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Business Negotiations

Negotiations between corporate entities, their vendors, or their employees.

The following items are tagged Business Negotiations

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Negotiation Analysis: The US, Taliban, and the Bergdahl Exchange

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

The exchange between the United States and the Taliban of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban leaders held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, represented the first public prisoner exchange of a US soldier in the thirteen year US involvement in Afghanistan. The background of the deal including how Private First Class Bergdahl (promoted twice to Sergeant … Read More 

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Team Building Using Negotiation Skills

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negotiation situation examples team building and negotiating skills and negotiation tactics

To avoid conveying weakness to the other side, rather than calling for a break at the first sign of trouble, some teams devised secret signals they could use to bring wayward members in line—for instance, someone might stretch out her arms to communicate to another member that he’s getting off track. … Read More 

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Negotiation Strategies for Women: Secrets to Success

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As a general manager of a business unit and the father of two daughters in college, I have no tolerance for gender bias in the workplace or anywhere else for that matter. At least that’s what I thought, until a women manager handed me the Negotiation Strategies for Women report that she recently received from … Read More 

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Top Negotiation Case Studies in Business: Apple and Dispute Resolution in the Courts

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In August 2012, a California jury ruled that Samsung would have to pay Apple more than $1 billion in damages for patent violations of Apple products, particularly its iPhone. The judge eventually reduced the payout to $600 million. In November 2013, another jury ruled that Samsung would have to pay Apple $290 million of the … Read More 

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Techniques for Improving Your Negotiating Ability

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

negotiation skills and negotiation training techniques and strategies for improving your negotiating ability

Many organizations subject their executives to rigorous performance reviews, yet few companies include negotiation effectiveness as one of the core competencies they track. Instead, negotiation is usually subsumed under categories such as “emotional intelligence,” or “persuasiveness” and negotiation techniques and their improvement through negotiation training are not a regular part of employee training programs. … Read More 

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Police Negotiation Techniques from the NYPD Crisis Negotiations Team

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Police Negotiation Techniques from the New York City Police Department Hostage Negotiations Team

Few negotiators can imagine negotiation scenarios more stressful than the kinds of crisis negotiations the New York City Police Department’s Hostage Negotiation Team undertake. But police negotiation techniques employed by the New York City Police Department’s Hostage Negotiations Team (HNT) in high-stakes, high-pressure crisis negotiation situations, outlined in an article from Jeff Thompson and Hugh … Read More 

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Negotiation Skills and Bargaining Techniques from Female Executives

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Negotiation Skills and Bargaining Techniques from Female Executives

Dozens of female CEOs and other high-level women negotiators have told us about their experiences negotiating in traditionally masculine contexts where standards and expectations were ambiguous. Their experiences varied according to the gender triggers that were present in the negotiations and they adapted their negotiation strategies to accommodate these shifts. … Read More 

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Setting Standards in Negotiations

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why is negotiation important in business salary negotiations and Setting Standards at the negotiation table

As the starting point from which all commercial transactions occur, from purchasing equipment to setting salaries, negotiation in business is an essential skill no matter what field a negotiator finds herself. Using an objective standard can strengthen your proposal and eliminate emotional bias. … Read More 

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How to Control Your Emotions in Conflict Resolution

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How to Control Your Emotions in Conflict Resolution

To guard against acting irrationally or in ways that can harm you, authors of Beyond Reason: Using Emotions As You Negotiate Roger Fisher and Daniel Shapiro advise you to take your emotional temperature during a negotiation. Specifically, try to gauge whether your emotions are manageable, starting to heat up, or threatening to boil over. … Read More 

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In Business Negotiations, Dress the Part

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negotiation topics in business dress the part at the bargaining table

Negotiators involved in high-stakes mergers and acquisitions typically come to the table armored in meticulously tailored apparel and designer shoes. But as Dana Mattioli reports in a recent Wall Street Journal negotiation topics in business article, those who are trying to woo business from an apparel company often end up dressing down at the bargaining … Read More 

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Leadership Styles in Crisis Negotiations

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euro crisis in Greece leadership qualities for a negotiation in crisis

Since the start of the global economic recession in 2008, few issues have proven as explosive as the Greek debt crisis. The Greek government’s commitment to repay billions of dollars in loans has been a source of contention with creditors ever since a sizable bailout was issued in 2010. … Read More 

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Repairing Relationships Using Negotiation Skills

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successful negotiation examples repairing relationships and dispute resolution using negotiation skills

Negotiation is not only something we do at work; often the toughest negotiations we encounter are in our personal lives. Some of the most successful negotiation examples of the power of negotiation skills in dispute resolution is when they repair relationships between friends. … Read More 

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Your Reputation at the Bargaining Table in Business Negotiations

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business negotiations

In multi-issue negotiations, research suggests that the advantage goes to negotiators with a reputation for collaboration rather than competition. In a series of studies by Catherine H. Tinsley and Kathleen O’Connor, participants were told they would be negotiating with someone who had either a tough reputation, a cooperative reputation, or an unknown reputation. Although this … Read More 

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Body Language in the Negotiation Process and Beyond

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negotiation techniques and body language body language negotiation examples in real life

Negotiation experts typically advise us to meet with our counterparts in person whenever possible rather than relying on the telephone or Internet. As convenient as electronic media may be, they lack the visual cues that help convey valuable information and forge connections in face-to-face talks. Without access to gestures and facial expressions, those who negotiate … Read More 

