1. Help the team listen to each other.
It fosters buy-in and cohesion. Case in point: a student project team won a $10,000 prize beating teams from Harvard, Stanford, and UT Texas by taking a few minutes to unite first. How? One student, trained in negotiation, asked his teammates to first agree on simple discussion ground rules:
  • No interrupting
  • Listen to each in turn
  • Someone take note and summarize
2. Create a mandate grid
Summarize the team’s negotiation mandate in a simple grid: topics on the left, the acceptable range of outcomes for each topic in the middle, a ranking of priorities to the right, and a list of some creative options the team would accept for each topic on the far right. Having that grid in hand can give you ‘glance and go’ support in the talks with outsiders, helping you stay focused and clear even as you deal with lots of issues.