Harvard Negotiation Master Class: Advanced Strategies for Experienced Negotiators – November 16-18, 2021

By PON Staffon / Harvard Negotiation Master Class


Harvard Negotiation Master Class


Advanced Strategies for Experienced Negotiators
The program runs on November 16-18, 2021

Take Your Negotiation Skills to the Master Level

What if you could negotiate at an even higher level? The Harvard Negotiation Master Class is designed for people like you: strong negotiators who want to become even better ones.

Strictly limited to 60 participants who have completed a prior course in negotiation, this program offers unprecedented access to experts from Harvard Law School and Harvard Kennedy School—all of whom are committed to delivering a transformational learning experience.

Through small learning groups, dynamic exercises with two-way feedback, and intensive simulations, you will gain proven frameworks for addressing your most complicated negotiation challenges—and emerge a highly skilled and confident dealmaker.

The Harvard Negotiation Master Class has run biannually to sold-out classes, and along the way has taught nearly 1,000 global negotiators to become “Master Negotiators.” Most recently, due to COVID-19, the Master Class has been running live online—and at a reduced price. Our November 2021 session will be the last Master Class that will run live online, and at the reduced price. Starting with our April 2022 session, the Master Class will return to an in-person format in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Beginning in 2022, the Master Class will return to an in-person format in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The November program 2021 is the last class to run live online at the reduced rate.

Click here to be notified about future sessions.

About the Program on Negotiation

Widely recognized as the preeminent leader in the field of negotiation, negotiation research, and dispute resolution, the Program on Negotiation (PON) is an interdisciplinary multi-university consortium based at Harvard Law School. Since its founding in 1983, PON has established itself as one of the world’s outstanding negotiation training institutions.

Leaders in Negotiation Executive Education

  • PON’s executive education training programs are designed to help participants become successful negotiators who can deal with difficult people and hard bargainers, structure deals, and manage conflict productively.
  • To ensure a highly personalized experience, each session of the Harvard Negotiation Master Class is strictly limited to 60 participants.
  • World-renowned faculty members from Harvard Law School, Harvard Business School, and Harvard Kennedy School constitute the teaching team.

Who Should Attend

The Harvard Negotiation Master Class attracts a diverse group of participants—all of whom are proficient negotiators who wish to take their skills to the next level.

Participants typically have 10–20 years of negotiation experience and have taken a prior course with PON or a comparable program. The program is appropriate for CEOs, VPs, directors, and managers across a wide range of job functions, including sales, operations, human resources, and marketing, as well as for individuals in the education, government, and nonprofit sectors.

Past Participants

…And Many More!

Fees and Dates

Fees: $4,497

Harvard Negotiation Master Class sessions:
November 16-18, 2021
Upon course completion, participants receive a certificate of completion.

Participant Feedback

“This course is designed to truly change the way one thinks about negotiating on many levels.”

“This is the best program of negotiation in the world.”

“This is definitely a very good investment of time, effort, and money.”


NEW! Personal Coaching Opportunities

Additionally, participants in this Harvard Negotiation Master Class will have an increased opportunity to work with experienced coaches in small groups. By collaborating closely with experts and small groups of peers who are tackling negotiation challenges of their own, you will gain powerful insights and new ways to improve your performance, both at and away from the negotiating table.

Top Nine Reasons to Attend the Harvard Negotiation Master Class—Live Online
  1. Learn to set the tone and build momentum at the outset of a negotiation
  2. Identify shared, opposing, and tradeable interests
  3. Recognize the indicators that your negotiation counterpart is ready to close—with a particular focus on thresholds of satisfaction with the process, the substance, and the relationship
  4. Gain a robust framework for improving the quality of feedback conversations
  5. Assess the deal versus the attractiveness of no-agreement alternatives
  6. Learn to identify blind spots—the places where you are missing opportunities and frustrating others
  7. Establish the groundwork for identifying the other side’s victory speech by addressing their underlying interests and concerns
  8. Learn how to ask probing, clarifying, and investigative questions in a nondefensive manner
  9. Understand how to manage difficult deals and ugly conflicts
Join the Ranks of the Master Dealmakers

Mastering the art of negotiation is a lifelong journey. The Harvard Negotiation Master Class offers the rare opportunity to step away from your day-to-day responsibilities to self-reflect and focus on developing a competency that will serve you for the rest of your professional life. After three intensive days, you will emerge a highly confident negotiator who truly understands the game—and loves to play it.


