Appropriately in 2012 I was talking to a director of a communications agency who had been heavily involved in developing the messaging and communication platform for London's successful bid to hold the Olympics back in 2005
All was looking good but still the actual presentations had to be made to the selection committee when the final decision would be announced.
She explained that nothing had been left to chance. The presentations were rehearsed and slick, the concept well tested and thorough. The objective clear and the strategy in place.
Half an hour before the actual pitch, she was looking for the star of the show Seb Coe to talk through any last minute issues or worries. Lord Coe was nowhere to be seen. She searched the hotel. Called his room. Ran outside to see if he was taking in air. All to no avail. A slight panic set in.
10 minutes to go still no principal for the staged show. Eventually worried he may have fallen whilst taking a shower she went to his room with the hotel manager and his passkey.
There was Lord Coe perfectly relaxed lying on the bed with headphones on listening to jazz. This was apparently his habit prior to all big events and races getting himself into what athletes call the zone. The rest is of course history.
I was reminded of this last week when I heard that a job center in Dublin had banned the wearing of pajamas by applicants coming in for interview. What signal were these job seekers saying about their ability or aptitude for work? You have to get into the mindset of what you are doing that day. So if you are wanting to get a job, go dressed prepared to get a job. Get into the correct state of mind and body.
Preparation is probably the simplest thing we can do more of to improve the outcome of our negotiations. Getting ready to negotiate requires prioritising objectives and planning a strategic methodology to achieve the best possible outcome. It is about the art of the possible. Of course any pre prepared strategy we adopt may need to change.
Back to Lord Coe again. When racing he would approach each race with an objective and strategy, but some times the strategy would require adaptation. If he intended to run the race from the front but found an opponent blasted off with no chance of staying that pace he would rethink the plan. All plans made to solve conflict rarely last beyond first contact with the opposition. Dealing with that is what negotiating is about.
Otherwise you might get caught napping.