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.


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The New Conflict Management: Effective Conflict Resolution Strategies to Avoid Litigation

Posted by & filed under Free Report.

This report reveals how wise negotiators extract unexpected value using an indirect approach to conflict management. An aggressive management style can set you up for repeated failure. Direct conflict management approaches can be overly combative and counter-productive. Experienced negotiators know that compromise seldom succeeds. Win/lose is really lose/lose. The best negotiation strategy results in … Read More 

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Diagnose Your Negotiating Style

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

negotiation techniques

How would you describe your negotiation techniques or negotiating style? Are you a cooperative negotiator who focuses on crafting negotiated agreements that benefit everyone, or do you actively compete to get a better deal than your counterpart? … Read More 

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Learning From Negotiation Role-Plays

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

negotiation role plays

It’s a familiar practice in negotiation training: Students are divided up and assigned to engage in role-play exercises known as simulations. Each person reads confidential information about her role, the two (or more) players get together and negotiate, and then the class reconvenes to debrief the experiences. Simulation took root as a common method for teaching … Read More 

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Cross Cultural Communication: Translation and Negotiations

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

cross cultural

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 

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Are You Ready to Negotiate?

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Are You Ready to Negotiate?

“Winging it” is a fine approach to life’s minor decisions, but in negotiation, it can be disastrous. Follow these three preparation steps and improve your agreements. … Read More 

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An Example of the Anchoring Effect – What to Share in Negotiation

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an example of the anchoring effect - what to share in negotiation

The prospect of sharing information with a negotiating counterpart can be scary – it can fix your counterpart into a position at the negotiation table you didn’t intend (an example of the anchoring effect). Share too much, and the other side might conclude that you’re desperate to make a deal, any deal. … Read More 

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Integrative Negotiations: Examples of Dispute Resolution Through Joint Fact-Finding

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integrative negotiations examples dispute resolution through joint fact-finding

Sometimes parties to a dispute disagree on key facts and forecasts but lack the technical or scientific expertise needed to come to a consensus. Suppose, for instance, that a developer is seeking to build a high-rise condominium building in a village that is experiencing a development boom. Longtime residents fight the proposal, arguing that another … Read More 

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Negotiation Games

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negotiation games

Going to trial, it’s said, is like rolling the dice. In this article, we discuss what negotiators need to be aware of before heading to the court room. … Read More 

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Salary Negotiation: How to Ask for a Higher Salary

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salary negotiation skills at the bargaining table how to ask for more in wage 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 

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International Negotiations and Agenda Setting: Controlling the Flow of the Negotiation Process

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international negotiations and agenda setting

When two groups are embroiled in a conflict, it is common for the party with less power to have difficulty convincing the more powerful party to sit down at the negotiating table in international negotiations. Think of a labor union that wants to convince company management to agree to pay increases. In such cases, the … Read More 

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Overcoming Cultural Barriers in Negotiations and the Importance of Communication in International Business Deals

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the importance of communication in international business overcoming cultural barriers in dealmaking negotiations

Communication in negotiation scenarios is the means by which negotiators achieve objectives, build relationships, and resolve disputes. Communication becomes even more important when negotiating counterparts are from different cultures. The following question was posed to our Negotiation newsletter editorial board and Program on Negotiation faculty member Jeswald Salacuse offers his insights. … Read More 

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Does Small Talk in Negotiation Offer Big Gains?

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Does Small Talk in Negotiation Offer Big Gains?

According to conventional wisdom, small talk builds rapport and gets both sides a better deal in the end. But in fact, the question of whether to engage in small talk can be highly context-specific. New York City investment bankers, for example, tend to be far less likely than Texas oil executives to engage in small … Read More 

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Characteristics of Negotiation Styles: Negotiation Skills for Win-Win Negotiations

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characteristics of negotiation styles negotiation skills for win-win negotiations

A few characteristics of negotiation styles include hard bargaining tactics focused on claiming as much value as possible and integrative negotiation strategies such as value creation or win-win negotiation scenarios. What negotiation styles leads to optimal negotiated agreements and are suitable to win-win negotiations? One skill to cultivate that will have a positive impact on … Read More 

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Negotiation Techniques: How to Predict a Negotiator’s Decisions

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negotiation skills and negotiation techniques predicting negotiator decisions and behavior

Improving your negotiation skills can only take you so far – eventually you need to assess you behavior preferences as a negotiator. Being able to predict how you will behave in a given bargaining scenario will help you augment the negotiation training you have received as well as help you achieve better outcomes at the … Read More 

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

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contract negotiations and business communication how to write an iron clad contract

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 labor is often … Read More 

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Negotiation Topics in Business: Coming Up with Win-Win Solutions at the Bargaining Table

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integrative negotiation and a win-win solution a place in 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 

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

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

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 

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Satisficing and Negotiation

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Satisficing and Negotiation

It stands to reason that devoting less time to relatively unimportant choices should free you up for more meaningful pursuits and increase your overall satisfaction. But how does the concept of satisficing apply to your most important decisions and negotiations? … Read More 

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Negotiation Skills: How to Become a Negotiation Master

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Negotiation Skills: How to Become a Negotiation Master

Negotiation jujitsu means breaking the vicious cycle of escalation by refusing to react. Resistance should be channeled into activities such as “exploring interests, inventing options for mutual gain, and searching for independent standards.” … Read More 

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Negotiation Techniques from International Diplomacy: Lessons for Business Negotiators

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Negotiation Techniques from International Diplomacy: Lessons for Business Negotiators

Executives rarely view themselves as diplomats engaged in international diplomacy but business negotiators often find the two fields share negotiation skills and negotiation techniques. Rightly or wrongly, diplomacy evokes images of frivolity – days spent wandering exotic capitals, nights spent cruising embassy cocktail parties. … Read More 

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Case Study of Conflict Management: To Resolve Disputes and Manage Conflicts, Assume a Neutral 3rd Party Role

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case study of conflict management and negotiation difficult conversations and telling the third story

In their book Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most (Penguin Putnam, 2000), authors Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen tell us how to engage in the conversations in our professional or personal lives that make us uncomfortable by examining a case study of conflict management. Tough, honest conversations are critical for managers, … Read More 

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Managing Expectations in Negotiations

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good negotiation examples about managing expectations in negotiations

Successful negotiators work hard to ensure that when they and their counterpart leave a negotiation, both sides feel satisfied with the agreement. Why should you care whether the other side is pleased with the deal or not? … Read More 

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Power in Negotiation: The Impact on Negotiators and the Negotiation Process

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power in negotiation the impact on negotiators and the negotiation process

According to Dacher Keltner of the University of California at Berkeley and his colleagues, power in negotiation affects two primary neurological regulators of behavior: the behavioral approach system and the behavioral inhibition system. Powerful negotiators demonstrate “approach related” behaviors such as expressing positive moods and searching for rewards in their environment. … Read More 

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How Emotions Affect Your Negotiating Ability

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example of negotiation in daily life how emotions affect your negotiating ability

Example of negotiation in daily life: Imagine you’re about to negotiate with a competing firm about a possible merger. You enter the conference room and find a reasonable and fair representative from the other company, someone you’ve reached mutually beneficial agreements with in the past. … Read More 

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New Dispute Resolution Skills: A Case Study of Conflict Management Using Negotiating Skills

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case study of conflict management new dispute resolution skills

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 

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Arbitration vs Mediation: What’s Wrong with Traditional Arbitration?

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arbitration vs mediation what's wrong with traditional arbitration

Arbitration vs mediation: Traditionally, the arbitrator is not limited to selecting one of the parties’ contract proposals but may determine the contract terms on his own. If negotiators know that impasse will lead to traditional arbitration, they typically assume that the arbitrator will reach a decision that’s an approximate midpoint between their final offers. … Read More 

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

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cultural conflict

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 negotiation example, how should this negotiator improve her negotiation skills? … Read More 

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How to Capitalize on Luck in Negotiation

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Imagine that you have just negotiated a great deal on a house – and rightly so, given how deftly you managed the process from start to finish. You diligently studied the local real estate market and uncovered the seller’s motives for listing her property. You even created mutual gain by allowing the seller to stay … Read More 

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How to Balance Your Own Values in Negotiation

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best negotiation examples negotiating conflicts of interest

What are the best negotiation examples from real life? Imagine that you’ve been negotiating the sale of a property that is owned by your company. The buyer has made an attractive offer that you’ve tentatively accepted. Your boss is pleased with the terms as they stand, but suggests that you go back to the buyer … Read More 

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How Short-Term Focus Contributes to Future Disasters in Business Negotiations

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How Short-Term Focus Contributes to Future Disasters in Business Negotiations

Negotiators tend to concentrate too closely on the here and now. By incorporating future concerns into your talks, you’ll make sounder decisions and guard against crises. In the midst of the current U.S.financial crisis, accusations of greed on Wall Street have sounded across the globe. Greed may be a significant factor in the collapse of credit … Read More 

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How Much Should You Share at the Negotiation Table?

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How Much Should You Share at the Negotiation Table?

Suppose that two entrepreneurs, a marketing expert and an IT specialist, are thinking about merging their consulting firms to create a greater synergy of services. As their talks unfold, each wonders how much information to disclose. Should they bring up discussions with other potential partners? … Read More 

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Negotiation Examples: BATNA and Negotiation Scenarios Where Alternatives are Preferable to Negotiated Agreements

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Negotiation Examples: BATNA and Negotiation Scenarios Where Alternatives are Preferable to Negotiated Agreements

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 More 

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Negotiation Techniques from the M&A World

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negotiation techniques based on negotiation research from bargaining strategies in the mergers and acquisitions world

Negotiators often have to deal with more than one party to reach their goals and often tailor their negotiation techniques towards this end. These negotiation scenarios pose unique challenges, yet most negotiation advice focuses on talks between two parties. … Read More 

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The Power of a Simple Thank You in Negotiation

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The Power of a Simple Thank You in Negotiation

Expressions of gratitude have a number of positive effects, such as helping us savor pleasurable experiences, manage stress, and strengthen relationships, researchers have found. In negotiation and other contexts, showing gratitude also motivates those we thank to keep on giving. In a series of experiments, researchers Adam M. Grant and Francesca Gino examined why expressions of … Read More 

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

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reservation point negotiation reach negotiated agreements by asking the right questions

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 

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Negotiating with Your Children: How to Resolve Family Conflicts

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negotiation examples in real life negotiating with your children

Few negotiation examples in real life demonstrate the benefit of effective conflict resolution skills than those disputes that arise in the home, such as those between parents and children. Getting a good night’s sleep and eating a healthy dinner might seem like obvious goals for parents to have for their young children, but kids won’t … Read More 

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How to Negotiate Online

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how to overcome cultural barriers to communication how to negotiate online

International negotiators are often faced with the problem of how to overcome cultural barriers to communication. When you communicate in person, social norms – including body language, manners, and physical appearance – guide your behavior and ease the process. … Read More 

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The Negotiation Process in China

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negotiation process

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 

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Dealmaking Negotiations – Writing the Negotiated Agreement

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negotiated agreements and dealmaking negotiations - writing the negotiated agreement

Some negotiations end with a negotiated agreement that is a plan of action rather than a signed contract – for example, a plumber agrees to fix the tile damage caused by his work. Other negotiations wouldn’t be appropriate to commemorate in writing, such as how you and your spouse decide to discipline your young … Read More 

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Negotiating with People Pleasers

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Negotiating with People Pleasers

All of us behave at least somewhat differently in social situations than we do in private, but psychologists have found that some people try extra hard to convey a positive image of themselves to others. … Read More 

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Integrative Negotiation Examples: MESOs and Expanding the Pie

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Integrative Negotiation Examples: MESOs and Expanding the Pie

In our society, we’re bombarded with a multitude of decisions each day, beginning with the increasingly complex question of how to order our morning coffee. In his book The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less (Ecco, 2004), Swarthmore College psychology professor Barry Schwartz describes the contemporary phenomenon of becoming exhausted by “the tyranny of … Read More 

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Essential Negotiation Skills: Limiting Cognitive Bias in Negotiation Scenarios

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Essential Negotiation Skills: Limiting Cognitive Bias in Negotiation Scenarios

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 negotiations. 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 

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Arbitration vs Mediation: How Negotiators Can Effectively Use Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

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arbitration vs mediation and the conflict resolution process in alternative dispute resolution

Arbitration, mediation, and the dispute resolution process – how negotiators can effectively use alternative dispute resolution (ADR), conflict management and conflict resolution techniques to resolve disputes, repair relationships, and find opportunities for value creation at the bargaining table. It’s often the case that when two people or organizations try to resolve a dispute by determining who … Read More 

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Negotiation Examples: The Benefits of Coalitions at the Bargaining Table

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integrative negotiation examples the benefits of coalitions in bargaining

Labor unions may be the most obvious example of a negotiating coalition. When a company negotiates with an employee individually, it could threaten to hire someone else in the face of the employee’s demands. By contrast, when employees bargain collectively through a union, they avoid the need to compete against one another (at least on … Read More 

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Developing Negotiation Skills and Negotiation Techniques for Integrative Negotiations – Does Personality Matter?

