Sometimes our negotiation mistakes are glaring: We accidentally reveal our bottom line, criticize the other party when patience was warranted, or get our numbers mixed up. More often, though, our negotiation mistakes are invisible: We get a perfectly good deal, but are unaware that we could have gotten a better one if we hadn’t succumbed … Read More
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.
What is Effective Negotiation?
In the business world, organizations take competition for granted, but they often overlook effective negotiation strategies they can use to cooperate and achieve better outcomes.
We might hope that when we adopt effective negotiation strategies—such as spending lots of time preparing and asking questions at the table—we would achieve consistently strong results in our negotiations. Yet as most of us have experienced, our outcomes can vary a great deal from one negotiation to the next.
In part, this may be due to a lack of understanding on the benefits of effective negotiation with our competition. As proof of those benefits, in 2013, U.S. automakers Ford and General Motors announced they were teaming up to develop two new automatic transmissions (a nine-speed and a 10-speed) to help them comply with tightening fuel-economy regulations. The complex, high-tech parts are critical to vehicle performance, but they’re not part of a carmaker’s brand identity.
Working together to design the transmissions allowed the companies to share the high costs of developing the hardware without blurring their identities in the eyes of consumers. After designing the hardware, the companies split off to independently develop control software for the transmissions.
It’s worth pointing out, however, that effective negotiation doesn’t mean that some negotiations won’t still require hard bargaining. The cast of the TV sitcom, “Friends,” offers a prime example. At the height of program’s popularity they banded together to pull off an unprecedented salary negotiation, walking away with a $1 million each per episode for the final two seasons, which aired from 2002-2004.
In one instance, as negotiations went on without an agreement, the executives took an especially hard line against one cast member. In response, the entire cast walked out in the middle of filming an episode, costing the studio up front, showing them what the consequences of not reaching a deal would be in the long term.
To learn more about effective negotiation techniques, download your FREE copy of Getting the Deal Done, from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.
The following items are tagged effective negotiation:
This course is designed to raise your awareness of your own approach to conflict, introduce a range of theories about mediation and participatory processes, and improve your conflict management skills. While we will discuss a wide range of dispute resolution processes that involve third parties, we will focus on mediation. Each class moves … Read More
This free report offers best practices on a variety of negotiation and conflict resolution topics—from how to quell nerves, to drawing information out of counterparts, to dealing with hard bargainers. … Read More
Negotiation skills in business communication and seeking advice from others, what are the potential benefits? Advice seeking inherently employs multiple self-presentation tactics (including ingratiation, self-promotion, and supplication), it allows us to improve both our competence and our likability. … Read More
New Free Report – Business Negotiation Strategies: How to Negotiate Better Business Deals … Read More
Conflict resolution is the process of resolving a dispute or a conflict by meeting at least some of each side’s needs and addressing their interests. Conflict resolution sometimes requires both a power-based and an interest-based approach, such as the simultaneous pursuit of litigation (the use of legal power) and negotiation (attempts to reconcile each party’s … Read More
Students who master business negotiation become better leaders. But it starts with building the right skills. And that’s where our latest free report comes in. In Negotiation Skills: Negotiation Strategies and Negotiation Techniques to Help You Become a Better Negotiator, you’ll learn: … Read More
In sales negotiations, making the first offer is often a smart move. The first offer can anchor the discussion that follows and can have a powerful effect on the final outcome. But if the other party makes the first offer, you’ll need to be prepared to frame your counteroffer carefully. What is framing in negotiation? It … Read More
Discover how to build a winning team, find an effective negotiation “coach,” budget for negotiations training and boost your business negotiation results in this free special report from Harvard Law School. … Read More
In previous international negotiation articles from cross cultural negotiation case studies, we have focused on how international negotiators can avoid cognitive biases and overcome cultural barriers. But how do negotiators dealing with counterparts that speak another language modify their negotiation techniques to accommodate for the lack of a common language? … Read More
Learning great BATNA examples, or estimations of your best alternative to a negotiated agreement as well as that of your negotiating counterpart, are essential to effective negotiation strategies. When preparing to negotiate, always take time to consider these important questions. … Read More
In MESO, negotiation in which multiple offers are presented simultaneously at the negotiation table, effective negotiators seek opportunities to create value. By making tradeoffs across issues, parties can obtain greater value on the issues that are most important to them. … Read More
Individual negotiators are sometimes overwhelmed by the idea of leading organization-wide changes to negotiation practices. In fact, it doesn’t take much time or effort to set the wheels of reform in motion, write Hallam Movius and Lawrence Susskind in Built to Win. Here are four simple steps to implement in your workplace. … Read More
