The Negotiator Magazine

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Dear C.,

Alas, I can not give you a definitive answer to your question based on your letter, but the negotiating venue may well have been a factor. Let's look briefly at some of the possibilities for that theory and then hope that you can further the analyze the situation more fully for yourself.

Successful agreements are made on someone's "home turf" all the time. Certainly, that is a usual circumstance for corporate and personal purchases, global business deals that may be negotiated in one party's location thousands of miles from the negotiator's home base and many of the vast array of agreements concluded is the usual course of everyday business operations.

Clearly, using a single "home base" negotiating location of one of the parties does not preclude success in negotiation by any stretch of the imagination. It can lead, however, to the question that you pose. What is truly critical is the assessment of the strategic and tactical implications of the choice on this deal or other possible negotiations. Here is where every negotiator needs to focus as negotiations begin and as they proceed.

In your instance, the mutual convenience of the negotiators appears to be the determinative factor in selecting the single site location. Beyond this consideration, however, effective negotiators must step back and explore the advantages and disadvantages to the companies they represent as more significant avenues of inquiry. Let us briefly touch upon some of those factors that make issues of place important.

Unquestionably, if you always come to me to conduct the negotiations there is a power dimension to this occurrence whether intended or not. Psychological and material advantages go to the "host" negotiator.

Negotiating in the other party's domain places their resource personnel readily at hand for technical and financial assistance to them and makes your resources accessible only by pre-arrangement or by call. This is not an insignificant disparity in complex negotiations.

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