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developing negotiation skills and negotiation techniques for integrative negotiations does personality matter

Imagine that after some negative experiences at the bargaining table or if you are frustrated in your efforts to improve your negotiation skills, you’ve started to worry that you simply don’t have the right personality to be a great negotiator let alone a value-creating, integrative negotiations expert. The other party always seems to get the … Read More 

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Conflict Management: The Challenges of Negotiating Online

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case study of conflict management and negotiation the challenges of negotiating online

Negotiation research suggests that e-mail often poses more problems than solutions when it comes to relationships, information exchange, and outcomes. Here is a case study of conflict management and negotiation about the challenges of building rapport with your counterpart when negotiating online. … Read More 

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Conflict Management and Negotiation: Personality and Individual Differences That Matter

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Although Elfenbein and her colleagues did find that negotiators performed at a similar level from one negotiation to the next, to their surprise, these scores were only minimally related to specific personality traits. And traits that are basically unchangeable, such as gender, ethnic background, and physical attractiveness, were not closely connected to people’s scores. A small … Read More 

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Negotiation Topics in Business: Make a Bump Plan

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negotiation topics in business and negotiation strategy make a bump plan

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 More 

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Arbitration vs Mediation: Using Teambuilding and ADR in Negotiation

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During his years as George H.W. Bush’s Secretary of State, one of James A. Baker, III’s, goals was to encourage the free-market reforms that Communist Party of the Soviet Union General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev had launched in the late 1980s. One day during his tenure, a high-level Bush administration official commented in the press that … Read More 

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Cognitive Biases in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution – Common Negotiation Mistakes

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cognitive biases in negotiation and conflict resolution - common negotiation mistakes

Negotiators planning to engage in conflict resolution in a personal or business disputes should be aware of cognitive biases in negotiation, particularly when your dispute is being decided by a judge. Before doing so, you should consider carefully what psychologists, political scientists, and legal scholars have learned about judges from negotiation research and social science: … Read More 

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Dealmaking: Dealing with the Other Side’s Constituents

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Dealmaking: Dealing with the Other Side's Constituents

During a meeting with a potential customer, a new salesperson leaves the room several times to make phone calls. Each time when she returns, she tells the customer she can’t accept the terms they just negotiated. Exasperated by her apparent lack of authority, the customer ends the meeting abruptly. … Read More 

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Win Win Negotiations: Can’t Beat Them? Join a Coalition.

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Win Win Negotiations: Can’t Beat Them? Join a Coalition.

This negotiation case study demonstrates the power of coalitions to achieve objectives at the bargaining table. How can negotiators cooperate with bargaining counterparts to create value for both sides? Here is the strategy used by Wyoming ranchers to achieve just that. … Read More 

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How to Find the Zone of Possible Agreement (ZOPA) Between Friends

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zone of possible agreement

Finding the zone of possible agreement in negotiations can be difficult, especially when dealing with friends and family. We all know people who have “alligator arms.” When the restaurant check comes, they can’t manage to reach their wallets, or they quibble that they had the small tomato juice, and you had the large. … Read More 

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Team Building Using Negotiation Skills

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negotiation situation examples team building and negotiating skills and negotiation tactics

To avoid conveying weakness to the other side, rather than calling for a break at the first sign of trouble, some teams devised secret signals they could use to bring wayward members in line—for instance, someone might stretch out her arms to communicate to another member that he’s getting off track. … Read More 

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Overcoming Cultural Barriers in Negotiation: China and the Gold Rush Mentality

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Overcoming Cultural Barriers in Negotiation: China and the Gold Rush Mentality

If Chinese culture favors insiders, it stands to reason that outsiders face an uphill battle. In One Billion Customers: Lessons from the Front Lines of Doing Business in China (Free Press, 2005), business executive and Wall Street Journal bureau chief James McGregor writes of the 1996 attempt by Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, to … Read More 

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BATNA: Negotiation Preparation to Help Avoid Giving Up at the Bargaining Table

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batna negotiation preparation to help avoid giving up at the bargaining table

When you expect an opponent to be competitive, your confidence in the outcomes you can achieve in negotiation is likely to plummet. In negotiation research with Adam Galinsky of Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, negotiators were provided with some background about their counterpart including information on how competitive their counterpart has been in previous negotiations. … Read More 

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Body Language in the Negotiation Process and Beyond

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negotiation techniques and body language body language negotiation examples in real life

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 More 

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What is Dispute System Design?

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dispute system design - employee mediation techniques dispute resolution design

Dispute System Design (DSD) is the process of identifying, designing, employing, and evaluating an effective means of resolving conflicts within an organization. In order to be effective, dispute systems must be thoroughly thought out and carefully constructed. … Read More 

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The Advantages of Bias at the Negotiation Table

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examples of negotiation in business using bias to your advantage

What impact do cognitive biases have on bargaining scenarios? Work by negotiation researchers Russell B. Korobkin of UCLA and Chris P. Guthrie of Vanderbilt University suggests how to turn knowledge of four specific biases into tools of persuasion. … Read More 

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Bargaining at a Fever Pitch

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Bargaining a fever pitch

Have you ever won an auction only to realize later that you overbid for the prize? In competitive bidding situations, it’s easy to get carried away in the heat of the moment and overpay. The Boston Red Sox 2006 procurement of Japanese pitching phenomenon Daisuke “Dice-K” Matsuzaka offers a lesson in keeping cool in these … Read More 

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How Does Mediation Work in a Lawsuit: Choosing the Right Mediator

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how does mediation work in a lawsuit choosing the right mediator

How does mediation work in a lawsuit? For those new to mediation, we advise you being by getting a list of mediators from a reputable provider agency. You can find these agencies by searching under dispute resolution or by inquiring with your organization’s legal department. … Read More 

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What is Dispute Resolution in Law: The Ins and Outs of Arbitration

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what is dispute resolution in law the ins and outs of arbitration

A “one-shot” form of dispute resolution, arbitration is usually faster and cheaper than litigation. In addition, rather than being assigned a judge, parties are able to select their arbitrator. What is dispute resolution in law and how do alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods like arbitration operate inside and outside a courtroom? Here are some examples of … Read More 

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How Chaos at the Bargaining Table Can Help Negotiators Reach Agreement

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negotiators - examples of negotiation situations

Here are some examples of negotiation situations in which chaos at the bargaining table works to the negotiator’s advantage. Whether conducting business negotiations involving commercial transactions or personal disputes with a friend, the following negotiating skills and techniques can be used. … Read More 

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Managing Factions in Multiparty Negotiations Faultlines in Groups

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Group negotiations are a fact of managerial life, yet the outcomes of teamwork are highly unpredictable. Sometimes groups cohere, reaching novel solutions to nagging problems, and sometimes infighting causes them to collapse. How can you predict when conflict will emerge in groups, and what can you do to stop it? Dora Lau of the Chinese University … Read More 

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Conflict Management: Intervening in Workplace Conflict

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Question: I’m aware of lots of unresolved personnel issues that seem to be festering in my department, such as complaints about someone who is not doing his share of the work, another person whose griping is causing a drop in morale, and two coworkers who can’t seem to get along. I’m comfortable negotiating with customers, … Read More 

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Beware Your Counterpart’s Biases

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In the past we have encouraged you to ‘debias’ your own behavior by identifying the assumptions that may be clouding your judgment. We have introduced you to a number of judgment biases – common, systematic errors in thinking that are likely to affect your decisions and harm your outcomes in negotiation. Learn how to identify … Read More 

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A Closer Look at Court-Sponsored Mediation

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No one likes to go to court. Not only is it expensive and time-consuming, it often leads to frustrating results and damaged relationships. So is court-sponsored mediation a better route? The answer is “sometimes,” according to a comprehensive survey of court-affiliated mediation programs by Roselle L. Wissler of Arizona State University’s College of Law in Tempe. … Read More 

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How to Write a Contract: Three Deal-Drafting Pitfalls

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how to write a contract three deal drafting pitfalls

The transfer of an agreement from negotiators to lawyers or other professional deal drafters can introduce three main types of mistakes. Read on to discover how you can avoid making these same mistakes at the bargaining table during your next dealmaking negotiation session. … Read More 

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What is the Winner’s Curse?

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Imagine that while exploring an outdoor bazaar in a foreign country, you see a beautiful rug that would look perfect in your home. While you’ve purchased a rug or two in your life, you’re far from an expert. Thinking on your feet, you guess that the rug is worth about $5,000. You decide to make … Read More 

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Dealmaking: Avoiding Pitfalls in Deal Drafting

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Whatever the root causes of faulty drafting, negotiators need to better understand and manage certain aspects of the deal drafting process. Here are three ways to ensure that breakdowns don’t occur on the way from handshake to contract. … Read More 

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A Second Look at Rights of First Refusal

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When transferring property, sellers sometimes insist on rights of first refusal—the chance to be first in line to repurchase the property if their buyer later decides to sell. A right of first refusal can be an obvious advantage if your financial circumstances later change. … Read More 

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Negotiate a Vision for Your Organization

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Organizations, large and small, look to their leaders to establish an organizational vision. Popular commentary on corporate leadership presupposes that a company’s vision comes from its CEO and that, without a strong CEO, the company has no vision. But that’s not the case. … Read More 

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Conflict Management Training and Negotiation Research: How Nervous Energy Affects Negotiation Scenarios and Attempts at Conflict Resolution

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Negotiation is often characterized as a physiologically arousing event marked by pounding hearts, queasy stomachs, and flushed faces. We might assume that heightened physiological arousal would mar our negotiation performance, but this is only true for some, researchers Ashley D. Brown and Jared R. Curhan of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found in a new … Read More 

Daily

Daily

Is Mediation Expertise What You Need?

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When a negotiation escalates into a dispute, most managers understand the value of seeking out a mediator for professional assistance with the matter. The question of whom to hire, however, is less clear-cut. What type of expetise should your mediator have, and where should you look for her? In this article, we will walk you … Read More 

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How to Avoid Intercultural Barriers: A Better Negotiation Map

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how to avoid intercultural barriers a better negotiation map

How often have you heard that, when entering a negotiation, you should get your allies onboard first? Conventional wisdom, but not always the best advice. When the United States sought to build a global anti-Iraq coalition following Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, for instance, Israel appeared to be its strongest regional ally. … Read More 

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How to Practice Interests-Based Leadership

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Why should the people you’re supposed to lead follow you? If you believe that your charisma, your exalted office, or your vision is reason enough, you’re in trouble. While these qualities may affect how others relate to you, the unvarnished truth is that other people will follow you when they judge it’s in their best interest to … Read More 

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

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meso negotiation and dealing with difficult people make multiple equivalent simultaneous offers to create value in dealmaking

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 

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

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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 

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In Business Negotiations, Capitalize on a Right of First Refusal

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in business negotiations capitalize on a right of first refusal

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.

in business negotiations capitalize on a right of first refusal

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.

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When the mergers-and-acquisitions (M&A) boom began in 1993, many deals simply required the seller to let the buyer know if a “superior proposal” came along. By the late 1990s, buyers were demanding—and receiving—more than this: an exclusive negotiating period of several days, during which they could decide whether to match or improve upon another bidder’s offer. In current business negotiations, rights of first refusal, also known as matching rights or rights of first offer, are being rapidly incorporated into business negotiations at all levels and in many industries.

In the typical right of first refusal, the grantor gives the right holder the right to buy an asset on the same terms that the grantor would receive from any other bona fide, prospective bidder, otherwise known as the third party.

Suppose, for example, that a private company is negotiating an equity infusion from an investor in exchange for a 20% ownership stake and a set on the board. To preserve its stability, the company conditions the deal on a right of first refusal: before the investor can sell his stake to someone else, the company can buy it back at the negotiated price. The investor accepts the deal, and the company gets its equity.

Now suppose that two years have passed since the company (the right holder) and the investor (the grantor) signed their deal. The investor now wants to liquidate his investment. One potential buyer offers to purchase the 20% interest for $3.4 million. The investor now is required to ask the company, which holds the matching right, if it wants to match the offer. This contractual obligation has important consequences that depend in large part upon the role you play in a negotiation.

Advice for the grantor In negotiation, including a right of first refusal in an agreement can be a classic win-win move. To take a real estate right of first refusal, suppose you’re a landlord negotiating with a prospective tenant. You want to maintain the ability to sell the apartment to someone else in the future, while your prospective tenant wants a commitment to rent the apartment for as long as she wants. The solution might be to offer the tenant a right of first refusal—the power to match any legitimate third-party offer. In this manner, the tenant gains the opportunity to avoid the disruption of a move, and you preserve your own flexibility.

A right of first refusal can also create value through tradeoffs on negotiators’ different expectations. Let’s return to the case of the investor who buys a 20% ownership stake in a private company, and assume that the investor plans to hold the stake for a long time. If the company is not as sure about his commitment, a right of first refusal is cheap for the investor to give and valuable for the company to receive.

Advice for the right holder As the prospective right holder, you should know precisely what a proposed right of first refusal will give you. Many deals that seem to guarantee a right of first refusal are, in fact, murky about the consequences that could arise.

For potential right holders, the most common mistake is to fail to specify what will happen if you choose to match a bid. Will your matching bid call off the contest with the third party or launch a bidding war?

Other details are equally important. How long do you have to decide whether to match an offer? If the duration of the right of first refusal is ambiguous, a third party could short-circuit your right by making an exploding offer with a short fuse. You might fail to match the offer due to time pressure rather than to your unwillingness to pay. The end result is a right of first refusal worth significantly less than you thought.