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Top International Negotiation Case Studies in Business: The Microsoft-Nokia Deal

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nokia international negotiation microsoft

International negotiation brings on more challenges than most. On September 3, 2013, Microsoft announced a deal to acquire Finnish mobile phone company Nokia’s handset and services business for $7.2 billion, the New York Times reported. The agreement marked a belated but bold move by Microsoft to upgrade its presence in handheld devices and signals an … Read More 

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Top International Multiparty Negotiations: Dissent in the European Union

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Multiparty negotiations

A European Union summit held in late October 2013 failed to make headway toward more coordination of economic policies. Facing resistance from Germany in particular, European officials grew pessimistic regarding their odds of negotiating a deal over the next year to lay the foundation for a banking union for the 17 nations that use the … Read More 

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Win Win Negotiation: Managing Your Counterpart’s Satisfaction

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How to arrive at optimal agreements and make everyone happy with win win negotiation

As the following points of win-win negotiation will demonstrate, ensuring that your counterpart is satisfied with a particular deal requires you to manage several aspects of the negotiation process, including his outcome expectations, his perceptions of your outcome, the comparisons he makes with others, and his overall negotiation experience itself. … Read More 

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Negotiation Case Study and Sincerity’s Power in Negotiation

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negotiation case study

Most of us have had the experience of delivering an apology that fell on deaf ears. When apologies fail to achieve their aims, poor delivery is usually to blame. The importance of sincerity in such a situation cannot be overstated, because if the recipient thinks your apology is less than sincere, she is unlikely to … Read More 

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Your BATNA and How to Achieve Optimal Outcomes in Negotiation

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batna negotiating skills and negotiation tactics using negotiation examples from real life

The following question was posed to Program on Negotiation faculty member and associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School in the Negotiations, Organizations & Markets Unit, Francesca Gino and involves a negotiation example from real life from the world of business negotiations. … Read More 

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New Dispute Resolution Skills: A Case Study of Conflict Management Using Negotiating Skills

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case study of conflict management new dispute resolution skills

Negotiating effectively with colleagues can be more challenging than dealing with outsiders. Conventional wisdom advises addressing team conflict by staying focused on tasks and avoiding relationship issues. Yet a case study of conflict management by Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson and Diana McLain Smith of The Monitory Group concludes that this approach to dispute … Read More 

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Salary Negotiations and How to Negotiate Performance-Based Pay

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Salary negotiations are never predictable. Imagine that you are a sales rep with a company that is getting hit hard by a financial crisis. No one has been laid off yet, but everyone is nervous about that possibility. In an effort to save jobs, your sales manager has quietly proposed that everyone take lower base … Read More 

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

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integrative negotiation and a win-win solution a place 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 

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For Modern Farmer Magazine, a Bad BATNA

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In business negotiations, our mistakes sometimes end up affecting not only the current deal, but our best alternative to a negotiated agreement, or BATNA, in deals that lie down the road. That’s a lesson that Ann Marie Gardner, the founder and editor of the hip new magazine Modern Farmer, has learned the hard way. … Read More 

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Ten Popular Business Negotiation Articles

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top 10 business negotiation articles

Here are ten popular business negotiation articles on the Program on Negotiation website. Drawn from a variety of negotiation case studies as well as negotiation research, the following articles present negotiation examples in real life and offer strategies for engaging in integrative negotiations strategies aimed at creating win-win scenarios for each party at the negotiation … Read More 

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Negotiation Topics in Business: Make a Bump Plan

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negotiation topics in business and negotiation strategy make a bump plan

Regrouping from the cancellation of the 2004–2005 season due to failed labor negotiations, National Hockey League (NHL) teams and players faced the challenge of radically restructuring their collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in July 2005. The new CBA instituted a uniform cap (as well as a floor) on team payrolls. It also set maximums and minimums … Read More 

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Reservation Point in Negotiation: Reach Negotiated Agreements by Asking the Right Questions

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reservation point negotiation reach negotiated agreements by asking the right questions

A reservation point negotiation is a bargaining scenario in which each side is trying to reconcile the other’s highest offer and the other’s lowest price. This negotiation example can apply to many other bargaining situations and demonstrates the value of open communication with your counterpart at the negotiation table. … Read More 

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Win-Win Business Negotiations: The Wachovia Buyout

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win win business negotiations the wachovia buyout

Changing financial and legal conditions can create and destroy wealth in the blink of an eye. How does a negotiator take advantage of such periods of change? During the financial crisis of 2008, Wachovia Corporation found itself looking for a buyer to avoid collapse while the financial industry as a whole was the grips of … Read More 

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How to Deal with Outsiders at the Bargaining Table

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top ten business negotiation examples of 2013 dell negotiation

How can negotiators anticipate roadblocks earlier in the bidding process? The following example attests to the necessity of thinking through the range of problems you could face in an upcoming negotiation, including threats from deal challengers and outsiders. … Read More 

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7 Tips for Closing the Deal in Negotiations

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“ABC: Always Be Closing.” That’s the sales strategy that actor Alec Baldwin’s character Blake shared in the 1992 film Glengarry Glen Ross as he tried to motivate a group of real estate salesmen. In his verbally abusive, profanity-laced speech, Blake presented a ruthless model of closing a business deal that ignores customers’ needs and cuts … Read More 

