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.


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Harvard Negotiation Master Class: Advanced Strategies for Experienced Negotiators – May 13–⁠15, 2024

Posted by & filed under Harvard Negotiation Master Class.

Strictly limited to 60 participants who have completed a prior course in negotiation, this first-of-its-kind program offers unprecedented access to experts from Harvard Law School, Harvard Business School, and the Harvard Kennedy School—all of whom are committed to delivering a transformational learning experience. … Read More

Harvard Mediation Intensive

Posted by & filed under Harvard Mediation Intensive.

Led by mediation experts Audrey Lee and Alain Lempereur, the Harvard Mediation Intensive delves into mediation principles and processes through interactive presentations and hands-on exercises. From employment and business disagreements to public and international conflicts, you will discover effective ways to enable parties to settle their differences across a variety of contexts. … Read Harvard Mediation Intensive

What is Anchoring in Negotiation?

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

What exactly is anchoring in negotiation, and how does it play out at the bargaining table? Consider this anchoring bias example from Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School faculty member Guhan Subramanian. While running a negotiation simulation in one of his classes, Subramanian noticed that one student spent a considerable amount of time explaining … Read What is Anchoring in Negotiation?

How to Respond to Questions in Negotiation

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

What’s the toughest question you’ve ever been asked during a negotiation? Do you know how to respond to questions when they’re out of your comfort zone? If you negotiate frequently, it might be hard to narrow it down to just one. Focusing on job interviews, here are a few negotiation questions that candidates often dread. … Read How to Respond to Questions in Negotiation

Dealmaking Secrets from Henry Kissinger

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

More than 1,600 international relations experts from across the political spectrum overwhelmingly rate Henry Kissinger, who served under former presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, the most effective secretary of state of the last half-century. In their book, Kissinger the Negotiator: Lessons from Dealmaking at the Highest Level (Harper, 2018), James K. Sebenius, R. Nicholas … Read Dealmaking Secrets from Henry Kissinger

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

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

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

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

What is Distributive Negotiation and Five Proven Strategies

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

Most negotiations call for very different, even opposing, skills: collaboration and competition. To get a great deal, we typically must work with others to find new sources of value while also competing with them to claim as much of that value for ourselves. Before mastering the intricacies of value creation in negotiation, it helps to … Read More

Chatbot Negotiations: What Can AI Do for You?

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Seemingly all of a sudden, chatbots like ChatGPT and other forms of artificial intelligence (AI) are becoming ubiquitous in everyday life. These virtual conversation partners can do everything from make dinner reservations to write essays to flirt, if sometimes with unsettling results. No surprise, then, that chatbots are beginning to play a role in our … Read Chatbot Negotiations: What Can AI Do for You?

Take your BATNA to the Next Level

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

If your current negotiation reaches an impasse, what’s your best outside option? Most seasoned negotiators understand the value of evaluating their BATNA, or best alternative to a negotiated agreement, a concept that Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton introduced in their seminal book, Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In (Penguin, 1991, second … Read Take your BATNA to the Next Level

Charismatic Leadership: Weighing the Pros and Cons

Posted by & filed under Leadership Skills.

Jack Welch. Lee Iacocca. Ronald Reagan. Steve Jobs. Sam Walton. These prominent leaders from the 1980s embodied a leadership style held up at the time as highly desirable and effective: charismatic leadership. Leadership trends wax and wane, and charismatic leadership has more recently taken a back seat to less hierarchical and paternalistic leadership styles, such … Read More

Understanding Different Negotiation Styles

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

In the business world, some negotiators always seem to get what they want, while others more often tend to come up short. What might make some people better negotiators than others? The answer may be in part that people bring different negotiation styles and strategies to the bargaining table, based on their different personalities, experiences, … Read Understanding Different Negotiation Styles

Communication Breakdowns: When All We Can See is Red

Posted by & filed under Dealing with Difficult People.

Miscommunication often leads to impasse in negotiation. When we don’t understand what the other party wants, we can grow frustrated by their perceived lack of cooperation with our own wishes and give up prematurely on reaching agreement. Miscommunication also can be a problem when we are consulting advisers for help with an upcoming negotiation, whether … Read More

Beware the Winner’s Curse in Auctions

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

In 2017, Amazon announced it was taking bids from cities interested in being the site of its second headquarters, known as HQ2. The online behemoth said it would be investing $5 billion in a campus and creating 50,000 well-paying jobs. Cities and regions across North America snapped to attention, and Amazon received 238 proposals. … Read Beware the Winner’s Curse in Auctions

Negotiators: Resist Vividness Bias in Negotiations

Posted by & filed under Salary Negotiations.

