Back-and-forth communication designed to reach an agreement between two or more parties with some interests that are shared and others that may conflict or simply be different. Negotiation is an intrinsic part of any kind of joint action, problem solving, and dispute resolution, and may be verbal, nonverbal, explicit, implicit, direct, or through intermediaries. (Michael L. Moffitt and Robert C. Bordone, eds., Handbook of Dispute Resolution [Program on Negotiation/Jossey-Bass, 2005], 279). See Also: How Negotiation Exercises Can Prepare You for Cross-Cultural Negotiations, Cooperation in Congress? Liberals and Libertarians Polish Their Negotiation Skills, Dealmaking and Business Negotiations: 6 Tips for Novice Hagglers.
Learn how to negotiate like a diplomat, think on your feet like an improv performer, and master job offer negotiation like a professional athlete when you download a FREE copy of Negotiation Skills: Negotiation Strategies and Negotiation Techniques to Help You Become a Better Negotiator.
The following items are tagged Negotiation Skills.
To turn up the heat on opponents, negotiators sometimes advertise their grievances.
Here’s negotiation skills advice on when it’s a good idea to be vocal—and when to keep talks private.
The decision seemed nonsensical.
Early on the morning of March 7, 2010, with the Academy Awards telecast just hours away, the Walt Disney Company pulled the signal on WABC, its New York–area station. Residents in the New York area awoke to learn they might have to scramble to watch the Oscars via satellite at bars or friends’ homes.
On June 19, Republican Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky, a libertarian, teamed up with two liberal Democrats, Zoe Lofgren of California and Rush D. Holt of New Jersey, to push through an amendment that places new prohibitions on the National Security Agency and the CIA’s surveillance operations, including barring the agencies from engaging in warrantless collection of Americans’ online activity, the Times reports.
Whether you’re purchasing a new home or car, or negotiating a discount on an inventory purchase for your firm, the art of haggling enables negotiators to make a strong claim for their share of the pie. Here are six tips from the Negotiation Briefings newsletter to help you start becoming a better at haggling in business negotiations.
Just like the prices of houses, cars, and other big-ticket items, the prices of furniture, electronics, wine, jewelry, another “medium-ticket” goods are now frequently up for discussion. The ancient art of haggling—the back-and-forth dance of offers and concessions between buyer and seller—is making a comeback, and you would do well to brush up on your skills.
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.
Most negotiation advice centers on the mistakes all of us make. But individual differences in personality, intelligence, and outlook could also affect your talks.
To encourage the negotiators they supervise to do their best, managers routinely rely on performance benchmarks, the promise of bonuses, and other types of goals. But before you engage in further goal setting, consider the following real-life disasters: Under the leadership of turnaround expert Q.T. Wiles, quarterly earnings goals became a company wide obsession at disk drive manufacturer MiniScribe in the 1980s.
In just one example of the unethical behavior inspired by the race for higher earnings, employees shipped bricks disguised as hard drives. Rampant fraud was revealed, and MiniScribe went bankrupt. In the early 1990s, Sears, Roebuck and Co. gave its auto repair staff the goal of achieving$147 per hour in sales. To reach this challenging goal, staff overcharged for work and made unnecessary repairs. The scandal broke, and Sears’s reputation suffered for years. In the years leading up to its collapse, energy-trading company Enron promised its salespeople large bonuses for meeting challenging revenue goals.
In a related maneuver aimed at protecting the weaker party to the deal, courts might infer additional terms within the contract or expand common-law notions of fiduciary duty.
Consider the famous case of the Page brothers – let’s call them “Big Page” and “Little Page” for simplicity – who started a linen supply company in Santa Maria, California, in the late 1940s.
Big Page was the brains of the operations; Little Page supplied equal capital but deferred to his older brother’s expertise.
Business was slow for several years, and the partnership lost money.
On February 11, House of Representatives Speaker John A. Boehner reportedly rendered his Republican colleagues speechless. At a meeting of the Republican Capitol Hill Club, Boehner announced that he would bring to a vote a measure to raise the U.S. government’s borrowing limit without preconditions until March 2015, as reported in the New York Times.
The move was widely viewed as a surrender and a violation of the speaker’s own “Boehner Rule,” which requires that any increase in the debt ceiling be matched by equal spending cuts or changes to the budget. By holding the vote, Boehner ended a series of budget showdowns held over the past three years, each of which shook global confidence in the U.S. economy.
