Dealmaking is defined as the art of crafting deals through negotiations focused on an integrative, or value-creating process, rather than through distributive bargaining, or a haggling process. Dealmaking includes the range of activities both at the bargaining table and away from it that seek to bring two or more parties together toward some common end, whether it is the sale of an asset, a vendor agreement, or a merger between corporations. The Program on Negotiation emphasizes integrative bargaining in its dealmaking literature and teaches methods and techniques from this school of thought in its executive education 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 and successfully closing a deal. Other critical factors in successfully making deals include strategic behavior – the unwillingness of one or both sides to make a best offer – psychological factors, lack of a deadline, poorly-prepared formal documents and refusal to allow the other side to make a graceful exit, even when they’ve agreed to your demands.

Strategies for successful dealmaking include tactics such as creating more value by exploring hidden interests and adding issues that appeal to your bargaining opponent. Another tactic is recruiting a third party mediator when the dealmaking process is at an impasse. Sometimes, Harvard experts find, it pays to be the first person to make an offer, while at other times, it pays to wait.

Articles from the Program on Negotiation focus on a vast array of dealmaking strategies, and explore the latest concepts such as expanding the pie, “negotiauctions,” anchors in negotiation and bartering.

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Dear Negotiation Coach: Deal Structuring and Negotiating with “Bad Acts”

PON Staff   •  06/21/2022   •  Filed in Dealmaking

deal structuring and negotiating

Deal structuring and negotiating can feel challenging in the best of situations. But when you’re dealing with “bad acts,” there are additional factors to consider when you structure your negotiation strategy. This is what one reader asked about when facing a deal to buy out a company. Here’s their question:
Q: I work for an international … Learn More About This Program 

When Good Negotiations Go Sour: When Mark Wahlberg Asked for More

PON Staff   •  05/26/2022   •  Filed in Dealmaking

good negotiations

Good negotiations can easily be spoiled when the outcome is in poor taste.

After actor Kevin Spacey faced multiple accusations of sexual misconduct in late 2017, director Ridley Scott and Imperative Entertainment, the company that produced and financed the film All the Money in the World, decided to edit Spacey out of the film and hire … Learn More About This Program 

Dear Negotiation Coach: Is Age a Factor to Bargaining in Good Faith?

PON Staff   •  04/12/2022   •  Filed in Dealmaking

bargaining in good faith

Perhaps even more than in person, bargaining in good faith is essential in negotiations conducted through email. With no visual cues or body language, there can be numerous assumptions, both beneficial and otherwise, that can impact a deal between two people. Such was the case in a recent question we received regarding whether age should … Learn More About This Program 

Trump’s Negotiating Style as President-Elect

PON Staff   •  02/14/2022   •  Filed in Dealmaking

trump negotiating style

Donald J. Trump entered the Oval Office with considerable dealmaking experience in the business world. But his blank slate as an elected official combined with his fluctuating positions on key issues such as immigration and tax policy throughout the presidential race left many wondering what his negotiating style would be.

In the months between being elected U.S. president … Read Trump’s Negotiating Style as President-Elect 

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