As an attorney my life involves negotiation on a daily basis, professionally. But so does yours. You may negotiate with clients, customers, suppliers, co-workers, spouses or children. Is it for that big sale or to get your kid to do something? It doesn’t matter, prepare.

The preparation may just be thinking about the conversation. Or it may be strategizing with others or conducting role playing scenarios. There are many commentators out there who do a great job on writing about negotiation strategies and issues (For example, see Marty Latz’s (@MartyLatz) columns: Maybe your preparation can be researching his or other columns on the Internet. The point is do something; Think. It will help.

For me, professionally, negotiation can involve mediation, which is a more formal form of negotiation and usually is my client’s last opportunity to settle a dispute on terms agreeable to them before a judge or jury makes a decision that will impact their life or business in potentially unpredictable ways. That is a big deal. But so is the potential sale or going to the football game with your friends next Sunday.

One thing I always tell clients (and do when negotiating in my personal life) is to think about the person(s) you are negotiating with and the potential outcomes: your best case,  your worst case and what is an acceptable result (or range of results) to you. Know your audience because how you wrap the message is important.

I challenge you to try preparing for your next negotiation, whatever it is. And please let me know if you think your preparation helped or not (and if not, why).

If you want to talk about preparation for an important conversation or negotiation you plan to have, please feel free to call me (which is preparation too) because I may have a few ideas based on my experiences negotiating personally, professionally and as a mediator.