DAY 1 – Tuesday, November 16, 2021



9:00 – 12:30 p.m. ET
Led by Brian Mandell

Learn to set the tone and build momentum at the outset of a negotiation.
As a seasoned negotiator, you know how important it is to come prepared for the full arc of a negotiation. Research shows, however, that you should spend just as much time preparing for the first 180 seconds of a negotiation encounter as you do for the rest. That’s because the outcomes of the very first interactions—where negotiators act upon thin slices of information—disproportionately affect overall success. Moreover, when things go awry in these critical first few moments, it can be difficult to recover lost ground.

In this session, you’ll learn how to effectively set the tone and agenda, create rapport, and build momentum at the outset of a negotiation. You will additionally enhance your ability to:

  • Prepare for negotiation by evaluating sources of power and assessing barriers to negotiated agreement
  • Identify shared, opposing, and tradeable interests
  • Set a firm, collaborative tone, shape expectations, and propose a well-sequenced agenda that aligns with your priorities
  • Generate momentum and a trust-building conversation by sharing information
  • Invoke fairness standards to avoid early missteps likely to trigger an impasse or motivate potential spoilers
  • Ask probing, clarifying, and investigative questions in a nondefensive manner
  • Make opening offers grounded in high aspirations that signal a robust BATNA
  • Leverage your professional reputation to encourage concessions
  • Maintain emotional control and defend against hard bargaining tactics by reframing unacceptable early moves or offers designed to destabilize negotiators
  • Establish the groundwork for writing the other side’s victory speech by focusing on addressing their underlying interests and concerns
  • Signal your attentiveness to geographic and organizational cross-cultural differences


Advanced Difficult Conversations—
Building (and Re-Building) Trust in

1:00 – 4:30 p.m. ET
Led by Sheila Heen

Overcome the relational friction and frustration that can make joint-problem-solving impossible.
You can’t avoid difficult conversations. But you can learn to make them less painful—and more productive. In this session, we will take a look at three suites of skills that advanced negotiators can use to diagnose challenges and adjust their approach when things get tough. We will also draw on the Difficult Conversations framework for engaging tough issues in difficult circumstances, and under time pressure.

The centerpiece of this session will be preparing for and conducting a 10-minute negotiation, in which frustration, mistrust, time pressure, grave consequences, and the need for complex problem-solving come together to create a perfect storm.

Alongside your peers, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Face a counterpart who is impatient, distracted, in a position of authority, and with whom you have some relationship history
  • Work with a teammate in order to learn from another’s negotiation approach and think about how to best prepare together as a team
  • Integrate sometimes conflicting information from multiple sources
  • Clarify your own purposes and priorities
  • Plan how to open and to frame the problem
  • Respond to unexpected surprises or resistance
  • Draw on your diagnostic skills to make good choices in the moment as that negotiation unfolds
  • Practice advanced skills that will enable you to repair trust, build a stronger working relationship, and solve problems together
  • Receive coaching from peers, and from watching your own negotiation, which will be recorded and available for your continued learning after the session

DAY 2 – Wednesday, November 17


Managing “Trigger Point” Moments

9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ET
Led by Rob Wilkinson

Identify—and capitalize on—game-changing inflection points.
Maybe this scene is familiar to you: You are engaged in some sort of interaction—a quick chat with a colleague in the hallway, a spirited political debate with an aunt at the dinner table, a friendly exchange with the stranger behind you in line at the bank. You and your counterpart are pleasant and cordial.

