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Making a List

An agenda lets you negotiate with confidence.

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This story appears in the May 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Entering a negotiation without a clear list of what you want is like driving cross-country without a map. To negotiate well, you must first know your agenda. There is no better way than to write it down.

Step back, and think about your deal. Brainstorm: List what you want, and list what you don't want. Be specific. Then, group and prioritize these items into categories--points you must have, those you'd really like to have and those that are insignificant. Find a friend or colleague to be a sounding board, or consult a professional or other resource to learn what is customary in a transaction like yours.

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