Hard/Soft Negotiation Choice Exercise


Roger Fisher

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The form asks, “What is your negotiating style?” In the left column it lists the key characteristics of relatively “soft” bargainers. In the right column are listed the corresponding characteristics of relatively “hard” bargainers. In between, for each key factor there are spaces for writing in where you come out on the spectrum. The factors addressed are concession strategies and offer strategies.



Distribute the form and allow ten minutes for participants to fill it in. It is particularly useful as a prelude to an overview presentation on effective negotiation. It was designed for use before an overview of principled negotiation, but in theory other approaches could also follow from it. It works even after participants have read Getting to YES.



For all parties:

  • Two column form with blank centers.
  • Three column form with third columns listing the characteristics of principled negotiation.



Assumptions; Competition v. Cooperation; Personality; Systems of Negotiation



This exercise stresses the fundamental elements of principled negotiation as logical alternatives to the seeming dilemma of “hard” or “soft” positional bargaining.

The final portion of the exercise provides a quick reference to the main elements of principled negotiation.

Hard/Soft Negotiation Choice Exercise Attributes

Author: Roger Fisher
Publisher: Program on Negotiation
Non-English version available: French, Portuguese, German, Spanish