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.


Business Negotiations

What are Business Negotiations?

At its most basic, business negotiations are negotiations between corporate entities, their vendors, or their employees. But there is a lot beyond that.

In most of our business negotiations, we try to drive a hard bargain, giving away not a penny more than is necessary even as we strive to ensure that our counterpart is satisfied with their own outcome. However, figuring out who should get what is rarely easy, but creative solutions to problems in negotiation do exist.

For example, it’s not uncommon in business negotiations to find yourself on the brink of an impasse. You and your counterpart have exchanged a series of offers and counteroffers, and you’ve met somewhere close to the middle—but not close enough. With each side firmly rooted in its position, there may seem to be no way forward. That’s when it helps to know how to use MESOs in negotiations.

MESOs, which stands for multiple equivalent simultaneous offers, may help you break through your deadlock and find common ground. When you present more than one offer at a time, instead of a single offer, you are likely to increase your counterpart’s satisfaction while also boosting your odds of coming to an agreement.

Research has also shed light on an important aspect of integrative bargaining strategies and business negotiations – namely, the idea of negotiation ethics and fairness when negotiating.

In most negotiations, there are three fairness norms that negotiators frequently invoke: equality (an equal split of the resources), equity (a split in proportion to input), and need (a split that favors the negotiator who could most benefit from the resources).

Approaching business negotiations with a creative mindset will not only preserve a relationship but also add significant value for both sides creating win-win solutions.

To learn more about business negotiations, discover step-by-step techniques for getting the best deal possible, 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.

The following items are tagged Business Negotiations:

A Negotiation Preparation Checklist

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Without a doubt, the biggest mistake that negotiators make—and one that many make routinely—is failing to thoroughly prepare. When you haven’t done the necessary analysis and research, you are highly likely to leave value on the table and even to be taken advantage of by your counterpart. A negotiation preparation checklist can help you avoid … Read A Negotiation Preparation Checklist

Reservation Point in Negotiation: Reach Negotiated Agreements by Asking the Right Questions

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

A reservation point negotiation is a bargaining scenario in which each side is trying to reconcile the other’s highest offer and the other’s lowest price. This negotiation example can apply to many other bargaining situations and demonstrates the value of open communication with your counterpart at the negotiation table. … Read More

The Importance of a Relationship in Negotiation

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Training.

At the negotiation table, what’s the best way to uncover your negotiation counterpart’s hidden interests? Build a relationship in negotiation by asking questions, then listening carefully. Even if you have decided to make the first offer and are ready with a number of alternatives, you should always open by asking and listening to assess your … Read The Importance of a Relationship in Negotiation

The Pitfalls of Negotiations Over Email

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Negotiation research suggests that email often poses more problems than solutions when it comes to relationships, information exchange, and outcomes in conflict resolution negotiation scenarios. First, establishing social rapport via email can be challenging. The lack of nonverbal cues and the dearth of social norms regarding its use can cause negotiators to be impolite and … Read The Pitfalls of Negotiations Over Email

A Top International Negotiation Case Study in Business: The Microsoft-Nokia Deal

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

Let’s look at the international negotiation case study of Microsoft’s decision to purchase Finnish mobile phone company Nokia’s mobile device business for $9.5 billion. The deal, which closed in 2014, quickly proved disastrous: Microsoft wrote off nearly all of the deal’s value and laid off thousands of workers in July 2015. Although there were many … Read More

Contract Negotiations and Business Communication: How to Write an Iron-Clad Contract

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

In contract negotiations, writing a contract that both encapsulates the negotiated agreement but also incorporates future elements such as the business relationship and the sustainability of the agreement can be a daunting task for even the most experienced negotiators. Executives often leave the legal issues surrounding their deals to their attorneys. While this division of … Read More

7 Tips for Closing the Deal in Negotiations

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

“ABC: Always Be Closing.” That’s the sales strategy that actor Alec Baldwin’s character Blake shared in the 1992 film Glengarry Glen Ross as he tried to motivate a group of real estate salesmen. In his verbally abusive, profanity-laced speech, Blake presented a ruthless model of closing a business deal that ignores customers’ needs and cuts … Read 7 Tips for Closing the Deal in Negotiations

Win-Win Negotiation: Managing Your Counterpart’s Satisfaction

Posted by & filed under Win-Win Negotiations.

As the following points of win-win negotiation will demonstrate, ensuring that your counterpart is satisfied with a particular deal requires you to manage several aspects of the negotiation process, including his outcome expectations, his perceptions of your outcome, the comparisons he makes with others, and his overall negotiation experience itself. … Read More

Four Conflict Negotiation Strategies for Resolving Value-Based Disputes

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

In many negotiations, both parties are aware of what their interests are, and are willing to engage in a give-and-take process with the other party to come to agreement. In conflicts related to personal identity, and deeply-held beliefs or values, however, negotiation dynamics can become more complex and require alternative dispute resolution tactics for conflict … Read More

Police Negotiation Techniques from the NYPD Crisis Negotiations Team

Posted by & filed under Crisis Negotiations.