Vividness bias is the tendency to overweight the vivid and prestigious attributes of a decision, such as salary or an employer’s status, and underweight less impressive issues, such as location or rapport with colleagues. Let’s talk about a clear vividness bias example from 2015 in Major League Baseball. … Read More

How To Avoid a Business Contract Bidding War

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Back in 2014, Nike was the undisputed king of superstar endorsements, dominating the field by paying top talent millions for the right to sell lines of collectible shoes in their names. But sportswear and footwear supplier Under Armour made a bold play to change the landscape. Basketball star Kevin Durant, then of the Oklahoma City … Read How To Avoid a Business Contract Bidding War

Union Negotiations Show How to Bring Reluctant Parties to the Table

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

On April 24, 2013, an eight-story building in Bangladesh known as Rana Plaza collapsed, killing 1,134 people, many of them low-wage garment workers who made goods for foreign companies. In the aftermath, Western retailers were widely criticized for failing to engage in international labor union negotiations and address hazardous conditions in the factories where their … Read More

The Winner’s Curse: Avoid This Common Trap in Auctions

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

Imagine that a professor shows a jar full of coins to his class and announces he’s auctioning it off. Students are told they can write down a bid and that the highest bidder will win the contents in exchange for the money he or she bid. After everyone has written down their bids, the professor … Read More

Dressing for Success: How Wealth and Status Cues Affect Business Negotiation

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

In business negotiations, we know we’re supposed to focus on substance: which issues matter to both sides, what each party can afford, what each side’s outside alternatives are, how to build a strong relationship, and so forth. Yet we’re often swayed by more superficial, often irrelevant aspects of negotiation, such as the shape of the table, whether … Read More

Managing Cultural Differences in Negotiation

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

It’s important to educate yourself about your counterpart’s culture so that you don’t risk offending her or seeming unprepared. At the same time, it would be a mistake to focus too narrowly when preparing for cross-cultural communication in business. Research on international negotiation can help us think more broadly when it comes to managing cultural … Read Managing Cultural Differences in Negotiation

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

Team Negotiation: Tackle Common Pitfalls

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

When a team negotiates on behalf of an organization, it can often achieve more than an individual would, thanks to team members’ cumulative knowledge and experience. Yet team negotiation can create new problems. Groupthink—the tendency to go along with the dominant point of view rather than challenging it—can promote overly simplistic decision making in teams … Read Team Negotiation: Tackle Common Pitfalls

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 Logistics: Best Practices for Better Deals

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

Negotiators are often so intent on preparing for the substance of a negotiation—researching the other party, analyzing their alternatives, and so on—that they neglect to devote adequate time to critical negotiation logistics, such as where to negotiate, how formal or informal talks should be, and even the shape of the negotiating table. … Read More

For Greater Value Creation, Look Beyond Your BATNA

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

For value creation in negotiation, you may need to look beyond your greatest source of power. You may have learned— perhaps in this newsletter or in Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton’s landmark negotiation book Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In (Penguin, 1991)—that your most powerful asset is often a strong BATNA, or … Read More

What Is an Umbrella Agreement?

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

Business negotiators tend to want the best of both worlds. When reaching an agreement, they want to pin down parties’ respective rights and responsibilities, but they also want to retain the flexibility they need to deal with ever-changing business conditions. One solution to this apparent dilemma is to craft an umbrella agreement. … Read What Is an Umbrella 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

Expert Job Negotiation Advice for Long-Term Success

Posted by & filed under Salary Negotiations.

When you enter a job negotiation, what goals are foremost on your mind? If you’re like most people, you are primarily preoccupied with making a great impression and winning the job. Acing the interviews can seem like the only thing that matters, especially if you’ve been out of work or desperate to escape a miserable … Read More

5 Common Negotiation Mistakes and How You Can Avoid Them

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

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

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

5 Good Negotiation Techniques

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

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 5 Good Negotiation Techniques

How to Resolve Cultural Conflict: Overcoming Cultural Barriers at the Negotiation Table

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

After recently losing an important deal in India, a business negotiator learned that her counterpart felt as if she had been rushing through the talks. The business negotiator thought she was being efficient with their time. In this useful cross-cultural conflict negotiation example, how should this negotiator improve her negotiation skills? … Read More

When Armed with Power in Negotiation, Use It Wisely

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

The buzz of excitement that arose in February 2015 at the news that Harper Lee, author of the beloved novel To Kill a Mockingbird, would be publishing a second novel quickly turned to concern. The 88-year-old Lee, who suffered a stroke in 2007 and resided in an assisted-living facility in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, … Read More

Should Salary Expectations Be a Laughing Matter?