And then things change. Your counterpart says something and the words you hear are an affront—to your values, your beliefs, and even your identity—and in that moment, you are frozen. You wrestle with the impulse to defend against personal attack, or the need to correct this person’s misguided views on such an important topic.

What should you do? Call them out and risk escalating the situation, or walk away and risk validating their righteousness? Hear them out and risk amplifying their nonsense, or educate them and risk compelling them to dig in further?

You need to manage those tensions, control your emotions, and make decisions: on what you’re trying to accomplish, on whether to engage, on how to engage, on how to preserve the relationship, on how to end this conversation.

And it all has to happen in about two seconds.

This session will examine these moments—when we impulsively react or are clueless how to—through the lens of choice, and how we can manage our individual abilities to identify, analyze, and select one in a split second, thus charting the course for the rest of the interaction. Participants will walk away with a set of concrete ideas, tools, and skills for how to avoid reacting instinctively, and instead diagnose what is going on in a heat-of-the-moment situation, and respond thoughtfully and strategically.


Difficult Deals and Ugly Conflicts

1:00 – 4:30 p.m. ET
Led by Deepak Malhotra

Navigate seemingly impossible negotiations with confidence.
As a seasoned negotiator, you know how to navigate deals and manage disputes. But sometimes, matters completely spiral out of control: conflict is escalating, people are behaving aggressively and/or unethically, the rules of engagement are unclear (or keep changing), and you have limited influence over the process or the parties involved.

While these situations can be daunting, even the most intractable conflicts can be resolved successfully—if you have the right tools.

In this session, we will identify frameworks, principles, and tactics to help you break impasses and navigate difficult deal and dispute environments more effectively. In addition to negotiation theory, the afternoon will feature two case discussions—one involving a high-stakes business deal and the other involving a protracted and seemingly intractable armed conflict.

By participating in in-depth analysis and interactive group discussions, you will discover the importance of, and gain greater proficiency in a variety of valuable negotiation skills, including:

  • Controlling the frame of the negotiation
  • Negotiating process (and not just the substance of the deal)
  • Creating the conditions that make ultimate success more likely
  • Auditing and altering the scope of what is being negotiated, when necessary
  • Ensuring that your strategy has accounted for the interests, constraints, alternatives, and perspectives of all parties that can influence the negotiation (not just the people in the room)

DAY 3 – Thursday, November 18


Multiparty Negotiations—Managing the Challenges and Opportunities of Group Decision Making

9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ET
Led by Alonzo Emery

Put your negotiation skills to the test.
Most decisions are made with input from a variety of stakeholders. As the number of parties at the decision-making table grows, negotiation challenges and the opportunities they present multiply as well. Additional parties create more opinions about the “right” process to follow and more views about which issues should remain central. Attempting to satisfy all of these various interests and perspectives can reduce the zone of possible agreement. This session explores how advanced negotiators manage the myriad challenges of multiparty negotiations, while also leveraging opportunities to improve relationships and create greater value.

Through a fast-paced multiparty negotiation simulation, you will put the many skills you have honed throughout the workshop to the test. The simulation debrief will help you to draw unique insights from your own experience—lessons that you can rely on during the many group processes you will lead in the future. Specifically, you will learn to:

  • Diagnose the peaked challenges inherent in multiparty negotiations
  • Identify key stakeholders and decide which to include at the table
  • Focus on value creation in the face of multiple, conflicting interests
  • Maintain relationships while managing diverse personalities and perspectives
  • Design a robust process that will keep your group moving forward and on task
  • Consider and choose the right forum for your group discussions
  • Establish group norms to help guide you through your deliberations
  • Set realistic deadlines that will keep your group centered on its purpose
  • Divide responsibilities appropriately so that each group member fills a meaningful and useful role



