When actors like Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro are filming a scene for a movie, they become entrenched in the script. They go over it forwards, backwards, and sideways to get into the character and deliver their lines with power and emotion. Hollywood, however, isn’t the only place that scripts come in handy. When preparing for a negotiation, scripting can be an extremely valuable tool.
Scripting is taking the time to write down the anticipated dialogue for a meeting. It prepares you for what you will say and what you anticipate the other side will say. You may not be able to predict the exact course of events, but you can rehearse the scenarios you anticipate. By thinking through and writing down scripts for the way you think events will unfold, you will have a solid foundation for dealing with the twists and turns of actual events.
Scripting allows you to gain confidence in the message you are trying to deliver. It’s valuable for crafting not only the message you are trying to convey, but also how you will do it. If you want an “ask” of $1 million per year, make sure you say exactly
that. Don’t say things like “something in the range of $1 million” or “between $750,000 and $1,000,000”—this already puts you below your projected ask. When you write and practice your script, you’re not only rehearsing your message, but you’re considering things like word choice, tone, use of persuasive precedents, probing, and even silence. These types of considerations will make a difference in communicating effectively and closing the deal.