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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New Negotiation Tactics for Your Multiparty Negotiation Toolkit

PON Staff   •  12/09/2021   •  Filed in Dealmaking

negotiation tactics

“Confessionals.” “Informal informals.” “Indabas.” Delegates from the 196 nations participating in the U.N. Climate Change Conference, held in Paris at the end of 2015, cycled through an eclectic variety of negotiating formats in their race to make binding commitments to lower greenhouse-gas emissions. According to media reports, the participants’ willingness to shake up the complex … Learn More About This Program 

Closing the Deal in Negotiations: Should “Deal” Be a Dirty Word?

Katie Shonk   •  11/08/2021   •  Filed in Dealmaking

closing the deal in negotiations

When negotiators take a long-term approach to deal-making, the result is typically a win-win. Rather than simply trying to sign a contract on favorable terms, negotiators who discuss how those terms might play out over the life of the contract are more likely to set the partnership up for success. After all, when negotiators merely … Learn More About This Program 

Consensus Building on the Court?

PON Staff   •  11/01/2021   •  Filed in Dealmaking

Consensus Building

When making decisions, groups often hold a simple vote and allow the majority to get its way. But groups that instead work to reach decisions through consensus building tend to reach agreements that are more stable, more efficient, and wiser than groups that make decisions through majority rule, write Lawrence E. Susskind and Jeffrey L. … Read Consensus Building on the Court? 

Dear Negotiation Coach: How Can I Use Deal Structuring and Negotiating to Resolve an Impasse?

PON Staff   •  09/14/2021   •  Filed in Dealmaking

deal structuring and negotiating

When two sides seem far apart on a contract dispute, careful and creative deal structuring and negotiating can often result in a winning agreement for both sides. Here’s an example of how that might look in a business deal, based on a question we recently received.

“My company, a large multinational, contracts with an outside vendor … Learn More About This Program 

How to Counter Offer Successfully With a Strong Rationale

PON Staff   •  08/26/2021   •  Filed in Dealmaking

how to counter offer

In negotiation, some justifications are more persuasive than others, research suggests. And learning how to counter offer in the right way can make significant differences in outcomes. For example, imagine that you are a café owner who is soliciting quotes for a redesign of your space. One of the interior designers you’ve been talking to … Learn More About This Program 

Dear Negotiation Coach: Am I Using Deceptive Tactics in Negotiation?

PON Staff   •  08/17/2021   •  Filed in Dealmaking

deceptive tactics in negotiation

Ethical negotiators try not to use deceptive tactics in negotiation situations. However, there’s one negotiation technique that may not feel deceptive, but it can slip under the radar and cause problems later. We spoke with Francesca Gino, Tandon Family Professor of Business Administration, Negotiation, Organizations and Markets Unit at Harvard Business School. We asked her … Learn More About This Program 

In Negotiation, it’s All in the Timing

PON Staff   •  07/15/2021   •  Filed in Dealmaking


Back on July 11, 2000, U.S. president Bill Clinton welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat to a summit at Camp David aimed at resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict once and for all. The summit covered various contentious issues, including territory, settlements, security, and the status of refugees.

After about two weeks, … Read In Negotiation, it’s All in the Timing 

Bipartisan Agreement Proved Elusive in 2017 Immigration Negotiations

PON Staff   •  05/24/2021   •  Filed in Dealmaking

People holding signs at a protest or rally that say "immigrants are great" - Bipartisan Agreement Proved Elusive in 2017 Immigration Negotiations

On September 5, 2017, President Donald Trump announced that in six months he would phase out Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Obama-era policy that has shielded from deportation about 800,000 people brought to the United States illegally as children. Members of Congress seeking permanent protections for the so-called Dreamers covered under DACA then … Learn More About This Program 

Dear Negotiation Coach: How to Negotiate Price and Start Off on the Right Foot

PON Staff   •  05/11/2021   •  Filed in Dealmaking

how to negotiate price

Do you know how to negotiate price? Is there a better way to approach this type of negotiation that differs from other negotiation strategies? In this week’s Dear Negotiation Coach column, we answer the question.


I’m trying to decide whether to make the first offer in a price negotiation. I’ve heard arguments in favor of both … Learn More About This Program 

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