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Negotiation checklist


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Negotiation checklist This negotiation checklist is created to help people who have to represent their party in negotiations of any kind. It is very responsible arrangement with lots of essentials, and being a good professional doesn’t mean to be a good negotiator yet. With a help of this negotiation checklist you will learn some basics and interesting facts: what the main principles of any negotiations are about, what you need to know about negotiations to plan and conduct this important business activity, how you can conduct negotiations to finish them successfully, etc.

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Preparatory negotiation plan:

  • Define if it is supposed to be a one time negotiation (with low probability of second inteacting with the same company or person).
  • Define if negotiations are supposed to be surely repeated again in future.
  • Determine the purpose, terms and subjects of the negotiations.
  • Determine the nonnegotiable subjects, terms, and what can be modified.
  • Know your opponents well, study their attitudes and backgrounds (including cultural traits), and prepare accepting an appropriate negotiation models.
  • Analyze the interests of the parties and clearly set negotiation goals for your side.
  • Define the value of these negotiations for your party and prioritize your goals.
  • Define the format and scale of negotiations.
  • Define if negotiations are expected to be mild or hard, to get properly psychologically and methodically prepared, to select appropriate negotiation methods.
  • Define and formulate what are the best possible results of these negotiations for your side.
  • Define and formulate what is the tolerable compromise of these negotiations for your side.
  • Define and formulate what are unacceptable results of these negotiations for your side.
  • Evaluate potential losses of your side if the negotiations fail.
  • Evaluate potential losses of the opposing side if the negotiations fail.
  • Define the boundary to which you can fall back while making concession on your interests.
  • Define the conditions when your side should stop and terminate the negotiations.
  • Define your current position in terms of strengths and weaknesses.
  • Define strengths and weaknesses of the opposing party.
  • Define who will represent your side on negotiations; ensure they have all the necessary expertise and authority. Assign clear negotiation roles to make your delegation strong enough to make necessary decisions.
  • Make sure that representatives of the opponents also have all the necessary authority and rank to participate in negotiations with you.
  • Define what opposing party wants to reach and how you can deliver it to them.
  • If you are a host side of negotiations – arrange the best possible conference room, pleasant atmosphere and minimum of distractions, if required – organize traveling and accommodations duly.
  • Define the system of values peculiar to the opposing party and be ready to explain your arguments in terms of their value system.
  • Compose a negotiation worksheet to guide you on subjects you need to consider.

Negotiation principles and facts:

  • Never negotiate with a person who is not qualified or authorized to negotiate properly – each side should be represented equally.
  • Real meaning of the term “negotiations” implies that their outcome is supposed to be a “win-win” solution where all parties are satisfied, so no ultimatums are allowed and no unilateral “victory” can be gained.
  • When making an offer you should give your opponents a chance to knock you down a little. Perhaps, this is a core principle of any negotiations.
  • Confrontational positions cannot lead to compromise, so think to understand how to meet interests of the opposing party without harming your own interests.
  • Always remember about etiquette basics and common sense to avoid or overcome simple troubles which can make big obstacles in negotiating – wrong psychological and emotional aspects (incorrect interior, placement of chairs, body language etc.) and difficulties in communication (different languages, different meanings of the same words, etc).
  • The most irreconcilable controversy usually happens around conflicting views related to personal opinions, beliefs, values and ideology, as well as around allocation of resources (money, time, quantity, technologies etc).
  • Negotiation includes series of offers and counteroffers. If you make an offer and opposing party declines it, you don’t do another offer immediately, but you wait for their counteroffer. In other words you don’t lower your own demands without having the opposing party to lower theirs.
  • Actually, negotiation is a normal part of our daily life, so all of us possess some negotiation skills which refer to a number of psychological and communicational aspects, however, some advanced negotiation skills and attitudes can be learned from appropriate trainers.

Negotiation rules:

  • Strongly avoid any references to politics, ideology and egos as matters which may easily create personal antipathy and conflicts. Always treat the opponents with respect and dignity.
  • Control stress and tension as you should represent and maintain the best of your professional attitudes, while strong emotions should be neglected as hampering progress towards rapport and  rational consent.
  • Never let the negotiations become interpersonal in nature, you need to negotiate over things and services, not over any personal matters. Good interpersonal relations can be used to build mutual trust between opposing sides and to create a friendlier atmosphere, however using them as leverage is not recommended.
  • Never enter a negotiating process until both parties are completely clear on negotiated subjects and accepted terms.
  • Never put statements on paper unless you’re completely agree with them. When an item is written on paper it is stronger than when said only in word – written items can be used by opposing side as leverage against you.
  • Stay sensitive, quick and flexible while handling the challenges of negotiations, but when adapting to changing situation do not lose sight of the objectives.
  • Negotiations ideally should improve or at least not harm the relationship between the parties, so even if negotiations are formally failed (parties haven’t made an agreement) you need to shake hands firmly, with a sincere respect and smile, and express your expectancies to renegotiate and reach the deal eventually.

Negotiation strategies:

  • Spiraling negotiation: Start the session by making a basic minimal agreement (even if it is not directly related to your objectives), and use it as a basis for elaborating your arguments and building further progress towards success in a step-by-step manner.
  • Adjusting your position: Reformulate the proposals in a different way re-explaining them in compromised terms, however, without changing the final result.
  • Reaching common understanding: Try to clarify the vision of opposing side through asking them for more information.
  • Coaxing: Enlarge a prize for the opposing side – offer them some more alternatives without changing the terms of agreement.
  • Card game: Negotiations are figuratively compared with playing cards – the more trump cards you can get and hold, the stronger your chances to win. Save your strongest arguments up to critical moment and know how to use them wisely.
  • Know your opponents: Don’t attribute them more power than they may actually have. Remember that they work under pressure as well as you; they have their own deadlines, problems, fears, objectives etc. Deliver them an offer to satisfy their deep-laid motives and needs.

Negotiation techniques and tactics:

  • Have all the necessary data sources at hand and all necessary facts in your mind. Don’t let the opponents get you being uncertain in essentials and unprepared in some details.
  • Engage support from all kinds of experts whose knowledge can be helpful.
  • The real talent of a good negotiator is making the opponents think that the final agreement was all their idea.
  • The best negotiators are often quiet listeners who never interrupt their opponents – let them go first and patiently listen to what they say.
  • Never take opponent’s first offer, even if it seems better than you’d hoped to get. Don’t lose self-control – demonstrate mild disappointment and politely decline, expressing your hope to find a better compromise after you tell them some of your arguments and counteroffers.
  • Do not to hesitate to ask questions, because if you don’t ask, you don’t get. As long as you have some convincing arguments, don’t be afraid to set high targets, but of course keep your mind clear and stay realistic.
  • Don’t let yourself be bluffed. Don’t let opponents to force a deal anyhow.
  • Don’t accept opponents’ problems as their arguments, because very often negotiators try to represent their problems (which actually are their weaknesses) as arguments to explain reasons why they cannot deliver you what you want. Stay attentive and benevolent, suggest them your assistance and advice to solve these troubles in context of your co-operation, but don’t let them to make their problems yours!
  • Close the session of negotiations with confirmation of obtained agreements. Formalize agreements orally and in writing before ending the negotiation. Do not leave behind any loose ends and uncertainties.

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