Executives are increasingly faced with the task of negotiating in a realm that many know little about: technology. … Read More
Learn how to negotiate like a diplomat, think on your feet like an improv performer, and master job offer negotiation like a professional athlete when you download a copy of our FREE special report, Negotiation Skills: Negotiation Strategies and Negotiation Techniques to Help You Become a Better Negotiator, from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.
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Perfect your negotiation skills in this free special report, BATNA Basics: Boost Your Power at the Bargaining Table from Harvard Law School. … Read More
Retired US Senator George Mitchell played a critical role in negotiating the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland. In an interview with Susan Hackley, Managing Director of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, in the February 2004 Negotiation newsletter, he describes how he was able to facilitate an agreement between these long-warring parties. … Read Negotiating the Good Friday Agreement
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
Here are a few examples of difficult situations at work and some negotiation skills for dealing with difficult people we encounter in every area of life. First, negotiators should ask themselves: Why do some people get under our skin? … Read More
In this Special Report, we offer expert advice to help you close your most important sales negotiations. … Read More
On August 3, 1981, 12,000 air-traffic controllers went on strike after negotiations with the federal government about wages, hours, and benefits broke down. … Read More
“Winging it” is a fine approach to life’s minor decisions, but when you negotiate, it can be disastrous. Follow these three preparation steps and improve your agreements. … Read Are You Ready to Negotiate?
In her book The Mind and Heart of the Negotiator, Leigh Thompson cites four widely held negotiation 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. … Read Debunking Negotiation Myths
Trust in negotiations may develop naturally over time, but negotiators rarely have the luxury of letting nature take its course. Thus it sometimes seems easiest to play it safe with cautious deals involving few tradeoffs, few concessions, and little information sharing between parties. But avoiding risk can mean missing out on significant opportunities. For this reason, … Read More
Here are some negotiating skills and negotiation tactics from 3-D negotiation by James Sebenius and David Lax. … Read 3-D Negotiation Strategy
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
Conventional wisdom, not to mention the popularity of no-haggle car buying, suggests that many people anticipate important negotiations with the same dread they reserve for root canals. … Read How to Mitigate Stress at the Bargaining Table
People operate at different speeds at the bargaining table. This is called their negotiation pace. Suppose that one bargainer is impatient, gritting her teeth and thinking, “Cut to the chase, for Pete’s sake!” Feeling pressured, the other person wants to say, “Easy on the coffee, pal! Let’s give this the time it deserves.” … Read Pick the Right Negotiation Pace
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. In such cases, the more powerful player is likely to resist the notion of shaking up the status quo—and thus … Read More
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
In past articles, we have highlighted a variety of psychological biases that affect negotiators, many of which spring from a reliance on intuition, and may hinder integrative negotiation. Of course, negotiators are not always affected by bias; we often think systematically and clearly at the bargaining table. Most negotiators believe they are capable of distinguishing … Read More
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 Writing the Negotiated Agreement
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 What is Dispute System Design?
