The most important questions a negotiator needs to ask of him or herself at the outset of negotiation are “What do I want?” and “What are my alternatives?” By far, the first question is the most intuitive and the easier of the two to answer. Even so, many people do not think carefully about what they want before entering negotiations. The second question defines a negotiator's power in the situation and influences the ultimate outcome of the negotiation. We take up these questions in more detail.

What Do I Want?

In any negotiation situation, a negotiator needs to determine what constitutes an ideal situation for him or herself. This is known as a target or aspiration. Identifying a target or aspiration may sound straightforward ...

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