Few negotiators can imagine negotiation scenarios more stressful than the kinds of crisis negotiations the New York City Police Department’s Hostage Negotiation Team undertake. But police negotiation techniques employed by the New York City Police Department’s Hostage Negotiations Team (HNT) in high-stakes, high-pressure crisis negotiation situations, outlined in an article from Jeff Thompson and Hugh … Read More

Why Negotiations Fail

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

When we think of failed business negotiations, most of us picture negotiators walking away from the table in disappointment. But that’s only one type of disappointing negotiation. Failed business negotiations also include those that parties come to regret over time and those that fall apart during implementation. The following three types of negotiation failures are … Read Why Negotiations Fail

Perspective Taking and Empathy in Business Negotiations

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

We are often counseled to engage in perspective taking and empathetic understanding to achieve better results in business negotiations, both for ourselves and for our counterparts. Yet perspective taking and empathy are two different skills. Perspective taking is a cognitive ability that involves considering how other people think. Empathy, by contrast, involves emotionally connecting with … Read More

Negotiating the Good Friday Agreement

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Retired US Senator George Mitchell played a critical role in negotiating the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland. In an interview with Susan Hackley, Managing Director of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, in the February 2004 Negotiation newsletter, he describes how he was able to facilitate an agreement between these long-warring parties. … Read Negotiating the Good Friday Agreement

Negotiation Examples in Real Life: Buying a Home

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

While many of our articles discuss negotiation theory and the latest research, sometimes it helps to discuss negotiation examples in real life when offering negotiation tips and advice. The following negotiation example is based on bargaining in real estate, a negotiation scenario many of us may face in our lifetime. … Read Negotiation Examples in Real Life: Buying a Home

How to Solve Intercultural Conflict

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

The question of how to solve intercultural conflict is one of the most difficult ones facing negotiators. Misunderstandings and disputes caused by cultural differences can further complicate already challenging negotiations, whether you are doing business at home, abroad, or online. The following guidelines can help us achieve better results in cross-cultural communication and negotiation. … Read How to Solve Intercultural Conflict

Emotional Intelligence as a Negotiating Skill

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

The concept of emotional intelligence burst into the cultural imagination in 1995 with the publication of psychologist Daniel Goleman’s bestselling book of the same name. Experts have predicted that scoring high on this personality trait would boost one’s bargaining outcomes and have found many successful negotiation examples using emotional intelligence in their research. … Read Emotional Intelligence as a Negotiating Skill

How to Find the ZOPA in Business Negotiations

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

In business negotiation, two polar-opposite errors are common: reaching agreement when it wouldn’t be wise to do so, and walking away from a mutually beneficial outcome. How can you avoid these pitfalls? Through careful preparation that includes an analysis of the zone of possible agreement, or ZOPA in business negotiations. … Read How to Find the ZOPA in Business Negotiations

BATNA and Other Sources of Power at the Negotiation Table

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

BATNA negotiations involve a negotiators knowledge of her best alternatives to a negotiated agreement and are one of three sources of negotiating power at the bargaining table, according to negotiation researcher Adam D. Galinsky and New York University’s Joe C. Magee. … Read More

5 Win-Win Negotiation Strategies

Posted by & filed under Win-Win Negotiations.

Business negotiators understand the importance of reaching a win-win negotiation: when both sides are satisfied with their agreement, the odds of a long-lasting and successful business partnership are much higher. But concrete strategies for generating a win-win contract often seem elusive. The following five, from experts at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, … Read 5 Win-Win Negotiation Strategies

Salary Negotiation: How to Ask for a Higher Salary

Posted by & filed under Salary Negotiations.

For a new employee, salary negotiation skills can be the most important and the most intimidating, but the most important, of difficult conversations to have at the beginning of your career. A new employee, successfully negotiating a salary offer up by $5,000 could make a huge difference over the course of her career. … Read More

Using Body Language in Negotiation

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Negotiation experts typically advise us to meet with our counterparts in person whenever possible rather than relying on the telephone or Internet. As convenient as electronic media may be, they lack the visual cues that help convey valuable information and forge connections in face-to-face talks. Without access to gestures and facial expressions, those who negotiate … Read Using Body Language in Negotiation

Negotiation Analysis: The US, Taliban, and the Bergdahl Exchange

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

The exchange between the United States and the Taliban of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban leaders held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, represented the first public prisoner exchange of a US soldier in the thirteen year US involvement in Afghanistan. The background of the deal including how Private First Class Bergdahl (promoted twice to Sergeant … Read More

10 Hard-Bargaining Tactics to Watch Out for in a Negotiation

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

Some negotiators seem to believe that hard-bargaining tactics are the key to success. They resort to threats, extreme demands, and even unethical behavior to try to get the upper hand in a negotiation. In fact, negotiators who fall back on hard-bargaining strategies in negotiation are typically betraying a lack of understanding about the gains that … Read More

Cultural Barriers and Conflict Negotiation Strategies: Apple’s Apology in China

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

When dealing with a difficult counterpart, it helps to take a conciliatory approach to the bargaining table. While apologies necessarily involve moments of vulnerability, they can also open doors to value creation and strengthen the relationship you have with your bargaining counterpart. Let’s look back at Apple’s apology in China for its maligned warranty policies … Read More

Essential Negotiation Skills: Limiting Cognitive Bias in Negotiation

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

In past articles, we have highlighted a variety of psychological biases that affect negotiators, many of which spring from a reliance on intuition, and may hinder integrative negotiation. Of course, negotiators are not always affected by bias; we often think systematically and clearly at the bargaining table. Most negotiators believe they are capable of distinguishing … Read More

How to Use Tradeoffs to Create Value in Your Negotiations

Posted by & filed under Win-Win Negotiations.