With its booming economy and growing international consumer influence, the role of negotiation in international business is more important than ever and negotiation skills appropriate for China are in high-demand. Here are a few negotiation tips to help you successfully navigate your next round of business negotiations in China. … Read More
Whether you have one of its ubiquitous products or even its rivals offerings, you most certainly have heard of Apple, the United States electronics giant whose phoenix-like rise to the top of the business world has inspired legions of fans and detractors alike. … Read More
When we think of win-lose negotiation examples, we think of competitions in which it seemed that one party had to succeed and the other had to fail. In fact, in the majority of win-lose negotiation examples, a win-win negotiation was possible, but parties overlooked opportunities to create value. As a consequence, they reached subpar results. … Read More
Some negotiations are simple enough to handle on our own, but those deals are increasingly rare in the business world. These days, to thrive in negotiation, you often need to be able to work effectively as part of a negotiation team. … Read More
A win win negotiation case study using mind mapping to discover your counterpart’s interests for collaborative, integrative negotiations can occur. … Read More
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
The prospect of boosting our negotiation skills can be so overwhelming that we often delay taking the necessary steps we can follow to improve, such as taking time to prepare thoroughly. The following five guidelines will help you break this daunting task into a series of manageable—and often essential—strategies. … Read More
Businesspeople who are looking for effective negotiation strategies often confront a dizzying array of advice. It can be useful to take a step back and categorize these strategies into various types of negotiation tactics. Highlighting the benefits of negotiation in business, the following five types of negotiation tactics can help you think more broadly about … Read More
In the business world, organizations take competition for granted, to the extent that they often overlook opportunities to meet their goals by working with one another. But the benefits of negotiation in business can extend to our dealings with competitors. Recent high-profile negotiations highlight three effective negotiation strategies competitors can use to cooperate and compete. … Read More
While you might choose many processes for conducting your negotiations, we recommend the following three steps of a mutual-gains approach to negotiations: … Read More
In late 2016 and early 2017, news stories abounded of companies that were having second thoughts about planned mega-mergers. Abbott Laboratories began looking for ways to exit its acquisition of Alere, citing investigations of the medical test maker, for example. And Verizon started rethinking its acquisition of Yahoo! following a data breach at the tech … Read More
You’ve mastered the basics of good negotiation techniques: you prepare thoroughly, take time to build rapport, make the first offer when you have a strong sense of the bargaining range, and search for wise tradeoffs across issues to create value. Now, it’s time to absorb five lesser-known but similarly effective negotiation topics and techniques that … Read More
Organizations across the globe spend many millions of dollars each year on negotiation training for their employees. This training can be in-house, led by consultants and other experts, or employees can travel to training programs at universities and elsewhere. After engaging in a couple of days of training, employees return to the office and attempt … Read More
Here is a list offering a broad overview of negotiation case studies from the recent past along with analysis of each bargaining scenario: … Read More
We might hope that when we adopt effective negotiation strategies—such as spending lots of time preparing and asking questions at the table—we would achieve consistently strong results in our negotiations. Yet as most of us have experienced, our outcomes and personal satisfaction can vary a great deal from one negotiation to the next. Why? Likely … Read More
Do you negotiate via text? If you’re a young person early in your career, your answer may be an emphatic yes. If you’re a little older, maybe you answered no. Even so, if you took a closer look at the saved text messages on your smartphone, you might find you’ve recently negotiated the division of … Read More
Access to multimedia content has rapidly increased throughout the world, with videos and short clips permeating our daily life. We are consuming, producing, and interacting with videos more now than ever before. In light of increasing video fluency and interest in using videos in education, the Program on Negotiation’s Teaching Negotiation Resource Center is creating … Read More
More and more companies are inserting alternative dispute resolution (ADR) clauses in their contracts with customers and vendors—and even, in some cases, in agreements with their own employees. ADR clauses can be beneficial for all concerned if it means avoiding the cost, delay, and uncertainty of going to court. Mandated mediation, in particular, may offer … Read More
As you may have noticed, the first offer made in a negotiation often has a significant influence on the final outcome. In their research, psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky documented that the first number introduced in a negotiation serves as an “anchor” that can be impossible to ignore—no matter how irrelevant, outrageous, or insulting … Read More
Have you ever found yourself negotiating with someone who seemed entirely ruthless and lacking in empathy? From time to time, we may end up in the deeply unsettling position of handling difficult people who appear to have no concern for us or our outcomes. People who are antisocial, lack empathy, and habitually engage in impulsive, manipulative, … Read More
On February 14, the White House announced that President Donald Trump would sign a federal budget deal that included only a fraction of the funds he had demanded for a border wall with Mexico and attempt to secure the remaining wall funding by declaring a national emergency. For many congressional Democrats, Trump’s capitulation on the budget— following … Read More
