communication

The process by which parties discuss and deal with the elements of a negotiation. (Michael L. Moffitt and Robert C. Bordone, eds., Handbook of Dispute Resolution [Program on Negotiation/Jossey-Bass, 2005], 284)

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The following items are tagged communication.

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Courses and Training

Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well- NEW!

Posted by & filed under 1 Day Courses, executive training.

For organizations, feedback is at the heart of good leadership, effective teamwork, efficient problem solving, developing talent, and the ability to understand and serve the needs of clients and customers. And yet, few organizations or leaders feel they have it “right.”

Honest feedback, more often than not, isn’t given or is resisted. Senior leaders get less and less candid feedback as those below them hesitate to offend, or jeopardize, a strategic relationship. And so problems fester, and personal growth stalls.

The usual approach in the business world is to teach managers and leaders how to give feedback with little attention given on how to receive feedback. Learning how to respond to the spoken or unspoken, solicited or unsolicited, feedback that comes your way enables you to take charge of and accelerate your learning. And in the process, others in your organization will learn how to turn even the most unfair, off-base feedback into learning and change.

Free Report

Daily

Fighting For Your Livelihood

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

From brokering a deal to negotiating a sale, there are many disputes that happen at work. Among the most challenging are those involving employers and employees. That’s the case with Binder Kadeer: Consultation in the Company, a negotiation exercise brought to you by the Program on Negotiation’s Teaching Resource Center (TNRC).

Courses and Training

Free Report

Daily

Dealmaking: Help Your Agreement Go the Distance

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

Help your agreement go the distance If your deal doesn’t work in the real world, it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on. Here’s expert advice on increasing the odds of successful implementation.

Courses and Training

Daily

The Art of Deal Diplomacy

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

Executives rarely view themselves as diplomats. Rightly or wrongly, diplomacy evokes images of frivolity – days spent wandering exotic capitals, nights spent cruising embassy cocktail parties. Sure, both diplomats and executives negotiate, but an ambassador doesn’t have to worry about protecting the company’s bottom line or losing a deal to a competitor.

Yet it would be a mistake for those in the corporate world to dismiss the diplomatic realm so quickly. After all, diplomacy is the art of creating and managing relationships among nations. As such, it offers valuable tools for all business negotiators, who themselves are in the business of creating and managing relationships among companies – whether they view this as their overall goal or not.

Courses and Training

Daily

How to Negotiate When You’re Literally Far Apart

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Imagine that you’re the CEO of a sports clothing manufacturer based in Chicago. You recently traveled to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, to meet with a distributor who has a rich and diverse network in the European sports market.

During the business trip, you both express enthusiasm about the possibility of a joint venture and agree to give the potential alliance more thought.

Back home, you learn that one of your competitors has discussed similar plans with the same distributor.

Courses and Training

Spring 2015 Mediation and Conflict Management

Posted by & filed under PON Seminars, PON Seminars (Semester Length Courses).

This course is designed to raise your awareness of your own approach to conflict, introduce a range of theories about mediation and participatory processes, and improve your conflict management skills. While we will discuss a wide range of dispute resolution processes that involve third parties, we will focus on mediation. Each class moves back and forth between theory and skills practice, using theory to improve real world effectiveness, and using experience to improve understanding of theory.

Daily

Dealmaking: Dealing With an Irrational Home Seller

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Imagine that you and your family have moved to a new town. You’re living in a month-to-month rental and have finally found the perfect house to buy. Unfortunately, the seller is being unreasonable. The house is on the market for $600,000, but your research, backed up by your broker’s opinion, tells you it’s overpriced. By your estimate, a fair price would be $500,000, but when you offer that amount, the seller tells you that you are “not even close” and doesn’t counter. You think the seller is in denial about the slump in the housing market, which has affected prices in your town quite a bit.

Courses and Training

Understanding Diplomacy and International Negotiations

Posted by & filed under 1 Day Courses, executive training.

