“How To Use Preconditions To Win More Negotiations” – Negotiation Tip of the Week


Negotiation Tip of the Week


“The preconditions you set upon others to engage with you determines who will engage with you. Use preconditions for the value they possess.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert



“How To Use Preconditions To Win More Negotiations”


How much thought have you given to using preconditions to win more negotiations before you enter into a negotiation? Preconditions are an integral aspect of negotiations because they set the stage for the negotiation. Thus, preconditions indicate what will have more importance during the flow of the negotiation. They also give insight per how the other negotiator may engage in the negotiation.

Since preconditions make the negotiation easier or harder, observe the following to see how you can use preconditions as a tool to win more of your negotiations.


Give meaningful thought to who the power players might be.

When you’re at the negotiation table, you may not be negotiating with the real decision makers. You may be negotiating with someone that can only take the negotiation to a certain level.

Being able to discern who the power players are in a negotiation can be achieved during the preconditioning stage by citing covenants that exceed your counterparts’ authority. The way to uncover this facet is to ask probing questions about his conditions to negotiate. Then, include exceeding components in your precondition and observe what he does with them. If he states he has to refer to another source, you’ll have insight into his authority and/or to whom he might refer for such insights.


Set the stage for the negotiation to follow.

Preconditions allow you to probe the real points of interest that the other negotiator has. To use them in this manner, consider what he may wish or not wish to discuss. Then, based on the outcome you seek for the negotiation, include or exclude those items that you’d like to get a reaction on from him.

To glean greater insight into his perspective, observe how he responds verbally and nonverbally to the covenants of the conditions. Of particular, note if he places more emphasis on any particular aspect. That will be a clue to the importance he has the aspect.

Be mindful that he may place an emphasis on one aspect to draw your attention away from something that’s more important to him. If you suspect

that he’s doing this, state it differently, alter its perspective, and present it from another point of view. Do this until you’re satisfied that the point has significance to him. For the points that he doesn’t comment on, pose questions to him as to why he hasn’t made comments about them. Remember, you’re attempting to gather information about what’s important to him. So, probe until you’re satisfied that you understand the value he’s placing on as many aspects of your preconditions as possible.


Be circumspective upon the completion of your preconditioning document.

In particular, assess what might go or not go the way you’ve planned. Seek to make this document the tool that sets the tone and implementation of your total plan for the negotiation. It should be your driving force behind the negotiation. Here’s a truism; it will definitely serve that purpose because you will have actually begun the negotiation.

After you’ve completed this document, go over it several times. Consider where you might increase it and your viability in the negotiation to follow.


Some negotiators won’t/don’t recognize the value that preconditions possess. They really are powerful if used properly because you get to paint the picture in which the other negotiator views you. Plus, you get to put that picture in the frame (positioning) that suits you best.

To increase your negotiation win rate, use positioning as the viable tool that it can be … and everything will be right with the world.


What are your takeaways? I’d really like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com


Remember, you’re always negotiating!




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