How do expectations of fairness and reciprocity at the bargaining table impact negotiator decisions regarding the strategies and tactics they use during bargaining? Sometimes talks get off on the wrong foot. Maybe you and your partner had a different understanding of your meeting time, or one of you makes a statement that the other misinterprets. … Read More

Mediation Process and Business Negotiations: How Does Mediation Work in a Lawsuit?

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

How does mediation work in a lawsuit? What benefits can mediation offer businesses that deal with multiple contractual agreements, some of which may end in disputes? These questions were answered by Harvard Law School Associate Professor and negotiation expert Dan Greiner in an “Ask the Negotiation Coach” segment from our Negotiation Briefings newsletter. … Read More

Successes & Messes: A Notoriously Bad Business Contract

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

In business contract negotiations, we’re sometimes tempted to break the mold and do things in a new and entirely different way. But if our strategies aren’t supported by sound analysis and advice, we risk winding up with regrets. Take the case of star running back Ricky Williams, now retired, and the sports agency he worked … Read More

Four Ways to Manage Conflict in the Workplace

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Samantha was livid. While making a presentation during a meeting that both attended, Brad, a newcomer in her department, had shared some slides during a presentation that were clearly based on ideas for a project she’d shared with him privately—without giving her credit. Samantha angrily confronted Brad in his office after the meeting; he became … Read Four Ways to Manage Conflict in the Workplace

Entrepreneurs: Prepare for Challenging Conversations in Key Negotiation

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Briefings Articles, Negotiation Skills.

Start-ups and individual entrepreneurs often encounter challenging conversations when negotiating with potential partners and investors. When you are trying to sell others on your big idea or venture, you face the daunting challenge of convincing them that it’s worth their time, money, and effort. And even as you’re drawing on all your powers of persuasion … Read More

6 Bargaining Tips and BATNA Essentials

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

The best bargaining tips taught by the experts should offer ways to enhance your bargaining power in negotiation. To do this, you must cultivate a strong BATNA, or best alternative to a negotiated agreement. The more appealing your best alternative is, the more comfortable you will feel asking for more in your current negotiation—secure in … Read 6 Bargaining Tips and BATNA Essentials

How to Control Your Emotions in Conflict Resolution

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

To guard against acting irrationally or in ways that can harm you, authors of Beyond Reason: Using Emotions As You Negotiate Roger Fisher and Daniel Shapiro advise you to take your emotional temperature during a negotiation. Specifically, try to gauge whether your emotions are manageable, starting to heat up, or threatening to boil over. … Read More

Negotiation Mistakes: When Fear of Impasse Leads to Bad Deals

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

Experienced negotiators understand that they should reject any deal on the table that is inferior to their best alternative to a negotiated agreement, or BATNA. At an auto dealership, for example, you shouldn’t buy a used car if you are pretty sure you can get a better deal on a comparable car elsewhere. Yet in … Read More

In Business Negotiations, Eat Before You Negotiate

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

When preparing for your next business negotiation, you may want to strategize not only about what you’ll put on the bargaining table, but also how much food you’ll put in your belly beforehand. That’s the message of new research that Cornell University professor Emily Zitek and Dartmouth College professor Alexander Jordan presented at the annual … Read More

Negotiation in Business: Ethics, Bias, and Bargaining in Good Faith

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

As we’ve discussed in previous articles about negotiation examples in business, a negotiator’s beliefs concerning negotiation ethics are affected by cognitive biases. You probably can recall times when a negotiating opponent made what appeared to be a blatant misstatement. If you’re like most people, you assumed the person was lying to gain an advantage. … Read More

Bargaining for a New Car: Real World Negotiations Examples

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

When it comes to bargaining for a new car, are women negotiating harder bargains than men? According to a recent report from NPR Morning Edition’s Sonari Glinton, women not only negotiate harder bargains than men when it comes to vehicle purchases, but also they do more extensive preparatory work (See: Negotiating for What You Really Want- … Read More

Negotiation Skills and Bargaining Techniques from Female Executives

Posted by & filed under Leadership Skills.

Dozens of female CEOs and other high-level women negotiators have told us about their experiences negotiating in traditionally masculine contexts where standards and expectations were ambiguous. Their experiences varied according to the gender triggers that were present in the negotiations and they adapted their negotiation skills to accommodate these shifts. … Read More

Power in Negotiations: How to Maximize a Weak BATNA

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

In business negotiations, we tend to assume that it’s the more financially successful party that has an edge. But if that party has a weak BATNA, or best alternative to a negotiated agreement, it could be the seemingly weaker party that comes out on top. … Read More

Business Negotiations: How to Improve Your Reputation at the Bargaining Table

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

In multi-issue business negotiations, research suggests that the advantage goes to negotiators with a reputation for collaboration rather than competition. In a series of studies by Catherine H. Tinsley and Kathleen O’Connor, participants were told they would be negotiating with someone who had either a tough reputation, a cooperative reputation, or an unknown reputation. Although … Read More

Dealing with Difficult People? Negotiation Lessons from Ronald Reagan

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

In recent months, U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders have struggled to find a winning strategy to convince Russian President Vladimir Putin to back away from his aggressions toward Ukraine. In a Wall Street Journal editorial, Ken Adelman, U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s ambassador to the United Nations and arms-control director, writes that recently … Read More