Going far beyond war and peace, international negotiation spans issues ranging from global warming to foreign debt to human rights. Offered for first time in conjunction with Negotiation and Leadership, this dynamic full-day program will explore contemporary issues in international negotiations and diplomacy. Utilizing a combination of theoretical analysis, case studies, and simulations, this program will focus on negotiating across and behind the table and provide strategies and tactics for practicing diplomacy and undertaking international negotiations.
This one-day course, which takes place June 23, 2011, is based on Professor Salacuse’s books The Global Negotiator—Making, Managing, and Mending Deals Around the World in the Twenty-First Century and the Seven Secrets for Negotiating with Government. Participants will be provided with both books at the workshop as part of the course.

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Resolve Employee Conflicts with Mediation Techniques

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

If you manage people, disputes will show up at your door. The marketing VP protests that the budget cap you and your new finance VP proposed is hindering a research initiative you supported. Two young sales representatives are embroiled in a turf war. Your administrative assistant is upset because the HR director won’t approve the extra week of paid maternity leave you promised her. Fail to address such employee concerns and you’ve failed as a leader. But it can be difficult to know how to respond, especially when you have a stake in the problem.Sometimes third-party intervention can make matters worse.

Courses and Training

Secrets of Successful Dealmaking

Posted by & filed under Harvard Negotiation Institute, Harvard Negotiation Institute (5 Day Courses).

In corporate dealmaking, much of the action happens away from the negotiating table. Successful dealmakers understand that deal set-up and design greatly influence negotiation outcomes.

In this program, you will examine the legal, tactical, and structural elements of dealmaking and acquire practical skills and techniques for navigating difficult tactics and pursuing interest-based negotiations.

Whether you are an experienced negotiator or new to the field, you will learn how to abandon behaviors that hinder negotiations and emerge with new conceptual frameworks, practical skills and a systematic approach to navigating complex business deals.

Daily

Dealing with Gender Discrimination

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

As you know, gender stereotypes often enter the negotiation process. Women and men are perceived to, and often do, act differently in negotiations. Furthermore, gender-based discrimination—such as less pay, unequal treatment, and sexual harassment—is often a source of conflict. With the resources available through the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC), professionals can learn how to fairly and effectively negotiate gender discrimination issues.

Courses and Training

Advanced Negotiation: Making Difficult Conversations Productive

Posted by & filed under Harvard Negotiation Institute, Harvard Negotiation Institute (5 Day Courses).

When negotiations become difficult, emotions often escalate and talks break down.

To overcome barriers and turn negotiations from difficult to collaborative, from breakdown to breakthrough, you must learn to understand the inter- and intra-personal dynamics at play. In this program, you will examine how your own assumptions and behaviors can help create and perpetuate negotiation dynamics you desperately want to avoid, and learn how to modify even deeply held assumptions and enact new behaviors more likely to foster successful negotiations.

Daily

Teaching Negotiation: The Art of Case Study Writing

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

Jim Sebenius, the Gordon Donaldson Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, and Director of the Harvard Negotiation Project, addressed these questions in his presentation at the NP@PON Faculty Dinner Seminar on October 7, 2010. His article, “Developing Negotiation Case Studies,” began as a memo to a novice case writer about how to write an effective negotiation case. Now it is a full-length article that will appear in a forthcoming issue of Negotiation Journal.

Dealing with Difficult People: Comcast and Its Critics

Posted by & filed under Dealing with Difficult People.

In our lives as business negotiators, there inevitably will be times when we feel angry, frustrated, and mistreated. At such times we face a choice between letting our negative feelings show, concealing them, or trying to channel them into positive change. Ample negotiation research has found that negotiators who show their anger tend to make greater gains than negotiators who seem happy or more neutral—as long as their anger seems genuine rather than contrived. But as we all know, a host of contextual factors affect how others will react to our emotional displays in negotiation, including protocol, power, and our past behavior. And those contextual factors can mean that otherwise good advice doesn’t always apply.

Negotiation Skills: Become a (Negotiation) Jujitsu Master

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

If you’ve ever come away from a negotiation asking questions like this, poor communication may be to blame, write Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton in their landmark book, Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In (2nd Ed., Penguin Books, 1991).