Advice for third parties What if you’re thinking about making an offer that would trigger a right of first refusal? Returning to the case of the investor with a 20% stake in a company, imagine that you approach the investor about buying him out. When you learn about the company’s right of first refusal, you face a difficult situation. If the company exercises its right of first refusal, you’ve wasted time conducting due diligence and negotiating. If the company doesn’t exercise its right of first refusal, you likely have overpaid. Why? Because the company probably has better information about the true value of the 20% stake than you do. As a result of this information asymmetry, many sophisticated investors avoid deals that trigger a right of first refusal.

Yet the winner’s curse may not apply to you. First, the right holder simply might not be able to match your offer due to a liquidity crunch. Second, you may have just as much or better information about the value of the asset as the right holder. If the right holder doesn’t match your bid, she may not recognize these sources of value. Third, you might bring some special value to the table that the right holder lacks. Try to assess whether any of these three justifications apply before making a bid. If one of them does, you’re ready for business.

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Adapted from “Matching Rights: A Boon to Both Sides,” by Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School professor Guhan Subramanian, first published in the Negotiation newsletter.

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

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Negotiation Skills in Business Communication: Heading Off Deception

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negotiation skills in business communication heading off deception

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 

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What Does Conflict Management Mean in Business Negotiations with Competitors?

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They say it pays to keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but in business negotiation, keeping your enemies—or competitors—close could end you up in court, as Apple’s recent encounter with the U.S. Department of Justice suggests. The story begins back in 2007 when, unhappy with Amazon’s low, flat price of $9.99 for e-books, five … Read More 

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Conflict Resolution: Just what the doctor ordered? Bringing Judges Into Medical-Malpractice Negotiations

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Medical-malpractice litigation can be a lengthy, expensive, and contentious process. Lawyers on both sides might spend months or years conducting discovery and deposing witnesses. As for settlement negotiations, they tend to occur late in the process and are often treated as a perfunctory step before a trial. … Read More 

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Negotiation Skills: Should Put Off What You Could Negotiate Today?

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To reach agreement, negotiators sometimes postpone the resolution of certain issues until a later date. We look at how this practice plays out in the real world. Remember the federal debt ceiling talks? In mid-2011, congressional Republicans insisted on significant spending reductions from their Democratic counterparts in exchange for voting to raise the nation’s debt … Read More 

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Negotiation Skills: How “Close Calls” Can Hurt You

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In the early 1990s, NASA managers and engineers were warned by an expert in risk analysis that the heat-resistant tiles that protected space shuttles during reentry into Earth’s atmosphere could be damaged by debris from the insulating foam on the shuttle’s’ fuel tanks. During missions over the next 10 years, debris did, indeed, hit tiles, but the damage … Read More 

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Pull Ahead of the Pack with a “Negotiauction”

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Robert Barnett, a corporate attorney based in Washington, D.C., moonlights as a book agent for celebrity politicians—including Barack Obama, Laura Bush, and Bill and Hillary Clinton. New York editors line up to sign Barnett’s clients and, they hope, rake in blockbuster profits. Barnett’s technique is to introduce his latest superstar to the major publishing houses and … Read More 

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Dealmaking: What About the Fine Print?

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Choosing the right words for your contract is a negotiation in itself. Five guidelines will help you achieve greater precision. When negotiators sign on the dotted line, they sometimes worry about the wrong concerns. “Did I overpay?” wonders the buyer as he inks the sales agreement. Across the table, the seller is thinking, “I bet if I’d pushed … Read More 

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The Lessons of Diplomacy

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Max Bazerman has had extensive experience teaching corporation’s executive negotiation courses. In addition to the faculty and students, some of his sessions have been attended by high level former diplomats who had worked on cases discussed in class. The diplomats were invited, where appropriate, to provide insight into local customs, changing politics, and business norms. … Read More 

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Disappointed by Results? Improve Accountability in Business Negotiations

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When it comes to planning and carrying out talks, negotiators are too often left to their own devices. Here’s how to guide your employees toward better results. How satisfied are you with the outcomes that negotiators in your organization achieve? Most likely, you can think of a few successes worth crowing about, a few you’d like to sweep … Read More 

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Business Negotiations: Why Does Process Matter?

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Negotiating the right process for your negotiation is well worth the time and effort, for two important reasons. First, process drives substance. Imagine what might have happened if the pharmaceutical company and the biotech firm had agreed up front to resolve the royalty issue rather than simply exchanging their best arguments before splitting the difference. … Read More 

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Have You Negotiated How You’ll Negotiate?

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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 

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Business Negotiations: Imposing Procedural Constraints

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Sometimes the courts will be unwilling to get involved in the substantive terms of the deal but will impose procedural constraints on the more powerful party. Consider the case of a controlling shareholder in a publicly traded company – someone who holds more than 51% – who wants to “cash out” the minority shareholders. Under the corporate … Read More 

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Deal Making: When You Hold All the Cards

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Consider the following hypothetical negotiation scenarios, in which you seem to hold all the cards: – One of your customers has just landed a lucrative new contract, and you’re the only supplier who can add a critical component to that customer’s production process. – You own a controlling interest in a publicly traded company and are seeking … Read More 

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Dealmaking Negotiations: Reading Additional Terms Into the Deal

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In a related maneuver aimed at protecting the weaker party to the deal, courts might infer additional terms within the contract or expand common-law notions of fiduciary duty. Consider the famous case of the Page brothers – let’s call them “Big Page” and “Little Page” for simplicity – who started a linen supply company in Santa … Read More 

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Deal Making: Second-Guessing the Terms of the Deal

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When most of us think about preparing for a negotiation, we consider the substance of the issues under discussion. Depending on your industry, such issues might include price terms, warranties, liquidated damages clauses, benefits, or wage increases. By contrast, the negotiation-process issues concern how parties go about resolving the various points that have brought them together in … Read More 

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“Sacred Values” Crop Up in Conflict Management

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On November 24, the United States and five other world powers announced an interim agreement to temporarily freeze Iran’s nuclear program. The six-month accord is meant to give international negotiators time to negotiate a more comprehensive pact that would remove the threat of Iran producing nuclear weapons. … Read More 

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Three Things to Consider When Choosing a Mediator

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When choosing a mediator, keep in mind that you need not accept the proposals that he makes. In other words, you have total power to prevent mediation from leading to an undesirable outcome. As a result, the only risk of mediation is that you will expend time and money without reaching agreement. According to experts, mediation success … Read More 

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Dealmaking: Why It’s Tempting to Trust Your Gut

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In his best-selling novel Blink, Malcolm Gladwell scans the psychological literature and uncovers fascinating nuggets of knowledge. He describes people who can assess the integrity of a work of art within seconds, predict the likelihood that a couple will get divorced based on a short conversation, and assess their romantic interest in another on a “speed … Read More 

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Joint Fact Finding: Mapping the Territory Together

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Some might argue that confrontation is inevitable. But a wide range of collaborative efforts around the country have shown that it can be avoided. How can negotiators find their way into the trading zone quickly and easily? One proven method is joint fact finding. … Read More 

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Business Negotiations: Advice for the Rights Holder – Know What You’re Getting

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Not all matching rights are created equal. As the prospective right holder, you should know precisely what a proposed matching right will give you. Many deals that seem to guarantee a matching right are, in fact, murky about the exact consequences that could arise. For potential right holders, the most common mistake is to fail to specify … Read More 

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Matching Rights in Business Negotiations: Advice for the Grantor – Use Matching Rights to Bridge the Gap

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In negotiation, including a matching right in an agreement can be a classic win-win move. Suppose you’re a landlord negotiating with a prospective tenant. You want to maintain the ability to sell the apartment to someone else in the future, while your prospective tenant wants a commitment to rent the apartment for as long as … Read More 

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Business Negotiations: Matching Rights – The Fundamentals

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When the mergers-and-acquisitions boom began in 1993, many deals simply required the seller to let the buyer know if a “superior proposal” came along. By the late 1990s, buyers were demanding – and receiving – more than this: an exclusive negotiating period of several days, during which they could decide to match or improve upon … Read More 

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Social Comparisons in Negotiation

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Social comparisons – the assessments we make about how we measure up to others – are key to understanding how status operates in negotiation. These comparisons, which signal concern about relative status, have a profound impact at the bargaining table. To make social comparisons, first we choose a reference group against which we can measure ourselves. … Read More 

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What If We Have the Same Social Motive at the Bargaining Table?

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When two people share the same motive, they fall prey to the same flaws and reinforce each other’s failings. Consider a labor negotiation in which the chief management negotiator withholds information about revenue projections, while the labor leader holds back details about workforce sentiment. Impasse is the predictable result. When you’re negotiating with a fellow … Read More 

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Questioning Compromises

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People often wonder if they should constantly monitor their decisions to avoid bias. The answer is no. Social heuristics serve a useful function, allowing our social interactions to run more smoothly. When it comes to minor decisions, go ahead and compromise. But when your organization is negotiating over important decisions and strategies, you must question the … Read More 

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How Mental Shortcuts Lead to Misjudging

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Judges don’t make decisions based on a thorough accounting of all the relevant and available information. Instead, like all of us, they rely on heuristics – simple mental shortcuts – to make decisions. As many past articles have noted, heuristics often lead to good decisions, but they can also create cognitive blinders that produce systematic … Read More 

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How Inadmissible Evidence Leads to Misjudging

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Throughout the litigation process, judges gain new information at settlement conferences, motion hearings, discovery disputes, and the trial itself. Inevitably, some of this information, though relevant to the case at hand, will be inadmissible under the rules of evidence. Unfortunately, informational blinders can prevent judges from disregarding this information when making decisions. … Read More 

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How Nervous Energy Affects Negotiators and Conflict Management

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Negotiation is often characterized as a physiologically arousing event marked by pounding heart, queasy stomachs, and flushed faces. We might assume that heightened physiological arousal would mar our negotiation performance, but this is only true for some, researchers Ashley D. Brown and Jared R. Curhan of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found in a new … Read More 

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When You Shouldn’t Go It Alone

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A five-year old American manufacturer of medical equipment has just secured a patent on its primary product, a new kind of heart monitor. The potential market is even stronger than the company imagined, yet its second round of venture capital funding is coming to an end. A few other manufacturers are about to go public … Read More 

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Putting Negotiation Training to Work: The Limits of Lectures

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Lectures, like publications such as this one, are an excellent means of transmitting knowledge from an expert to a less knowledgeable audience. I have attended many amazing lectures on a multitude of topics and have learned fascinating information about the ecosystem, politics in different nations, animal species, and so on. I even have enjoyed hearing negotiation … Read More 

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Find the Right Leadership Voice

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When the poet Walt Whitman wrote, “Surely, whoever speaks to me in the right voice, him or her shall I follow,” he conveyed the notion that persuasive communication is fundamental to effective leadership. Whitman’s words also underscore the importance of shaping leadership communications to meet individual concerns, interests, and styles. When deciding how to communicate, recognize … Read More 

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Choosing When to Choose

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When it comes to negotiation, the more choices on the table, the better your outcomes will be – right? Not necessarily. An excess of options can stand in the way off efficient agreements and, moreover, prevent you from being satisfied with the final result. … Read More 

Daily

Deal Making Without a Net: Yahoo’s Tumblr Acquisition

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On May 19, Internet company Yahoo announced that it was purchasing the blogging service Tumblr for about $1.1 billion in cash. The acquisition could put a fresh face on the aging Internet company and provide it with a profitable revenue source—or it could turn out to be another instance of the Web pioneer overpaying for … Read More 

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What If You Have to Arbitrate?