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

In salary negotiations, job candidates are often at a disadvantage relative to the hiring organization. Due to the well-documented anchoring effect, the first figure introduced into the discussion tends to strongly influence the salary expectations. Unfortunately for candidates, the first figure mentioned in a negotiation often is not in their favor. … Read Should Salary Expectations Be a Laughing Matter?

Leadership Skills in Negotiation: How to Negotiate Equity Incentives with Senior Management

Posted by & filed under Leadership Skills.

How can you use your leadership skills in negotiation to divide the pie of resources with those that helped you grow it in the first place? In this negotiation case study, Kevin Mohan, Senior Lecturer at  Harvard Business School examines how executives can expand the pie while helping those who contribute claim equitable value. … 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

Why Great Negotiators Earn More Money

Posted by & filed under Salary Negotiations.

What’s the best way to claim more money in a negotiation? Many professional negotiators would recommend hard-bargaining tactics, such as asking the other party to disclose their bottom line, standing firm on price, and threatening to walk away. But truly great negotiators recognize that using haggling strategies alone may leave significant money on the table. … Read Why Great Negotiators Earn More Money

MESO: Make Multiple Equivalent Simultaneous Offers to Create Value in Dealmaking Table

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

MESO negotiation, a negotiation strategy for creating value with a counterpart who may be reluctant to negotiate, allows negotiators to propose multiple offers without signaling commitment or preference for any one option. Business negotiators that practice integrative negotiation strategies often complain that although they try to focus on creating value, they run into far too many difficult … Read More

Dear Negotiation Coach: Finding New Ways to Improve Hiring Practices

Posted by & filed under Leadership Skills.

Many people overlook the fact that hiring is a type of negotiation. We negotiate with our colleagues and ourselves about making the right choices, and we negotiate with candidates over expectations. As many people have experienced, however, hiring is anything but straightforward, and we often make mistakes. We spoke to Michael Luca, Lee J. Styslinger … Read More

Implicit and Explicit Bias: When Negotiators Discriminate Based on Race

Posted by & filed under Leadership Skills.

Implicit and explicit bias are common, whether the guilty parties are aware of it, or not.  On July 14, 2015, American Honda Finance Corporation (AHFC), the U.S. financing division of Japanese car manufacturer Honda, agreed to refund $24 million to minority borrowers to settle federal investigations. AHFC was alleged to have racially discriminated against the … Read More

Negotiating Skills: How to Bargain “Behind the Table”

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, U.S. president George H. W. Bush and his secretary of state, James Baker, were eager to win international support for German reunification and German membership in NATO. But Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev faced strong opposition to these measures from members of his own Communist Party. Both … Read More

Dear Negotiation Coach: Negotiating a Win Win Relationship with Friends

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

Though we’re often advised against mixing friends and business, it’s not only inevitable at times; it can also be beneficial to everyone involved. The key is to negotiate in a way that ensures a win win relationship between parties, and in bigger business deals, that may include seeking outside help. We connected with Guhan Subramanian, Joseph … Read More

Dear Negotiation Coach: Managing Expectations of Our Own

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

When we negotiate for others, managing expectations is often part of our job, especially if they aren’t familiar with the sometimes complex nature of negotiations. Similarly, we may find it necessary to deal with the expectations of our counterparts. However, it’s easy to overlook the fact that we have expectations of our own that we … Read More

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

3 Keys to Effective Leadership in Difficult Negotiations

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

A medical facility might not be the first place you think of for effective leadership in a negotiation. But that’s precisely what took place between a doctor and his patients. At Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York City, a leading cancer research and treatment institution, doctors often will advise men who are … 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

Dear Negotiation Coach: Eliminating Unconscious Biases at Work By Naming Them

Posted by & filed under Leadership Skills.

