August 22, 2012
Most attorneys negotiate day after day without ever stopping to ask themselves how they have done. At the conclusion of their more significant interactions, lawyers should take a few minutes to ask themselves how they did. Were they thoroughly prepared? Did they know everything they needed to know to truly appreciate their bargaining situation? Did they take the time to establish rapport with the other side and create a positive negotiating environment? Did they have a good information exchange which enabled the parties to understand the different items to be exchanged and the way in which each side valued those terms? Did they have a beneficial distributive stage during which they divided the items on the bargaining table? How did the participants close the deal? Did they use cooperative bargaining to maximize their joint returns?
They should finally ask two critical questions. What did they do that they wish they had not done? This usually concerns a tactical error they may have made. If they think about it now, they will be less likely to make such a mistake in the future. What did they not do that they wish they had done? With hindsight, was there something they should have done differently?