No matter how many right moves you make at the table – however skillfully you read body language, frame arguments, make offers and counteroffers – doing so at the wrong table can undercut your results.
Not only should you negotiate right, you should do the right negotiation. Sometimes this means looking with new eyes for a more promising table.
For example, the owners of a niche packaging company that boasted an innovative technology and a novel product were deep in price negotiations to sell the company to one of three potential industry buyers, all larger packaging operations. The owners’ first instinct had been to persuade their bankers of the need for a higher valuation, refine their at-the-table negotiating tactics for dealing with each major player, and try to spark a bidding war.
In negotiation, a combination of several negotiation skills and tactics may be needed to break past a difficult impasse. A recent protracted negotiation between North Korea and South Korea provides a case study.
In April, North Korea abruptly removed its workforce from the Kaesong Industrial Complex, a joint venture it launched within its borders nine years ago with South Korea. The complex shut down, and the two nations engaged in seven rounds of negotiations over the course of 133 days to try to reach agreement to reopen it.
Lectures, like publications such as this one, are an excellent means of transmitting knowledge from an expert to a less knowledgeable audience.
I have attended many amazing lectures on a multitude of topics and have learned fascinating information about the ecosystem, politics in different nations, animal species, and so on. I even have enjoyed hearing negotiation experts talk about the keys to their success. However, I am not at all confident that any particular lecture has improved my negotiation skills.
In his article, “Full Engagement: Learning the Most from Negotiation Simulations,” Lawrence Susskind discussed the value of learning negotiation skills by participating in simulations. To explain why simulations are so effective, Susskind overview psychologist Kurt Lewin’s model of change.
In the The Third Side, William Ury suggests several concrete steps that you can take to start mobilizing the third-side approach to tackle naggling conflicts.
To your negotiation toolkit, consider adding a new skill: mind mapping.
In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Zack Anchors describes how financial advisor Rob O’Dell of Wheaton Wealth Partners of Wheaton, Illinois used the unconventional technique in an attempt to help a client negotiate the sale of his shares of the family business to his younger brother, who hoped to pass the business on to his children.
There are three major reasons that managers are reluctant to seek the assistance they need.
Preparation. Practice. Persistence. Those qualities make for a good firefighter, and as Nantucket Firefighter Nate Barber learned from working with Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program (HNMCP) students, they also make for a good negotiator.
As a member of Nantucket’s Local 2509 of the International Association of Firefighters and a former undergraduate negotiation student at Boston University, Mr. Barber knew relations between the Town of Nantucket’s management and his union could be better. Since the firefighters’ contracts only lasted two or three years and the negotiation process itself often took that long, the union and the management sat down for contract negotiations every year. And every year, the negotiations spilled over into the next year or, if it was the final year of the contract, went to arbitration. This impacted everyone: arbitration provoked more fighting, poorer relations, and less of what everyone wanted. They hadn’t had a mutual agreement for six years. As one of the interested parties, though, Mr. Barber knew he was not the person to fix a broken bargaining system.
With its booming economy and growing international consumer influence, negotiation skills appropriate for China is in high-demand. Here are a few tips to help you successfully navigate your next round of negotiations in China.
A passive approach to learning rarely leads to future negotiation success. To maximize your training experience, follow these guidelines.
How would you characterize your negotiating style: Are you collaborative, competitive, or compromising? If you have trouble answering that question, you’re probably not alone. That’s because skilled negotiators typically take on all these styles during a negotiation: they listen closely and collaborate to create value, they compete for the biggest slice of the pie, and they make compromises when necessary.
Negotiating by email poses a set of challenges that one doesn’t often encounter in face-to-face negotiations.
Without the benefit of seeing your counterpart’s body language, what one person might intend to be a straightforward request the other might perceive to be rude.
A legitimate delay responding to an email offer by one party might be construed by the other as a dirty negotiating tactic. If the subject matter being negotiated has an emotional element, the lack of seeing the other party’s facial expression could lead to big misunderstandings.
Negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the National Hockey League Player’s Association (NHLPA) and the NHL’s team owners took a tumultuous turn in mid-August, a month before the current agreement’s looming expiration date of September 15.
