Negotiation Skills

Negotiation is a deliberative process between two or more actors that seek a solution to a common issue or who are bartering over an item of value. Negotiation skills include the range of negotiation techniques negotiators employ to create value and claim value in their dealmaking business negotiations and beyond. Negotiation skills can help you make deals, solve problems, manage conflicts, and build relationships as well as preserve relationships. Negotiation skills can be learned with conscious effort and should be practiced once learned.

Negotiation training includes the range of activities and exercises negotiators undertake to improve their skills and techniques. Role-play simulations developed from real-world research and negotiation case studies, negotiation training provides benefits for teams and individuals seeking to create and claim more value in their negotiations.

The right skills allow you to maximize the value of your negotiated outcomes by effectively navigating the negotiation process from setup to commitment to implementation.

Negotiation training courses include Negotiation and Leadership: Dealing with Difficult People and Problems, the Advanced Negotiation Master Class, Harvard Negotiation Institute programs, and the PON graduate seminars.

This training allows negotiators to:

  • Acquire a systematic framework for analyzing and understanding negotiation
  • Assess and heighten awareness of your strengths and weaknesses as a negotiator
  • Learn how to create and maximize value in negotiations
  • Gain problem-solving techniques for distributing value fairly while strengthening relationships
  • Develop skills to deal with difficult negotiators and hard-bargaining tactics
  • Learn how to match the process to the context
  • Discover how effectively to manage and coordinate across and behind-the-table negotiations
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Making threats strategically

PON Staff   •  11/21/2011   •  Filed in Negotiation Skills

In negotiation, the time, energy, and resources that you devote to reaching agreement can suggest that you’re desperate for a deal—any deal. The greater your investment in the negotiation, the less credible the threat of walking away becomes.

In such instances, one way to make this threat more credible is to find someone else to take … Read More 

Address your negotiation jitters

PON Staff   •  11/15/2011   •  Filed in Negotiation Skills

The prospect of negotiating often sparks anxiety, especially if substantive or emotional stakes are high. The mere thought of failing can be self-fulfilling. In sports, it’s called choking. While negotiators don’t have to worry about fans’ reaction to dropping the ball in a packed stadium, critical voices can come from within. The negotiation process is … Read More 

Choose the right messenger

PON Staff   •  11/14/2011   •  Filed in Negotiation Skills

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 … Read More 

“Advice for the Advisor” by Jeswald W. Salacuse

PON Staff   •  11/11/2011   •  Filed in Negotiation Skills

Jeswald Salacuse

Jeswald W. Salacuse, (professor, Tufts University), explores the five principles behind offering beneficial advice. Salacuse’s five essential rules (listed below) are drawn from his book, The Wise Advisor.

Know your advisee. Clients are not interchangable. Don’t generalize with your advice; instead, try to understand the particular needs and perspectives of your clients.
Help, or at … Read More 

Are you asking enough questions?

PON Staff   •  11/08/2011   •  Filed in Negotiation Skills

At the time of the final presidential debate between President Jimmy Carter and challenger Ronald Reagan during the 1980 election campaign, the U.S. economy was tanking and the Iranian hostage crisis smoldering. Ronald Reagan used his concluding statement of the debate to address a string of questions to the nation that highlighted Carter’s vulnerabilities: “Are … Read More 

Negotiate for what you really want

PON Staff   •  11/08/2011   •  Filed in Negotiation Skills

It may seem elementary, but one of the first questions you should ask when you’re thinking about negotiating for an important purchase is whether you truly want or need it.

We tend to assume that future events—such as buying a new car or signing a seemingly important contract—will have a lasting impact on our overall happiness. … Read More 

Capitalize on negotiator differences

PON Staff   •  11/01/2011   •  Filed in Negotiation Skills

Adapted from “What Divides You May Unite You,” by James K. Sebenius (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, July 2005.

Some years ago, an English property development firm had assembled most of the land outside London that it needed to build a large regional hospital. Yet a key parcel remained, and its … Read More 

Professor Shapiro in the Harvard Gazette

PON Staff   •  10/28/2011   •  Filed in Negotiation Skills

Daniel L. Shapiro, an assistant professor of psychology, invited a special guest lecturer, actor Richard Olivier (Sir Laurence Olivier’s son), to give a talk to his Harvard negotiation and conflict management class about William Shakespeare’s play, “Henry V.” Olivier and Shapiro showed how the play offers powerful examples on why being an inspired leader helps … Read More 

Dealing with emotions during tough economic times

PON Staff   •  10/27/2011   •  Filed in Negotiation Skills

A major measure of the economy is the prevailing mood. A bleak job market and less-than-rosy economic outlook influence how we feel in an organization. Tighter budgets and increased layoffs are causes for concern, and many of us respond with “fight or flight” behavior.  We defend our turf or avoid tense conversations in the hopes … Read More 

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