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The likelihood that a provision for final-offer arbitration in the event of impasse will actually result in arbitration is slim. However, as a precaution, you and your counterpart should agree on an arbitrator before you start negotiating. It’s easier to choose an arbitrator when both sides view arbitration as an unlikely event when arbitration is … Read More 

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Becoming a More Ethical Negotiator

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Given the prevalence of corporate scandals in recent years, many have questioned whether ethics training for professionals has done much good. One of the reasons that such training has achieved limited success is its focus on intentional, explicitly unethical behavior. Such training encourages students to do what is right rather than what is profitable. Yet, most … Read More 

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What to Do Before the Deal Breaks Down

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Whenever one side fails to meet its contractual obligations, renegotiation is more likely to succeed if the parties have a strong relationship. Ideally, the aggrieved party will value long-term relations more than potential gains from a claim for breach of contract. For example, a bank will be more willing to renegotiate a loan with a … Read More 

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Bring Long-Term Concerns to the Bargaining Table

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It can be difficult to keep future concerns at the forefront of your company’s most important decisions. Fortunatly, research on intergenerational conflict has uncovered best practices for ensuring that you and your employees take the long view. … Read More 

Daily

Moving to a Different Table

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When a negotiation reaches an impasse (or, preferably, sooner), it’s important to consider that you may be at the wrong table. What other individuals or groups might be able to break the deadlock? Perhaps you should be talking to them instead. … Read More 

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A Better Approach to Decision Making

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When you’re making important decisions during a negotiation and have the luxury of time, what’s the alternative to Blink? Should you completely ignore your rapid cognitions? In the article “Strategies for Negotiating More Rationally,” we described University of Toronto professor Keith Stanovich and James Madison University professor Richard F. West’s distinction between System 1 and System … Read More 

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International Negotiations: Threats at the Bargaining Table

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The agreement seemed well on its way to being passed. On November 20, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the United States and Afghanistan had finished negotiating a bilateral security agreement.  The terms included a continued American troop presence through 2024 and a promise of billions in international aid to the Afghan government. The … Read More 

Daily

Team Building, One Player at a Time

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team-building techniques

In late October, the Detroit Tigers were preparing to face off against the San Francisco Giants in Major League Baseball’s World Series. In 2002 and 2003, the Tigers had two of the worst seasons in baseball history, losing a combined 225 games. But through years of calculated decision making and negotiations, team president Dave Dombrowski … Read More 

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In Deal Making, Broaden Your Focus

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Imagine that you are in charge of renting a new location for a branch of your company in a nearby city. After researching the reputations of a number of local real estate agents, you meet with several and choose the one who seems most knowledgable and responsive. … Read More 

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Google Searches for a More Diverse Team

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Recently, executives at the Silicon Valley-based internet giant Google noticed a disturbing trend: the company was having difficulty hiring and retaining female employees, from engineers to senior executives, Claire Cain Miller writes in the August 22 issue of the New York Times. Women were dropping out during the job interview process and were not being … Read More 

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A Peacekeeper Abandons Negotiations in Syria

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On August 2, Kofi Annan announced he was resigning as the special peace envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League. reports Rick Gladstone in the New York Times. Since February, the former Nobel Peace Prize winner and former U.N. Secretary General has attempted to negotiate a resolution of the Syrian conflict. The peaceful … Read More 

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Team Building: For Strength in Numbers, Build a Strong Team

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An energy boom has hit the rural counties of the upper Ohio River Valley, resulting in a flood of investment in mineral leasing that is revitalizing economies and creating newfound prosperity for many landowners, Keith Schneider reported in the New York Times on June 4. … Read More 

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Accounting for Outsiders in Your Negotiations

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If you’re in the middle of talks that seem to be going well, here’s a warning: consider the impact of the agreement on those who aren’t at the table, or suffer the consequences. That’s a lesson that Apple and some of the largest U.S. book publishers are currently learning the hard way. On April 12, the … Read More 

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When Negotiations Take Advantage of Outsiders

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In March, reported Rob Wildeboer of Chicago’s WBEZ radio station broke the news that inmate in Cook County prisons (including those in the city of Chicago) were being charged inflated phone rates due to a profit-generating contract between the county and Securus Technologies, the company that operates the jail phone service. The contract requires Securus … Read More 

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A Win Without Regrets: Winning an Auction and Not Feeling Disappointed

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We have all been in situations in which we are pitted against others in competition for a certain item, whether an award, a promotion, or even in an auction. Often, this competitive atmosphere pushes you to ‘play’ harder than you normally would, overvaluing your objective and over-assessing the importance of victory. Often when a group … Read More 

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

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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 

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Should Your Boss Be at the Negotiation Table?

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Imagine that you are about to begin a negotiation whose subject matter is squarely within your area of responsibility at my company. However, the dollar amounts at stake are so large that you are tempted to kick it upstairs to your boss, or at least involve your boss directly in the negotiation. What are the … Read More 

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Are You Avoiding a Key Negotiation?

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Imagine that it’s time to shop for a new car. A friend has told you that she solicited bids from dealers on a no-haggle website and was offered a good, nonnegotiable price. You consider going this route but wonder if you could get an even better deal by negotiating at the dealership. Would you choose … Read More 

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Touchy-feely Negotiators?

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In a series of studies, Joshua M.Ackerman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Christopher C. Nocera of Harvard University, and John A. Bargh of Yale University explored how the feel of physical objects could arbitrarily be influencing our choices without our knowledge. In one study, the researchers asked passersby to evaluate a job candidate by reviewing … Read More 

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Negotiate How You’ll Negotiate

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When a negotiation ends, our satisfaction with the final outcome doesn’t depend solely on how much we objectively gained or lost, according to research by Jared Curhan and Hen Xu of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Hillary Anger Elfenbein of the University of California at Berkeley. In fact, negotiator satisfaction hinges on four factors: our … Read More 

Daily

Are You Talking to the Right Person?

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When someone is reluctant to engage in negotiation, you might try to wear her down until she finally caves in. Before you risk becoming a pest, however, ask yourself a critical question: Am I talking to the right person? When negotiators fail to map out the negotiation process in advance, they can encounter detours and dead … Read More 

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Offer Your Counterpart a Graceful Retreat

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Sometimes negotiators back themselves into a corner by taking a tough stance that brings talks to an impasse. In such cases, they are likely to view retreat as a sign of weakness – a surefire way of losing face. To move talks forward, you’ll need to help the other party make a graceful retreat, write … Read More 

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Managers: improve your team members’ negotiating power

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Research on stereotypes has reached conclusions about how lack of power and status can affect performance on negotiation and other tasks. Laura Kray of the University of California at Berkeley and her colleagues found in their research  that women negotiators performed worse than men when they were led to believe that their performance reflected negotiating … Read More 

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Does the majority really rule?

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When a group of people are negotiating, what’s the best way to arrive at a decision? Ever since U.S. general Henry M. Robert published Robert’s Rules of Order in 1876, groups have relied on the principle of majority rule, measured with a simple yea or nay vote at the end of the negotiation process. Majority rule … Read More 

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Sellers: Stay out of legal hot water

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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 More 

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Negotiate your role as advisor

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Whether you spend most or just a fraction of your workday advising others, it pays to reconsider how you approach your advisees, writes Tufts University professor Jeswald W. Salacuse in his book The Wise Advisor: What Every Professional Should Know About Consulting and Counseling (Praeger, 2000). When advisors and their clients clash over expectations and … Read More 

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Are you really an ethical negotiator?

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Are you more ethical than your coworkers? If you’re like most people, you answered yes. Lisa L. Shu and Max H. Bazerman of Harvard Business School and Francesca Gino of the University of North Carolina found in their research that most people think they’re more honest and trustworthy than average. What’s more, through a process … Read More 

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Negotiator toolbox: Capitalize on differences

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The problem: You and your negotiating counterpart express differing opinions about the future success, performance, or timeliness of an item or service. A homeowner might be skeptical of a contractor’s promise to complete an extensive remodeling project within six months, for instance. Differing forecasts can breed suspicion and stand in the way of agreement. The tool: … Read More 

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When not to show your hand

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In all your negotiations, you must calculate the risks and rewards of sharing information with your counterpart. Here, we consider four types of information that may be best kept under wraps: sensitive or privileged information, information that isn’t yours to share, information that diminishes your power, and information that may fluctuate. Fearful of being hurt by … Read More 

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Why your lawyer could be wrong about apologies

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If you’ve ever had a minor car accident in which neither you nor the other driver was obviously at fault, familiar advice may have run through your head as you got out of your car: Don’t say you’re sorry! Don’t say you’re sorry! Most of us have been cautioned in such contexts that an apology can … Read More 

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Resolving conflict, creating value

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Significant business disputes typically involve more than one issue—including disputes that appear to be “just about the money.” Who pays and when? In what form is payment made, with what level of confidentiality, and with what effect on future disputes? In the heat of the moment, disputants too often focus on one conspicuous issue (such as … Read More 

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Avoid conflict and broken trust

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While negotiations are inherently risky, there are proven ways to reduce risk and improve your odds of success. To do so, you must focus on the very basis of your relationship with the other party: trust. Think about a time when you lost trust in a fellow negotiator. Did you try to renegotiate the terms of … Read More 

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How comparisons affect satisfaction

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Social comparisons are a critical factor in guiding negotiator satisfaction, Maurice E. Schweitzer of the University of Pennsylvania and Yale psychologist Nathan Novemsky have found in their research. Not only do negotiators compare their profit from a deal with the profit they imagine their counterpart earned, but they also compare their profit with the profits … Read More 

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Making threats strategically

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In negotiation, the time, energy, and resources that you devote to reaching agreement can suggest that you’re desperate for a deal—any deal. The greater your investment in the negotiation, the less credible the threat of walking away becomes. In such instances, one way to make this threat more credible is to find someone else to take … Read More 

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Address your negotiation jitters

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The prospect of negotiating often sparks anxiety, especially if substantive or emotional stakes are high. The mere thought of failing can be self-fulfilling. In sports, it’s called choking. While negotiators don’t have to worry about fans’ reaction to dropping the ball in a packed stadium, critical voices can come from within. The negotiation process is … Read More 

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Choose the right messenger

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The evidence from social science is clear: people’s behavior is powerfully influenced by the actions of those who are like them. A classic study by Harvey Hornstein, Elisha Fisch, and Michael Holmes found that New York City residents were highly likely to return a lost wallet after learning that a “similar other”—another New Yorker—had first … Read More 

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Are you asking enough questions?

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At the time of the final presidential debate between President Jimmy Carter and challenger Ronald Reagan during the 1980 election campaign, the U.S. economy was tanking and the Iranian hostage crisis smoldering. Ronald Reagan used his concluding statement of the debate to address a string of questions to the nation that highlighted Carter’s vulnerabilities: “Are … Read More 

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Negotiate for what you really want

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It may seem elementary, but one of the first questions you should ask when you’re thinking about negotiating for an important purchase is whether you truly want or need it. We tend to assume that future events—such as buying a new car or signing a seemingly important contract—will have a lasting impact on our overall happiness. … Read More 

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Capitalize on negotiator differences

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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 

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Hardball tactics from a major leaguer

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Adapted from “Becoming a Team Player: Lessons from Professional Athletics,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, October 2009. In Major League Baseball (MLB), one particular player’s agent is widely blamed for the contentious nature of contract negotiations: Scott Boras. Boras has negotiated unprecedented contracts for many of the most highly paid players, including Manny Ramirez, Johnny … Read More 

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When women negotiators thrive

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Adapted from “What Happens When Women Don’t Ask,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, June 2008. Some negotiation research has found that men generally initiate negotiations to advance their own interests much more often than women do. Yet researchers also have identified certain contexts in which women routinely negotiate and achieve outcomes that match or exceed … Read More 

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Negotiating the Distance Between You

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Adapted from “How to Negotiate When You’re (Literally) Far Apart,” by Roderick I. Swaab (professor, INSEAD) and Adam D. Galinsky (professor, Northwestern University), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, February 2007. Growing economic globalization offers a multitude of new opportunities yet often necessitates alternatives to face-to-face meetings, such as phone calls, e-mails, videoconferences, or instant messages. … Read More 

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Avoid judicial bias with negotiation

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Adapted from “Blind Justice? Think Twice Before Going to Court,” by Chris Guthrie (professor, Vanderbilt University Law School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, April 2007. Planning to resolve a personal or business dispute in court? Consider that judges don’t make decisions based on a thorough accounting of all the relevant and available information.  Instead, like … Read More 

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Sellers: Set the right price

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Adapted from “Why Your Selling Price May Be Too High,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, October 2007. Imagine that you are moving from one city to another and putting your home on the market. How would you determine the true value of the residence? Now imagine that you are in the market for the same … Read More 

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The late-night-TV disputes

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Adapted from “Comedy of Errors: The Late-Night-TV Wars,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, April 2010. In 2004, NBC asked Jay Leno, the longtime host of The Tonight Show, to yield the show in five years to Conan O’Brien, his younger rival and host of NBC’s Late Night. As the date of O’Brien’s promotion approached, Leno’s Tonight … Read More 

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Making room for intuition in negotiation

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Adapted from “The Heat of the Moment,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, January 2007. Imagine that after ample preparation and weeks of negotiations with three potential vendors, you have to choose among their proposals, each of which has numerous strengths and weaknesses. What’s more, you have only five minutes left to make this tough decision. How … Read More 

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When negotiation goals backfire

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Adapted from “Managers: Think Twice Before Setting Negotiation Goals,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, May 2009. In the years leading up to its collapse, energy-trading company Enron promised its salespeople large bonuses for meeting challenging revenue goals. This focus on revenue rather than profit contributed to widespread fraud and, ultimately, to the firm’s downfall. To encourage … Read More 

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Conflict management from the start

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Adapted from “Before You Sign on the Dotted Line…”first published in the Negotiation newsletter, May 2009. After reaching an agreement, professionals often rely on their lawyers to draw up the official contract. Unfortunately, miscommunication between negotiators and their lawyers often leads to costly mistakes. Contract terms may not accurately represent the negotiated agreement, key deal terms … Read More 

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The link between happiness and negotiation success

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Adapted from “How Mood Affects Negotiator Trust,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, September 2006. Social psychologists are learning a great deal about the connections among emotions, negotiation strategies, and decision making. Negotiation contributor Jennifer S. Lerner of Carnegie Mellon University and her colleagues have identified two critical themes. First, they have studied the carryover of … Read More 

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Have you negotiated the authority you need?

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Adapted from “Great Deal—But How Will It Play at the Office?” by Jeswald W. Salacuse (professor, Tufts University), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, October 2006. To close any deal, you not only have to reach agreement with the other side but also convince your own organization of the deal’s value. In fact, you may … Read More 

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Negotiating among friends

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Adapted from “Pick the Right Negotiating Team,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, November 2007. We’ve all seen teams and work groups implode under the stress of personality clashes. These experiences might lead you to conclude that your negotiating team should be a tight-knit and harmonious group of colleagues. Yet in their research, Leigh Thompson, … Read More 

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Defend yourself against deception

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Adapted from “Are You Prepared for Dirty Tricks?” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, August 2010. Should you simply refuse to negotiate with someone you know has lied to you? Consider the results of a 1998 survey of 750 MBA students by researchers Robert J. Robinson, Roy J. Lewicki, and Eileen M. Donohue. Most of the … Read More 

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Negotiation: Challenge or threat?