Crisis Negotiations and Negotiation Skills Insights from the New York City Police Department Hostage Negotiations Team

Posted by & filed under Crisis Negotiations.

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.

The Program on Negotiation received an article from Jeff Thompson and Hugh McGowan, Ph.D., outlining the techniques and strategies that the New York City Police Department Hostage Negotiations Team employ while dealing with high-stakes, high-pressure crisis negotiation situations.

Jeff Thompson, a NYPD Detective, is a research scholar at Columbia University School of Law and a Ph.D. candidate at the Griffith University Law School in Queensland, Australia. Hugh McGowan is a former commanding officer of the NYPD’s Hostage Negotiation Team, having led the HNT for 13 years. The NYPD Hostage Negotiations team handles more crisis negotiations in one month than most departments do in a year and, in 2012 alone, the department handled 400 such negotiations, one of which was well over 50 hours long and included a team of 17 crisis negotiators.

Negotiation Skills: Negotiating to Give Good Advice

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Many of us advise others on the job yet fail to plan adequately for this responsibility. Set up a strong relationship by negotiating your role as advisor. Name-calling, backstabbing, and turf wars erupted among President Barack Obama’s civilian and military advisors in 2009, as he tried to devise a strategy for ending the war in Afghanistan, writes journalist Bob Woodward in his recent book, Obama’s Wars (Simon & Schuster, 2010). Granted extensive access to Obama and members of his administration, Woodward depicts a power struggle that caused the president to lash out at his advisors in frustration at times. As Woodward’s book suggests, advisors can be as much a headache as a help.

The Moral Quandary: Negotiation Exercises Featuring Ethical Dilemmas

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

In a negotiation, few issues heighten tensions faster than when one party feels that the other party has done something ethically or morally incorrect.
To help professionals prepare for times like this, the Program on Negotiation’s Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) offers a variety of negotiation exercises designed to teach participants how to handle disputes that are fraught with ethical issues.

Negotiation Skills: A Failure to Communicate

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Question: I’ve just finished reading the recent book No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller (Wiley, 2010) by Harry Markopolos, the whistle-blower in the Bernard Madoff scandal. Why do you think Markopolos was so ineffective at persuading the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that Madoff was a fraud? What does this story tell us about how to be persuasive in negotiation more generally? Answer: I read Markopolos’s book, too, and I found it to be stunning. I’ve also read quite carefully the publicly available documentation of his investigation that he provided, and I agree with his core conclusions.

Powerful Conflict Resolution Games To Help You Teach Negotiation

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

From complicated negotiation strategies to artful subterfuge, conflict resolution games are one of the very best ways to prepare for the challenges of real-world negotiation. Games that employ a Prisoner’s Dilemma structure (where rational parties may not cooperate despite their best interests) enable participants to analyze negotiations, make strategic decisions, and anticipate their counterpart’s next move.

Negotiation Skills: Are You Sure You’re Sharing?

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

If you’ve ever been annoyed by a negotiation counterpart who can’t seem to remember your interests and priorities, it could be that your communication skills, not his poor memory, are to blame. Negotiators typically aren’t as transparent as they think they are. In some cases, we think we’re revealing more information to the other side than we actually are. At other times, we fail to present information as clearly as possible. Such communication failures can pose significant problems. In one study, professors George Loewenstein and Don Moore of Carnegie Mellon University found that when information can be interpreted in different ways, differing expectations and settlement delays may result.

How to Deal When the Going Gets Tough

Posted by & filed under Conflict Management.

Most business negotiators understand that by working collaboratively with their counterparts while also advocating strongly on their own behalf, they can build agreements and longterm
relationships that benefit both sides.

During times of economic hardship, however, many negotiators abandon their commitment to cooperation and mutual gains.

Instead, they fall back on competitive tactics, threatening the other side with “take it or leave it” offers and refusing to accept concessions of any kind.