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Advanced Negotiation Strategies and Concepts Using Negotiation Examples from Real Life: Hostage Negotiation Tips for Business Negotiators

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Advanced Negotiation Strategies

Upset by a delay in the delivery of one of your products, a longtime buyer threatens to turn to the media unless you meet his extreme demands. Not only is the relationship in jeopardy, but your company’s reputation seems to be as well. What should you do? Turn to some tried and true hostage negotiation … Read More 

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How Chaos at the Bargaining Table Can Help Negotiators Reach Agreement

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negotiators - examples of negotiation situations

Here are some examples of negotiation situations in which chaos at the bargaining table works to the negotiator’s advantage. Whether conducting business negotiations involving commercial transactions or personal disputes with a friend, the following negotiating skills and techniques can be used. … Read More 

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5 Win-Win Negotiation Strategies

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Business negotiators understand the importance of reaching a win-win deal: when both sides are satisfied with their agreement, the odds of a long-lasting and successful business partnership are much higher. But concrete strategies for generating a win-win contract often seem elusive. The following five, from experts at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, … Read More 

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For a Mutually Beneficial Agreement, Collaboration is Key

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for a mutually beneficial agreement collaboration is key

What is a mutually beneficial agreement? Some negotiation experts would have you believe that a mutually beneficial agreement is one in which each side grabs as much as it can from a finite pot of resources and calls it a day. At the Program on Negotiation, we urge you to aim higher by combining such competitive value-claiming … Read More 

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

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contract negotiations and business communication how to write an iron clad contract

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 

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

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negotiation examples in business negotiation ethics and bias in negotiation

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 

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Emotion and the Art of Business Negotiations

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The sale of Picasso’s works by his heirs is fraught with negative emotion. How do negative emotions impact negotiation and behavior at the bargaining table? This article offers negotiation skills insights into how to counter or prevent negative emotions in negotiation. … Read More 

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MESO Negotiation: Learn from a Seller’s Market

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negotiating skills and negotiation tactics learn from a sellers market in sales negotiations

What negotiating skills and negotiation tactics can negotiators take away from hyper competitive bargaining situations? With home sales heating up (again) in some parts of the United States, homebuyers are facing competition they haven’t seen since before the real-estate bubble burst back in 2008, and it’s showing up in the form of packed open houses, … Read More 

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Essential Negotiation Skills for Effective Negotiation: Limiting Cognitive Bias in Negotiation Scenarios

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In past articles, we have highlighted a variety of psychological biases that affect negotiators, many of which spring from a reliance on intuition, and may hinder integrative negotiations. Of course, negotiators are not always affected by bias; we often think systematically and clearly at the bargaining table. Most negotiators believe they are capable of distinguishing … Read More 

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Negotiation Examples: BATNA and Negotiation Scenarios Where Alternatives are Preferable to Negotiated Agreements

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negotiation examples in real life 3D negotiations and setting the wrong table

One of the most popular questions concerning negotiation strategy and an area of negotiation research that draws heavily on negotiation examples in real life is how do negotiators identify their BATNA, or best alternative to a negotiated agreement, and even better, how do they identify their counterpart’s BATNA? Consider the saga of a company that … Read More 

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Dealmaking Negotiations – Writing the Negotiated Agreement

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negotiated agreements and dealmaking negotiations - writing the negotiated agreement

Some negotiations end with a negotiated agreement that is a plan of action rather than a signed contract – for example, a plumber agrees to fix the tile damage caused by his work. Other negotiations wouldn’t be appropriate to commemorate in writing, such as how you and your spouse decide to discipline your young … Read More 

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Salary Negotiation: How to Ask for a Higher Salary

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salary negotiation skills at the bargaining table how to ask for more in wage negotiations

For a new employee, salary negotiation skills can be the most important and the most intimidating, but the most important, of difficult conversations to have at the beginning of your career. A new employee, successfully negotiating a salary offer up by $5,000 could make a huge difference over the course of her career. … Read More 

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Negotiate Your Way to Holiday Cheer: Leveraging BATNA at the Dinner Table

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year, or so they say. As we look ahead to winter vacation and seemingly endless days of family celebrations, many feel a sense of dread, anticipating tensions and conflict as drearily predictable as overcooked turkey and practical gifts. Even those who look forward to family get-togethers often end … Read More 

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Dealmaking: Relationship Rules for Dealmakers

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Here are some concrete guidelines for fostering a strong relationship between deal making partners, drawn from The Global Negotiator: Making, Managing, and Mending Deals Around the World in the 21st Century, by Tufts University professor Jeswald W. Salacuse: … Read More 

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Dealing with Difficult People? Lessons from Ronald Reagan

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In recent months, U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders have struggled to find a winning strategy to convince Russian President Vladimir Putin to back away from his aggressions toward Ukraine. In a Wall Street Journal editorial, Ken Adelman, U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s ambassador to the United Nations and arms-control director, writes that recently … Read More 

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How to Balance Your Own Values in Negotiation

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best negotiation examples negotiating conflicts of interest

Best negotiation examples from real life: Imagine that you’ve been negotiating the sale of a property that is owned by your company. The buyer has made an attractive offer that you’ve tentatively accepted. Your boss is pleased with the terms as they stand, but suggests that you go back to the buyer and tell her … Read More 

