Your place or mine? When setting a negotiation meeting do you do it at your location, your “adversary’s” location, or a “neutral corner”? Not long ago, in the news, we read, “The aircraft maker Airbus [was] among half a dozen companies to sign roughly $30 billion in contracts… with Chinese partners.” It happened in Beijing. Well, if you were getting your share of $30 billion, wouldn’t you be willing to travel? Yes, you would.
Taking a broader view, as professional negotiators we are mostly insensitive to location (ours or theirs), with a few exceptions. If you’ve done your homework and are well-prepared, there should be no “home field advantage” in terms of your negotiation results. However, if:
the right resource for one side or the other can only be in one place, go there
- physical issues are likely to raise the odds of negotiation errors (extreme time change, for example), either go early enough to be rested, or make them come to you
- logistics such as contract drafts are being handled by one side, and time is of the essence to you – go where the logistics will be smoother
- you have been unable to get the information you need to prepare reasonably – try to have them come to you in case you need “surprise” resource or analysis
- you know that it is important to the other side, but it isn’t to you – go to them (but consider if they should offer something in return, like $30 billion)