Business Negotiations

Effective business negotiation is a core leadership and management skill. This is the ability to negotiate effectively in a wide range of business contexts, including dealmaking, employment discussions, corporate team building, labor/management talks, contracts, handling disputes, employee compensation, business acquisitions, vendor pricing and sales, real estate leases, and the fulfillment of contract obligations. Business negotiation is critical to be creative in any negotiation in a business setting. Business negotiation strategies include breaking the problem into smaller parts, considering unusual deal terms, and having your side brainstorm new ideas.

Leveraging the contrast effect is also a powerful tool in negotiations. You might ask for more than you realistically expect, accept rejection, and then shade your offer downward. Your counterpart is likely to find a reasonable offer even more appealing after rejecting an offer that’s out of the question. Additionally, offering several equivalent offers that aim higher than your counterpart is likely to accept will elicit reactions that can help you frame a subsequent set that, thanks in part to the contrast effect, are more likely to hit the mark.

Building a team is critical to negotiations in business. To prevent conflicts among diverse, strong-minded team members from overshadowing group goals, negotiation teams should spend at least twice as much time preparing for upcoming talks as they expect to spend at the table. Because the other side will be ready and willing to exploit any chinks in your team’s armor, it’s important to hash out your differences in advance.

Other business negotiation tips include curbing overconfidence, creating value in the negotiation, establishing a powerful BATNA, effective use of emotions at the bargaining table, caucusing, delineating your zone of possible agreement, and other skills geared toward an integrative bargaining outcome rather than a distributive, or haggling, bargaining outcome.

In addition, considering the ethical and legal repercussions of a deal to insure that it is a true win-win is the hallmark of every experienced business negotiator.

Articles include many business negotiation examples, and explore concepts such as creative dealmaking, renegotiating unfavorable deals, seeking advice from a negotiation opponent, identifying a solid BATNA and crafting draft agreements.

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Signing Bonus Negotiation 101

Katie Shonk   •  11/04/2019   •  Filed in Business Negotiations

Signing bonus negotiation

After engaging in a successful salary negotiation for a coveted job, most people are ready to shake hands and start sharing the good news with friends and family. But these days, there may be one more negotiation you should consider launching before saying yes: a signing bonus negotiation. … Read More 

How to Negotiate a Business Deal

Katie Shonk   •  11/04/2019   •  Filed in Business Negotiations

How to Negotiate a Business Deal

In late 2016 and early 2017, news stories abounded of companies that were having second thoughts about planned mega-mergers. Abbott Laboratories began looking for ways to exit its acquisition of Alere, citing investigations of the medical test maker, for example. And Verizon started rethinking its acquisition of Yahoo! following a data breach at the tech … Read More 

New Conflict Management Skills: Understand How to Resolve “Hot Conflicts”

PON Staff   •  10/31/2019   •  Filed in Business Negotiations

conflict management

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 

Panda Diplomacy and Business Negotiations: Applying Soft Power

PON Staff   •  10/31/2019   •  Filed in Business Negotiations

business negotiations

In 2011, Emiko Okuyama, the mayor of Sendai, Japan, launched a business 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 … Read More 

Deal with Last-Minute Demands

PON Staff   •  10/24/2019   •  Filed in Business Negotiations, Daily

win-win solutions

Adapted from “When They Slice the Deal Too Thin,” by Michael Wheeler (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter.

Suppose that, after months of negotiation, you reach a detailed agreement with a customer and shake hands. A week later, the customer’s procurement officer calls to tell you that there have to be some … Read More 

3 Team-Building Techniques for Successful Negotiations

Katie Shonk   •  10/22/2019   •  Filed in Business Negotiations

team-building techniques

Newly formed teams are often encouraged or even required to engage in team-building techniques and exercises, which might range from volunteering at a nonprofit together to sharing little-known secrets about each other to building a tower out of marshmallows and spaghetti. Although such activities can be effective at building bonds and trust, they don’t do … Read More 

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