How to Mentally Prepare Before a Negotiation

Entering into an important business negotiation can be stressful and many people find themselves becoming anxious about their performance. No matter how well they have prepared their materials, they still feel nervous about how they will handle the negotiation process. While a certain amount of performance anxiousness is normal, you certainly don’t want to showcase your nerves at the negotiating table. For this reason, it’s important to prepare yourself mentally for your next negotiation. The following tactics can be helpful in relieving some of your anxiety so you can negotiate with confidence. 


Know Your Audience

Who are you negotiating with and what do you know about them? What will they know about you and what questions might they ask? The more you know about your audience, the more you can plan ahead so you aren’t caught off guard. This will also help you to present the most valuable information in order to persuade them. Research your counterpart and learn as much about them as possible. Learn what their pain points are and what motivates them. The more you know about them, the more confident you will feel in your ability to negotiate with them. 


Practice and Rehearse

If you know your information inside and out the less likely you will be to panic at the negotiating table. Thoroughly prepare yourself and know exactly what your goals are and what you hope to achieve through the negotiation. Have your concessions prepared as we and know your walk away point. Rehearse a few times with a spouse, friend, co-worker, or even in front of your mirror. The more prepared you are the less nervous you will feel right before the negotiation. 


Practice Mindfulness

Research has shown that engaging in simple and brief mindfulness exercises can be an effective way to improve your negotiation performance. Not only does meditation help alleviate stress and anxiety, but it also enhances your ability to think clearly and recall important information. Prior to your negotiation, spend a few minutes focusing on yourself and mentally preparing for the meeting. Close your eyes and take a few slow, deep breaths to relax your mind and body. 


Positive Visualization

Again, studies suggest that there are a number of benefits to practicing positive visualization. Imagine yourself in front of your audience speaking with confidence and delivering persuasive content. Then, picture their positive reaction. Furthermore, tell yourself that you are well prepared and ready for the negotiation. Doing so will boost your confidence and help you to feel less anxious about the meeting.