Bookend Your Success In Negotiation and Life

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In negotiation the Prepare in Advance strategy is a very important part of your success in achieving your desired outcome. That is the “intention plan” at the beginning of anything you do. Whether it’s negotiation or simply going about your daily work, you must set an intention to start you day, at the beginning of a task or at the start of preparing for a discussion/negotiation on anything.

What is an intention plan? It’s your intention for what you’d like to accomplish at the end of the task. If you don’t set an intention, then you don’t know what direction you are wanting to go or what you want your outcome to be.

An intention could be your most important things to do list, you desired outcome for a task or what you would be happy to have happen at the end of whatever it is you are planning to do.

When I do training, the first thing I have the students do is set their intention for the class. They take some time to think about what they want to get out of the class and then I ask them to share. That does 2 things. It gives me some information on things they’d like to know more about and let’s me work those into the training if it’s something we are going to cover. If we aren’t covering it, I can say that it’s not part of the training so they aren’t having an unrealistic expectation.

The second thing it does is sets them up for a win to get the information they really need. Perhaps they want an example of negotiating something that I wasn’t planning on talking about. Knowing what they want, I can work that detail in so they feel like they got the value they wanted.

At the end of your task, you need to do an After Action Review (AAR). This is something we did in the military after any mission, event or task. We look at what worked, what didn’t and what could be improved for next time. This is key in negotiation or anything you do. You prepare, execute the plan then review to see how it worked and could have been done better.

At the end of training we do top takeaways. During the experiential games we do an AAR to discuss how the exercise went and how they showed up, what could be improved for next time and what did work or not work for them.

Putting a bookend of intentions and reviews on either end of a task or accomplishment help you evaluate your performance and make improvements for next time. Even if you don’t do the same exact thing again, it trains you to approach you tasks in a more structured and disciplined manner to ensure maximum success.

Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Veteran negotiation and contracts expert Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, author of “Think Like a Negotiator,” has over 30 years of experience crafting killer deals both stateside and internationally, many in excess of $100 million. She’s currently the CEO of Dynamic Vision International — a specialized consulting and training firm that helps individuals hone negotiation skills — as well as a nationally regarded keynote speaker, session leader and panelist on the Art of Negotiation. Eldonna may be reached online at

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