How Negotiation Exercises Can Prepare You For Cross-Cultural Negotiations

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

The increasingly diverse and global nature of business sets the stage for disputes that can cross ethnic and cultural lines—fueling the need for expertise in cross-cultural negotiations. To help teach these nuances and tactics, the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) has developed several negotiation exercises that address the challenges that are inherent to cross-cultural negotiations.

Coping with Culture at the Bargaining Table

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

Intercultural negotiations are common these days—and so are culture clashes. Here’s how to handle the added complexity such talks can bring.

Imagine that you’re the American representative of a U.S. food company, and you’re hoping to procure a new ingredient for several of your products from a German company. A representative from the company is flying in to meet with you. Do you expect your German counterpart to behave differently than the Americans you typically deal with, and if so, how? Will you adapt your negotiating style according to your expectations?

Now imagine instead that your counterpart represents a Chinese company or that your counterpart is from Mexico.

Michelle Obama: For a Win-win, Women Need to “Negotiate Hard”

Posted by & filed under Win-Win Negotiations.

When U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama was offered her first job after law school, it didn’t even occur to her to negotiate for a higher salary, she said in a recent interview in Parade magazine.

“Now I realize that that’s one of the challenges that we have as women: We don’t negotiate for ourselves,” she said. “We don’t negotiate hard.”

After the birth of her first child, Obama says she negotiated with her then-employer, the University of Chicago, to scale back to a part-time position. She now views that decision as a mistake because she ended up working just as much as she had before, but for less pay. The experience made her decide that part-time employment was a “bad deal” for women.

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

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

The recent 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 while in captivity) entered Taliban control, how the deal was crafted and executed, and what it means for the future have rapidly come forward in bits and pieces through media channels.

What is currently missing in the existing commentary is a holistic negotiation analysis. A negotiation analysis applies negotiation frameworks and theory to better understand the events that have taken place and the unfolding debates, and can provide insight into future negotiations. It also enables understanding by using a template that includes stakeholders, core interests, deal set-up and components, execution, and post-deal debate and legacy to allow for a focused discussion.

Overcoming Cultural Barriers

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Even with a common language and the best of intentions, negotiators from different cultures face special challenges. Try following these guidelines when preparing for talks with someone from a different culture:

Conflict Resolution and Negotiation Across Cultures

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

After recently losing an important deal in India, a business negotiator learned that her counterpart felt as if she had been rushing through the talks. The business negotiator thought she was being efficient with their time. How can she improve her cross-cultural negotiation skills?

Research shows that dealmaking across cultures tends to lead to worse outcomes as compared with negotiations conducted within the same culture. This is primarily because cultures are characterized by different behaviors, communication styles, and norms. As a result, when negotiating across cultures, we bring different perspectives to the bargaining table, which in turn may result in potential misunderstandings and a lower likelihood of exploring and discovering integrative, or value-creating, solutions.

With No Good BATNA, Police Negotiators Accept Texts

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

In their training, police and professional hostage negotiators are taught skills that will help them defuse tense situations over the course of long phone calls, such as engaging in active listening, determining the person’s emotions from his or her inflection, and trust building.
These crisis negotiators are being put to the test by young criminal suspects and others in crisis, whose first instinct increasingly seems to be texting rather than talking, according to an Associated Press article.

Red Bank, Tennessee, police chief Tim Christol tells the Associated Press that the usual negotiation skills he teaches don’t translate to texting, such as emotional labeling in the form of a statement such as “You sound angry.” Without verbal cues, Christol says, it becomes much more difficult to understand the emotional state of the person in crisis, and misunderstandings are common. “Words are only 7 percent of communication,” he says.

Dealmaking: Before You Sign on the Dotted Line

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

When times are tight, contracts are often broken. These days, parties on both sides of sales agreements are struggling to fulfill their promises, and contract workers are having trouble getting paid by their employers.

The result? Damaged relationships, lost business, and lawsuits. When you do manage to find new business partners in this climate, it can be tempting to rush through the contract-drafting process, file the document away quickly, and roll up your sleeves.

Negotiating with a Mediator’s Assistance: A Case Study

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

A few years ago, Stephen B. Goldberg was asked to serve as a facilitator for and adviser to a corporate team from a telecommunications firm that was preparing to negotiate with five other telecom companies on the division of radio spectrum for cellular telephone relay satellites.