Techniques for Improving Your Negotiating Ability

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Many organizations subject their executives to rigorous performance reviews, yet few companies include negotiation effectiveness as one of the core competencies they track. Instead, negotiation is usually subsumed under categories such as “emotional intelligence,” or “persuasiveness” and negotiation techniques and their improvement through negotiation training are not a regular part of employee training programs. … Read Techniques for Improving Your Negotiating Ability

BATNA Strategy: Negotiating When Negotiation Is Not the Norm

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

Many U.S. law schools are in crisis, to hear some tell it. During the recent recession, many law firms instituted mass layoffs and pay cuts, and few have fully recovered. As a result, college graduates are thinking twice about becoming lawyers, and many law schools have fewer high-quality applicants to choose from. In the past … Read More

Business Negotiation Skills: How to Deal with a Failing Business Partnership

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

It had seemed like the beginning of a fruitful relationship. In April 2012, six wealthy businessmen teamed up to buy the Philadelphia Inquirer and several affiliated businesses for $61.1 million, promising to work together to reverse the newspaper’s flagging fortunes. Their infusions of cash and appointment of a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter, William K. Marimow, as … Read More

Are Introverts at a Disadvantage in Negotiation?

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Are extroverts by nature better negotiators than introverts? Or are they at a disadvantage in negotiation? As we’ll see, the answer is far from decided. However, we all have clear opportunities to build on our own strengths and learn from those of others. Introversion is a personality trait marked by a desire to think through ideas … Read Are Introverts at a Disadvantage in Negotiation?

Dear Negotiation Coach: Can Negotiation Theory Help Us Understand Our Religious Identity?

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Negotiation theory suggests you focus on interests, not positions; separate inventing from committing; invest heavily in “What if?” questions; insist on objective criteria; and try to build nearly self-enforcing agreements. But what if the negotiation is with yourself, or about your own religious identity? For example, what does it mean to be Jewish in America? What challenges … Read More

BATNA Analysis Can Help You Avoid the Agreement Trap

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

In both our personal and our business negotiations, “getting to yes” is typically the ultimate goal. Negotiation research and advice tend to focus on identifying the conditions that can help people overcome their differences, relax firm positions, and reach harmonious terms that could lead to a mutually fulfilling long-term relationship. This mindset risks downplaying the fact … Read More

Business Skills: Make Concessions Strategically in Negotiation

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Business negotiators generally understand that to get what they want from another party or parties, they will have to give something away. But what concessions should you offer in the deal-making process, and what form should they take? New research on concession making in negotiation offers tips to add to your repertoire of business skills. Finding … Read More

M&A Negotiation Tactics: In Discovery-WarnerMedia Deal, AT&T Tries, Tries Again

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

It was a dramatic about-face. In mid-2018, AT&T finalized its $85 billion purchase of Time Warner after successfully fighting off U.S. government antitrust lawsuits. Just less than three years later, in May 2021, AT&T announced it was spinning off Time Warner, now known as WarnerMedia, after merger-and-acquisition (M&A) negotiations with media company Discovery. If approved … Read More

Dear Negotiation Coach: What Hostage Negotiations Can Teach Any Negotiator

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Business negotiations often fail; meanwhile, hostage negotiations have an incredibly high success rate—up to 94%. We spoke with former police psychologist and hostage negotiator George A. Kohlrieser, the Distinguished Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior at IMD Business School in Switzerland and the author of Hostage at the Table: How Leaders Can Overcome Conflict, Influence Others, … Read More

Why It Pays for Powerful Parties to Negotiate

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

In recent years, the U.S. film industry has avoided dealing with a mounting inefficiency. Historically, theater companies have negotiated with film studios for the right to screen movies for three months before they can be released in other formats, including streaming, on demand, and DVD. Staggering the release of films in different formats has benefited studios … Read Why It Pays for Powerful Parties to Negotiate

Leveraging BATNA at the Dinner Table: Negotiate Your Way to Holiday Cheer

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, or so they say. As we look ahead to winter vacation and seemingly endless days of family celebrations, many feel a sense of dread, anticipating tensions and conflict as drearily predictable as overcooked turkey and practical gifts. Even those who look forward to family get-togethers often end … Read More

In Conflict Resolution, President Carter Turned Flaws Into Virtues

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

When it comes to conflict resolution, surprisingly useful nuggets of advice come from the realm of international conflict. Take the Camp David Accords of 1978, as described minute-by-minute by Lawrence Wright in his new book, Thirteen Days in September. U.S. President Jimmy Carter made history by negotiating a peaceful end to the conflict between Israel … Read More

The Winner’s Curse in Negotiations: How to Avoid It

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

These business negotiations – an auction and a negotiated acquisition – highlight both the promise and risks of high-priced purchases and the dangers of the winner’s curse in negotiation. Negotiators fall victim to the winner’s curse in negotiations when they over-compete (and overbid) for items in the pursuit of a “victory” at the bargaining table. … Read More

Negotiating with Millennials – How to Overcome Cultural Differences in Communication

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Negotiation training often focuses on bridging gaps between negotiators with different styles, backgrounds, or objectives, but what about overcoming generational barriers in negotiation? Generational differences need not stymie efforts at the bargaining table. In this segment from “Dear Negotiation Coach,” we explore how to overcome cultural differences in communication with members of the Millennial generation. … Read More

