Mind Mapping For Business Negotiations

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There is no doubt about it, negotiating effectively is a skill and one that needs to be mastered if you are going to be successful in business. It is also a very good skill to have under your belt in daily life as well. According to some negotiating experts, you could save as much as 10% on your household bills and shopping if you are willing to negotiate. So it is worth exploring how you too can become an effective negotiator. This article is not going to teach you everything about negotiating, in fact in will not teach you much more than the basics but what it will do is show you how you can apply Mind Mapping to your Business Negotiations. So this article is for you if you have some experience of negotiating and want to get a better handle on what you are already doing.

The process of negotiation can be divided into three broad areas: preparation, negotiation and follow up. Each of these can be enhanced using Mind Mapping so I will take each in turn and explain how you could use the Mind Map.

1. Preparation

This is probably where the success or failure of a negotiation is decided. Preparation is such a key stage and the clichés like "Fail to plan then plan to fail" and "Preparation prevents poor performance" hold true in effective negotiation as well.

During your preparations you will need to gather all of the relevant information to support you in your negotiation and of course using a Mind Map is a great tool to use for this. These days it is likely that you will have multiple sources of information across different media types and by hyper-linking to those documents you can access them from one place. This is one of the most useful features of great Mind Map software.

The other thing that Mind Mapping is extremely useful for once you have gathered all of your supporting information, is to review and consider your current position, the place you want to be at the end of the negotiations, your opponent's position and where they are likely to want to be end. Whilst you can never fully know where your opponent number stands and where they really want to be, thinking about that ahead of time will allow you to consider the various options and alternative situations you may need to take.

When you lay these various options out and explore them using a Mind Map you will start to see themes and connections and potential win-win positions that you may not have seen before. I am aware of no other thinking tool that can handle multiple what-if scenarios and "if they say then I'll say" options so well without you becoming overwhelmed or lost.

2. The Negotiation Itself

During the negotiation itself, a Mind Map can be applied in a number of different ways. It can be used for meeting meeting to set things up. You can use it to personally keep track of the twists and turns of the talks or you can create a shared mind map that everyone can see evolve and is used to capture what has been agreed. Much of the groundwork for the negotiation will have been done in the preparation stage and so you may need to refer to the Mind Maps you put together before the meeting. In more proactive and dynamic negotations Mind Mapping can be used to present your position, consider alternatives and even generate new ideas and resolve problems. It is such a powerful tool that it only enhances the thought process you apply it to.

3. The Follow Up

After a negotiation has taken place, it is important to follow up and ensure what has been agreed is actually implemented. Keeping track using Mind Mapping is one way of doing this. Sharing the maps generated during the negotiation is a good way of ensuring everyone has the same record of the meeting and the decisions taken.