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Adapted from “Do Attitudes Influence Results?” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, January 2007. Many people consider negotiations to be stressful and threatening. Others view them as challenges that can be overcome. Do these different attitudes influence the outcomes that people reach? Research by professors Kathleen O’Connor of Cornell University and Josh Arnold of California State … Read More 

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Have you chosen the right counterpart?

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Adapted from “Reach Your Target with Backward Mapping,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, March 2010. Here’s the problem: Your negotiation seems to be over before it has begun. Your targeted counterpart is refusing to sit down with you or simply ignoring your requests. How can you get her to see that she would benefit from … Read More 

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Why it pays to build relationships

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Adapted from “When Lose-Lose Wins,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, August 2004. Does negotiation research promote the creation of joint gain at the expense of relationship building? Researchers Jared R. Curhan, Margaret A. Neale, and Lee D. Ross suggest that the field is guilty as charged. To illustrate, the team apply author O. Henry’s classic tale … Read More 

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When you have all the power

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Adapted from “The Danger of ‘Take It or Leave It,’” by Ian Larkin (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, January 2010. Imagine that one of your organization’s suppliers, with whom you have been very happy, recently lost its only other big customer. Your contract comes up for renegotiation next month. You know … Read More 

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New York courts offer judge directed negotiations for medical malpractice lawsuits

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Settlement negotiations for medical malpractice lawsuits often occur late in the litigation process, when adversarial positions have become well-entrenched, and parties have little or no inclination to compromise. In an effort to improve the success rate of these settlement negotiations, some courts in New York State are now offering “judge-directed negotiations” for parties involved … Read More 

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When we judge others too harshly

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Adapted from “Overconfident, Underprepared: Why You May Not Be Ready to Negotiate,” by Kristina A. Diekmann (professor, University of Utah) and Adam D. Galinsky (professor, Northwestern University), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, October 2006. In 1991, during Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas’s confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Anita Hill, then a law … Read More 

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Is it really worth that much?

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Adapted from “Trying to Make a Sale? Avoid These Common Pitfalls,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, April 2010. Why is it that even in sluggish markets, some homes are plucked off the real estate listings within days or weeks, and others sit for months, even years? Location and curb appeal have something to do with … Read More 

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Sizing up the competition

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Adapted from “The Ins and Outs of Making Sealed Bids,” by Guhan Subramanian (professor, Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, July 2007. Imagine you’re bidding for a house against another “very interested party,” according to your real-estate agent, and the seller wants a sealed bid from you by close … Read More 

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Negotiating the Gender Gap

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Is there a social cost for women who negotiate assertively for themselves in the workplace? Research suggests that women who negotiated higher compensation are viewed by evaluators as being more “demanding,” which leads to a disinclination to work with them in the future. In our most recent “Dear Negotiation Coach” feature in the … Read More 

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Should you deal with the devil?

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Adapted from “Should You Do Business with the Enemy?” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, March 2010. At one time or another, most of us have faced the prospect of negotiating with a sworn enemy—whether a “greedy” sibling, an “evil” ex-spouse, or an “immoral” company. There is no right or wrong answer to the question … Read More 

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When emotions linger

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Adapted from “The Lasting Influence of Emotions,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, April 2010. Psychologists have long known that an emotion triggered in one realm—anger over an argument at home, for example—can affect how we behave in a subsequent situation, including a negotiation. Such incidental, or unrelated, emotions might influence how fully we trust someone … Read More 

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Expressing emotions strategically

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Adapted from “Damage Control for Disappointing Results,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, March 2011. Following what he described as the “shellacking” he and congressional Democrats received during the 2010 midterm elections, President Barack Obama invited GOP leaders of the lame-duck Congress to meet with him at the White House. The leaders postponed the president’s invitation … Read More 

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Involving mediators in settlement talks

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Adapted from “The Mediator as Team Adviser,” by Stephen B. Goldberg (professor, Northwestern University), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, May 2006. When faced with a trial, a corporation sometimes engages one law firm to represent it in court and a second law firm to explore settlement possibilities. According to conventional wisdom, the second law firm … Read More 

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When irrationality isn’t the issue

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Adapted from “Is Your Counterpart Rational . . . Really?” by Deepak Malhotra (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, March 2006. How can you negotiate with someone who seems irrational? First, by questioning whether it is reasonable for you to judge your counterparts as irrational. As it turns out, behavior that negotiators … Read More 

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Why it pays to haggle

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Adapted from “Master the Art and Science of Haggling,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, August 2009. Businesses that never would have considered negotiating with customers before the global economic crisis are now willing, even eager, to make a deal. Just like the prices of houses, cars, and other big-ticket items, the prices of furniture, electronics, … Read More 

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Set your sales force up for success

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Adapted from “Managing for Better Results,” by Max H. Bazerman, first published in the Negotiation newsletter, October 2008. If you’ve ever been disappointed by the negotiation results of your sales force, you’re not alone. There could be many reasons for your employees’ unimpressive results, but there are two most likely culprits: a failure to understand what … Read More 

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The creative negotiator

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Adapted from “Learning to Be Creative,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, April 2010. In negotiation, creativity – the ability to generate new ideas – enables parties to generate solutions that expand the pie of value. Reflecting the common view that creativity is an innate talent that can’t be taught, most organizations seek out creatively minded … Read More 

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Joining the barter economy

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In an economic downturn, negotiation opportunities sometimes dry up because parties think they have nothing left to give. During times like these, bartering flourishes. Whether it’s toxic assets, piano lessons, manicures, or a fleet of new cars, most cash-strapped negotiators have something of value they can trade for what they want. Bartering doesn’t need to be … Read More 

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After the deal breaks down

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Adapted from “Redoing the Deal,” by Jeswald W. Salacuse (professor, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, August 2005. If you’re like many professionals in these uncertain times, you are probably spending as much time redoing old deals as you are negotiating new ones. Here are four suggestions on … Read More 

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When we expect selfish behavior

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Adapted from “The Darker Side of Perspective Taking,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, April 2007. Many negotiation experts recommend that you try to take the other party’s perspective, particularly when attempting to resolve disputes. Research by Nicholas Epley of the University of Chicago and Eugene Caruso and Max Bazerman of Harvard University suggests a dark … Read More 

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Holding negotiators accountable

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Adapted from “Disappointed by Results? Improve Accountability,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, January 2009. How can you make the negotiators who report to you more accountable for their behavior? When negotiators know they will have to justify their actions, they become more focused, researchers have found. But accountability can backfire if negotiators become so vigilant … Read More 

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Negotiators: Keep yourself honest

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Adapted from “When You’re Tempted to Deceive,” by Ann E. Tenbrunsel (professor, the University of Notre Dame) and Kristina A. Diekmann (professor, University of Utah), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, July 2007. To ensure that you negotiate ethically, you’ll need to identify ethical dilemmas and view unethical behavior clearly. Four guidelines will help you meet … Read More 

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Why “thinking” trumps “blinking”

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Adapted from “In Negotiation, Think Before You ‘Blink’,” by Max H. Bazerman (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, October 2006. Most experienced negotiators trust their instincts. They believe they can identify a good business opportunity within five minutes. They think they can quickly assess whether a salesperson is honest. And if … Read More 

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When advice to negotiators is wasted

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Adapted from “Is Giving Advice a Waste of Time?” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, July 2007. It’s the end of the week, and you’re trying to crank out an important report. A colleague slips into your office. “Do you have a couple of minutes?” he asks. “I need your advice on a negotiation that’s falling … Read More 

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Don’t rush into a flawed contract

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Adapted from “A Contingent Contract? Weigh the Costs and Benefits of Making a ‘Bet’,” by Guhan Subramanian (professor, Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, August 2006. Contracts in professional sports are often chock-full of contingencies -“bets” that parties place on their different expectations of future outcomes – and former … Read More 

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Avoiding “Close Calls” in Negotiation

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Adapted from “How ‘Close Calls’ Can Hurt You,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, October 2009. In the early 1990s, NASA managers and engineers were warned by an expert in risk analysis that the heat-resistant tiles that protected space shuttles during reentry into Earth’s atmosphere could be damaged by debris from the insulating foam on the … Read More 

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Negotiating ‘Sacred’ Issues

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Adapted from “Break Down ‘Sacred’ Barriers to Agreement,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, April 2009. As negotiators, we’re trained to believe that almost every issue is ripe for tradeoffs and concessions. At the same time, most of us hold core values that we believe to be non-negotiable. Your family’s welfare, your personal code of ethics, … Read More 

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When Negotiation Trumps Procurement Auctions

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Adapted from “Negotiations versus Auctions: New Advice for Buyers,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, August 2007. Economists have long advocated auctions as an effective means of increasing value. Yet recent research contradicts this conventional wisdom. In fact, as compared with negotiations, auctions can actually raise prices in procurement contracts. Suppliers tend to prefer negotiations because … Read More 

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How Subtle Favoritism Harms Negotiators

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Adapted from “The Robin Hood Effect in Negotiation,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, March 2009. Business transactions often occur between people of different socioeconomic levels, and our choice of clothing, cars, and other material possessions can signal such differences. We may attempt to treat everyone equally in our negotiations, but do we always succeed? Just as … Read More 

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Adapting to Your Counterpart’s Style

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Adapted from “Negotiating with Chameleons,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, April 2007. Like the title character in Woody Allen’s movie Zelig, some people smoothly adopt the manner and attitudes of those around them. Due to the lengths such chameleons go to alter their behavior, contemporary psychologists have dubbed them high “self-monitors.” Whether you think of self-monitors … Read More 

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The Value of Satisfaction

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What do people value when they negotiate? Research by professors Jared R. Curhan and Heng Xu of MIT’s Sloan School of Management and Hillary Anger Elfenbein of Berkeley’s Haas School of Business provides useful insights concerning this basic question. Using survey data collected from everyday negotiators and filtering it through a sorting procedure conducted by negotiation … Read More 

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Consider the Setting

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Adapted from “The Crucial First Five Minutes,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, October 2007. Your designated meeting place can have a critical impact on talks. When you don’t have a choice about where to meet, be aware that situational factors may color your judgment. For instance, the visual cues of a car lot—flashy banners, cheerful … Read More 

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Build Your Bargaining Endowment

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Adapted from “Want to Pull Ahead of the Competition?” by Michael Wheeler (Class of 1952 Professor of Management Practice, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, October 2005. What happens when lots of other people are selling what you’ve got, or many others are bidding for what you want? One solution to distinguishing yourself … Read More 

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Should You Negotiate Sooner or Later?

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Adapted from “Is Time on Your Side?” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, May 2007. A difficult negotiation looms on the horizon—say, next year’s allocation of resources across divisions or your family’s summer vacation destination. Should you negotiate now or wait? Professors Marlone Henderson, Yaacov Trope and Peter Carnevale of New York University provide experimental … Read More 

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Bringing Mediators to the Bargaining Table

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Adapted from “Mediation in Transactional Negotiation,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, July 2004. We generally think of mediation as a dispute-resolution device. Federal mediators intervene when collective bargaining bogs down. Diplomats are sometimes called in to mediate conflicts between nations. So-called multidoor courthouses encourage litigants to mediate before incurring the costs—and risks—of going to trial. Scott … Read More 

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Get Ready for Team Talks

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Adapted from “Strength in Numbers: Negotiating as a Team,” by Elizabeth A. Mannix (professor, Cornell University), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, May 2005. The widespread belief in “strength in numbers” suggests that having more players on your team should be a benefit, not a burden. But this belief can lead team members to underprepare … Read More 

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Anchors Away?

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Adapted from “The Enduring Power of Anchors,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, October 2006. In the Negotiation newsletter, we have reviewed the anchoring effect—the tendency for negotiators to be overly influenced by the other side’s opening bid, however arbitrary. When your opponent makes an inappropriate bid on your house, you’re nonetheless likely to begin searching … Read More 

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How Accountable are Your Negotiators?

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Adapted from “Disappointed by Results? Improve Accountability,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, January 2009. How satisfied are you with the outcomes that negotiators in your organization achieve? Most likely, you can think of a few successes worth crowing about, a few you’d like to sweep under the carpet, and many more that turned out just … Read More 

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Learn More from Your Proposals

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Adapted from “Lessons from Abroad: When Culture Affects Negotiating Style,” by Jeanne M. Brett (professor, Northwestern University) and Michele J. Gelfand (professor, University of Maryland), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, January 2005. Imagine that you have identified a great opportunity to expand your business by negotiating a joint venture with another company. You need … Read More 

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Sad Negotiators, Poor Outcomes?