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Dealing with Difficult People – In and Outside of Congress

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In business negotiations, we sometimes face the task of dealing with difficult people—those who seem to pick fights, hold offensive views, or rely on hard-bargaining tactics. Some of us naturally turn away from such difficult negotiations. Others choose to try to overlook or overcome the flaws they see in potential negotiating partners. … Read More 

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Overcoming Cultural Barriers in Negotiations and the Importance of Communication in International Business Deals

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the importance of communication in international business overcoming cultural barriers in dealmaking negotiations

Communication in negotiation scenarios is the means by which negotiators achieve objectives, build relationships, and resolve disputes. Communication becomes even more important when negotiating counterparts are from different cultures. The following question was posed to our Negotiation newsletter editorial board and Program on Negotiation faculty member Jeswald Salacuse offers his insights. … Read More 

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Why Negotiations Fail

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When we think of failed business negotiations, most of us picture negotiators walking away from the table in disappointment. But that’s only one type of disappointing negotiation. Failed business negotiations also include those that parties come to regret over time and those that fall apart during implementation. The following three types of negotiation failures are … Read More 

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How to Overcome Cross Cultural Barriers in Negotiation

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overcoming-cultural-barriers-in-negotiation-how-to-launch-more-productive-cross-cultural-negotiations_

On February 28, 2014, Russian troops swarmed into Crimea following violent clashes between protesters and police in Kiev, Ukraine, and Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych’s abrupt departure from the country. Urging Russian president Vladimir Putin to retreat, Western leaders desperately searched for a way to help him “save face.” It was a daunting task. Having made an … Read More 

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Conflict and Negotiation Case Study: Long-Term Business Partnerships and Negotiated Agreements

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To protect the future interests of their organization, negotiators sometimes must accept fewer benefits or absorb greater burdens in the short run to maximize the value to all relevant parties – including future employees and shareholders – over time. Suppose that the operations VPs of two subsidiaries of an energy company are preparing to negotiate the … Read More 

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Negotiating with Millennials – How to Overcome Cultural Differences in Communication

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how to overcome cultural differences in communication - negotiating with the next generation

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 

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Exercising Its BATNA, American Apparel Ousts Dov Charney

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On June 18, 2015 the board of retailer American Apparel informed the company’s controversial founder, Dov Charney, that it was ousting him from his roles as chairman and CEO. For years, Charney had fended off sexual-harrassment lawsuits and rumors of inappropriate behavior. But only when the company’s creditors grew anxious about its long-term liability did … Read More 

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MESO Negotiation Strategies and Negotiation Techniques

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negotiation strategies and negotiation techniques meso negotiation

MESO negotiation techniques for negotiators include creating value at the bargaining table by identifying multiple proposals of equal value and presenting them to your counterpart simultaneously. By making tradeoffs across issues, parties can obtain greater value on the issues that are most important to them. But how can you be sure you’re making the right … Read More 

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Emotional Intelligence as a Negotiating Skill

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successful negotiation examples emotional intelligence as a negotiating skill and negotiation tactic

The concept of emotional intelligence burst into the cultural imagination in 1995 with the publication of psychologist Daniel Goleman’s bestselling book of the same name. Experts have predicted that scoring high on this personality trait would boost one’s bargaining outcomes and have found many successful negotiation examples using emotional intelligence in their research. … Read More 

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Conflict Negotiation Strategies: Apple’s Apology in China

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how to overcome cultural barriers in communication apple's apology in china

When dealing with a difficult counterpart, it helps to take a conciliatory approach to the bargaining table. While apologies necessarily involve moments of vulnerability, they can also open doors to value creation and strengthen the relationship you have with your bargaining counterpart. Let’s look back at Apple’s apology in China for its maligned warranty policies … Read More 

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Conflict and Negotiation Case Study: The Pitfalls of Negotiations Over Email

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conflict resolution online the pitfalls of negotiations over email

Negotiation research suggests that email often poses more problems than solutions when it comes to relationships, information exchange, and outcomes in conflict resolution negotiation scenarios. First, establishing social rapport via email can be challenging. The lack of nonverbal cues and the dearth of social norms regarding its use can cause negotiators to be impolite and … Read More 

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Creating and Claiming Value Through Haggling – Assess The Other Party’s BATNA in Dealmaking Negotiations

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Now it’s time to assess the best deal you might get. Figuring out the other party’s reservation price is the key to knowing how far you will be able to push him, write Deepak Malhotra and Max H. Bazerman in their book Negotiation Genius: How to Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Brilliant Results at the Bargaining … Read More 

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Top International Negotiation Examples: The East China Sea Dispute

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Even when negotiators believe they sincerely want to reach an outcome that is fair to all, their perceptions of what constitutes a fair agreement are likely to be self-serving. As a result, they are likely to believe they deserve a greater share of a given resource than an unbiased observer would judge to be fair. … Read More 

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Types of Power in Negotiation

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Social psychologists have described different types of power that exist in society, and negotiators can leverage these types of power in negotiation as well. … Read More 

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10 Top Business Negotiations

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Looking back on the past, 2013 witnessed a series of colorful mergers, acquisitions, and other deals. Here are the 10 top negotiations and negotiation trends of that year from which business dealmakers can learn. … Read More 

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Projecting Power at the Negotiation Table

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negotiating skills and negotiation tactics projecting power at the bargaining table