MESO Negotiation Strategies and Negotiation Techniques

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

MESO negotiation techniques for negotiators include creating value at the bargaining table by identifying multiple proposals of equal value and presenting them to your counterpart simultaneously. By making tradeoffs across issues, parties can obtain greater value on the issues that are most important to them. But how can you be sure you’re making the right … Read More

Understanding Your Counterpart’s BATNA

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

One of the most popular questions concerning negotiation strategy and an area of negotiation research that draws heavily on negotiation examples in real life is how do negotiators identify their BATNA, or best alternative to a negotiated agreement, and even better, how do they identify their counterpart’s BATNA? Consider the saga of a company that … Read Understanding Your Counterpart’s BATNA

New Conflict Management Skills: Understand How to Resolve “Hot Conflicts”

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Negotiating effectively with colleagues can be more challenging than dealing with outsiders. Conventional wisdom advises addressing team conflict by staying focused on tasks and avoiding relationship issues. Yet a case study of conflict management by Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson and Diana McLain Smith of The Monitory Group concludes that this approach to dispute … Read More

Panda Diplomacy and Business Negotiations: Applying Soft Power

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

In 2011, Emiko Okuyama, the mayor of Sendai, Japan, launched a business negotiation that, at the time, seemed relatively straightforward. Sendai had been devastated by the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan earlier that year. In hopes of lifting the spirits of children traumatized by the natural disasters, Okuyama and other local officials came up … Read More

In Business Negotiations, Dress the Part

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Negotiators involved in high-stakes mergers and acquisitions typically come to the table armored in meticulously tailored apparel and designer shoes. But as Dana Mattioli reports in a recent Wall Street Journal negotiation topics in business article, those who are trying to woo business from an apparel company often end up dressing down at the bargaining … Read In Business Negotiations, Dress the Part

Coming Up with Win-Win Solutions at the Bargaining Table

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Even those who effectively engage in an integrative negotiations or mutual-gains approach to negotiation, a bargaining scenario in which parties work together to meet interests and maximize value creation during the negotiation process, can be stymied by the task of dividing up a seemingly fixed pie of resources, such as budgets, revenue, and time. … Read More

Culture in Negotiation: Preparing for International Negotiation

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

In his book How to Negotiate Anything with Anyone Anywhere Around the World, Frank L. Acuff advises readers to expect Germans to be reserved, hard bargainers who may be offended by personal questions and tardiness. Those negotiating with Chinese counterparts are cautioned to avoid direct questions and to prepare to make numerous concessions. And negotiators … Read More

Conflict and Negotiation Case Study: Long-Term Business Partnerships and Negotiated Agreements

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

To protect the future interests of their organization, negotiators sometimes must accept fewer benefits or absorb greater burdens in the short run to maximize the value to all relevant parties – including future employees and shareholders – over time. Suppose that the operations VPs of two subsidiaries of an energy company are preparing to negotiate the … Read More

Business Negotiation Solutions: To Eat or Not to Eat?

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

We’ve all shared a meal with a negotiating counterpart at one point or another, whether a business lunch, a working dinner, or sandwiches in a conference room. What are the advantages and potential pitfalls of combining food and drink with negotiation? Here, we offer business negotiation solutions for those who are trying to decide whether … Read More

Conflict-Solving Strategies: The Value of Taking a Break

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Business negotiators coping with deeply entrenched conflict often feel defeated and hopeless when conflict-solving strategies fail. However, research from the world of international conflict suggests that taking repeated breaks from conflict can improve the odds of reaching agreement down the road. The research and resulting negotiation strategies may offer new hope to business negotiators. … Read More

Corporate Negotiation Pitfalls: The Case of Facebook

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

In corporate negotiation, negotiators often care most about getting the best price possible, assessing the other party’s ability to follow through, and closing the deal. Unfortunately, such business preoccupations can lead dealmakers to overlook potential ethical concerns, as current negotiations in the news often attest. Examining some of Facebook’s recent corporate negotiation mistakes, we describe … Read More

ESL Negotiation: Avoid Confusion and Conflict

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

“The language of international business,” a British executive once said to Tufts University professor Jeswald Salacuse, “is broken English.” The observation is rooted in the fact that most international business and diplomacy is conducted in English, Salacuse writes in his book Negotiating Life: Secrets for Everyday Diplomacy and Deal Making (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). … Read ESL Negotiation: Avoid Confusion and Conflict

Most Startups Fail. But Yours Doesn’t Have To.

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

We recently interviewed Samuel Dinnar—instructor at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, global entrepreneur, and strategic negotiation advisor—about his new book, Entrepreneurial Negotiation: Understanding and Managing the Relationships that Determine Your Entrepreneurial Success. In this insightful book, Dinnar and Susskind delve into the reasons why entrepreneurs fumble key negotiations—and what they can do … Read Most Startups Fail. But Yours Doesn’t Have To.

Negotiation Training with Heart

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Training.

