Many people believe that negotiations are "all or nothing", and that there has to be one winner and one loser. Nothing could be farther from the truth. While the goal of negotiation is most certainly getting what you want, the fact is that the best deals (the ones that stick) incorporate terms and ideas from both parties.
Prior to entering any formal negotiation, it is important for an individual to think about what he or she wants to achieve from the process. To that end, it makes sense to put on paper specific goals or desirable outcomes. Next, individuals should identify several fall-back positions that they'd be comfortable with that would still get the deal done. The idea is to have thought out as many scenarios as possible.
The next task should be to identify (or try to identify) any potential weaknesses in the opposing party's position. Identification of weaknesses is important because it may allow the party that has done its homework to capitalize on the other party's weaknesses and turn negotiations in its own favor, or at the very least help both parties to better identify an area of middle ground.
Another pre-negotiation exercise, and it is something that most people don't do but should, is to come up with a list of reasons why their proposal would also be beneficial to the opposing party. The logic is to then bring up the key points of this list in the actual negotiation with the counterparty in the hope that the points will advance the cause and/or help to identify some common ground. By specifically pointing out the advantages to both parties, the negotiator increases the odds of getting the deal done.
Ideally, each party should identify its goals and objectives at the outset. This allows each participant in the negotiation to know where the other stands. It also establishes a basis for a give-and-take conversation. At this point, each party may then offer its fall-back proposals and counter proposals in order to hammer out a deal.
If an agreement cannot be reached in one sitting or one phone call, leave the door open to future negotiations. If possible, schedule further meetings.
Between negotiations, try to mentally review what took place during the initial meeting. Pondering over the meeting really helps the negotiator to redraw and come up with fresh strategies that bring better success the next time round.
NIMBLE Foundation offers a programme on The Art of Negotiation which covers how to become an effective negotiator.The programme includes, definition of the purpose, examining the background, creating a strategy, planning & preparing, conflict resolution, trade-offs and concessions, developing common ground, finalisation of agreements, implementation of agreements etc.