Projecting power at the negotiation table is one tactic bargainers can employ to obtain their objectives in bargaining scenarios. In this article we examine Amy Cuddy’s research with regards to power, body language, and the impact they have on your negotiating skills and negotiation tactics. … Read More 

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Dealmaking: Avoiding Pitfalls in Deal Drafting

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Whatever the root causes of faulty drafting, negotiators need to better understand and manage certain aspects of the deal drafting process. Here are three ways to ensure that breakdowns don’t occur on the way from handshake to contract. … Read More 

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Putting Your Negotiated Agreement Into Action

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negotiation examples in business implementing your negotiated agreement

Normally negotiators focus on the deal-at-hand as well as those present at the negotiation table, neglecting other aspects of the negotiated agreement that would not only impact others outside of the room but also require their cooperation for the agreement’s success and viability. … Read More 

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In “Non-negotiation” with Antonio Brown, Steelers Find Mutual Gains

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The National Football League’s Pittsburgh Steelers faced a dilemma. Mid-contract, the team’s star wide receiver, Antonio Brown, asked the team to improve upon the six-year, $42.5 million deal they negotiated back in 2012. Brown had risen to become the best receiver in football and believed he was underpaid. … Read More 

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The Importance of Power in Negotiations

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In negotiation, our success often hinges on our bargaining power—which in turn can depend on forces beyond our control. That truism was highlighted in two recent disputes arising from business negotiations over the pricing of copyrighted material in the digital era, one from the music world, the other from publishing. … Read More 

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How to Conduct a Mediation During Crisis Negotiations

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The most difficult peace negotiations in recent decades—in Ireland, the Middle East, the former Yugoslavia, and Sri Lanka—were plagued by a common enemy: violent disruptions by spoilers opposed to the peace process. In each of these cases, extremists stalled negotiations by creating security crises that divided public opinion and drove negotiators apart. … Read More 

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Drinks at the White House? Clinton Plans on It

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The practice of using alcohol to grease the wheels has a long and storied role in famous negotiations. In recent decades, shared drinks during adversarial bargaining helped lead to breakthroughs in conflicts in Serbia and Northern Ireland, for example. … Read More 

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How to Use MESOs in Business Negotiations

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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 

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Negotiation Training with Heart

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negotiation training with heart

In typical negotiation skills training, we are taught to get beyond our emotions and look at situations rationally. There’s merit to this approach, of course, as feelings can cloud our judgment. But consider what Lieutenant Jack Cambria, who retired in August as the longest-running head of the New York Police Department’s (NYPD’s) hostage negotiation team, … Read More 

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Negotiation Research Demonstrates the Impact of Memory on Decision Making Processes in Bargaining Scenarios

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Findings from Negotiation Research How Memory Affects Decision Making in Negotiations

Recent negotiation research published by Psychological Science from Program on Negotiation faculty member and assistant professor at Harvard University’s Department of Psychology Joshua Greene and his colleague Elinor Amit explores the impact vivid mental imagery has on decision-making processes for negotiators. The negotiation skills insights that can be obtained from such negotiation research are many … Read More 

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Business Negotiation Skills: How to Deal with a Failing Business Partnership

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It had seemed like the beginning of a fruitful relationship. In April 2012, six wealthy businessmen teamed up to buy the Philadelphia Inquirer and several affiliated businesses for $61.1 million, promising to work together to reverse the newspaper’s flagging fortunes. Their infusions of cash and appointment of a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter, William K. Marimow, as … Read More 

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Dealing with Cultural Barriers in Business Negotiations

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If you negotiate regularly on the job, you probably have engaged in multiple business negotiations with counterparts from other cultures. Negotiating across cultures can significantly expand your organization’s reach and bring great rewards. Yet negotiating cross-culturally also can pose challenges, such as these. … Read More 

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How to Find the ZOPA in Business Negotiations

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In business negotiation, two polar-opposite errors are common: reaching agreement when it wouldn’t be wise to do so, and walking away from a mutually beneficial outcome. How can you avoid these pitfalls? Through careful preparation that includes an analysis of the zone of possible agreement, or ZOPA. The agreement trap The “agreement trap” describes the tendency to agree … Read More 

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For Paris Climate Accord, April 22 Marks Moment of Truth

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The global climate change accord talks are some of the most interesting negotiations to have taken place in the past year. This article examines the at-the-table issues the negotiators faced with China and other world leaders in attempting to forge a negotiated agreement on climate change. … Read More 

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Modest Goals Gave Hope to Syria Peace talks

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In international negotiations and other complex multiparty negotiations, should you set ambitious goals right from the start or begin with more modest ones? Aiming high can lead to dramatic payoffs if you succeed, but the difficulty of orchestrating complicated international negotiations can increase the risk of impasse. By contrast, starting with more modest goals may suggest … Read More 

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Emotion in Negotiations: How to Detect Sincerity at the Bargaining Table

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Following the British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in the spring of 2010, some media observers criticized President Barack Obama for seeming to be emotionally detached. Obama ultimately did display anger about the oil spill in a televised interview, only to be further critiqued on the grounds that his anger did not … Read More 

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Learning from the Debates About the Debates

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There is “nothing worse than a debate about debates,” John Podesta, the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, recently said in the midst of his candidate’s heated negotiations with Democratic rival Bernie Sanders about the terms of their debates. Many who participated in these negotiations would likely agree. But the debates about debates—both on the … Read More 