Black men and women continue to be vastly underrepresented in leadership roles in corporate America due to unconscious biases in the workplace, amongst other reasons that may be more conscious. Those who advance in majority-white organizations encounter both covert and overt bias, and often struggle to feel authentic and connected, write contributors to the book … Read More

Managing Difficult Negotiations: Lessons from the 2015-2017 Illinois Budget Impasse

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

On July 6, 2017, the state of Illinois finally resolved a 793-day budget impasse, the longest such impasse in U.S. history. The economically devastating stalemate between Republican then-governor Bruce Rauner and the Democratic-controlled state legislature, triggered by hardball negotiation tactics, offers lessons to negotiators managing difficult negotiations. An Agenda and a Condition As Illinois politicians approached negotiations … Read More

Dear Negotiation Coach: Breaking Bad News in Negotiation

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Training.

Like it or not, we sometimes have to deliver bad news in negotiation. We spoke with Leslie John, Associate Professor at Harvard Business School, to find out how to accomplish this without ruining a relationship. It began with this question. Q: I am a real-estate agent working in a relatively active market. Unfortunately, market conditions mean … Read More

Government Negotiations: The Brittney Griner Case

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

In February 2022, Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) star Brittney Griner was arrested in Russia, where she plays for a professional basketball team during the WNBA offseason, after being accused of bringing vape cartridges with cannabis oil into the country. She faces 10 years imprisonment in a Russian penal colony. Given the extreme tensions between … Read Government Negotiations: The Brittney Griner Case

Ask A Negotiation Expert: Trends in Merger and Acquisition Strategies

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

We recently spoke with Guhan Subramanian, the Joseph H. Flom Professor of Law and Business at Harvard Law School and the H. Douglas Weaver Professor of Business Law at Harvard Business School, regarding trends in merger and acquisition strategies and how that’s impacting negotiations.  Negotiation Briefings: In your research, you’ve found that the way in which … Read More

Dear Negotiation Coach: Can External Advisers Hinder a Problem Solving Approach?

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

There are numerous advantages to hearing from external advisers and experts in a high-stakes negotiation. However, when talks are at an impasse, limiting the negotiation to a small number of participants may be a more beneficial problem solving approach than including outside opinions. This was at the heart of a recent question answered by Guhan Subramanian, … Read More

Collective Leadership and the Paris Climate Change Agreement

Posted by & filed under Leadership Skills.

On April 14, the Program on Negotiation presented its 2022 Great Negotiator Award to Costa Rican diplomat Christiana Figueres for her success in spearheading the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. In a daylong series of events, including a public interview led by Harvard Kennedy School professor Hannah Riley Bowles and Harvard Business School professor … Read More

In Crisis Negotiations, Stay Rational Under Pressure

Posted by & filed under Crisis Negotiations.

At the time, it seemed to be an example of coolheaded dealmaking in the midst of disaster. In 2009, hit hard by the 2008 financial crisis and changes in consumer preferences, U.S. automaker Chrysler was on the brink of collapse. The U.S. Treasury Department stepped in to run a crisis negotiation. In exchange for about … Read More

Tough Negotiator: Insights on Vladimir Putin from Former U.S. Secretaries of State

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

How should you prepare to negotiate effectively with an exceptionally tough negotiator? That’s the question the United States and its allies have faced since Russian president Vladimir Putin sent his troops to wage war on Ukraine on February 24. The experiences and insights of five former U.S. secretaries of state who negotiated directly with Putin … Read More

Moving Toward Group Conflict Resolution

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Over the years, what many believe to be Jesus’s tomb in Jerusalem’s Old City has been the site of tensions that have at times escalated into violence. Inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, and Roman Catholic communities guard the shrine surrounding the tomb, which they consider the holiest site in … Read Moving Toward Group Conflict Resolution

Deal with Last-Minute Demands

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Adapted from “When They Slice the Deal Too Thin,” by Michael Wheeler (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Suppose that, after months of negotiation, you reach a detailed agreement with a customer and shake hands. A week later, the customer’s procurement officer calls to tell you that there have to be some … Read Deal with Last-Minute Demands

2012 Great Negotiator Award event will honor former Secretary of State James A. Baker, III on March 29th

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation, News.

The Program on Negotiation (PON) at Harvard Law School and the Future of Diplomacy Project at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) will jointly honor former U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker, III with the 2012 Great Negotiator Award on Thursday, March 29, 2012, at the Ames Courtroom, Austin Hall, Harvard Law School. The Great Negotiator Award … Read More