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Adapted from “How Mood Affects Negotiator Trust,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, September 2006. In recent years, social psychologists have begun to explore connections among emotions, negotiation, and decision making. Negotiation contributor Jennifer S. Lerner of Carnegie Mellon University and her colleagues have identified two critical themes. First, they have studied the carryover of emotion … Read More 

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Unlocking Labor Disputes

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Adapted from “How the Writers Got Back to Work,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, May 2008. When labor talks reach a stalemate, negotiators may be able to get back on track by avoiding extreme demands, thinking carefully about the other side’s point of view, negotiating in smaller groups, and enlisting the help of a neutral … Read More 

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Negotiating for the Long Haul

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Adapted from “Take the Long View,” by Kimberly A. Wade-Benzoni (professor, Duke University), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, April 2006. Negotiators often overlook the long-term consequences of various issues on the table. Amid the pressures to meet short-term financial targets, it’s difficult to remember that the effects of managerial decisions may be felt years, even … Read More 

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Learning multi-party negotiation from Vice-President Biden

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Vice President Joe Biden is the President’s “secret weapon” in the coming budget negotiations, suggests Victoria Pynchon, in a recent post to the blog She Negotiates…and Changes Everything on Forbes.com.  Pynchon argues that despite the fact that Biden is known for his public gaffes, it is his behind-the-scenes negotiation skills that make him a valuable … Read More 

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Did You Really Get a Great Deal?

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Adapted from “A Worse Deal Than You Think?” First published in the Negotiation newsletter, August 2006. Most negotiators leave the bargaining table believing they were better at pushing the other side to its limit than was actually the case, according to experimental studies by Richard P. Larrick of Duke University and George Wu of the University … Read More 

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Negotiating Across Borders

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Adapted from “Hidden Roadblocks in Cross-border Talks,” by James K. Sebenius (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, September 2009. Imagine you are leading a team that will soon be negotiating for the first time in several foreign countries. You’ve researched likely cultural factors, such as differences in etiquette or risk taking, while … Read More 

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Reducing Negotiation Stress

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Adapted from “Poise under Pressure: The Well-Balanced Negotiator,” by Michael Wheeler (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, December 2006. Too many people overlook the fact that negotiation is a demanding physical act. They cram for negotiations, pulling all-nighters in an attempt to master each and every detail—only to become irritable and fuzzy … Read More 

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What’s Relevant?

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Adapted from “Option Overload? Manage the Options on the Table,” by Chris Guthrie (professor, Vanderbilt University Law School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, August 2007. When choosing among multiple options, negotiators should identify and evaluate the relevant attributes of each option and, if possible, make tradeoffs among them. This approach requires us to factor in … Read More 

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Irrationality in Negotiations: How to Negotiate the Impossible

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Negotiators often struggle with the task of bargaining with those who behave rashly, reason poorly, and act in ways that contradict their own self-interest. But as it turns out, behavior that negotiators often view as evidence of irrationality may in fact indicate something entirely different. … Read More 

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The Ambidextrous Negotiator

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Adapted from “Evenhanded Decision Making,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, May 2006. As discussed in past issues of the Negotiation newsletter, anchoring and framing can bias important decisions in negotiation. A buyer may make a more generous offer than she intended, for example, after a seller drops anchor on a bold demand. A litigant who … Read More 

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Will Your Deal Thrive in the Real World?

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Adapted from “The Deal Is Done—Now What?” by Jeswald W. Salacuse (professor, Tufts University), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, November 2005. Whether you’re manufacturing audio components in China, providing data-processing services in Chicago, or constructing a cement plant in Cheyenne, Wyoming, the quality of your relationship with a contractual partner is often the difference … Read More 

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How to Avoid the Status Trap

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Adapted from “Don’t Get Stuck in the Status Trap,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, September 2009. Graduating MBA students often tend to choose their first postgraduate jobs based on vivid aspects of their job offers, such as a high starting salary or the prestige of the firm, Harvard Business School professor Max H. Bazerman has … Read More 

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Could Your Power Trip Backfire?

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Adapted from “When You Hold All the Cards,” by Guhan Subramanian (professor, Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Being the more powerful party in a negotiation doesn’t guarantee a free ride. Specifically, legal rules may constrain your actions. In particular, the courts might read additional terms into the deal … Read More 

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Debunking Negotiation Myths

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Adapted from “Negotiation Myths, Exposed,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. In her book The Mind and Heart of the Negotiator, Leigh Thompson cites four widely held myths that bar negotiators from improving their skills. This analysis is worth the attention of anyone who wants to move beyond platitudes to a deeper understanding of negotiation. Myth 1: … Read More 

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Dealing with Busy People

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Adapted from “Write First, Talk Later? Using Drafts to Make Deals,” by Jeswald Salacuse (professor, Tufts University), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. How can you gain an edge when you’re in the seemingly weak position of negotiating a favor from a government or a powerful bureaucracy? Present the other side with a draft agreement that … Read More 

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Learning from Negotiation Training

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Adapted from “Putting Negotiation Training to Work,” by Max H. Bazerman (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Many executives read books and newsletters to improve their negotiating skills. Many also take time out of their busy work lives to attend classes and training programs, including ones focused on negotiation. Their teachers pass … Read More 

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A Closer Look at Collective Bargaining

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Adapted from “Innovation in Labor Relations,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. In 2004, a team of MIT and Harvard researchers published a study of a bold initiative by health-care giant Kaiser Permanente and its many unions to restructure their relationship. Given the recent spotlight focused on collective bargaining, beginning with a very public battle in … Read More 

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Dealing with Option Overload

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Adapted from “Option Overload? Manage the Choices on the Table,” by Chris Guthrie (professor, Vanderbilt University Law School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Consider what happened when Randy, who was opening his first restaurant, met with Albert, the general manager of Best Appliances, to negotiate a deal. Albert pulled out a stack of brochures and … Read More 

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Put Apologies in Your Toolbox

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Adapted from “Regain Your Counterpart’s Trust with an Apology,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. The problem: Whether you meant to or not, you’ve hurt or offended your negotiating counterpart through your words or actions. Perhaps you’ve shown up late for an appointment one time too many, neglected to follow through on a key contract term, … Read More 

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Negotiation and the Glass Ceiling

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Adapted from “A Fresh Look Through the Glass Ceiling,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Women are less likely to seize opportunities to negotiate than men, Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever documented in their widely-read book Women Don’t Ask. Subsequent research has indicated that, when they do negotiate on their own behalf, women ask for and … Read More 

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When Negotiators Act Like Parasites

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Adapted from “Creating Values, Weighing Values,” by Max H. Bazerman (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. In April 2001, the FTC filed a complaint accusing pharmaceutical companies Schering-Plough and Upsher-Smith of restricting trade. Upsher-Smith had been preparing to introduce a generic pharmaceutical product that would threaten a near monopoly held by Schering-Plough. … Read More 

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Tempering Your Temper

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Adapted from “The Downside of Anger,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. According to conventional wisdom, responding angrily to another negotiator’s offer sometimes helps you get more of what you want. This notion is confirmed by some recent studies. In 2004, for example, professor Gerben A. van Kleef of the University of Amsterdam and his colleagues … Read More 

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How Should You Decide?

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Adapted from “Three Keys to Navigating Multiparty Negotiation,” by Elizabeth A. Mannix (professor, Cornell University), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Multiparty negotiations—in which more than two people are bargaining on behalf of themselves or others—create many opportunities to generate value. As the number of people at the table increases, so does the potential to make … Read More 

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Put More on the Table

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Adapted from “Putting More on the Table: How Making Multiple Offers Can Increase the Final Value of the Deal,” by Victoria Husted Medvec and Adam D. Galinsky (professors, Northwestern University), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Suppose you open talks with an important customer by making an aggressive first offer. He becomes offended. You back off … Read More 

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Consider the Source

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Adapted from “When Your Thoughts Work Against You,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Remember the firestorm that the cover of The New Yorker magazine’s July 21, 2008, issue created? The cartoon depicted presidential nominee Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, in the Oval Office, he dressed as a flag-burning Muslim, she as a terrorist. It wasn’t … Read More 

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Don’t get Lost in Translation

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Adapted from “Coping with Culture at the Bargaining Table,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. As if intercultural negotiations weren’t complicated enough, you may find yourself facing a language barrier. Whenever one party doesn’t speak the other party’s language well, you should consider hiring a translator (or one for each language, if necessary). The presence of translators … Read More 

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Why it Pays to Save Face

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Adapted from “In Negotiation, How Much Do Personality and Other Individual Differences Matter?” First published in the Negotiation newsletter. When you criticize a negotiator’s arguments or question her motives, you risk threatening her “face,” or social image. Such direct threats to self-esteem can trigger embarrassment, anger, and competitive behavior in your counterpart, according to research … Read More 

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When Two Cultures are Better Than One

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Adapted from “Coping with Culture at the Bargaining Table,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Do you have firsthand experience navigating two cultures? Have you lived abroad for a significant period of time? Are you an immigrant, or were you raised by immigrants? If you are “bicultural,” you may be an especially adept negotiator, research suggests. Researchers … Read More 

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What to do When the Ink is Dry

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dispute resolution

Adapted from “The Deal Is Done—Now What?” by Jeswald W. Salacuse (professor, Tufts University). First published in the Negotiation newsletter. At last, the deal is done. After 18 months of negotiation, eight trips across the country, and countless meetings, you’ve finally signed a contract. It’s clear and precise. It covers all the contingencies and has … Read More 

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How to Get to the Table

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Adapted from “Leading Horses to Water,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. The hardest step in negotiation is often the first. Costly lawsuits can drag on if everyone is afraid to be the first to blink. Prospective buyers and sellers can waste endless hours dancing around a possible deal. And in collective bargaining, labor and management … Read More 

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Make Your Best Offer Look Better

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Adapted from “Picking the Right Frame: Make Your Best Offer Seem Better,” by Max H. Bazerman (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Imagine that you bought a house in 2000 for $400,000. You have just put it on the market for $499,000, with a real target of $470,000—your estimation of the house’s … Read More 

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Picking Teams

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Adapted from “Pick the Right Negotiating Team,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. We’ve all seen teams and work groups implode under the stress of personality clashes. These experiences might lead you to conclude that your negotiating team should be a tight-knit and harmonious group of colleagues. Yet Northwestern University professor Leigh Thompson and her coauthors … Read More 

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Negotiators: Don’t Go on a Power Trip

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Adapted from “When You Hold All the Cards,” by Guhan Subramanian (professor, Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. One of your customers has just landed a lucrative new contract, and you’re the only supplier who can add a critical component to that customer’s production process. Concerns about violating your … Read More 

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Should You Dwell on Past Negotiation Outcomes?

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Adapted from “Learn to Negotiate with an Open Mind,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. After wrapping up a difficult negotiation, it’s tempting to forget about it and move on. The regret triggered by counterfactual thinking, or reflections on “what might have been,” can be so painful that many people will do whatever they can to … Read More 

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Dealing With a Stubborn Counterpart

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Adapted from “Stubborn or Irrational? How to Cope with a Difficult Negotiating Partner,” by Lawrence Susskind (professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Suppose you’re an experienced salesperson entering into negotiations for a contract renewal with a company you’ve successfully done business with for years. Recently, your counterpart at the other company … Read More 

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Putting Negotiation Training to Work

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Adapted from “Transferring Negotiation Knowledge,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. After attending intensive executive education courses, managers typically return to the office with a sense of excitement about applying their new knowledge—only to find 200 e-mails and 25 voicemail messages waiting for them. Amid the chaos, the lessons of the past few days are forgotten. … Read More 

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Avoid the Green-eyed Monster

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Adapted from “Negotiating with the Green-eyed Monster,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Envy can cause us to engage in deception at the bargaining table. That’s the cautionary finding of research by Simone Moran of Ben-Gurion University in Israel and Maurice E. Schweitzer of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Why might negotiators be more … Read More 

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Looking for a Breakthrough

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Adapted from “Speaking the Same Language,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Negotiators can find themselves talking past each other for hours, even days. Then suddenly something happens–a breakthrough. The parties begin conversing on a different plane, one that reveals solutions to problems that had seemed intractable. Professor Linda Putnam, a communications scholar at Texas A&M University, … Read More 

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Negotiating Online? Meet Face to Face First

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Adapted from “How to Negotiate Successfully Online,” by Kathleen L. McGinn (professor, Harvard Business School) and Eric J. Wilson (Cogos Consulting), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. The intricacies of electronic negotiation can be dizzying. You’re likely to find yourself communicating with numerous people you’ve never met about issues you each value differently, and you all … Read More 

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Improve Your Online Negotiation Results

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Adapted from “Strategies for Overcoming E-Mail’s Weaknesses,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Negotiators communicating via e-mail can easily be blinded to the medium’s pitfalls. In her research, professor Janice Nadler of Northwestern University Law School confirms that the “impoverished” nature of e-mail—its dearth of physical, social, and vocal cues—often leads to misunderstandings, ambiguous messages, and … Read More 

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How to Turn a Maybe Into a Yes

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Adapted from “Closing the Deal,” by Michael Wheeler (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. You’ve followed the negotiation guidebooks to a T, uncovered the parties’ key interests, brainstormed creative solutions, and even developed good rapport with your counterpart. You’ve done everything right…but you still don’t have agreement. How do you turn the other … Read More 

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Let Them Compare and Contrast

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Adapted from “Will Your Proposals Hit the Mark?” First published in the Negotiation newsletter. In negotiation, it’s always better when someone accepts your offer rather than rejecting it, right? Actually, rejection can sometimes be the most effective way to get to “yes.” Let’s look at another story about consumer behavior, as described by Itamar Simonson of Stanford’s … Read More 

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Is the Issue Really Sacred?