In typical negotiation skills training, we are taught to get beyond our emotions and look at situations rationally. There’s merit to this approach, of course, as feelings can cloud our judgment. But consider what Lieutenant Jack Cambria, who retired in August as the longest-running head of the New York Police Department’s (NYPD’s) hostage negotiation team, … Read Negotiation Training with Heart

Teach Your Students to Negotiate the Principal-Agent Relationship with Fie’s Agent

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

Negotiate International Sports Contracts In many business negotiations, especially those involving athletes, you will find an agent negotiating on behalf of the principal party. This unique principal-agent relationship can cause challenges at the negotiating table. The agent may have different preferences from their principal party. Agents may also have different incentives from the principal. Agents may … Read More

Negotiate International Energy Contracts with ENCO

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

ENCO: Negotiating International Contracts in the Face of Political Instability Negotiating international contracts can be tricky, and unstable, especially when governments are parties in the negotiation. ENCO is a Texas-based power company that has begun to move aggressively into emerging markets. The Indian government has approached ENCO to build an electrical generating plant to increase the power … Read More

Crossed Wires? Negotiation Games To Help Your Business Deal Sidestep Legal, Technical And Emotional Glitches

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

What’s faster than the pace of technological development? The pace of lawsuits being filed about the adoption of new technologies, patent infringement, and intellectual property rights. In our modern world, professionals must be able to resolve highly challenging technology-related disputes – often before they reach the courtroom. That’s where the Program on Negotiation’s Teaching … Read More

What is the Anchoring Bias?

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

It may be the most burning question in business negotiation: Should you make the first offer? Traditionally, negotiators were advised to wait for the other side to make a first offer. According to this reasoning, the other side’s offer gives you valuable information about his goals and alternatives. More recently, however, research on the anchoring bias has … Read What is the Anchoring Bias?

Manage Family Conflict When Business Negotiations Go Bad

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Conventional wisdom warns us against doing business with family members. Negotiations between people linked by close ties can result in hurt feelings, damaged relationships, or simply the nagging feeling that a better deal was within reach. Yet circumstances sometimes require us to negotiate financial matters with a relative. In other situations, someone close to you may … Read More

MESO Negotiation: Learn from a Seller’s Market

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

What negotiating skills can negotiators take away from hyper competitive bargaining situations? With home sales heating up (again) in some parts of the United States, homebuyers are facing competition they haven’t seen since before the real-estate bubble burst back in 2008, and it’s showing up in the form of packed open houses, multiple bids above … Read MESO Negotiation: Learn from a Seller’s Market

Negotiation Topics in Business: Make a Bump Plan

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Regrouping from the cancellation of the 2004–2005 season due to failed labor negotiations, National Hockey League (NHL) teams and players faced the challenge of radically restructuring their collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in July 2005. The new CBA instituted a uniform cap (as well as a floor) on team payrolls. It also set maximums and minimums … Read Negotiation Topics in Business: Make a Bump Plan

Exercising Your BATNA: When American Apparel Ousted Dov Charney

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On June 18, 2015 the board of retailer American Apparel informed the company’s controversial founder, Dov Charney, that it was ousting him from his roles as chairman and CEO. For years, Charney had fended off sexual-harrassment lawsuits and rumors of inappropriate behavior. But only when the company’s creditors grew anxious about its long-term liability did … Read More

Top International Multiparty Negotiations: Dissent in the European Union

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

A European Union summit held in late October 2013 failed to make headway toward more coordination of economic policies. Facing resistance from Germany in particular, European officials grew pessimistic regarding their odds of negotiating a deal over the next year to lay the foundation for a banking union for the 17 nations that use the … Read More

Win-Win Business Negotiations: The Wachovia Buyout

Posted by & filed under Win-Win Negotiations.

Changing financial and legal conditions can create and destroy wealth in the blink of an eye. How does a negotiator take advantage of such periods of change? During the financial crisis of 2008, Wachovia Corporation found itself looking for a buyer to avoid collapse while the financial industry as a whole was the grips of … Read More

Dealing with Difficult People – In and Outside of Congress

Posted by & filed under Dealing with Difficult People.

In business negotiations, we sometimes face the task of dealing with difficult people—those who seem to pick fights, hold offensive views, or rely on hard-bargaining tactics. Some of us naturally turn away from such difficult negotiations. Others choose to try to overlook or overcome the flaws they see in potential negotiating partners. … Read More

Creating and Claiming Value Through Haggling – Assess The Other Party’s BATNA in Dealmaking Negotiations

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

Now it’s time to assess the best deal you might get. Figuring out the other party’s reservation price is the key to knowing how far you will be able to push him, write Deepak Malhotra and Max H. Bazerman in their book Negotiation Genius: How to Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Brilliant Results at the Bargaining … Read More

How to Conduct a Mediation During Crisis Negotiations

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

The most difficult peace negotiations in recent decades—in Ireland, the Middle East, the former Yugoslavia, and Sri Lanka—were plagued by a common enemy: violent disruptions by spoilers opposed to the peace process. In each of these cases, extremists stalled negotiations by creating security crises that divided public opinion and drove negotiators apart. … Read More

Negotiation Research Demonstrates the Impact of Memory on Decision Making Processes in Bargaining Scenarios

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

Recent negotiation research published by Psychological Science from Program on Negotiation faculty member and assistant professor at Harvard University’s Department of Psychology Joshua Greene and his colleague Elinor Amit explores the impact vivid mental imagery has on decision-making processes for negotiators. The negotiation skills insights that can be obtained from such negotiation research are many … Read More

