Next in the planning, we need to consider the wants / needs that we have and the other person may have.
In negotiation theory, these are known as positions (tangible, concrete) and interests (underlying needs / fears / concerns). (For more information please check my Chinese horoscope Snake post.)
Often we launch into a difficult conversation without stopping to plan ahead. If we are able to reflect on our positions and interests, we can then consider how else our interests might be met? what else could address our need / fear / concern? Is there a chance that the other person might find this more palatable?
Crucially, once we have conducted this exercise for ourselves, we can then ask these same questions for the other person. In mediation, I often see one party refuse an offer. When they are pressed to make a counter-proposal, they merely repeat their rejection of the offer that has been made. Sometimes this is a tactic, to make the other person negotiate against themselves.
Often I think it is because none of this planning has occurred before the mediation. People become fixated on their own position and just repeat what they want like a mantra. The challenge of having to change gear and think about how to adapt this is overwhelming in the mediation session itself.
Help yourself, if you are going into a difficult conversation - prepare! Understand your own positions / interests / alternatives and consider the other person's positions / interests / possible alternatives.