Negotiation Skills

Negotiation is a deliberative process between two or more actors that seek a solution to a common issue or who are bartering over an item of value. Negotiation skills include the range of negotiation techniques negotiators employ to create value and claim value in their dealmaking business negotiations and beyond. Negotiation skills can help you make deals, solve problems, manage conflicts, and build relationships as well as preserve relationships. Negotiation skills can be learned with conscious effort and should be practiced once learned.

Negotiation training includes the range of activities and exercises negotiators undertake to improve their skills and techniques. Role-play simulations developed from real-world research and negotiation case studies, negotiation training provides benefits for teams and individuals seeking to create and claim more value in their negotiations.

The right skills allow you to maximize the value of your negotiated outcomes by effectively navigating the negotiation process from setup to commitment to implementation.

Negotiation training courses include Negotiation and Leadership: Dealing with Difficult People and Problems, the Advanced Negotiation Master Class, Harvard Negotiation Institute programs, and the PON graduate seminars.

This training allows negotiators to:

  • Acquire a systematic framework for analyzing and understanding negotiation
  • Assess and heighten awareness of your strengths and weaknesses as a negotiator
  • Learn how to create and maximize value in negotiations
  • Gain problem-solving techniques for distributing value fairly while strengthening relationships
  • Develop skills to deal with difficult negotiators and hard-bargaining tactics
  • Learn how to match the process to the context
  • Discover how effectively to manage and coordinate across and behind-the-table negotiations

Learn how to negotiate like a diplomat, think on your feet like an improv performer, and master job offer negotiation like a professional athlete when you download a copy of our FREE special report, Negotiation Skills: Negotiation Strategies and Negotiation Techniques to Help You Become a Better Negotiator, from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.

Negotiation Skills: Are You Really Ready to Negotiate?

PON Staff   •  04/28/2014   •  Filed in Negotiation Skills

You set up the contract renegotiation with a key client months ago. You had every intention of gathering a range of information to establish realistic goals and assess the client’s needs, but short-term projects got in the way. Suddenly it’s the day before the first meeting. Aside from making a few phone calls and calculations, … Read More 

Have You Negotiated How You’ll Negotiate?

PON Staff   •  04/18/2014   •  Filed in Negotiation Skills

A large pharmaceutical company was engaged in licensing negotiation with a small biotech firm over the terms of a technology transfer.

When the talks reached a standstill over royalty rates, the two sides began an all-weekend marathon session.

Each side came armed with supporting arguments and data, but, by Sunday afternoon, they had failed to converge toward … Read More 

Emotional Expression in Negotiation

PON Staff   •  03/19/2014   •  Filed in Negotiation Skills

Most of the existing research on affect in negotiation has focused on emotional experience rather than on emotional expression.

Yet studies have shown that emotional expression can occur independently from feelings, making expression worthy of investigation.

Marwan Sinaceur and Larissa Tiedens of Stanford University found that negotiators made more concessions when facing counterparts who expressed (but did … Read More 

With “Surrender,” John Boehner Shows Keen Negotiation Skills

Katie Shonk   •  02/25/2014   •  Filed in Negotiation Skills

On February 11, House of Representatives Speaker John A. Boehner reportedly rendered his Republican colleagues speechless. At a meeting of the Republican Capitol Hill Club, Boehner announced that he would bring to a vote a measure to raise the U.S. government’s borrowing limit without preconditions until March 2015, as reported in the New York Times.

The … Read More 

Adaptability at the Bargaining Table: How Improvisation and Jazz Music Inform Negotiation Strategy

Keith Lutz   •  02/21/2014   •  Filed in Negotiation Skills

Aggressive tactics and hard-bargaining strategies may, at face value, provide a roadmap to success at the bargaining table but, as the Washington Post’s Kelly Johnson discovered in her interview with Program on Negotiation faculty member Michael Wheeler, adaptability to ever-changing circumstances is essential for the “dynamic” negotiations one encounters in everyday life. … Read More 

Social Comparisons in Negotiation

PON Staff   •  10/22/2013   •  Filed in Negotiation Skills

Social comparisons – the assessments we make about how we measure up to others – are key to understanding how status operates in negotiation. These comparisons, which signal concern about relative status, have a profound impact at the bargaining table.

To make social comparisons, first we choose a reference group against which we can measure ourselves. … Read More 

How Mental Shortcuts Lead to Misjudging

PON Staff   •  10/07/2013   •  Filed in Negotiation Skills

Judges don’t make decisions based on a thorough accounting of all the relevant and available information. Instead, like all of us, they rely on heuristics – simple mental shortcuts – to make decisions.

As many past articles have noted, heuristics often lead to good decisions, but they can also create cognitive blinders that produce systematic … Read More 

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