Negotiation preparation is as much an organizational task as an individual one. For example, when determining their best alternative to a negotiated agreement or BATNA (the point at which the negotiators ought to walk away from the table), executives should check in with key organizational leaders. If senior managers are unwilling to invest time in such a conversation – or if they offer less-than-helpful advice such as, “Whatever you do, don’t lose that account!” – an executive can’t be held responsible for poor negotiation preparation.
How can organizations capitalize on negotiation experience? Through reflective practice: the process of considering the results of each negotiation in light of initial expectations and then discussing what ought to be tried next. While each negotiator must take initiative for reflective practice, to truly learn from experience, most need continual coaching from mentors.
To further improve negotiations, a company could publish an internal negotiation newsletter that can be distributed through a secure company intranet. Each month, the person overseeing the newsletter could choose a negotiation involving someone within the company.
The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, in conjunction with the Future of Diplomacy Project at Harvard Kennedy School, honored distinguished statesman and former Secretary of State James A. Baker III as the recipient of their Great Negotiator Award for 2012. Secretary Baker served under President George H.W. Bush from 1989 to 1992.
A panel discussion was held on the afternoon of March 29 and included Program on Negotiation faculty members James Sebenius and Robert Mnookin, as well as Harvard Kennedy School faculty member Nicholas Burns. The Great Negotiator Award was created twelve years ago by the Program on Negotiation to recognize an individual whose lifetime achievements in the field of negotiation and dispute resolution have had a lasting impact.
Often it is the relatively small details of an agreement that can cause the most consternation in negotiation. When viewed in light of the big picture, these details can be of minor importance, but while in the heat of the action they can become points of contention capable of derailing the process altogether, especially if these points are left unresolved and the two parties have to come back to the negotiating table again in the future. Tufts University Fletcher School of Diplomacy professor and Program on Negotiation faculty member Jeswald Salacuse recently described four such scenarios in his article “The Endgame” for the Winter 2012 edition of Tufts Magazine.
Professor Salacuse emphasizes that having good negotiation skills while in the midst of battle is important, but of equal importance is the ability to execute a good endgame. Professor Salacuse offers four methods to close the deal:
Set a deadline.
Not all issues have to be decided immediately.
Invite an influential third-party.
Solicit the opinions of an expert.
Tensions between the Humane Society of the United States and United Egg Producers have existed for more than a decade. When the two sides are asked why they don’t come together to negotiate their differences, each answers that the other is someone with whom negotiation is difficult if not impossible. Often it is those parties with whom we dread having a negotiation to reconcile differences are the ones we need to focus on the most in order to achieve our goals. How do you negotiate with someone whose interests seem so contrary to your own? Sometimes, even in the most difficult negotiations, a win-win outcome is possible. How can forming a novel alliance help your organization in its next negotiation with an intolerable counterpart?
Negotiation is not only something we do at work; often the toughest negotiations we encounter are in our personal lives. In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Daniel Shapiro, Associate Director of the Harvard Negotiation Project and a faculty affiliate with the Program on Negotiation, offers some suggestions on how negotiation skills can be used to repair friendships that are strained or broken. To start, suggests Shapiro, don’t assume that the other party is going to be ready right away to return to a close relationship. By listening closely to the concerns and feelings expressed by a friend, and understanding their perspective, one can begin to rebuild trust, a key component in any relationship.
For decades, General Electric (GE) and the Environmental Protection Agency sparred over who would pay for the removal of PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, that GE had discharged into New York’s Hudson River, a cleanup project expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars. In October 2005, the two sides came to an agreement.
In the midst of the recent financial crisis, accusations of greed on Wall Street have sounded across the globe. Greed may be a significant factor in the collapse of credit markets, but it’s not the only one. Overlooked in cries to punish the “bad apples” is the role of a mistake that virtually all negotiators make: ignoring how our short-term decisions will affect us and others in the future.
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.
Welcome to the new website for the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School! As we come fully online, we welcome your comments and patience as we finish launching the new site. We hope to be a resource for you by providing comprehensive information on all aspects of negotiation and conflict management through our research, conferences, courses, publications, and special events. We hope you find this website useful and come back often!
On May 6, 2009, Hal Movius and Larry Susskind spoke about their new book “Built to Win: Creating a World Class Negotiating Organization” (Harvard Business Publishing) at an author’s reception in the PON Library. Movius and Susskind were available to sign copies of their book and answer questions.