The structure of a negotiation
Produced in partnership with Beth Pipe FCIPD of OnLive Learning

The following Practice Management practice note produced in partnership with Beth Pipe FCIPD of OnLive Learning provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • The structure of a negotiation
  • The structure of the negotiation
  • Stage 1: planning and preparation
  • Key things to consider
  • Balance of power
  • Stage 2: discussions
  • Stage 3: proposals and concessions
  • Stage 4: agreement
  • Stage 5: making it work

The structure of a negotiation

When entering into any negotiation, be it a multimillion pound business deal or an agreeing the office coffee rota, there are two main elements to consider:

  1. the structure and stages of the negotiation

  2. the human aspect—emotions and negotiation style

This Practice Note covers the first element:

  1. the structure of a negotiation

  2. planning and preparation

  3. discussions

  4. proposals and concessions

  5. agreement

  6. making it work

See Practice Note: The human side of negotiation for guidance on the second element.

The structure of the negotiation

A negotiation typically has 5 stages:

  1. planning—what do you need to prepare before the negotiation

  2. discussions—where you establish what is on the table

  3. proposals and concessions—where the main negotiating happens

  4. agreement—final terms are finalised

  5. making it work—putting the negotiated solution into practice

Most people focus on the central three stages, but by spending more time planning, you can put yourself in a stronger and more confident position. There is also a tendency for people to overlook the fact that the end of the negotiation may signal the start of an ongoing working relationship—consideration of the long term impact of the negotiation may influence any concessions agreed to.

Stage 1: planning and preparation

Key things to consider

When planning and preparing for a negotiation there are several key things to consider:

What are your objectives?What do you want to achieve from

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