Modest Goals Gave Hope to Syria Peace talks

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

In international negotiations and other complex multiparty negotiations, should you set ambitious goals right from the start or begin with more modest ones? Aiming high can lead to dramatic payoffs if you succeed, but the difficulty of orchestrating complicated international negotiations can increase the risk of impasse. By contrast, starting with more modest goals may suggest … Read Modest Goals Gave Hope to Syria Peace talks

Learning from the Debates About the Debates

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

There is “nothing worse than a debate about debates,” John Podesta, the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, recently said in the midst of his candidate’s heated negotiations with Democratic rival Bernie Sanders about the terms of their debates. Many who participated in these negotiations would likely agree. But the debates about debates—both on the … Read Learning from the Debates About the Debates

Forging a Global Agreement on Climate Change

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

The ambitious goal of the professional negotiators who participated in the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, held in a Paris suburb from November 30 through December 11, 2015, was to reach enforceable commitments from nations around the world to lower their greenhouse-gas emissions to levels that could ward off environmental disasters. At the Paris climate … Read Forging a Global Agreement on Climate Change

In The Simpsons Dealmaking, Harry Shearer Goes Public

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

How did actor Henry Shearer and the producers of the hit television show The Simpsons arrive at a win-win negotiated agreement? In this article drawn from examples of negotiation in real life, we examine the negotiations between the actor and the producers and offer insights into the bargaining strategies employed by each. … Read More

Financial Negotiations During the Banking Crisis: Did the Mortgage Foreclosure Settlement Meet Its Goals?

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

The mortgage foreclosure settlement reached by the Obama Administration and major US banks bailed out during the 2008 financial crisis illustrates the importance of an integrative negotiations approach to bargaining with your counterpart. Here are the strategies and techniques employed by each side to reach a consensus on the mortgage foreclosure settlement. … Read More

In Business Negotiations, Capitalize on a Right of First Refusal

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

As dealmakers look for more sophisticated ways to reduce risks and increase returns, a right of first refusal—a contractual guarantee that one side can match any offer that the other side later receives—has become a common and useful tool to add to your business negotiation skills.

Negotiation Skills

Claim your FREE copy: Negotiation Skills

Build powerful negotiation skills and become a better dealmaker and leader. Download 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.

When the mergers-and-acquisitions (M&A) boom began in 1993, many deals … Read More

Negotiation Skills in Business Communication: Heading Off Deception

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

In all types of negotiations and across all phases of the process, people can sometimes misrepresent or fail to tell the truth. Individual negotiators lie with the hope of improving their own outcomes. When negotiating his salary with the Cranbury, N.J.–based pharmaceutical marketing firm Carter-Wallace in 1997, Robert Bonczek misrepresented his prior title and salary … Read More

Negotiation Skills in Business Communication: Status Anxiety

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Negotiation Skills in Business Communication: Campeau Corporation and Federated Department Stores Sometimes in negotiation we are forced to deal not only with the issues on the table but also with concerns about status. One famous instance took place in the late 1980s, when Robert Campeau, head of the Campeau Corporation and then one of Fortune magazine’s “50 … Read More

When Negotiations Go Down to the Wire

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

From the start, the negotiations were precarious. In late 2013, Iran agreed to temporarily freeze portions of its nuclear program and to negotiate a more comprehensive nuclear dismantlement with the United States, Russia, China, France, Germany, and Great Britain in exchange for reduced economic sanctions. The negotiations proceeded in fits and starts over the next … Read When Negotiations Go Down to the Wire

Business Negotiation Techniques and Dealmaking – Bargaining with Agents

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

When using an agent in negotiation, your negotiation strategy and definitely the negotiation techniques you use to achieve success at the bargaining table change – but how much so? How different is negotiating with an agent from negotiating with an equal counterpart? In this article the Program on Negotiation explores the business negotiation techniques negotiators … Read More

Deal Negotiation and Dealmaking: What to Do On Your Own

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

Six negotiation skills tips for negotiators seeking to creative value during their next round at the bargaining table. Business negotiators are often faced with the complex task of coordinating multiple parties – here are some tips for the individual business negotiator on how to achieve success in her next deal negotiation. … Read More

For Conflict Resolution in Asia, A Simple Handshake Could Go Far

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

When disputes arise between international negotiators, sometimes a simple gesture of reciprocity can turn a boiling conflict into an amicable resolution. In this article the Program on Negotiation explores how a “simple handshake” between the leaders of Japan and the People’s Republic of China helped ease long-held tensions between the two countries. … Read More

Negotiation Skills: View Your Counterpart as an Agent

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Looking for yet another way to build your power at the negotiating table? Examine the incentives of your counterpart—and then consider whether they align with those of the group she represents. In most business negotiations, notes Harvard professor Guhan Subramanian, your counterpart is acting as her organization’s representative, or agent (just as you’re acting as … Read More

In business negotiations, share the wealth wisely

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

After graduating from the University of Chicago’s business school in 1971, David G. Booth took what he had learned and ran with it. The firm he founded, Dimensional Fund Advisors, bases its investment decisions on the type of academic research Booth absorbed from his professors in Chicago. That scholarly approach has paid off: Dimensional Fund … Read In business negotiations, share the wealth wisely