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Adapted from “Negotiating Sacred Issues,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. In a classic New Yorker cartoon, a dinner guest shows up for the party, hands the host a $20 bill, and announces that this was the amount he had planned to spend on a bottle of wine before he ran out of time. Negotiation buffs … Read More 

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When Focus Comes at a Price

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Adapted from “The High Cost of Low Focus,” by Max H. Bazerman (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Has someone (perhaps a significant other) ever told you that you’ve previously seen or heard something that you don’t recall? When someone says, “I already told you that!” in exasperation, do you assume that … Read More 

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The Right Time to Negotiate

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Adapted from “Telling Time in Different Cultures,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Despite the bloody conflicts in the Middle East, people of goodwill from both Arab and Western nations earnestly seek to collaborate in diplomatic and business transactions. An article by Ilai Alon of Tel Aviv University and Jeanne Brett of Northwestern, however, cautions that … Read More 

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When Teams Work

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Adapted from “The Surprising Benefits of Conflict in Negotiating Teams,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. In December 2008, incoming U.S. president Barack Obama created a stir by appointing Senator Hillary Clinton, his bitter opponent for the Democratic nomination, to be his secretary of state. Could Obama expect loyalty from someone he had traded barbs with … Read More 

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Dealing With the Government

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Adapted from “Negotiating with Regulators,” by Lawrence Susskind (professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. When preparing to launch new products, plans, and innovations, an organization often must apply for licenses, permits, and other types of regulatory approvals from government agencies. Thankfully, even the most elaborate application processes allow individual regulators a … Read More 

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A Powerful Strike-out

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Adapted from “Why Your Next Negotiation Power Trip Could Backfire,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Powerful negotiators generally don’t devote enough time to considering the other side’s point of view, Northwestern University professor Adam D. Galinsky and New York University professor Joe C. Magee have written in Negotiation. As a consequence, the powerful may fail … Read More 

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Let Go of Lawsuits

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Adapted from “Helping Your Adversary to Let Go,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Why is it that so many lawsuits aren’t settled until the parties reach the courthouse steps? Sometimes the reason is strategic: each side may be waiting for the other to blink first. Dwight Golann, a legal scholar and veteran mediator, has identified another … Read More 

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Agreeing to Disagree

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Adapted from “What Divides You May Unite You,” by James K. Sebenius (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Mark Twain once quipped that “it is differences of opinion that make horse races.” Along these lines, differences in beliefs about how future events will unfold—what a key price will be, whether a technology … Read More 

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The Upside of Anger

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Adapted from “Will Your Emotions Get the Upper Hand?” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Angry individuals approach situations with confidence, a sense of control, and negative thoughts about others. In negotiation, these tendencies can trigger overconfidence, unrealistic optimism, and aggression, yet they buffer decision makers from indecision, risk aversion, and overanalysis, write professors Jennifer … Read More 

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Bridging the Gap Between Groups

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Adapted from “What Divides You Can Unite You,” by Susan Hackley (managing director, Program on Negotiation), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. When we think about negotiating with people from other cultures, we tend to think globally: how might differences in nationality or race affect our bargaining outcomes? But cultural differences can also be local, existing … Read More 

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An Excuse for Selfishness

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Adapted from “Justifying Selfishness,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. In a study of selfishness in negotiation, Fei Song of York University and C. Bram Cadsby and Tristan Morris of the University of Guelph had participants play the “dictator game,” adapted from the experimental economics literature. In this game, Party A is given a sum of … Read More 

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Always Connect

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Adapted from “Build the Right Connection,” by Jeswald Salacuse (professor, Tufts University), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. To hold the attention of your counterparts, you need to connect with them as early as possible in the negotiation. A human connection with the other side not only distinguishes you from your competitors and other parties they … Read More 

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Who’s Looking Over Your Shoulder?

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Adapted from “Onlooker Alert!” First published in the Negotiation newsletter. Unless your official title is “lawyer” or “agent,” you probably don’t think of yourself as an agent. But if you’ve ever represented a family member, your boss, your department, or your organization in a negotiation, you’ve served as that party’s agent. Representing others at the bargaining table … Read More 

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The Regretful Negotiator

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Adapted from “Second Thoughts,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,” wrote the poet John Greenleaf Whittier, “the saddest are these: ‘It might have been.'” Many negotiators would second that sentiment. Regret can be a powerful emotion when a deal slips through our fingers or when we kick ourselves … Read More 

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Pitfalls of the Powerful

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Adapted from “Are You Too Powerful for Your Own Good?” by Ann E. Tenbrunsel (professor, Notre Dame University), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Imagine that you’re a national account sales manager and are preparing to negotiate your annual raise. You have met all your sales objectives and feel that you are not only a valuable … Read More 

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Dealing With Constituents

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Adapted from “Dealing with Backstage Negotiators,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Negotiated agreements sometimes go off the rails in the final hour because one side caves in to a constituent’s wishes despite having the authority to make a commitment. Because people tend to approach negotiations with an “us versus them” mentality, they may succumb to … Read More 

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Letting Them Down Easy

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First published in the Negotiation newsletter. In recent years, a number of new Web-based systems have changed the very structure of negotiation as we know it. One of most famous of these is Priceline.com, which allows consumers to make bids for rental cars, hotel rooms, and air travel-bids that the car-rental firms, hotels, and airlines can … Read More 

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The Power of Schadenfreude

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Adapted from “Negotiating with the Green-eyed Monster,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Envy can cause us to engage in deception at the bargaining table. That’s the cautionary finding of recent research by Simone Moran of Ben-Gurion University in Israel and Maurice E. Schweitzer of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. In one experiment, Israeli … Read More 

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Why Disclosure Doesn’t Work

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Adapted from “Negotiating with Your Advisers,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Our most trusted advisers face conflicts of interest between what is best for them and what is best for us. An attorney might give different advice about whether to settle a lawsuit depending on whether she would be paid by the hour or receive … Read More 

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Is Your Possession Really Sacred?

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Adapted from “What’s It Worth to You?” by Max H. Bazerman, first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Imagine that a beloved aunt passes away and leaves you a 50-acre parcel of Colorado land. You have often visited the area, and though you never considered owning rural property, the fact that the land has been in your … Read More 

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Do You Really Know Yourself?

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Adapted from the Negotiation newsletter. Imagine an upcoming negotiation. How will you respond if your opponent seems bent on provoking an argument? If you’re like most people, you’ll have difficulty predicting your precise response. Professor Dan Gilbert of Harvard University found that when asked how a positive or negative event will affect their happiness, people accurately … Read More 

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How Stereotypes Impair Performance

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Adapted from “Why It Pays for Negotiators to Feel Powerful,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Simply knowing that others may be judging us according to negative stereotypes can impair our performance, according to Stanford University professor Claude Steele. All of us—from white males to African American women to those low on the workplace totem pole—experience … Read More 

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The Angry Negotiator

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Adapted from “Emotional Strategy” by Margaret A. Neale (professor, Stanford University), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Most negotiations require us both to compete to claim value and to cooperate to create value. The ability to move back and forth between these two goals is a critical—and difficult—skill. How do emotions affect value creation and claiming? Researchers … Read More 

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When You’re on Stage

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Adapted from “How to Deal When the Going Gets Tough,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Negotiators tend to feel pressured when they’re performing in front of an audience, according to Harvard Business School professor Deepak Malhotra. If your boss is watching your every move, if you are bargaining as part of a team, or if … Read More 

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Everyday Ingenuity

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Adapted from the Negotiation newsletter. Negotiation expert Roger Fisher sagely counsels, “Solutions are not the answer.” Instead of tossing demands back and forth on their way to an outcome, negotiators should focus on the process of exploring their underlying needs and interests. Get the process right, and practical solutions often follow. But process still depends on the … Read More 

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Checking Your Ego

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Adapted from “When Self-Interest is Sabotage,” by Max H. Bazerman (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Researchers Frederick G. Banting and John Macleod were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in 1923 for their partnership in the discovery of insulin. After receiving the prize, Banting publicly contended that Macleod, the head of their … Read More 

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Dueling Experts?

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Adapted from “Battles of the Experts,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Sometimes conflict is triggered by honest disagreements over the facts. When one partner buys out another, for example, the two might disagree about the value of the business. Similarly, if a piece of high-tech equipment fails, the manufacturer might point to improper maintenance while … Read More 

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Adding Value to E-mail Negotiations

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Adapted from “Make the Most of E-mail Negotiations,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. At a recent social gathering of professionals, the topic of negotiating via e-mail came up. “My work team is constantly shooting e-mails back and forth,” said Sarita. “But since I’m driving and meeting with clients most of the time, I can’t respond … Read More 

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Devilish Contractual Details

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Adapted from “Is the Devil in the Details?,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. You’re close to a deal, but concerns linger. Some of the contract terms seem less than precise. What in the world does “reasonable best efforts” mean, for example, or “good faith”? Negotiators in this commonplace situation face a choice: push for more … Read More 

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Too Tough Talk?

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Adapted from “Break Through the Tough Talk,” by Kristina A. Diekmann (University of Utah) and Ann E. Tenbrunsel (Notre Dame University), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. You might think that cultivating a reputation as a tough bargainer might be the best way to cope with a competitive opponent. But this isn’t necessarily the best strategy. … Read More 

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Change the Trust Default

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Adapted from “How to Build Trust at the Bargaining Table,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Carol’s longtime doctor diagnoses her with a serious illness and recommends immediate, aggressive treatment. Carol would like to seek a second opinion, but she doesn’t want to offend her doctor—who, after all, has always provided her with excellent care. Carol … Read More 

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When Compromise Fails

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Adapted from “The Dangers of Compromise,” by Max H. Bazerman (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. In July 2000, Arthur Levitt, then chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), held hearings on the question of auditor independence. Believing that auditors’ close ties to their clients posed a conflict of interest … Read More 

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Help Your Organization Do More with Less

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Adapted from “How to Do More with Less,” by Lawrence Susskind (professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Times are tough, and managers need to find a way to squeeze more out of every contract negotiation. How can you improve how your organization negotiates? Though we tend to think of negotiation as an … Read More 

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Free Report on International Negotiations Now Available

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In this Special Report, we offer expert advice from the Negotiation newsletter to help you in international negotiations. You will learn to: ▶ Cope with culture clashes. ▶ Weigh culture against other important factors. ▶ Prepare for possible cultural barriers. ▶ Deal with translators. ▶ Avoid ethical stereotypes. ▶ Consider the team approach. To download the report, click here or on the … Read More 

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Culture and Communication

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Adapted from “Cultural Notes,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. As members of organizations and families, we all know from experience that even people with identical backgrounds can have vastly differing negotiating styles and values. Nonetheless, we continue to be intrigued by the idea that distinct patterns emerge between negotiators from different cultures. Researchers do confirm a … Read More 

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Pull Ahead of the Pack

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Adapted from “Think You’re Powerless? Think Again,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. If your organization regularly bids for business, you may be accustomed to feeling like the weaker party, write Deepak Malhotra and Max H. Bazerman in their book Negotiation Genius: How to Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Brilliant Results at the Bargaining Table and Beyond … Read More 

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To Get Ahead, Grab Their Coattails

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Adapted from “Want to Pull Ahead of the Competition?” by Michael Wheeler (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Lots of people have great ideas for new products and services, but most lack the imagination and doggedness to actually get them launched. Darren Rovell is a notable exception. As a college student, he … Read More 

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Consult Your “Inner Outsider”

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Adapted from “Taking an Outside View,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Cognitive biases such as overconfidence affect even smart and highly educated negotiators. Unfortunately, awareness of our biases is not enough to prevent their having a negative impact on our next negotiation. Why is it so hard to keep our biases in check? Researchers Dan Lovallo … Read More 

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Help Them Be More Certain

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Adapted from “Everybody’s Doing It,” by Robert B. Cialdini (professor, Arizona State University), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Brown University Medical School researchers conducted a fascinating study on the factors that influence adolescents to take up cigarette smoking. As expected, several personal, familial, and social circumstances were to blame. For instance, teens who had been … Read More 

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To Avoid an Impasse, Keep Talking

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Adapted from “How the Writers Got Back to Work,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. What happens when people think they’ve invested too much in a dispute to back down from their entrenched positions? This question rose to the fore as the Writers Guild of America (WGA) West and East’s strike against the Alliance of Motion … Read More 

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Learn More From Your Deals

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Adapted from “Learning to Learn,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Learning about a concept or technique is one thing. Actually putting new knowledge to work is quite another. The gap between “knowing” and “doing” is a challenge for managers who want to hone their effectiveness, whether through formal training or private reflection on their experience. Recent … Read More 

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Honor Your Fellow Negotiator

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Adapted from “Negotiators: Guard Against Ethical Lapses,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. During the past couple of years, a number of scandalous stories involving unethical behavior made headlines: Countrywide’s and AIG’s risky business practices, trader Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, and former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich’s alleged attempt to sell a U.S. Senate seat. As instances … Read More 

Daily

Don’t Just Do the Math

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Adapted from “Do the Numbers Get in Your Way?” by Brian J. Hall (professor, Harvard Business School) and P. Trent Staats (vice president, Verenium Corp.), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Consider the customer support center that sought to increase the number of calls it could process per hour without increasing its capacity. When the call … Read More 

Daily

The Curse of Knowledge

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Adapted from “When You Assume Too Much,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Decision makers often overlook others’ viewpoints. When we do take others’ thinking into account, we tend to assume that they know as much as we do. For this reason, marketing experts are generally worse than nonexpert consumers at predicting the beliefs, values, and … Read More 

Daily

Negotiate with Your Kids?