1:00  – 3:30 p.m. ET
Led by Brian Mandell

Openings and closings are the critical bookend of any negotiation: the close.
You’ve made it to the end of a negotiation—are you ready for what comes next? The goal of this session is to prepare you to effectively manage those final minutes in a negotiation when an important, high-consequence deal hangs in the balance and any missteps could quickly undermine parties’ trust and confidence, resulting in the deal unraveling. Navigating this “last mile challenge” compels negotiators to multi-task—to maintain discipline, focus, and resilience, while simultaneously addressing the substantive and relationship dimensions of the negotiation needed for crafting a sustainable value-creating deal.

In this session you will learn to:

  • Assess willingness and readiness to close the deal
  • Overcome psychological and bureaucratic decision-making barriers to commitment-making and closing the deal
  • Confront hard bargaining “take it or leave it” and yes-but tactics
  • Write your counterpart’s victory speech to reduce hesitancy and resistance to closing the deal now
  • Use the negotiator’s pause to better control the rate and scope of making any final concessions
  • Deal with impasse stemming from the last-minute introduction of new pre-conditions prior to signing the deal
  • Distinguish between hard and soft closings and when to use them to maximize your leverage
  • Manage intra-team conflict with your own back-table to better communicate strong and consistent signals across the table
  • Limit gratuitous bargaining and conflict escalation
  • Leverage deadlines and time urgency
  • Build commitment to deal implementation
  • Frame and re-frame offers to scope and refine the deal components
  • Use dispute resolution mechanisms to safeguard against a counterpart’s non-compliance with commitments to deal implementation

Meet the Faculty

Sheila Heen

Sheila Heen is a lecturer on law at Harvard Law School, cofounder and CEO of Triad Consulting Group, and senior affiliate of the Harvard Negotiation Project, where she has spent the last 20 years developing negotiation theory and practice. She also teaches in the executive education and MBA leadership programs at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and Washington University’s John M. Olin School of Business.

Brian Mandell

Brian Mandell is the Mohammad Kamal Senior Lecturer in Negotiation and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, a faculty associate at the Center for Public Leadership, and director of the Harvard Kennedy School Negotiation Project. He is a preeminent teacher and curriculum designer at the Harvard Kennedy School, where he leads an innovative, intensive annual workshop course on advanced multiparty negotiation and conflict resolution.

Robert Wilkinson

A negotiation and leadership specialist, Wilkinson is on the faculty at Harvard Kennedy School, where he teaches graduate courses on leadership in complex environments and negotiation theory and practice. Wilkinson has won several Dean’s Teaching Awards at Harvard, and also served as a special advisor on negotiation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Previously, he was on the faculty at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy for eight years.

Deepak Malhotra

Deepak Malhotra is the Eli Goldston Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. He is the author of Negotiating the Impossible and The Peacemaker’s Code, and co-author (with Max Bazerman) of Negotiation Genius. Deepak’s teaching, research and advisory work is focused on negotiation, deal-making, diplomacy, and conflict resolution. He has won numerous awards for his teaching & research and has been twice selected by Harvard MBA students to give the end-of-year speech to the graduating class. In 2020, Deepak was named “MBA Professor of the Year” by Poets & Quants. Outside HBS, Deepak is a trainer, consultant, and advisor to firms & CEOs across the globe, and an advisor to governments that are trying to negotiate an end to protracted & intractable armed conflicts.

Alonzo Emery

Alonzo Emery is a lawyer, mediator, facilitator, and educator who specializes in navigating challenging conversations and complex negotiations. He works with leaders across industries to develop effective conflict management strategies and engage in meaningful cross-cultural dialogue. In this capacity, he has led projects and workshops for Salesforce, Hewlett Packard, HSBC, the U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service, the National Institutes of Health, the Asian Development Bank, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and JSW Law School in the Kingdom of Bhutan, among many others.