it will also help you in your career and professional projection.


Can I continue accessing webinars after the 12 months?

Of course you can, contact us and we will offer you special conditions as TPG Alumni to continue attending our webinars and online events.