Anzac Parade

I was in Canberra last week delivering negotiation training for a federal government department.

I have always loved Canberra. As a child, I loved trying to guess which country’s embassy we were passing, and I was enthralled with the carillon. These days, it’s the design that draws me in. The grandeur and prominence of the key buildings, the roads and thoroughfares in geometric shapes and the elegance of the lake.

Last week was a work trip, so I was mostly just traipsing between the hotel and the client’s offices. However, each taxi trip landed me briefly on Anzac Parade, that glorious boulevard running from the War Memorial to the lake and looking directly across at the old and new parliament houses.

Anzac Parade is quite something. Visually, it is very commanding with the red gravel made from crushed Canberra bricks, and the rows of memorials flanked by towering trees.

I can’t help feeling that Anzac Parade is designed to prepare us for the sombre ceremonies held there. It’s priming us for solemnity and reverence.

Preparing for a negotiation is no different. Research shows that anxiety leads to poorer outcomes in a negotiation; to manage this, many people have rituals to ready themselves … wearing a much-loved shirt, eating a favourite breakfast, playing an inspiring soundtrack.

It’s important to build your very own rituals for the lead-up to a negotiation. It builds the connection in your brain to memories of prior negotiations and prepares you for what is to come.

What are your pre-negotiation traditions?