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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What’s Relevant?

PON Staff   •  05/09/2011   •  Filed in Daily, Negotiation Skills

Adapted from “Option Overload? Manage the Options on the Table,” by Chris Guthrie (professor, Vanderbilt University Law School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, August 2007.

When choosing among multiple options, negotiators should identify and evaluate the relevant attributes of each option and, if possible, make tradeoffs among them. This approach requires us to factor in … Read What’s Relevant? 

The Ambidextrous Negotiator

PON Staff   •  05/03/2011   •  Filed in Negotiation Skills

Adapted from “Evenhanded Decision Making,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, May 2006.

As discussed in past issues of the Negotiation newsletter, anchoring and framing can bias important decisions in negotiation. A buyer may make a more generous offer than she intended, for example, after a seller drops anchor on a bold demand. A litigant who … Read The Ambidextrous Negotiator 

How to Avoid the Status Trap

PON Staff   •  05/02/2011   •  Filed in Daily, Negotiation Skills

Adapted from “Don’t Get Stuck in the Status Trap,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, September 2009.

Graduating MBA students often tend to choose their first postgraduate jobs based on vivid aspects of their job offers, such as a high starting salary or the prestige of the firm, Harvard Business School professor Max H. Bazerman has … Read How to Avoid the Status Trap  

Dealing with Busy People

PON Staff   •  04/25/2011   •  Filed in Daily, Negotiation Skills

Adapted from “Write First, Talk Later? Using Drafts to Make Deals,” by Jeswald Salacuse (professor, Tufts University), first published in the Negotiation newsletter.

How can you gain an edge when you’re in the seemingly weak position of negotiating a favor from a government or a powerful bureaucracy? Present the other side with a draft agreement that … Read Dealing with Busy People 

When Not to Trust Your Gut

PON Staff   •  04/22/2011   •  Filed in Daily, Negotiation Skills

Max H. Bazerman (Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School) and Deepak Malhotra (Associate Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School)

Intuition can sabotage your negotiations without your awareness. In this article, the authors explore why we often think irrationally and reveal four practical strategies for how and when to abandon intuition … Read When Not to Trust Your Gut 

Learning from Negotiation Training

PON Staff   •  04/19/2011   •  Filed in Daily, Negotiation Skills

Adapted from “Putting Negotiation Training to Work,” by Max H. Bazerman (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter.

Many executives read books and newsletters to improve their negotiating skills. Many also take time out of their busy work lives to attend classes and training programs, including ones focused on negotiation. Their teachers pass … Read Learning from Negotiation Training 

Metaphors Are Bridges: They Can Connect You to the Other Side—or Collapse Disastrously

PON Staff   •  04/15/2011   •  Filed in Daily, Negotiation Skills

Tufts Magazine: Negotiating Life

Jeswald W. Salacuse (Henry J. Baker Professor of Law; former Dean, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University; author of The Global Negotiator and Seven Secrets for Negotiating with Government)

When used prudently, metaphors can dissolve barriers between two sides in a negotiation. They can just as easily alienate and dissuade, when … Learn More About This Program 

Put Apologies in Your Toolbox

PON Staff   •  04/12/2011   •  Filed in Daily, Negotiation Skills

Adapted from “Regain Your Counterpart’s Trust with an Apology,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter.

The problem: Whether you meant to or not, you’ve hurt or offended your negotiating counterpart through your words or actions. Perhaps you’ve shown up late for an appointment one time too many, neglected to follow through on a key contract term, … Read Put Apologies in Your Toolbox 

When Negotiators Act Like Parasites

PON Staff   •  04/11/2011   •  Filed in Negotiation Skills

Adapted from “Creating Values, Weighing Values,” by Max H. Bazerman (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter.

In April 2001, the FTC filed a complaint accusing pharmaceutical companies Schering-Plough and Upsher-Smith of restricting trade. Upsher-Smith had been preparing to introduce a generic pharmaceutical product that would threaten a near monopoly held by Schering-Plough. … Read When Negotiators Act Like Parasites 

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