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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The Upside of Anger

PON Staff   •  01/04/2011   •  Filed in Daily, Negotiation Skills

Adapted from “Will Your Emotions Get the Upper Hand?” first published in the Negotiation newsletter.

Angry individuals approach situations with confidence, a sense of control, and negative thoughts about others. In negotiation, these tendencies can trigger overconfidence, unrealistic optimism, and aggression, yet they buffer decision makers from indecision, risk aversion, and overanalysis, write professors Jennifer … Read More 

An Excuse for Selfishness

PON Staff   •  12/21/2010   •  Filed in Daily, Negotiation Skills

Adapted from “Justifying Selfishness,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter.

In a study of selfishness in negotiation, Fei Song of York University and C. Bram Cadsby and Tristan Morris of the University of Guelph had participants play the “dictator game,” adapted from the experimental economics literature. In this game, Party A is given a sum of … Read More 

Always Connect

PON Staff   •  12/20/2010   •  Filed in Daily, Negotiation Skills

Adapted from “Build the Right Connection,” by Jeswald Salacuse (professor, Tufts University), first published in the Negotiation newsletter.

To hold the attention of your counterparts, you need to connect with them as early as possible in the negotiation. A human connection with the other side not only distinguishes you from your competitors and other parties they … Read More 

Frames of Mind: Good Negotiations Can Depend on Finding the Right Approach to the Issues

PON Staff   •  12/17/2010   •  Filed in Daily, Negotiation Skills

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)

The way you characterize or frame a situation can influence people’s thinking in a negotiation. Setting the terms can help, or hinder, your side. In … Read More 

The Regretful Negotiator

PON Staff   •  12/13/2010   •  Filed in Daily, Negotiation Skills

Adapted from “Second Thoughts,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter.

“Of all sad words of tongue or pen,” wrote the poet John Greenleaf Whittier, “the saddest are these: ‘It might have been.'” Many negotiators would second that sentiment. Regret can be a powerful emotion when a deal slips through our fingers or when we kick ourselves … Read More 

How and When to Negotiate with an Adversary

PON Staff   •  12/10/2010   •  Filed in Daily, Negotiation Skills

Robert Mnookin (Samuel Williston Professor of Law; Harvard Law School; Chair, Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School; author of “Bargaining with the Devil”; co-author of “Beyond Winning”)

What factors determine whether you should negotiate? What things influence the bargaining process? Should you negotiate with your “enemy”? If so, how? In this piece, Robert Mnookin draws … Read More 

New PON Teaching Materials About the Work of Martti Ahtisaari, 2010 Great Negotiator Award Recipient

PON Staff   •  12/09/2010   •  Filed in Daily, International Negotiation, Negotiation Skills, Pedagogy at PON

The Program on Negotiation’s 2010 Great Negotiator Award was given to former Finnish President, Martti Ahtisaari, for his many significant achievements in the fields of negotiation and diplomacy. He was central to the Namibian independence negotiations in the late 1980s. He also served as chief United Nations negotiator to Kosovo from 2005-2006, and was instrumental … Read More 

Harvard Law School Hosts 2010 American Bar Association Regional Negotiation Competition

PON Staff   •  12/07/2010   •  Filed in Daily, Harvard Negotiators, Negotiation Skills, Student Events, Students

Sixteen teams from nine different law schools from throughout the Northeast took part in the ABA Regional Negotiation Competition at HLS on November 13–14, 2010. Approximately 35 judges, all practicing lawyers in the Boston area, evaluated the teams and chose the winners. A team comprised of two first-year law students from Boston College Law School … Read More 

Letting Them Down Easy

PON Staff   •  12/06/2010   •  Filed in Business Negotiations, Daily, Negotiation Skills, Webcasts

First published in the Negotiation newsletter.

In recent years, a number of new Web-based systems have changed the very structure of negotiation as we know it. One of most famous of these is Priceline.com, which allows consumers to make bids for rental cars, hotel rooms, and air travel-bids that the car-rental firms, hotels, and airlines can … Read More 

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