An After-the-Fact Assessment Tool Designed to Turn You into a Better Negotiator

Assessing the Planning Stage After the Fact

In hindsight, did you fully consider the strengths of the approach you planned to take and its weak spots? Did you also consider the strengths and weaknesses of the other person’s approach?

Did you do a robust analysis of your most important interests, concerns, needs, and goals?  Did you do the same thing for the other key parties?

Did you think about the kinds of concessions or trades you might be asked to make and the ones you could make? Did you consider the same for the other key parties?

Did you establish your walk-away alternative… your BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement)? And did you consider your counterpart’s BATNA? Too often we underestimate how good our BATNA is and overestimate how good the other party’s BATNA is – especially when we’re a seller and the other person is a buyer. Take heed.

Did you own up to a weakness in your negotiating style? And develop a strategy for handling it?

If a highly trained negotiator could have taken a look at your planning strategies, where would they find gaps?

Assessing the Negotiation Itself

Would you say you and the other person sat on opposite sides of the table with the problem between you (and in the process sometimes seeing each other as the problem), or could you say both parties ended up sitting on the same side of the table facing the problem together?

Was the emphasis put on establishing common ground or on highlighting your points of conflict?

What kinds of tactical questions did you ask in order to gain a better understanding of the problem the other person was trying to solve and the effect it was having on them? In other words, how did you go about uncovering their true needs?

If you found your assumptions about the problem they were trying to solve were false, what did you do to adapt to the unexpected change?

How well did you balance being assertive for your company, against establishing good relations with the other person?

If you made concessions, did you ensure you got a solid trade? I.e. “I think I can do ‘this’ if you do ‘that’.”

Did you get an agreement that could be implemented successfully? Did you ask the other person if they thought the agreement could be successfully implemented on their end?

If you were having trouble with the other person’s negotiating style… if it was causing a problem for you during the talks, did you take a step back and say something about it in a non-judgmental, non-accusatory way?  And did it help you both move past the issue?

Overall, do you think the other person might say your negotiating style leans toward being: adversarial? aggressive? obstructionist? dictatorial? timid? conciliatory? fixated on a course of action?  reasonable? even-handed? consensus-building?

Do you think the other person/party would be happy to negotiate with you again? If yes, why? If no, why not?

In the Future

What’s the one change you’re going to create that will make you a better negotiator?

Reading Material

As a way to wrap up this series, below are two articles and a series of books that will give you a very well-rounded set of advice about negotiation.


A 2011 interview with Peter Hiddema during one of his tenures as Visiting Professor at INSEAD: Gandhi, Kennedy, Mother Teresa were some of world’s best negotiators, says negotiations expert

Ava Abramowitz’s 2006 article How Co-operative Negotiators Settle without Upending the Table is superb!


  1. Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In. Roger Fisher and William Ury (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1981).
  2. Difficult Conversations. Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen (New York: Penguin Books, 1999).
  3. Getting Ready to Negotiate: A Step-by-Step Guide to Preparing for Any Negotiation. Roger Fisher and Danny Ertel (New York, Penguin Books, 1995).
  4. Beyond Winning: Negotiating To Create Value In Deals and Disputes. Robert H. Mnookin, Scott R. Peppet, and Andrew S. Tulumello (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000).
  5. Effective Legal Negotiation and Settlement. Charles B. Craver (New York: Matthew Bender & Company, Inc. 2005).
  6. The Fast Forward MBA in Negotiating and Deal Making. Roy J. Lewicki and Alexander Hiam (New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 1999).
  7. Spin(r) Selling. Neil Rackham. (New York: McGraw Hill, Inc., 1988).
  8. Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide. Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever (New York: Princeton University Press, 2003).
  9. Bargaining for Advantage. G. Richard Shell (New York: Viking, 1999).
  10. Thinking Strategically: The Competitive Edge in Business, Politics, and Everyday Life. Avinash K. Dixit and Barry J. Nalebuff. (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1991).
  11. The Trusted Advisor. David H. Maister, Charles H. Green and Robert M. Galford (New York: The Free Press, 2000).
  12. The Architect’s Essentials of Contract Negotiation. Ava J. Abramowitz, Esq. (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2002).


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