Expert One-Day Program: November 2, 2023, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET

Overcoming Resistance: The Influence Equation

Faculty: Stevenson Carlebach

What to do when you encounter resistance?
Whether we’re negotiating, giving feedback, managing up, or leading change, we are all familiar with resistance. We lay out a perfectly rational argument and, seemingly inexplicably, the other party resists. Maybe they say no, or more confusing, they seem to agree but don’t follow through.

Have you ever experienced resistance when …

  • Despite having put together a reasonable proposal, your counterpart says, “no, my hands are tied”? And no matter what you do, they claim to have only limited discretion to negotiate with you?
  • You develop a better way of working—a new process or procedure that clearly meets your organization’s goals—but your colleagues still drag their feet?
  • Someone makes extreme demands in a negotiation, followed by small, slow concessions—or none at all?
  • As you meet with a promising direct report to coach them on problematic behavior, they nod, say they understand, and agree to make the changes; yet weeks later, you notice the same behavior?

Understanding and alleviating the three causes of resistance
In human interactions, resistance is inevitable. What to do? Pushing harder tends to increase the resistance. But giving-in not only leads to suboptimal results, it teaches your counterpart that resistance is a winning strategy. The key to influence is deciphering the cause(s) of the resistance and mitigating them.

The Influence Equation
Through breakout sessions, exercises, role plays, and other hands-on experiences, Carlebach will explain what to do when you encounter resistance. This session will introduce you to the Influence Equation—a simple, high-impact framework that can help you identify and overcome three major factors that fuel resistance in any given negotiation:

  1. Reasoning: As you make your argument, are you using your own logic or your counterpart’s? Do you know what would be persuasive to them or are you just focused on what’s persuasive to you? Who are their experts? What language or ideas will best resonate with them?
  2. Interests: If you’re getting “no,” then your counterpart is not seeing how your proposal meets their needs, wants, or concerns. It’s crucial to understand the interests that motivate your counterpart and then build these into a “yesable” proposal.
  3. Relationship: If your counterpart doesn’t trust you, expect resistance, either overt or covert. Understanding the reasons behind your counterpart’s distrust is critical to strengthening the relationship and getting to “yes.”

In this eye-opening, one-day session led by communication, negotiation, and dispute resolution specialist Stevenson Carlebach, you will:

  • Deepen your understanding of the essential factors of persuasion and how to use them to prepare for your next influence challenge;
  • Diagnose the issues behind difficult negotiations and learn how to rebuild relationships for more effective outcomes; and
  • Plan a long-term influence campaign to help reduce resistance and become more influential over time.

Learn more about PON Expert One-Day Programs.



Expert One-Day Program: $1,295
Where: The program will run on Zoom.
When: November 2, 2023
AM Session: 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ET
One-hour break: 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. ET
PM Session: 1:30 – 5:00 p.m. ET
Certificate: When you complete your training program you will receive a certificate from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School signed by Program on Negotiation Executive Committee Chair, Professor Guhan Subramanian.

Stevenson Carlebach

Stevenson Carlebach is an independent trainer and consultant in the field of negotiation. He co-teaches the very popular Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation seminar “Mediation and Conflict Management.” He has also taught negotiation at Georgetown University Law Center.

Outside of the classroom, Carlebach works with Fortune 500 companies throughout the world in the area of strategic relationship management. He designs programs, consults, and coaches executives through his firm, Eque LLC.

In the public sector, Carlebach has worked with senior appointees at the White House. He taught negotiation to action officers at the Pentagon. He worked with country directors at the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS to help them manage their difficult conversations. He has also worked with the ministries of education in Israel and Argentina to bring conflict resolution to educators. He is the single father of six children, four of whom are teenagers living at home who give him daily opportunities to practice his skills … as well as learn humility.