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Adapted from “Negotiate Better Relationships with Your Children,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Getting a good night’s sleep and eating a healthy dinner might seem like obvious goals for parents to have for their young children, but kids won’t always agree. When faced with back talk, tantrums, and tears, most parents vacillate between laying down … Read More 

Daily

Keep it Out of Court

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Adapted from “Turn Disputes into Deals,” by by Robert H. Mnookin (professor, Harvard Law School) first published in the Negotiation newsletter. In 1982, writer and movie producer Art Buchwald wrote a screen treatment that his partner, Alain Bernheim, pitched to Paramount Pictures. Settling upon the title King for a Day, Paramount and Bernheim entered into an … Read More 

Daily

Former President Martti Ahtisaari honored with Great Negotiator Award!

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The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School Will Honor Former President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari with the 2010 Great Negotiator Award Co-sponsored with the Future of Diplomacy Project at the Harvard Kennedy School, the Great Negotiator Event Offers Real-World Negotiation Discussion to All Students For Immediate Release CAMBRIDGE, MA (September 21,  2010) The Program on Negotiation … Read More 

Daily

Mirror, Mirror

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Adapted from “The View from the Other Side of the Table,” by Adam D. Galinsky (Northwestern University), William W. Maddux (professor, INSEAD), and Gillian Ku (professor, London Business School)first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Believe it or not, you can become a better negotiator simply by learning how to effectively mirror your opponent. Psychologist Tanya Chartrand … Read More 

Daily

Are Your Talks too Complex?

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Adapted from “When More Is Less,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. It’s an article of faith in negotiation that expanding the pie of value enhances parties’ welfare. When there’s only one issue on the bargaining table, the size of the pie is fixed. If one party gets more, the other party must get less. But … Read More 

Daily

Negotiating for Career Satisfaction

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Adapted from “Beyond Salary: Negotiating for Job Satisfaction and Success,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Most people enter employment negotiations assuming that compensation and benefits are the only issues on the table, according to Negotiation editorial board member David Lax. By contrast, enlightened job seekers realize these concerns are only part of the picture. In … Read More 

Daily

Should You Ignore a Threat

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Adapted from “Threat Response at the Bargaining Table,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Consider how you would respond to threats and ultimatums such as these during a negotiation: • “If you try to back out, you’ll never work in this industry again.” • “Give us what we want, or we’ll see you in court.” • “That’s our final … Read More 

Daily

Find Strength in Numbers

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Adapted from “Make Your Weak Position Strong,” by Deepak Malhotra (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. A common complaint among managers and executives who attend negotiation courses and seminars is that they don’t learn enough about negotiating from a position of weakness. What can you do when you have a weak BATNA, … Read More 

Daily

Don’t Be Cursed

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Adapted from “How to Win an Auction—and Avoid the Sinking Feeling that You Overbid,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Imagine that at the beginning of class, a professor produces a jar full of coins and announces that he is auctioning it off. Students can write down a bid, he explains, and the highest bidder will … Read More 

Daily

Getting to No

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Adapted from “When You Mean No, Say So!” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Too often, we say yes when we shouldn’t. Wanting to be team players at work, we postpone a family vacation. Or we pitch in on a community project when we have no time for it. In the short term, we please whoever … Read More 

Daily

Trusting from Square One

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Adapted from “How Much Should You Trust?” by Iris Bohnet (professor, Harvard Kennedy School) and Stephan Meier (professor, Columbia Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. What’s the best way to cope with a fellow negotiator who has betrayed your trust? Ignoring the problem is rarely the best solution. When you distrust someone, you’re forced to … Read More 

Daily

Deal with Last-Minute Demands

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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 More 

Daily

Set Yourself Up for Success

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Adapted from “Do a 3-D Audit of Barriers to Agreement,” by James K. Sebenius (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. When talks stall, it’s tempting to jump to conclusions: “They’re being unreasonable.” “We’re not communicating well.” “We’re in a weak position.” Sometimes, however, setup barriers are to blame—that is, you don’t have … Read More 

Daily

When Power Corrupts

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Adapted from “Does Power Corrupt in Negotiation?” First published in the Negotiation newsletter. How does power affect negotiators? In a study of hundreds of pairs of negotiators, researchers Elizabeth A. Seeley of Amherst College and Wendi Gardner and Leigh L. Thompson of Northwestern University examined this question using a simulation called “Viking Investments” (written by Len … Read More 

Daily

Get the Kinks Out

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Adapted from “Should You Get the Kinks Out?” by Ian Larkin (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. You may have heard about the power of contingent contracts in negotiation. As an example, imagine that a supplier has proposed you pay a bonus of 10% if the fault rate for its products is … Read More 

Daily

Caveat Emptor?

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Adapted from “Fair Enough? An Ethical Fitness Quiz for Negotiators,” by Michael Wheeler (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Imagine that you bought a rustic cabin at its asking price. Now flash-forward a few years. You’ve enjoyed the place immensely but just learned that a motorcycle racetrack will be up and running … Read More 

Daily

Choose Your Words

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Adapted from “Metaphorical Negotiation,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Negotiators talk about building agreement, bluffing the opposition, and volleying offers back and forth. According to mediator Thomas Smith, careful attention to such metaphors can reveal deeper meaning beneath the explicit words that people use, notably regarding how they view the negotiation process and their relationship … Read More 

Daily

Offering Gifts—With Strings Attached

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Adapted from “Give a Gift that Keeps on Giving (to You),” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. It was the kind of windfall that would make any employee feel appreciated. In October 2009, Jenna Lyons, the creative director of New York–based fashion retailer J. Crew, received a cash bonus of $1 million from her boss, J. … Read More 

Daily

Family Matters

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Adapted from “All in the Family: Managing Business Disputes with Relatives,” by Frank E. A. Sander (professor, Harvard Law School) and Robert C. Bordone (professor, Harvard Law School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. What happens when family members go into business together? In a few lucky cases, harmony and success follow without effort. More often, … Read More 

Daily

The 900-pound Counterpart

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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 More 

Daily

Accentuate the Positive

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Adapted from “Promote the Positive or Minimize the Negative?” First published in the Negotiation newsletter. Tory Higgins, a social psychologist, and his colleagues Lorraine Chen Idson and Nira Liberman have introduced the concept of regulatory focus. According to Higgins, when making decisions, people focus on either promotion or prevention. Those focused on promotion are primarily concerned … Read More 

Daily

Keeping Your Options Alive

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Adapted from “Better or Best: Keeping Your Options Open,” by Michael Wheeler (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Jim, a well-regarded residential developer operating outside Philadelphia, has been scouting around for a site for his next project. Two properties seem promising. The Abbott estate consists of 75 acres of woodlands and some … Read More 

Daily

When Does Personality Matter?

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Adapted from “When Tough Talk Is Beside the Point,” by Hal Movius (instructor, The Program on Technology Negotiation, Program on Negotiation, Harvard Law School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Most of us intuitively believe that personality traits such as toughness matter a great deal in negotiation. Yet studies by Bruce Barry and Raymond Friedman of … Read More 

Daily

When the Sexes Face Off

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Adapted from “Battles of the Sexes,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. What happens when men and women compete with one another for scarce resources? In a fascinating series of studies, Professor Laura Kray of the University of California at Berkeley and her colleagues show that gender stereotypes have unexpected effects on the behavior of pairs … Read More 

Daily

Are You Overlooking Mediation?

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Adapted from “Why Aren’t Mediation and Arbitration More Popular?” First published in the Negotiation newsletter. Many scholars have noted that the business community would greatly benefit from third-party dispute resolution services. The problem is, there isn’t much demand for mediation or arbitration. If the alternative dispute resolution field has in fact built a better mousetrap, why … Read More 

Daily

Choosing Your Next Relationship

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Adapted from “For Better or Worse: How Relationships Affect Negotiations,” by Kathleen L. McGinn (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Six years ago, Esther Lorenza, an experienced entrepreneur and the founder of a new Internet and catalog retailer, concluded that only one supplier could meet her unique product specifications and high standards … Read More 

Daily

Making Time for Relationships

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Adapted from “Leverage Time to Your Advantage,” by Deepak Malhotra (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Businesspeople often make the mistake of beginning negotiations only after an offer is on the table or after an old contract has expired. Why is this a problem? When money is at stake, it can be … Read More 

Daily

What Exactly Are You Saying?

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Adapted from “The Perils of Powerful Speech,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Death to modifiers! All hail the active verb. Be succinct. Those are Strunk and White’s commandments for simple and direct writing. They also may be rules for establishing verbal power in negotiation—though not always, it turns out. Linguistic studies have shown that hesitations (ums and … Read More 

Daily

Think Fast!

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Adapted from “What Negotiators Can Learn from Improv Comedy,” by Lakshmi Balachandra (lecturer, MIT Sloan School of Management) and Michael Wheeler (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. You’re onstage without a script, relying on your mind and wits to come up with lines and actions that advance the game. Should you trust … Read More 

Daily

Check Your Impulses

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Adapted from “Fickle Intuition,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. When it comes to trusting others, negotiators often rely on their gut instincts. Recent studies indicate, however, that extraneous factors can sway such judgments. For example, Michael Kosfeld and other University of Zurich researchers introduced a twist in a classic trust game in which subjects must … Read More 

Daily

When Emotions Converge

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Adapted from “I Know Exactly How You Feel,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Theorists have long distinguished one-shot deals from repeated negotiations. People who know they’ll never see one another again may be tempted to take advantage of one another, for example. By contrast, parties in ongoing relationships, even ones that have a competitive edge, … Read More 

Daily

Expand the Pie with Matching Rights

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Adapted from “Create Value with Matching Rights,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. The problem: You and your counterpart have different ideas about how much freedom you should have to negotiate with others and/or how long your agreement should last. The tool: Matching rights (sometimes known as rights of first refusal) are a contractual guarantee between negotiators … Read More 

Daily

The Power of Vivid Data

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Adapted from “What’s Really Relevant? The Role of Vivid Data in Negotiation,” by Max H. Bazerman (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Students at top business schools are in an enviable position to negotiate for issues central to their careers and personal happiness. After all, they’re bright, well-trained, and highly sought after … Read More 

Daily

When peace breaks out

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Adapted from “Framing a Negotiation to Foster Cooperation,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Sometimes in negotiation, against all apparent odds, peace breaks out. Union leaders and management reach a last-minute agreement that averts a work stoppage. Litigants settle their differences as they mount the courthouse steps. Everyone breathes a sigh of relief and moves on. But … Read More 

Daily

Questioning threats

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Adapted from “How to Defuse Threats at the Bargaining Table,” by Katie A. Liljenquist (professor, Brigham Young University) and Adam D. Galinsky (professor, Northwestern University), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Sooner or later, every negotiator faces threats at the bargaining table. How should you respond when the other side threatens to walk away, file a … Read More 

Daily

The negotiating QB

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Adapted from “The Brett Favre Trade: A Win-win Deal in a Win-lose Game,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. In the middle of the National Football League’s off-season, as legendary quarterback Brett Favre weighs for the third year in a row whether to return to football or accept retirement, it’s worth revisiting the negotiations behind his … Read More 

Daily

Smoking out liars

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Adapted from “How Body Language Affects Negotiation,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. In a real-life example of the power of image, Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, a German, successfully passed himself off as a member of the Rockefeller family for many years while living in the United States. Armed with little more than an aloof personality and … Read More 

Daily

Negotiation or an auction?

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Adapted from “Negotiations Versus Auctions in Procurement,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter.

When developing procurement contracts, when should you hold an auction, and when should you negotiate? In a study of more than 4,000 private-sector construction contracts in Northern California between 1995 and 2000, researchers Patrick Bajari, Robert McMillan, and Steven Tadelis examined the differences … Read More 

Daily

Make your threat more credible

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Adapted from “Making Threats Credible,” by Deepak Malhotra (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. While the stakes are usually lower, negotiation often resembles a game of Chicken. Both sides make threats in an effort to change their counterpart’s behavior or beliefs. You might threaten to take your business elsewhere unless the other … Read More 

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When the going gets tough…

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Adapted from “Taming Hard Bargainers,” by Robert C. Bordone (professor, Harvard Law School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Suppose you’re about to face off with an “old school” negotiator whose reputation for hard bargaining precedes him. You know you’re supposed to adopt a collaborative approach for the best results, but what about when the other … Read More 

Daily

Resolving disputes with respect

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Adapted from “Equal Time,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Social scientists have long tried to identify the key drivers of success in resolving disputes. Several factors have been proposed: individualized contact that goes beyond the superficial, equal status among parties, commitment to a common goal, and institutional support. Studies have shown that when such conditions … Read More 

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When incentives strike out

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Adapted from “Managers: Think Twice before Setting Negotiation Goals,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. The next time you’re tempted to dangle performance incentives in front of your employees, think about whether it could backfire. As an illustration, let’s look at Major League Baseball manager Joe Torre’s renegotiation with the New York Yankees in October 2007. Torre … Read More 

Daily

Know your rights!

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Adapted from “Matching Rights: A Boon to Both Sides,” by Guhan Subramanian (professor, Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. As dealmakers look for more sophisticated ways to reduce risks and increase returns, a matching right—a contractual guarantee that one side can match any offer that the other side … Read More