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.

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 

The Advantages of Bias at the Negotiation Table

PON Staff   •  06/21/2016   •  Filed in Business Negotiations

Articles in Negotiation have highlighted many examples of negotiation in business demonstrating some of the cognitive biases likely to confront negotiators. Work by researchers Russell B. Korobkin of UCLA and Chris P. Guthrie of Vanderbilt University suggests how to turn knowledge of four specific biases into tools of persuasion. … Read More 

These Examples Illustrate the Importance of Negotiation in Business

Keith Lutz   •  06/20/2016   •  Filed in Business Negotiations

A number of noteworthy disputes among businesses, organizations, and individuals made headlines in 2013 and demonstrate the importance of negotiation in business. We point out the negotiation angles behind stories first reported by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and other media outlets. Keep an eye out for common themes among these top … Read More 

Contract Negotiations and Business Communication: How to Write an Iron-Clad Contract

PON Staff   •  06/07/2016   •  Filed in Business Negotiations

Writing a contract that both encapsulates the negotiated agreement but also incorporates future elements such as the business relationship and the sustainability of the agreement can be a daunting task for even the most experienced negotiators. Executives often leave the legal issues surrounding their deals to their attorneys. While this division of labor is often … Read More 

Negotiation Skills: Four Steps for Changing Negotiation Practices in Your Organization

PON Staff   •  06/02/2016   •  Filed in Business Negotiations

Individual negotiators are sometimes overwhelmed by the idea of leading organization-wide changes to negotiation practices. In fact, it doesn’t take much time or effort to set the wheels of reform in motion, write Hallam Movius and Lawrence Susskind in Built to Win. Here are four simple steps to implement in your workplace: … Read More 

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