Seven Secrets for Negotiating with Government How to Deal with Local, State, National, or Foreign Governments–and Come Out Ahead

Addresses the key variables involved in negotiating with government, from the influence of bureaucracy to the perception of power on the government side of the negotiating table


Whether one is seeking a building permit from city hall or a multimillion dollar contract from the U.S. Defense Department, negotiation is vital to achieve one’s goals. Negotiating with government is not like negotiating with private persons and companies, however. For one thing, governments have special powers that no private person has. They are also subject to special constraints in the ways they can use those powers. For another, governments pursue very different interests in negotiations from those that a private company might seek. A first and fundamental challenge for any person negotiating with a government is to understand those special powers, constraints, and interests, and to use them in shaping a winning strategy.

In Seven Secrets for Negotiating with Government, Professor Jeswald W. Salacuse addresses the key variables involved in negotiation with government– from the influence of bureaucracy to the perception of power on the government side of the negotiating table. As the former Dean of the Fletcher School of Diplomacy at Tufts University and a faculty member of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, Jeswald Salacuse is a widely recognized expert in the field of negotiation. Using real-world examples drawn from City Hall to the Sudan, Salacuse reveals:

  • Ways to gain access to government officials and organizations
  • The seven rules for getting ready to negotiate with governments
  • How to determine and use government interests to your advantage
  • Steps to develop productive working relationships with government regulators affecting your business
  • The best way to secure government permits
  • When to use third parties like advisors and mediators in government negotiations


The government may have more power, but it does not necessarily have the upper hand. This book provides the tools that will help one to navigate this complex world and win.


“When it comes to negotiation, one size does not fit all. Special insight and skill is essential to winning regulatory approvals, government grants, and broad-based support for public-private initiatives. Jes Salacuse’s Seven Secrets for Negotiating with Government is packed with wise counsel for breaking impasses and getting things done.”—Professor Michael Wheeler, Class of 1952 Professor of Management Practice at the Harvard Business School

“This outstanding work is comprehensive yet concise in providing highly practical advice for successfully negotiating with government bodies of every type. It is a pleasure to read and provides easy to comprehend examples of the how and why of negotiating with the government, whether it be locally or in a foreign country. Truly a unique work of great value that covers every area I have encountered in more than a quarter century of negotiating with governments around the world. A true road map to success for every negotiation.”—Alan R. Crain Jr., Senior Vice President & General Counsel, Baker Hughes Incorporated

PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

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Soft copy vs. hard copy

You may order this role simulation in either soft copy (electronic) or hard copy (paper) format. If you select the soft copy option, you will receive an e-mail with a URL (website address) from which you may download an electronic file in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. You will have one week to download your materials from when you receive the email. You are then only authorized to use, print, or share the materials as many times as the number of copies you purchase. The TNRC charges for use of this simulation on a per-participant basis. Therefore, you must purchase a separate copy of this simulation for each person who will be participating, regardless of the number of roles in the simulation. You will only receive a link to one electronic file, which includes all general instructions, confidential instructions, and any teaching notes for the simulation. You should separate out the instructions before distributing to participants.

If you select the hard copy option, you will receive paper copies of this role simulation via the shipping method you select.

For additional information about the soft copy option, please visit our FAQ section, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at or 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.).

Please note: At the present time, Teaching Negotiation Resource Center soft copies are compatible with the following versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader: English, German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean. If you have a different version of the Acrobat Reader, you may wish to download one of these at, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at, 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.), or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.) for further assistance. This restriction does not apply to the freely available Teacher’s Package Review Copies.

Ordering a single copy for review

If you wish to review the materials for a particular role simulation to decide whether you’d like to use it, a PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package for the simulation is available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. All Teacher’s Packages include copies of all participant materials. In addition, some Teacher’s Packages (but not all) include additional teaching materials such as teaching notes or overhead masters.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

To order multiple copies of a role simulation for use in a course or workshop, simply enter the total number of participants in the box next to “Quantity.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required.

If you are ordering hard copies, the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center will calculate the appropriate numbers of each role to provide, based on the total number of participants. For example, if you wish to order a 2-party role simulation for use with a class of 30 students, you would enter “30” in the box next to “Quantity.” You then would receive 15 copies of one role and 15 copies of the other role, for use with your 30 participants. As another example, if you ordered 30 participant copies of a 6-party role simulation, you would receive 5 copies of each role.

In the event that the number of participant copies you order is not evenly divisible by the number of roles in the simulation, you will receive extra copies of one or more roles. Participants receiving the extra roles may partner with other participants playing the same role, thus negotiating as a team. So, for instance, if you ordered 31 copies of a 2-party role simulation, you would receive 15 copies of the first role and 16 copies of the second role. One of the participants playing the second role would partner with another participant playing that same role, and the two would negotiate as a team.