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Forging a Global Agreement on Climate Change

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The ambitious goal of the professional negotiators who participated in the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, held in a Paris suburb from November 30 through December 11, 2015, was to reach enforceable commitments from nations around the world to lower their greenhouse-gas emissions to levels that could ward off environmental disasters. At the Paris climate … Read More 

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In Business Negotiations for Super Bowl I Tape, NFL Stops the Clock

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The Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 35 to 10 in Super Bowl I. But that’s not the end of the story. In business negotiations, and particularly sales negotiation, enthusiasm is required when trying to convince our counterparts that we have what they need. But that enthusiasm isn’t always infectious. The tale of … Read More 

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Two Examples of the Winner’s Curse in Business Negotiations

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These business negotiations – an auction and a negotiated acquisition – highlight both the promise and risks of high-priced purchases and the dangers of the winner’s curse in negotiations. Negotiators fall victim to the winner’s curse in negotiations when they over-compete (and overbid) for items in the pursuit of a “victory” at the bargaining table. … Read More 

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In The Simpsons Dealmaking, Harry Shearer Goes Public

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How did actor Henry Shearer and the producers of the hit television show The Simpsons arrive at a win-win negotiated agreement? In this article drawn from examples of negotiation in real life, we examine the negotiations between the actor and the producers and offer insights into the bargaining strategies employed by each. … Read More 

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Financial Negotiations During the Banking Crisis: Did the Mortgage Foreclosure Settlement Meet Its Goals?

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The mortgage foreclosure settlement reached by the Obama Administration and major US banks bailed out during the 2008 financial crisis illustrates the importance of an integrative negotiations approach to bargaining with your counterpart. Here are the strategies and techniques employed by each side to reach a consensus on the mortgage foreclosure settlement. … Read More 

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In Business Negotiations, Capitalize on a Right of First Refusal

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in business negotiations capitalize on a right of first refusal

As dealmakers look for more sophisticated ways to reduce risks and increase returns, a right of first refusal—a contractual guarantee that one side can match any offer that the other side later receives—has become a common and useful tool to add to your business negotiation skills.

in business negotiations capitalize on a right of first refusal

As dealmakers look for more sophisticated ways to reduce risks and increase returns, a right of first refusal—a contractual guarantee that one side can match any offer that the other side later receives—has become a common and useful tool to add to your business negotiation skills.

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When the mergers-and-acquisitions (M&A) boom began in 1993, many deals simply required the seller to let the buyer know if a “superior proposal” came along. By the late 1990s, buyers were demanding—and receiving—more than this: an exclusive negotiating period of several days, during which they could decide whether to match or improve upon another bidder’s offer. In current business negotiations, rights of first refusal, also known as matching rights or rights of first offer, are being rapidly incorporated into business negotiations at all levels and in many industries.

In the typical right of first refusal, the grantor gives the right holder the right to buy an asset on the same terms that the grantor would receive from any other bona fide, prospective bidder, otherwise known as the third party.

Suppose, for example, that a private company is negotiating an equity infusion from an investor in exchange for a 20% ownership stake and a set on the board. To preserve its stability, the company conditions the deal on a right of first refusal: before the investor can sell his stake to someone else, the company can buy it back at the negotiated price. The investor accepts the deal, and the company gets its equity.

Now suppose that two years have passed since the company (the right holder) and the investor (the grantor) signed their deal. The investor now wants to liquidate his investment. One potential buyer offers to purchase the 20% interest for $3.4 million. The investor now is required to ask the company, which holds the matching right, if it wants to match the offer. This contractual obligation has important consequences that depend in large part upon the role you play in a negotiation.

Advice for the grantor In negotiation, including a right of first refusal in an agreement can be a classic win-win move. To take a real estate right of first refusal, suppose you’re a landlord negotiating with a prospective tenant. You want to maintain the ability to sell the apartment to someone else in the future, while your prospective tenant wants a commitment to rent the apartment for as long as she wants. The solution might be to offer the tenant a right of first refusal—the power to match any legitimate third-party offer. In this manner, the tenant gains the opportunity to avoid the disruption of a move, and you preserve your own flexibility.

A right of first refusal can also create value through tradeoffs on negotiators’ different expectations. Let’s return to the case of the investor who buys a 20% ownership stake in a private company, and assume that the investor plans to hold the stake for a long time. If the company is not as sure about his commitment, a right of first refusal is cheap for the investor to give and valuable for the company to receive.

Advice for the right holder As the prospective right holder, you should know precisely what a proposed right of first refusal will give you. Many deals that seem to guarantee a right of first refusal are, in fact, murky about the consequences that could arise.

For potential right holders, the most common mistake is to fail to specify what will happen if you choose to match a bid. Will your matching bid call off the contest with the third party or launch a bidding war?

Other details are equally important. How long do you have to decide whether to match an offer? If the duration of the right of first refusal is ambiguous, a third party could short-circuit your right by making an exploding offer with a short fuse. You might fail to match the offer due to time pressure rather than to your unwillingness to pay. The end result is a right of first refusal worth significantly less than you thought.