In a negotiation, few issues heighten tensions faster than when one party feels that the other party has done something ethically or morally incorrect. To help professionals prepare for times like this, the Program on Negotiation’s Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) offers a variety of negotiation exercises designed to teach participants how to handle disputes that … Read More
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 More
Jim Sebenius, the Gordon Donaldson Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, and Director of the Harvard Negotiation Project, addressed these questions in his presentation at the NP@PON Faculty Dinner Seminar on October 7, 2010. His article, “Developing Negotiation Case Studies,” began as a memo to a novice case writer about how to write … Read More
Toby knew that Dara was the perfect New York literary agent for him as soon as he heard her friendly, professional voice on the phone. Never mind that 17 other agents had already rejected his book proposal. Dara’s enthusiasm and recent sales convinced him to sign the three-year exclusive contract she mailed to him in … Read More
From brokering a deal to negotiating a sale, there are many disputes that happen at work. Among the most challenging are those involving employers and employees. That’s the case with Binder Kadeer: Consultation in the Company, a negotiation exercise brought to you by the Program on Negotiation’s Teaching Resource Center (TNRC). … Read More
Virtually all of us experience feelings of anger from time to time during our negotiations. Past research findings reassured business negotiators that their displays of anger could benefit them by conveying toughness and motivating their counterparts to make concessions. But a new research study by professors Hajo Adam of Rice University and Jeanne M. Brett … Read More
The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School is pleased to present: Negotiating at Work: Turn Small Wins into Big Gains
with Deborah Kolb Professor Emerita, Simmons College School of Management Tuesday, November 17 4:00-5:15 PM Pound Hall 102 Harvard Law School Campus Free and open to the public; refreshments will be served. About the book: Negotiation is undoubtedly essential to navigating the working world. Dr. … Read More
Q: I lead a team of approximately 50 lawyers in the in-house legal department of a Fortune 500 company. As our team gets larger, reflecting the company’s growth, I’d like to install quality-control measures to ensure that all our attorneys are effectively negotiating settlements when appropriate and taking cases to trial when not. What are … Read More
Fans of the television show Friends got a treat last month when Netflix made all 236 episodes of the blockbuster hit available to stream online. At first glance actors Lisa Kudrow, Jennifer Aniston and the rest of the star-studded cast might not be your first pick to peg as formidable negotiators, but at the height … Read More
Individual negotiators are sometimes overwhelmed by the idea of leading organization-wide changes to negotiation practices. In fact, it doesn’t take much time or effort to set the wheels of reform in motion, write Hallam Movius and Lawrence Susskind in Built to Win. … Read More
While a student at Stanford University in the mid-2000s, Kevin Systrom met Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg at gatherings on campus. Though Systrom declined Zuckerberg’s proposal that he drop out of school and take a job with Facebook, the two men kept in touch by phone in the years following. After Systrom launched photo-sharing … Read More
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 More
The Program on Negotiation, an inter-university consortium of Harvard, MIT, and Tufts, and Harvard’s Future of Diplomacy Project have named Ambassador Tommy Koh of Singapore the recipient of the 2014 Great Negotiator Award. In public events at Harvard planned for the afternoon of Thursday, April 10, 2014 (details to be announced), participants will honor Koh’s … Read More
Does anyone down there know how to cut a deal?” Senate Republican Mitch McConnell said to Vice President Joe Biden. It was Sunday, December 30, 2012, the day before the “fiscal cliff ” deadline, and the minority leader had phoned Biden out of a sense of desperation, report Patrick O’Connor and Peter Nicholas in the … Read More
Tensions between the Humane Society of the United States and United Egg Producers have existed for more than a decade. When the two sides are asked why they don’t come together to negotiate their differences, each answers that the other is someone with whom negotiation is difficult if not impossible. Often it is those parties … Read More
Adapted from “What Divides You May Unite You,” by James K. Sebenius (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, July 2005. Some years ago, an English property development firm had assembled most of the land outside London that it needed to build a large regional hospital. Yet a key parcel remained, and its … Read More
There is often a profound gap – of which we are typically unaware – between what we “know” or “believe” about effective negotiation practice and what we actually do as practitioners under pressure. Bruce Patton, the founder of Vantage Partners and co-founder of the Harvard Negotiation Project, advocates helping students master key “micro-skills” to enable … Read More
Access to multimedia content is rapidly increasing throughout the world, with videos and short clips permeating our daily life – whether in gas stations, on ATMs, cell phones, or mobile entertainment devices. We are consuming, producing, and interacting with videos more now than ever before: YouTube is the third-most visited website on the Internet, the … Read More
An Experiment: Exploring Interdisciplinary Linkages between Negotiation and Communication Studies What would negotiation pedagogy look like if we focused more on the core meanings and practices of communication? How can understanding the underpinnings of communication – the components of conversation and the exchange of meaning – help us understand and improve our negotiations? The weekend of … Read More
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