Issues of Gender in Salary Negotiations: The Negotiation Skills Women Need to Succeed at the Bargaining Table and Beyond

Posted by & filed under Women and Negotiation.

Most negotiators will never engage in the kinds of high-stakes bargaining we read about in publications such as The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times, but almost every negotiator will encounter the dreaded salary negotiation during the course of her career, a scenario that is, in many ways, the definition of a “difficult conversation.”

We stress preparation for negotiations in our literature and in our Negotiation and Leadership executive education course but both research and experience recognize that even the most prepared and adept negotiator can have her planning and negotiation preparation scuttled by unforeseen circumstances and invisible barriers.

That is why women often encounter difficulty during salary negotiations, according to a recent article by Tara Siegel Bernard for the New York Times. Self-advocating for a pay raise in the workplace often places women in the unenviable role of attempting, “…to juggle when they are on a tight rope.”

Top 10 International Negotiations of 2013: Apple’s Apology in China

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

In China this April, Apple CEO Timothy D. Cook made the unusual move of apologizing to Chinese customers for his company’s warranty policy and promised to make amends, the New York Times reports.

On March 15, International Consumers’ Day in China, the nation’s largest state-run television network criticized Apple for giving iPhone customers in China a short warranty and for charging consumers to replace faulty back covers on iPhones. Apple products are immensely popular in China.

The Program on Negotiation’s MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program Releases “Collaborative Approaches to Environmental Decision-Making” Case Studies

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution, MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program.

The MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program, one of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School’s many research programs, acts as a center for research committed to thinking about and resolving disputes in the public sector. Led by its Director and Program on Negotiation executive committee member Lawrence Susskind, the MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program conducts research dealing with international environmental treaty negotiations, public sector consensus building, and advocating for the importance of the science behind any negotiations about resource management.

The Deal is Done – Now What?

Posted by & filed under Conflict Management.

At last, the deal is done. After 18 months of negotiation, eight trips across the country, and countless meetings, you’ve finally signed a contract creating a joint venture with a Silicon Valley firm to manufacture imaging devices using your technology and their engineering.

The contract is clear and precise. It covers all the contingencies and has strong enforcement mechanisms. You’ve given your company a solid foundation for a profitable new business. As you file the contract, a question dawns on you: Now what?

Program on Negotiation Faculty Discuss the Government Shutdown Negotiations

Posted by & filed under Conflict Management.

Scott Horsley, writer for National Public Radio’s “It’s All Politics,” recently interviewed Program on Negotiation faculty to discuss the negotiation strategies, and their pitfalls, currently being used by congressional Republicans and US President Barack Obama in the government shutdown negotiations.

Author of Bargaining With The Devil: When To Negotiate, When To Fight, Robert Mnookin advocates for Barack Obama to take a strong position at the bargaining table, but notes the risks: “Perhaps if he simply hangs tough, a week and a half from now, the Republicans will cave and he won’t have to do anything. But if it doesn’t happen, the consequences for all of us, for the American economy, are very, very serious.”

How to Negotiate Successfully Online: The Challenges of Virtual Negotiation

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

When you communicate in person, social norms – including body language, manners, and physical appearance – guide your behavior and ease the process. A common environment can facilitate understanding as well. Over the telephone, the speaker’s intensity, speed, and inflection provide useful social information.

As a consequence, face-to-face and telephone interactions generate greater social awareness and greater stability and cooperation than do online interactions.

Find the Right Leadership Voice

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

When the poet Walt Whitman wrote, “Surely, whoever speaks to me in the right voice, him or her shall I follow,” he conveyed the notion that persuasive communication is fundamental to effective leadership. Whitman’s words also underscore the importance of shaping leadership communications to meet individual concerns, interests, and styles.

When deciding how to communicate, recognize that the medium you choose reveals something about you and your relationship with the person you are trying to lead.

Negotiate Relationships

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Training.

Relationships are as important to leadership as they are to negotiation.

