Business Negotiations

Effective business negotiation is a core leadership and management skill. This is the ability to negotiate effectively in a wide range of business contexts, including dealmaking, employment discussions, corporate team building, labor/management talks, contracts, handling disputes, employee compensation, business acquisitions, vendor pricing and sales, real estate leases, and the fulfillment of contract obligations. Business negotiation is critical to be creative in any negotiation in a business setting. Business negotiation strategies include breaking the problem into smaller parts, considering unusual deal terms, and having your side brainstorm new ideas.

Leveraging the contrast effect is also a powerful tool in negotiations. You might ask for more than you realistically expect, accept rejection, and then shade your offer downward. Your counterpart is likely to find a reasonable offer even more appealing after rejecting an offer that’s out of the question. Additionally, offering several equivalent offers that aim higher than your counterpart is likely to accept will elicit reactions that can help you frame a subsequent set that, thanks in part to the contrast effect, are more likely to hit the mark.

Building a team is critical to negotiations in business. To prevent conflicts among diverse, strong-minded team members from overshadowing group goals, negotiation teams should spend at least twice as much time preparing for upcoming talks as they expect to spend at the table. Because the other side will be ready and willing to exploit any chinks in your team’s armor, it’s important to hash out your differences in advance.

Other business negotiation tips include curbing overconfidence, creating value in the negotiation, establishing a powerful BATNA, effective use of emotions at the bargaining table, caucusing, delineating your zone of possible agreement, and other skills geared toward an integrative bargaining outcome rather than a distributive, or haggling, bargaining outcome.

In addition, considering the ethical and legal repercussions of a deal to insure that it is a true win-win is the hallmark of every experienced business negotiator.

Articles include many business negotiation examples, and explore concepts such as creative dealmaking, renegotiating unfavorable deals, seeking advice from a negotiation opponent, identifying a solid BATNA and crafting draft agreements.


Discover step-by-step techniques for avoiding common business negotiation pitfalls when you download a copy of the FREE special report, Business Negotiation Strategies: How to Negotiate Better Business Deals, from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.

Negotiation Topics in Business: Coming Up with Win-Win Solutions at the Bargaining Table

PON Staff   •  07/21/2016   •  Filed in Business Negotiations

Even those who effectively engage in an integrative negotiations or mutual-gains approach to negotiation, a bargaining scenario in which parties work together to meet interests and maximize value creation during the negotiation process, can be stymied by the task of dividing up a seemingly fixed pie of resources, such as budgets, revenue, and time. … Read More 

How to Overcome Cultural Differences in Communication – Negotiating with the Next Generation

PON Staff   •  07/19/2016   •  Filed in Business Negotiations

Negotiation training often focuses on bridging gaps between negotiators with different styles, backgrounds, or objectives, but what about overcoming generational barriers in negotiation? Generational differences need not stymie efforts at the bargaining table. In this segment from “Dear Negotiation Coach,” we explore how to overcome cultural differences in communication with members of the Millennial generation. … Read More 

How to Use MESOs in Business Negotiations

Katie Shonk   •  07/12/2016   •  Filed in Business Negotiations

It’s not uncommon in business negotiations to find yourself on the brink of impasse. You and your counterpart have exchanged a series of offers and counteroffers, and you’ve met somewhere close to the middle—but not close enough. With each side firmly rooted in its position, there may seem to be no way forward. … Read More 

Negotiation Examples in Business: Ethics, Bias, and Bargaining in Good Faith

PON Staff   •  07/11/2016   •  Filed in Business Negotiations

As we’ve discussed in previous articles about negotiation examples in business, a negotiator’s beliefs concerning negotiation ethics are affected by cognitive biases. You probably can recall times when a negotiating opponent made what appeared to be a blatant misstatement. If you’re like most people, you assumed the person was lying to gain an advantage. … Read More 

Negotiating with Your Agent

PON Staff   •  06/28/2016   •  Filed in Business Negotiations

Toby knew that Dara was the perfect New York literary agent for him as soon as he heard her friendly, professional voice on the phone. Never mind that 17 other agents had already rejected his book proposal. Dara’s enthusiasm and recent sales convinced him to sign the three-year exclusive contract she mailed to him in … Read More 

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