Business Negotiations: Representing Others at the Bargaining Table

By — on / Business Negotiations

You may be negotiating for others, but that doesn’t mean they should be looking over your shoulder. Negotiators often have trouble bargaining effectively in the presence of onlookers, according to researchers Karen Jehn and Lindred Greer of Leiden University in the Netherlands. The presence of an audience might make you excessively competitive or cause you to withhold information that could create value.

There’s also the danger that your principals could inadvertently sabotage talks if they interact directly with the other side. For this reason, real-estate agents typically forbid sellers to be present during a showing, lest they be tempted to disclose their bottom line to prospective buyers. Similarly, advertising executives often exclude “creatives” from client meetings for fear they will give away too much.

As long as you promise to communicate regularly and honestly with your principal, she should be willing to trust you to negotiate without her personal involvement.

Discover step-by-step techniques for avoiding common business negotiation pitfalls when you download a copy of the FREE special report, Business Negotiation Strategies: How to Negotiate Better Business Deals, from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.

Related Article: Mediation in Transactional Negotiation

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