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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Give at work

PON Staff   •  02/17/2010   •  Filed in Daily, Negotiation Skills

Adapted from “Pitch Your Offer—and Close the Deal,” by Deepak Malhotra and Max H. Bazerman (professors, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter.

When you’re having trouble persuading someone, you might be tempted to sweeten the pot with hefty financial incentives. Before doing so, consider whether there are cheaper ways of gaining compliance.
A … Read Give at work 

Don’t fight City Hall

PON Staff   •  02/17/2010   •  Filed in Negotiation Skills

Adapted from “Tired of Fighting City Hall? Negotiate Instead,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter.

No matter what organization you work for or where you choose to live, sooner or later you’ll find yourself facing off with a government official or agency. Here are a few examples:

You apply for a permit from your local zoning board … Read Don’t fight City Hall 

Caught in the middle

PON Staff   •  02/16/2010   •  Filed in Daily, Negotiation Skills

Adapted from “When You’re Stuck in the Middle,” by Susan Hackley (Managing Director, Program on Negotiation), first published in the Negotiation newsletter.
At a company in a Midwestern city, employees were divided into two camps: those loyal to the founder and his vision of a mom-and-pop business with a dozen regional stores, and those aligned with … Read Caught in the middle 

Gender matters

PON Staff   •  01/12/2010   •  Filed in Negotiation Skills

Adapted from “Gender Assertiveness and Implicit Sexism,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter.
Most gender research in negotiation has examined differences between women and men, such as the tendency of women to be more anxious about the process and to set lower aspirations than men. The question of how people react to female negotiators versus … Read Gender matters 

Are you afraid of commitment?

PON Staff   •  01/12/2010   •  Filed in Daily, Negotiation Skills

Adapted from “Overcoming Stage Fright: How to Prepare for a Negotiation,” by Michael Wheeler (Professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter.

Many negotiators grow anxious as they approach the bargaining table, a reaction that puts them in good company with other distinguished professionals. Laurence Olivier’s stage fright almost ended his acting … Read Are you afraid of commitment? 

Insights from a Communication and Negotiation Conference: The Benefits of Not Knowing

PON Staff   •  01/05/2010   •  Filed in Daily, Negotiation Skills, Pedagogy at PON

An Experiment: Exploring Interdisciplinary Linkages between Negotiation and Communication Studies

What would negotiation pedagogy look like if we focused more on the core meanings and practices of communication? How can understanding the underpinnings of communication – the components of conversation and the exchange of meaning – help us understand and improve our negotiations? The weekend of … Learn More About This Program 

To trust or not to trust

PON Staff   •  12/21/2009   •  Filed in Daily, Negotiation Skills

Adapted from “The Payoff of Trust,” by Iris Bohnet (Professor, Harvard Kennedy School), first published in the “Negotiation newsletter.”

It’s natural to fear trust betrayal, or the violation of pivotal expectations of trustworthiness. Recent corporate and religious scandals have tragically demonstrated the substantial costs of such betrayals. Victims suffer emotional harm, and their ability to trust … Read To trust or not to trust  

Take their advice

PON Staff   •  12/10/2009   •  Filed in Daily, Negotiation Skills

Adapted from “Turn Your Adversary into Your Advocate,” by Katie A. Liljenquist and Adam D. Galinsky, first published in the Negotiation newsletter.

Most of us seek advice on a daily basis, for at least three reasons: to improve the quality of our decisions, to validate our choices, and to diffuse risk. Advice seeking also generates significant … Read Take their advice 

Funny business

PON Staff   •  12/10/2009   •  Filed in Daily, Negotiation Skills

First published in the Negotiation newsletter.

You don’t have to be serious to be a serious negotiator. Humor, deftly used, can be a positive factor in promoting agreement.

That’s what Finnish researcher Taina Vuorela confirmed in a comparative study of two real-world transactions. One was an internal meeting of a sales team trying to hammer out … Read Funny business 

PON hosts “world premiere” of Abraham Path Initiative Films

PON Staff   •  12/09/2009   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution, Daily, Events, Harvard Negotiation Project, Negotiation Skills, PON Film Series

The PON Film Series has shown nearly 50 films over the past several years at events that are open to students and the public. On December 8, the PON Film Series had a “world premiere” of several short films about the Abraham Path Initiative, a hiking trail being developed in the Middle … Learn More About This Program 

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