A relationship is a perceived connection that can be psychological, economic, political, or personal; whatever its basis, wise leaders, like skilled negotiators, work to foster a strong connection because effective leadership depends on it. How you negotiate your relationships with your counterpart not only determines your success at the bargaining table but also your effectiveness as a leader.

Negotiation Training: What’s Special About Technology Negotiations?

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Training.

Executives are increasingly faced with the task of negotiating in a realm that many know little about: technology.

Whether you’re bargaining over the purchase of a companywide network, coping with the possible infringement of patented technology, or seeking better customer service from a software supplier, technology negotiations have become a fact of managerial life.

How do such negotiations differ from those that are less technologically complex?

Dispute Resolution in China: Apple Apologizes for Warranty Policies

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

In China this April, Apple CEO Timothy D. Cook made the unusual move of apologizing to Chinese customers for his company’s warranty policy and promised to make amends, the New York Times reports.

On March 15, International Consumers’ Day in China, the nation’s largest state-run television network criticized Apple for giving iPhone customers in China a one-year warranty, less than the two years required under Chinese law, and for charging consumers about $90 to replace faulty back covers on iPhones.

Dealmaking: Three Deal-Drafting Pitfalls

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

The transfer of an agreement from negotiators to lawyers or other professional deal drafters can introduce three main types of mistakes. Read on to discover how you can avoid making these same mistakes at the bargaining table during your next dealmaking negotiation session.

How to DEAL with Threats

Posted by & filed under Conflict Management.

Our DEAL approach allows you to respond to threats without conveying weakness or escalating the conflict, redirecting talks toward a focus on each other’s interests.

Negotiate Conditions – And Bring Value to the Deal

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

Like a contingency, a condition to a deal is a related though far less common deal-structuring technique. A condition is an ‘if’ statement like a contingency, but, whereas a contingency depends on unknown future events, a condition is entirely within the control of the parties involved.

Negotiation Design Dimensions: A Checklist

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Here the Program on Negotiation offers a checklist of negotiation design categories. Whether your overall negotiation design is decide-announce-defend (DAD) or full-consensus (FC), or a hybrid of both, raising these issues is usually preferable to falling into a set of important decisions by default.

We Have a Deal, Now What Do We Do: Three Negotiation Tips on Implementing Your Negotiated Agreement

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

A recent article in Tufts Magazine by Program on Negotiation faculty member Jeswald Salacuse discusses an oft neglected aspect of negotiation: putting into action what negotiators agree to at the bargaining table.

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

Professor Salacuse calls this process of putting a negotiated agreement into action “the toughest challenge” in negotiation.

Prospering in a Multiparty Trade Zone

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

With thorough preparation, the help of a trained mediator, and useful reports from subgroups, participants in a multiparty negotiation should be able to find their way to the trading zone. Once they’ve arrived, the next step is to work together to ensure that everyone’s interests are met.

A Cash-Out Transaction: Cox Communications

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

On August 2, 2004, Barbara Cox Anthony and Ann Cox Chambers, two sisters who together owned 73% of Cox Communications, announced that they wanted to cash out the minority shareholders of their company. Their initial offer was $32 per share, or a 14% premium to the preannouncement trading price of approximately $28 per share.

Not-So-Privileged Information

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

The law of attorney-client privilege protects certain communications on the assumption that clients will reveal critical information to their attorneys only if they know such disclosures will not harm them in court. Despite the inadmissibility of such evidence, judges can have difficulty disregarding privileged information that sheds light on a case.

How Much Exclusivity is Enough?

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

On February 14, 2005, telecommunications giant Verizon announced that it would buy MCI for $6.75 billion in cash and Verizon stock. The announcement followed closely on the heels of two other announcements of big telecom mergers: first Sprint and Nextel, then AT&T and SBC Communications. In light of this rapid industry consolidation, only one player would be stranded without a partner: tiny Qwest Communications, whose market capitalization was less than one-fifth that of any of its soon-to-be-merged competitors.

