The question is: What is pre-play? Sometimes when negotiating, the first few minutes are awkward and the conversation gets off on a slow start. You may be unsure of how to start. What can you do to be better prepared?

This is often referred to as pre-play in negotiation. Pre-play, or the pre-negotiation tactics, are the intelligence gathering activities you should be engaged in to make sure you are properly prepared.

The key in pre-play is to gather as much information as possible about the other party, their history, their current situation, interests, needs, wants, desires, mission statements, value statements, industry trends, and their future intentions.

Gather as much of this information as possible from a wide variety of sources so that you have a broad understanding of the negotiation situation and can project confidence in the upcoming conversations.

Intelligence gathering includes talking to everyone you can think of and investigating for information. Contact trade associations, vendors, suppliers, competitors, and gather as much “intel” as you can.

It’s important to do significant preparation to guarantee significant results. Knowing who, what, when, where, and why, in advance, can spare your organization from making mistakes during the negotiation. You will never save or lose money faster than through negotiation. Pre-play information gathering activities…will provide you a sound plan…for negotiation success.

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