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BBI of Chicago
February 2022

Preparation – The Art of Influence in Negotiation

By: Patricia Dalbem Pianissola.

Negotiation is a part of everyday life. We are exposed to situations that lead us to negotiate frequently. Although some people seem to have a natural gift in this skill, the study of negotiation and influence makes it clear that negotiation is an analytical and communicational competence that can be developed by anyone.

Human beings negotiate to defend their interests; therefore, negotiation is always present in a conflict situation. We negotiate on instinct when lacking adequate instruction. Consequently, the negotiation often develops by bargaining and not taking into account the interests of the other side. In this kind of negotiation, it is possible to close deals, but when evaluated afterward these deals are not always the most sensible or productive.

In the negotiation structuring process, preparation is vital to support the flow throughout the negotiation. Simulating situations that may arise guarantees a more elaborate ability to argue (RANGEL & MIRANDA, 2019).

For some authors, when it comes to negotiation planning, it is necessary to find a better alternative for negotiating an agreement (MAPAN) according to the BBI (Business Behavior Institute). This tool is meant to indicate when to withdraw from a trade when it fails, finding the best alternative. MAPAN is also used to demonstrate the most viable option when negotiating, in addition to demonstrating other possible options (RANGEL & MIRANDA, 2019). This concept was initially proposed by Fisher and Ury in 1981 as BATNA (Best Alternative to Negotiation Agreement). Negotiations on principle are carried out within the ZOPA (Optimal Zone of Possible Agreement).

BBI proposes a unique methodology known as the BBI Negotiation MAP. It is a principle-based technique that uses 4 benchmarks: preparation, execution, proposal, and closing. Each milestone is developed with specific tools and a specific framework for each process. This technique is based on these 4 fundamental points, but they work in a non-linear way. This means this methodology has the flexibility to suggest a pause to think of new scenarios and strategies when the team observes signs of important changes that make it necessary to return to the first milestone during the negotiation.

Regardless of the way some authors propose structuring a negotiation, the preparation phase is always prioritized and emphasized. This stage involves knowing one's position and interest, the position and interest of the other party, factors that influence the process, and alternative solutions (PAULA & SOUZA; 2007).

The Q2 model, developed by BBI to support the process of organizing and planning a negotiation, has as the main focus to find the objective of the negotiation. The model still follows it with a table of four important items: “I want”; “I have to”; “wish list” and “concession.” To complete the quadrants, we must be guided by key questions that lead us to a greater understanding of our desires and goals. It is important to note that a good and prepared negotiator never concedes without completing an item from the must-have list. Pondering different strategies and scenarios makes the negotiator more prepared when talking about using triggers to unlock important advantages.

Therefore, one of the best practices of negotiation is preparation. The best-prepared guarantee an advantage over their competitors in the analysis of other offers, better understanding when making a concession, and, therefore, obtaining the best results.

The tools and concepts presented allow it to be easy to understand and apply and at the same time make an extreme difference in the execution of the planning. The most prepared facilitates the path to an agreement that meets the needs of both parties in a negotiation.



FISHER, Y.; URY, W. Getting to yes: Negotiation Agreement Winthout Giving In. New York, USA: Peguin books, 1981.

PAULA, M. M. V;  SOUZA, J. M. Uma Análise Da Negociação De Uma Perspectiva Tecnológica. UFRJ RAE-eletrônica, vol. 6 no. 1 Art. 2, Jan./June.

RANGEL, S. D.; MIRANDA, C. R. O Planejamento da Negociação. Augusto Guzzo Revista Acadêmica, São Paulo, vol. 1, no. 23, pp. 251-262, Nov./Dec. 2019.

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