Negotiation Skills Tips: Be a Relationship Negotiator

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

During talks, effective relationship negotiators focus on a variety of noncontractual issues, including:

Getting to know the other side well
Establishing a positive personal chemistry between the leadership of the companies involved
Understanding and respecting each other’s cultures, expectations, and goals
Putting mechanisms in place to foster communication after the contract is signed
Ensuring that the proposed deal is balanced and advantageous for both sides
Identifying and planning for potential obstacles to implementation

In Deal Making, Broaden Your Focus

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Imagine that you are in charge of renting a new location for a branch of your company in a nearby city. After researching the reputations of a number of local real estate agents, you meet with several and choose the one who seems most knowledgable and responsive.

Roger D. Fisher, 1922-2012

Choosing to Help

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

It is the spring of 1997 and I am sitting in Pound 107 while Roger Fisher ’48, Williston Professor of Law, Emeritus, is telling a story about his serving as a weather reconnaissance pilot in World War II. As a teaching assistant for the Negotiation Workshop, I have heard the story at least a dozen times by now and feel my mind wandering. And yet, against my will, as the story reaches its crescendo and the combination punch line/negotiation issue flows from Roger’s lips, I find myself involuntarily leaning forward and, a second later, helplessly bursting into laughter. The note I jot down to myself is: “All of life is about who tells better stories.”

Email: More Cons than Pros

Posted by & filed under Conflict Management.

Research suggests that email often poses more problems than solutions when it comes to relationships, information exchange, and outcomes.

Negotiating with Your Agent

Posted by & filed under 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 Atlanta.

Corporate Stakeholder Engagement and Mineral Extraction in Colombia

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution, MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program.

I want to make four simple points regarding corporate social responsibility and mineral extraction in Colombia. I presented these ideas several weeks ago at a Harvard Law School seminar sponsored by the Colombian government. We had senior officials present along with a great many Colombian graduate students studying at Boston-area schools. I think these prescriptions apply globally, but they are especially relevant in Latin America.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) provides a new point of entry for those concerned about the social and environmental impacts of mineral extraction.

Mediating Better Community Relations in New Orleans

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

On May 14, Susan Hutson, the independent police monitor for the city of New Orleans brought together community stakeholders and police officials to help formulate a program that would allow police officers and citizens to mediate minor disagreements, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. Aided by a professional mediator, citizens and officers would sit face to face with the goal of resolving citizen complaints of police professionalism and courtesy violations, according to Ursula Price, spokeswoman for Hutson’s office. Hutson hopes to launch the fledgling program, which is not yet funded, in 2014. Committee members, including representatives from various community and criminal justice groups, are charged with planning and implementing the program.

Equal Time in Mediation

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

Some scientists have long tried to identify the key drivers of success in resolving disputes. Several factors have been proposed: individualized contact that goes beyond the superficial, equal status among parties, commitment to a common goal, and institutional support. Studies have shown that when such conditions are met, parties’ attitudes toward one another often improve.

Other scholars have questioned the significance of such research, however, noting that changes in reported attitudes do not necessarily result in different behavior. This holds true whether the disputants are spouses, neighbors, or a company’s management and its employees.

Mediation in Transactional Negotiation

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

We generally think of mediation as a dispute-resolution device. Federal mediators intervene when collective bargaining breaks down. Diplomats are sometimes called in to mediate conflicts between nations.

So-called multi-door courthouses encourage litigants to mediate before incurring the costs – and risks – of going to trial.

Scott R. Peppet, a professor at the University of Colorado School of Law in Boulder, Colo., reports that mediation may be quietly creeping into transactional negotiation, or traditional deal-making, as well.

Cultural Notes

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

As members of organizations and families, we all know from experience that even people with identical backgrounds can have vastly different negotiating styles and values. Nonetheless, we continue to be intrigued by the idea that distinct patterns emerge between negotiators from different cultures.
Researchers do confirm a relationship between national culture and negotiation style and success. An ongoing research project sponsored by Northwestern University’s Dispute Resolution Research Center is exploring the link between process and outcomes – specifically, how cultural tendencies lead to certain process choices, which, in turn, can lead to better or worse negotiation results.

