Learn how to negotiate like a diplomat, think on your feet like an improv performer, and master job offer negotiation like a professional athlete when you download a copy of our FREE special report, Negotiation Skills: Negotiation Strategies and Negotiation Techniques to Help You Become a Better Negotiator, from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.


approaches to negotiation

What are Approaches to Negotiation? 

There are many approaches to negotiation. Knowing which approach to use could make a key difference in your outcomes.

Negotiation cannot be scripted. Your goals may change during the course of negotiation, a little or a lot. Unexpected opportunities and obstacles may pop up. Your across-the-table counterpart may be more or less cooperative than you expected. Different approaches to negotiation address these possibilities.

It’s not always clear, however, which approach is right. If you prefer an interest-based approach focused on creating value for everyone involved, you may need to be particularly clear about your intention to spend time upfront exchanging information and exploring mutually beneficial options. Your counterpart may anticipate an entirely different process, such as an exchange of detailed drafts or best offers. 

One of the more successful approaches to negotiation is to draw from other disciplines and sources. Ideas from economics and game theory can shed light on various value-creation principles. The performing arts, including improvisational theater, can help negotiation students develop real-time listening and adapting skills.

Be aware, however, that your counterpart may have a more combative approach. Strategies prepared before coming to the bargaining table are one way to anticipate events during negotiations, but expert negotiators know that the bargaining style of their counterpart will impact, positively or negatively, even the best-laid plans.

To head off these tactics, have a clear sense of your own goals, best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA), and bottom line – and don’t be rattled by an aggressive opponent.

Discover how to refine your negotiation skills with this free special report, Negotiation Training: How Harvard Negotiation Exercises, Negotiation Cases and Good Negotiation Coaching Can Make You a Better Negotiator, from Harvard Law School.

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The following items are tagged approaches to negotiation:

Practical Lessons from the Great Negotiators

Posted by PON Staff & filed under 1 Day Courses, executive training.

Since 2001, the Program on Negotiation has bestowed the “Great Negotiator Award” on individuals who have successfully negotiated against great odds to accomplish worthy goals. In this fascinating one-day session, you’ll have the rare opportunity to explore how these remarkable negotiators overcame their most formidable challenges—and how to apply these lessons in your own negotiations. … Read More 

Labor Relations: Negotiating Collective Bargaining Agreements

Posted by Lara SanPietro & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

Contract bargaining in labor relations is one of the most complex areas of negotiation and dispute resolution. There are rarely clear cut or mutually agreed upon notions of what a fair salary and benefits package would be, so employers and workers, either individually or collectively, often find themselves at odds. Furthermore, contract bargaining in a … Read More 

Negotiate how you’ll negotiate

Posted by PON Staff & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills.

Adapted from “Have You Negotiated How You’ll Negotiate?” by Robert C. Bordone, Professor, and Gillien S. Todd, Lecturer, Harvard Law School. Breakdowns in negotiation are common. In the face of impasse at the bargaining table, managers are quick to blame either the challenges of the issues being negotiated or the hard-line tactics of the opposing parties. … Read More