This might fall into the “duh” category; however, you would not believe how many times even the most experienced negotiators forget that before you negotiate, you must be mentally and physically in the right place. This is just a fancy way of saying that you have to be very comfortable to negotiate. Physical and mental comfort as you negotiate is vastly underrated as a strategy.
Negotiating starts with being relatively comfortable. I shouldn’t have to say it, but it’s good to remember that you shouldn’t negotiate the day after a loss in the family, you should wear comfortable clothes, whatever you do don’t wear clothes that will make you feel inferior, (ladies especially) should not wear uncomfortable new shoes.
In his book Negotiate and Win, Dominick Misino tells the story about a negotiating team responded to a domestic-type dispute in a suburban neighborhood. A man had barricaded himself in a house for some trivial reason and was refusing to come out. No weapons had been seen and there was some question among the police officers as to whether the man was really barricading himself in the at all. The negotiator said “I can deal with this easy.” It was an early fall afternoon in the Northeast, one of those gorgeous 70 degree days just before the leaves start changing colors. The negotiator figured that he’d have the guy out in a few minutes and get back in time to know off early for dinner. Except that the person in the house turned out to be pretty serious about not coming out. And he turned out to have a weapon that no one had known about. The afternoon turned into the evening and the evening into nighttime. The temperature dropped to 50 degrees and then dipped to 45. The negotiator, still in shirtsleeves, froze body parts off. By the time the man in the house finally agreed to come out, the negotiator was almost suffering from hypothermia.
He should have known better! Let all of us accidental negotiators learn from this and make sure that we’ll be comfortable no matter how long the negotiations go on.