Why You Should Rank Your Priorities Before Negotiating

Every negotiation involves a little bit of give and take, but there are effective strategies to help you get the most out of the discussion. One of these strategies involves knowing your priorities. Many people struggle to reach their desired outcome because they don’t have a clear idea of what their priorities are. Without clear priorities, it’s difficult to know when and how to make concessions. The fact is, your ability to move a negotiation in the right direction often depends on what factors are most important to you. Once you have clearly defined priorities, you are able to make better decisions to guide the negotiation. 


You Identify Your Goals

When you enter into negotiations, knowing yourself is half the battle. If you don’t know exactly where you stand on certain issues, how can you possibly reach your goals? That’s why every negotiator should prioritize what is most important to them by making a list. That list of priorities allows you to go into the negotiation knowing which items you are willing to concede if need be. It also prevents you from giving up things that are most important to you. 


It Allows for Transparency

Prior to the negotiation, you should write down which items are most important to you and rank them in order of importance. You should also consider how much your counterpart values each item, as this can help you with bargaining. Sequential ranking helps you to achieve better results by leaving issues on the table. Transparency is critical so that both parties feel confident that the negotiation is focused on a specific agenda rather than random alternatives. Successful negotiators know their priorities and they leave little room for guesswork. 


You Know What to Concede

Successful negotiators understand that negotiation is a process by which there will inevitably be some give and take. They also know there are a number of concession dynamics that can often occur in a successful negotiation. That said, how and what you concede is a powerful combination that can either take you closer or further away from a deal. Therefore, it is essential to be prepared when this time comes by making a list of your priorities and ranking them according to importance. This makes it easier to know when and what you are willing to concede, and what to ask for in return. 


It Helps Identify Your Walk Away Point

Every successful negotiator has a point at which they absolutely must walk away. A written rank order of your priorities helps you identify at which point it’s time to commence the deal. Researching ahead of time and becoming aware of your priorities will prevent you from making a poor decision and caving too quickly.