Advice for third parties What if you’re thinking about making an offer that would trigger a right of first refusal? Returning to the case of the investor with a 20% stake in a company, imagine that you approach the investor about buying him out. When you learn about the company’s right of first refusal, you face a difficult situation. If the company exercises its right of first refusal, you’ve wasted time conducting due diligence and negotiating. If the company doesn’t exercise its right of first refusal, you likely have overpaid. Why? Because the company probably has better information about the true value of the 20% stake than you do. As a result of this information asymmetry, many sophisticated investors avoid deals that trigger a right of first refusal.

Yet the winner’s curse may not apply to you. First, the right holder simply might not be able to match your offer due to a liquidity crunch. Second, you may have just as much or better information about the value of the asset as the right holder. If the right holder doesn’t match your bid, she may not recognize these sources of value. Third, you might bring some special value to the table that the right holder lacks. Try to assess whether any of these three justifications apply before making a bid. If one of them does, you’re ready for business.

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Adapted from “Matching Rights: A Boon to Both Sides,” by Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School professor Guhan Subramanian, first published in the Negotiation newsletter.

When the mergers-and-acquisitions (M&A) boom began in 1993, many deals … Read More 

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Negotiation Skills in Business Communication: Heading Off Deception

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negotiation skills in business communication heading off deception

In all types of negotiations and across all phases of the process, people can sometimes misrepresent or fail to tell the truth. Individual negotiators lie with the hope of improving their own outcomes. When negotiating his salary with the Cranbury, N.J.–based pharmaceutical marketing firm Carter-Wallace in 1997, Robert Bonczek misrepresented his prior title and salary … Read More 

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Negotiation Skills in Business Communication: Status Anxiety

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negotiation skills in business communication status anxiety

Negotiation Skills in Business Communication: Campeau Corporation and Federated Department Stores Sometimes in negotiation we are forced to deal not only with the issues on the table but also with concerns about status. One famous instance took place in the late 1980s, when Robert Campeau, head of the Campeau Corporation and then one of Fortune magazine’s “50 … Read More 

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Crossed Wires? Negotiation Games To Help Your Business Deal Sidestep Legal, Technical And Emotional Glitches

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What’s faster than the pace of technological development? The pace of lawsuits being filed about the adoption of new technologies, patent infringement, and intellectual property rights. In our modern world, professionals must be able to resolve highly challenging technology-related disputes – often before they reach the courtroom. That’s where the Program on Negotiation’s Teaching … Read More 

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Business Negotiation Techniques and Dealmaking – Bargaining with Agents

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When using an agent in negotiation, your negotiation strategy and definitely the negotiation techniques you use to achieve success at the bargaining table change – but how much so? How different is negotiating with an agent from negotiating with an equal counterpart? In this article the Program on Negotiation explores the business negotiation techniques negotiators … Read More 

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International Negotiation: Your Own Worst Enemy?

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Knowing how to manage your own internal conflicts before engaging in negotiations is an invaluable negotiation skill negotiators should develop prior to engaging in international negotiations, business or otherwise. … Read More 

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Deal Negotiation and Dealmaking: What to Do On Your Own

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Six negotiation skills tips for negotiators seeking to creative value during their next round at the bargaining table. Business negotiators are often faced with the complex task of coordinating multiple parties – here are some tips for the individual business negotiator on how to achieve success in her next deal negotiation. … Read More 

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For Conflict Resolution in Asia, A Simple Handshake Could Go Far

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When disputes arise between international negotiators, sometimes a simple gesture of reciprocity can turn a boiling conflict into an amicable resolution. In this article the Program on Negotiation explores how a “simple handshake” between the leaders of Japan and the People’s Republic of China helped ease long-held tensions between the two countries. … Read More 

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Negotiation Skills: View Your Counterpart as an Agent

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Looking for yet another way to build your power at the negotiating table? Examine the incentives of your counterpart—and then consider whether they align with those of the group she represents. In most business negotiations, notes Harvard professor Guhan Subramanian, your counterpart is acting as her organization’s representative, or agent (just as you’re acting as … Read More 

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Negotiation Skills: When It’s Better to Be in the Dark

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When your agent negotiates on your behalf, it’s generally smart to have her keep you in the loop throughout the process with regular phone calls, e-mails, or meetings. But in a recent article in Poets & Writers magazine, literary agent Betsy Lerner identified conditions in which you might prefer to be uninformed. … Read More 

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In Conflict Resolution, President Carter Turned Flaws Into Virtues

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When it comes to conflict resolution, surprisingly useful nuggets of advice come from the realm of international conflict. Take the Camp David Accords of 1978, as described minute-by-minute by Lawrence Wright in his new book, Thirteen Days in September. U.S. President Jimmy Carter made history by negotiating a peaceful end to the conflict between Israel … Read More 

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In United Nations International Negotiations, A Demand for Openness

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Sometimes the question of how to negotiate can be more hotly debated than the issues that come up during the negotiation itself. Who should be involved in making key decisions? Should the negotiation process be public or private? How can parties ensure that all involved feel they’ve had a voice? … Read More 

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Negotiation Skills: At Pimco, a Successful Threat and an Uncertain Payoff

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In business negotiations, threats can be fraught with risk. There is the risk that a threat will escalate conflict. There is the risk that a threat will motivate a desire for revenge. And then there is the risk that your threat will work perfectly, but you’ll be unprepared for the aftermath. That last scenario may … Read More 

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Panda Diplomacy and Business Negotiations: Applying Soft Power