Build On Your Past Success in Business Negotiations

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For fans of AMC’s hit show Mad Men, the news was terrible. In late March 2011, the network publicly confirmed that the fifth season of the show, originally set to air summer of 2011, would not air until early 2012. A contract dispute with the show’s creator, producer, and head writer, Matthew Weiner, had held … Read More

In Business Negotiations, Restraint Can Be Key—Even in High Fashion

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

When employees leave an unsatisfying job, the feeling of relief they feel sometimes motivates them to explain their decision to whomever will listen. But that tendency can backfire and necessitate tense business negotiations, as a recent story from the world of high fashion illustrates. In November 2012, designer Nicolas Ghesquière startled the fashion world with … Read More

Conflict Resolution: When Forgiveness Seems Elusive

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

In the aftermath of events ranging from the Catholic Church’s child sexual abuse scandal to the 1994 Rwandan genocide, victims have received apologies from those who caused or perpetuated their suffering. Yet those who have been harmed are not always willing or able to forgive. In the context of business negotiations, when a counterpart apologizes … Read More

At the Office, Conflict Management is Key

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

In the workplace, misunderstandings, power struggles, and stress can cause conflict to fester and take a toll on productivity. The best organizations put in place conflict management processes and systems to confront conflict directly. Unfortunately, too many organizations fail to do so—and suffer the consequences of sweeping conflict under the rug. Take the case of Paradigm … Read At the Office, Conflict Management is Key

Intercultural Negotiations: When Negotiators Try Too Hard

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Adapted from “Coping with Culture at the Bargaining Table,” first published in the May 2009 issue of Negotiation. Though intercultural negotiating schemas can be useful, negotiators often give too much weight to them, according to an article in the May issue of the journal Negotiation and Conflict Management Research, “Starting Out on the Right Foot: Negotiation Schemas When … Read More

Conflict Management – What You Need to Know Before You Click “Like”

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

A new conflict-management policy from General Mills, the food company behind products such as Cheerios, Bisquick, and Betty Crocker, may lead it to lose some friends on social media. The manufacturer recently added language to its website alerting consumers that they relinquish their right to sue the company simply by downloading coupons, “liking” General Mills on … Read More

Low-Drama Negotiation Skills at the “Late Show”

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Just one week after David Letterman revealed his decision to leave his long-running talk show, the Late Show with David Letterman, CBS announced that comedian Stephen Colbert would be his replacement. The negotiations surrounding the changing-of-the-guard were remarkably business-like and calm for the tumultuous world of late-night television. Letterman debuted his show Late Night in 1982 … Read Low-Drama Negotiation Skills at the “Late Show”

Have You Negotiated How You’ll Negotiate?

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

A large pharmaceutical company was engaged in licensing negotiation with a small biotech firm over the terms of a technology transfer. When the talks reached a standstill over royalty rates, the two sides began an all-weekend marathon session. Each side came armed with supporting arguments and data, but, by Sunday afternoon, they had failed to converge toward … Read Have You Negotiated How You’ll Negotiate?

What aren’t you noticing in your negotiations?

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Recently, a corporation that we’ll call Firm A was negotiating to give another company, Firm B, access to its intellectual property. The CEOs reached an oral agreement on deal terms, and the lawyers on both sides began drafting the formal contract. At this point, Firm B asked for the right to use Firm A’s intellectual property … Read What aren’t you noticing in your negotiations?

International Negotiations: Challenging Multiparty Negotiations Around the Euro

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

A European Union summit held in late October failed to make much headway toward better coordination of economic policies, the Wall Street Journal reports. Facing resistance from Germany in particular, European officials are growing pessimistic regarding their odds of negotiating a deal over the next year to lay the foundation for a banking union for … Read More

Coping with negotiator emotion, both fake and fleeting

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Following the British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in the spring of 2010, some media observers criticized President Barack Obama for seeming to be emotionally detached. Obama ultimately did display anger about the oil spill in a televised interview, only to be further critiqued on the grounds that his anger did not … Read More

Sellers: Stay out of legal hot water

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

When it comes to business negotiations, you probably understand the importance of being as principled as possible to protect your reputation and ward off legal trouble. You probably expect your counterparts to follow the straight and narrow as well. Yet negotiators often have only a fuzzy grasp of which claims and strategies are legal and … Read Sellers: Stay out of legal hot water

Former Clearinghouse Customers Speak!

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills, Pedagogy at PON.

In an effort to understand more about how the former PON Clearinghouse does and doesn’t meet its customers’ needs, we interviewed a number of long-time Clearinghouse clients. We asked what teaching materials they found most valuable and for what reasons. We also asked how they found out about the former Clearinghouse and what additional teaching and … Read Former Clearinghouse Customers Speak!

The 900-pound Counterpart

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations, Daily.

Adapted from “Negotiating with a 900-pound Gorilla,” by Lawrence Susskind (professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Does your company ever have to negotiate with a behemoth that dominates your market–the so-called 900-pound gorilla? Whether they’re big-box retailers with aggressive pricing strategies or well-established computer software providers, one or two companies seem … Read The 900-pound Counterpart

Negotiating When Business and Family Collide

Posted by & filed under Daily, Mediation.

Basic negotiation skills may seem easy to apply in business situations but what about when business and family collide? For example, a 69-year-old CEO of a large financial firm that has been in his family for three generations is considering retirement. He has three children who may be interested in taking over the business in addition … Read Negotiating When Business and Family Collide