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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Plan your opening move

Your opening offer should clearly articulate your goal and suggest how to reach it. (“I would like the corner office because my client load is highest in the office, and my team is unable to fit in the current space.”) You don’t need to blurt out your opening offer the moment you meet with the other party. But, at some point, after you exchange pleasantries or perhaps even after the other party places something on the table, it will be your turn to anchor the negotiation. Your opening offer should represent the ideal situation for you. State it clearly, but do not position your offer as a demand. One direct but nondemanding way of doing this is, “In the spirit of getting the discussion started, I’ve mapped out a set of terms that works for me....” Or “I want to respect your time, so I have prepared a proposal that I would like to get your reaction to....”

Be firm on your interests but flexible on how to achieve them. Don’t make take-it-or-leave-it demands. If you are feeling demanding or indignant before the negotiation, rehearse an opening that you might present to someone you care about (such as your spouse or friend)—even if you don’t particularly care about the other party. The danger of making insulting, take-it-or-leave-it offers is that most people will opt to leave it.

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