Speaking the Same Language

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Negotiators can find themselves talking past each other for hours, even days. Then suddenly something happens – a breakthrough. The parties begin conversing on a different plane, one that reveals solutions to problems that had seemed intractable.

Are You Listening to Me?

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

For your next negotiation, what would you pay for a gadget that shows you how well you’re engaging the other side?

It would tell you when you’ve been persuasive enough to close a deal.

It would also alert you when the other side has tuned you out, so you’d know how to take a different tack.

A team of researchers at MIT’s Media Laboratory are developing just such a device: specifically, software for cell phones and PDAs that analyzes speech patterns and tone of voice to determine how people are relating in conversation.

Did the Mortgage Foreclosure Settlement Meet Its Goals?

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

In early February, following months of difficult negotiations, the attorneys general of 49 states (all but Oklahoma) and the Obama administration reached a settlement agreement with five of the nation’s largest banks aimed at improving the stability of the U.S. housing market and punishing the banks for foreclosure abuses, the New York Times reports.

The deal was rooted in an investigation into mortgage servicing following revelations that banks were evicting borrowers based on false or incomplete documentation. The settlements gives financial relief to nearly 2 million current and former American homeowners hurt by the 2008 housing crisis through reductions in mortgage debt, home refinancing, and cash payments. Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, and Ally Financial must pay about $5 billion in fines and spend at least $20 billion in borrowers assistance.

Planting the Seeds of Peace

Posted by & filed under Middle East Negotiation Initiative, Negotiation Skills.

Tucked away in an idyllic corner of Maine is a summer camp that features many traditional American activities: singing around bonfires, flag raising ceremonies, Color Wars, and chilly dips in the lake. Less ordinary, however, are the daily dialogue sessions, where Israeli and Palestinian campers heatedly discuss their identities, homelands, politics, and pain.

Meet Seeds of Peace, the organization that runs this one-of-a-kind camp – and our client organization for a very unique clinical project. We – Krystyna Wamboldt (JD ’12), Rachel Krol (JD ’12), and Professor Robert Bordone (JD ’97) – partnered with Seeds of Peace to lead a skills-building workshop for the organization’s older youth, focused on interests-based, problem-solving negotiation.

As part of the Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program (HNMCP), our three person team traveled to Jerusalem in January 2012 to teach negotiation and mediation skills to a group of Israeli and Palestinian teenagers, all former campers at Seeds of Peace. For three days, the “Seeds” did a range of activities, including several role-plays and active listening exercises. On the final day of the program, the students put their new skills to use in a group negotiation simulation about the conflict in Northern Ireland.

“It was incredible to look around the room and see both Palestinian and Israelis working together during the Ireland simulation,” said Rachel. “It was a challenging negotiation, yet they were communicating effectively, asking questions, listening to each other, and asserting their own interests while working towards a common goal. It was a wonderful sight!”

Should Your Boss Be at the Negotiation Table?

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Imagine that you are about to begin a negotiation whose subject matter is squarely within your area of responsibility at my company. However, the dollar amounts at stake are so large that you are tempted to kick it upstairs to your boss, or at least involve your boss directly in the negotiation. What are the pros and cons of doing so?

Business Negotiations: Spoiler Alert!

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

At one time or another, most of us have confronted a fellow negotiator who seemed intent on blocking even our most reasonable requests and actions. This was the situation faced by Alexis, the CIO at a midsize publishing company. Phil, the company’s CEO, hired Alexis to create an online information system tailored to the needs of their largest customers.

Capitalize on the Similarity Effect

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

The evidence from social science is clear: people’s behavior is powerfully influenced by the actions of those who are like them. A classic study by Harvey Hornstein, Elisha Fisch, and Michael Holmes found that New York City residents were highly likely to return a lost wallet after learning that a “similar other”—another New Yorker—had first tried to do so. But evidence that a dissimilar other—a foreigner—had tried to return the wallet did not increase the likelihood that they would try. When people are trying to determine how to act, they pay attention to how others like them behave in the same situation.