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In 2011, Emiko Okuyama, the mayor of Sendai, Japan, launched a negotiation that, at the time, seemed relatively straightforward. Sendai had been devastated by the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan earlier that year. In hopes of lifting the spirits of children traumatized by the natural disasters, Okuyama and other local officials came up with … Read More 

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In Business Negotiations, Eat Before You Negotiate

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When preparing for your next business negotiation, you may want to strategize not only about what you’ll put on the bargaining table, but also how much food you’ll put in your belly beforehand. That’s the message of new research that Cornell University professor Emily Zitek and Dartmouth College professor Alexander Jordan presented at the annual … Read More 

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In Business Negotiations, Restraint Can Be Key—Even in High Fashion

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When employees leave an unsatisfying job, the feeling of relief they feel sometimes motivates them to explain their decision to whomever will listen. But that tendency can backfire and necessitate tense business negotiations, as a recent story from the world of high fashion illustrates. In November 2012, designer Nicolas Ghesquière startled the fashion world with … Read More 

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Conflict Resolution: When Forgiveness Seems Elusive

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In the aftermath of events ranging from the Catholic Church’s child sexual abuse scandal to the 1994 Rwandan genocide, victims have received apologies from those who caused or perpetuated their suffering. Yet those who have been harmed are not always willing or able to forgive. In the context of business negotiations, when a counterpart apologizes … Read More 

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At the Office, Conflict Management is Key

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In the workplace, misunderstandings, power struggles, and stress can cause conflict to fester and take a toll on productivity. The best organizations put in place conflict management processes and systems to confront conflict directly. Unfortunately, too many organizations fail to do so—and suffer the consequences of sweeping conflict under the rug. Take the case of Paradigm … Read More 

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Intercultural Negotiations: When Negotiators Try Too Hard

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Adapted from “Coping with Culture at the Bargaining Table,” first published in the May 2009 issue of Negotiation. Though intercultural negotiating schemas can be useful, negotiators often give too much weight to them, according to an article in the May issue of the journal Negotiation and Conflict Management Research, “Starting Out on the Right Foot: Negotiation Schemas When … Read More 

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Conflict Management – What You Need to Know Before You Click “Like”

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A new conflict-management policy from General Mills, the food company behind products such as Cheerios, Bisquick, and Betty Crocker, may lead it to lose some friends on social media. The manufacturer recently added language to its website alerting consumers that they relinquish their right to sue the company simply by downloading coupons, “liking” General Mills on … Read More 

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Low-Drama Negotiation Skills at the “Late Show”

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Just one week after David Letterman revealed his decision to leave his long-running talk show, the Late Show with David Letterman, CBS announced that comedian Stephen Colbert would be his replacement. The negotiations surrounding the changing-of-the-guard were remarkably business-like and calm for the tumultuous world of late-night television. Letterman debuted his show Late Night in 1982 … Read More 

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Have You Negotiated How You’ll Negotiate?

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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 

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International Negotiations: Challenging Multiparty Negotiations Around the Euro

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A European Union summit held in late October failed to make much headway toward better coordination of economic policies, the Wall Street Journal reports. Facing resistance from Germany in particular, European officials are growing pessimistic regarding their odds of negotiating a deal over the next year to lay the foundation for a banking union for … Read More 

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Joint Fact Finding: Mapping the Territory Together

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Some might argue that confrontation is inevitable. But a wide range of collaborative efforts around the country have shown that it can be avoided. How can negotiators find their way into the trading zone quickly and easily? One proven method is joint fact finding. … Read More 

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Sellers: Stay out of legal hot water

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When it comes to business negotiations, you probably understand the importance of being as principled as possible to protect your reputation and ward off legal trouble. You probably expect your counterparts to follow the straight and narrow as well. Yet negotiators often have only a fuzzy grasp of which claims and strategies are legal and … Read More 

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Clearinghouse Customers Speak!

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In an effort to understand more about how the PON Clearinghouse does and doesn’t meet its customers’ needs, we interviewed a number of long-time Clearinghouse clients. We asked what teaching materials they found most valuable and for what reasons. We also asked how they found out about the Clearinghouse and what additional teaching and training … Read More 

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The 900-pound Counterpart

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Adapted from “Negotiating with a 900-pound Gorilla,” by Lawrence Susskind (professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Does your company ever have to negotiate with a behemoth that dominates your market–the so-called 900-pound gorilla? Whether they’re big-box retailers with aggressive pricing strategies or well-established computer software providers, one or two companies seem … Read More 

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Should You Trust Your Agent?

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You’ve found a beautiful condo that you’d like to call your own. You conduct a thorough assess¬ment of its value and identify several other ap¬pealing properties in the same neighborhood and price range. Believing you’ve found the magic bid, you phone your real-estate agent. … Read More 

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Negotiating When Business and Family Collide

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Basic negotiation skills may seem easy to apply in business situations but what about when business and family collide? For example, a 69-year-old CEO of a large financial firm that has been in his family for three generations is considering retirement. He has three children who may be interested in taking over the business in addition … Read More 

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Negotiating the Good Friday Agreement

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Retired US Senator George Mitchell played a critical role in negotiating the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland. In an interview with Susan Hackley, Managing Director of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, in the February 2004 Negotiation newsletter, he describes how he was able to facilitate an agreement between these long warring … Read More 

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