Negotiators Need Both A Checklist And An Organizer

Every negotiator needs a good checklist
Every negotiator needs a good checklist

Image Credit: AJ Cann

Every negotiator should be using a deal book in order to keep track of all of the 100’s of tiny details that go on in every negotiation. So that you don’t forget or overlook anything, your deal book can act as both a checklist for the negotiation and as an organizer for your thoughts. Deciding to do this is a great first step, the challenge comes when you sit down to do it – just exactly how do you use this thing?

What Goes Into A Deal Book To Help Organize A Negotiation?

So let’s say that you’ve got yourself a deal book (really just a spiral bound notebook). Now what? Many of the negotiators that I talk with are baffled as to exactly what they need to do with their deal book in order to get the maximum benefit from it.

At its heart, a deal book is where you keep your records about your next negotiation. What this means for you is that as you start to prepare for the negotiation, everything that happens gets its own place in your deal book. This will include such things as you taking time to write down what you hope to get out of the negotiations, any and all telephone numbers and addresses of the people who will be involved in the negotiations, and every piece of random info about the negotiations that you happen to pick up.

The list of what you can record in your deal book is actually quite lengthy. It can include such items as the dates and places where negotiations occurred. You’d want to note down who participated in the negotiations on a given date. During the negotiation, there will of course be open issues that are currently not resolved. Your deal book is a great place to note these so that you are aware of what has been resolved and what still needs to be taken care of.

How Do You Use A Deal Book As A Checklist?

Your deal book is where you get an opportunity to keep a running diary of how the negotiation is going. When new information is learned, you should note it in your deal book. Additionally, how you react to this new information should also be noted.

Your goals for the negotiation should be a part of your deal book. By doing this, you can create a checklist of what you want to get out of the negotiations. As you achieve your individual goals, you can start to check off each one of them. With a little luck by the end of the negotiation you’ll have eventually completed your entire checklist.

One of the most important uses of your deal book checklist is when there is a need for someone else to take over a negotiation. There can be many reasons that this happens, but generally it can cause a great deal of confusion on both sides of the table and often sets the negotiations back a bit. However, if you can hand your deal book off to the person who is taking over, then they will be able to quickly come up to speed on where things stand and what has already been done. You improve their odds of being able to successfully reach the negotiation goals that you had set for yourself.

What Does All Of This Mean For You?

Each and every principled negotiation that we are involved in, no matter how large it may appear to be from the outside or what negotiation styles or negotiating techniques are being used, is a complex beast. With multiple people involved, different dates, agreements, and deliverables things can get pretty complicated very quickly. What every negotiator needs in order to keep things organized is a deal book.

A deal book allows all of the details having to do with a negotiation to be kept in one place. In the deal book you can keep track of dates, places, participants, and meeting agendas. Additionally, using a well-kept deal book allows the planning and execution of a negotiation to be traded off among different people without the loss of any information.

No, creating and maintaining a deal book is not easy to do. However, the benefits are huge. For the next negotiation that you will be involved in take the time to create a deal book that will help you organize your negotiation and which can be used as a checklist. When you’re able to walk away with the deal that you wanted, you’ll be able to thank you deal book.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™

Question For You: How much time do you think that you should spend each day updating your deal book?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Let’s face it: negotiating is a complicated process even before you start thinking about all of the negotiation styles and negotiating techniques that are involved. There may a number of different people involved, you may be discussing many different issues, and don’t even get me started on all of the dates and places that can be involved. Needless to say, it can be very difficult for a single person to keep all of this straight before, during, and after a negotiation. That’s why we all need some help. That’s why we all need a “deal book”.