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
Negotiations have reached an impasse, but both sides agree on one thing: you need help resolving the dispute. You engage a neutral mediator to do just that. Rather than acting as a judge who decides who “wins” or “loses,” a third-party mediator assists parties in reaching an agreement. … Read More
Communication in negotiation is the means by which negotiators can achieve objectives, build relationships, and resolve disputes. Most negotiators know that it is the most important tool you can have for successful negotiations. … Read More
At the negotiation table, what’s the best way to uncover your negotiation counterpart’s hidden interests? Build a relationship in negotiation by asking questions, then listening carefully. Even if you have decided to make the first offer and are ready with a number of alternatives, you should always open by asking and listening to assess your … Read The Importance of a Relationship in Negotiation
Knowing the norms of ethics and negotiation can be useful whether you’re negotiating for yourself or on behalf of someone else. Each ethical case you come up against will have its own twists and nuances, but there a few principles that negotiators should keep in mind while at the bargaining table. … Read More
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
As compared with other forms of dispute resolution, mediation can have an informal, improvisational feel. Mediation can include some or all of the following six steps … Read The Mediation Process and Dispute Resolution
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
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
Your BATNA, or the ability to identify a negotiator’s best alternative to a negotiated agreement, is among one of the many pieces of information negotiators seek when formulating dealmaking and negotiation strategies. If your current negotiation reaches an impasse, what’s your best outside option? … Read More
To avoid conveying weakness to the other side, rather than calling for a break at the first sign of trouble, some negotiation teams devise secret signals they can 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 Team Building Using Negotiation Skills
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 The Advantages of Bias 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
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
There are many business negotiation examples involving auctions. Suppose you’ve weighed the pros and cons of selling an asset via auction or negotiation and decided an auction is the best choice. What kind of auction should it be? … Read More
While many of our articles discuss negotiation theory and the latest research, sometimes it helps to discuss negotiation examples in real life when offering negotiation tips and advice. The following negotiation example is based on bargaining in real estate, a negotiation scenario many of us may face in our lifetime. … Read Negotiation Examples in Real Life: Buying a Home
It’s often the case that when two people or organizations try to resolve a dispute by determining who is right, they get stuck. That’s why so many disputes end up in court. There is a better way to resolve your dispute: by hiring an expert mediator who focuses not on rights but on interests—the needs, … Read Mediation and the Conflict Resolution Process
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
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
Attempts to exercise power can backfire. As a negotiator, you must balance these three risks against the potential benefits of developing and exercising power. … Read More
Most negotiation advice centers on the mistakes all of us make. But individual differences in personality, intelligence, and outlook could also affect your talks. Imagine how you would approach negotiations with the following people: … Read More
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 negotiations or not? … Read Managing Expectations in Negotiations
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
In MESO, negotiation in which multiple offers are presented simultaneously at the negotiation table, effective negotiators seek opportunities to create value. By making tradeoffs across issues, parties can obtain greater value on the issues that are most important to them. … Read More
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 How to Balance Your Own Values in Negotiation
While hammering out an agreement during negotiation, a mid-level manager offered a customer a significant price discount. When the discount failed to materialize, the customer sued. In response, company representatives argued that the manager did not have the authority to offer the discount. Who is right? … Read In Negotiation, How Much Authority Do They Have?
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
There is a better way to resolve your dispute: by hiring an expert mediator with a focus on interests – the needs, desires, or concerns that underlie each side’s positions according to negotiation research on mediation techniques. … Read More
In contract negotiations, writing a contract that both encapsulates the negotiated agreement but also incorporates future elements such as the business relationship and the sustainability of the agreement can be a daunting task for even the most experienced negotiators. Executives often leave the legal issues surrounding their deals to their attorneys. While this division of … Read More
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
Who achieves the best negotiated agreements: strangers, friends, or romantic partners? In a 1993 negotiation role-play simulation, Margaret Neale of Stanford University and Kathleen McGinn found that pairs of friends achieved higher joint gains than married couples and pairs of strangers. … Read More
After recently losing an important deal in India, a business negotiator learned that her counterpart felt as if she had been rushing through the talks. The business negotiator thought she was being efficient with their time. In this useful cross-cultural conflict negotiation example, how should this negotiator improve her negotiation skills? … Read More
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). … Read More
How can you negotiate the best possible price for a new car? This is a common negotiation question, and naturally so. A car is one of the most significant purchases you’ll ever make—and the price is almost always negotiable. Here are a few tips to improve your performance: … Read More
With its booming economy and growing international consumer influence, the role of negotiation in international business is more important than ever and negotiation skills appropriate for China are in high-demand. Here are a few negotiation tips to help you successfully navigate your next round of business negotiations in China. … Read The Negotiation Process in China
Negotiation experts typically advise us to meet with our counterparts in person whenever possible rather than relying on the telephone or Internet. As convenient as electronic media may be, they lack the visual cues that help convey valuable information and forge connections in face-to-face talks. Without access to gestures and facial expressions, those who negotiate … Read Using Body Language in Negotiation
Everyone knows the three rules of real estate: “Location! Location! Location!” When it comes to making deals, choosing the right negotiation environment can be just as important. The location you select can dramatically affect the ensuing process and, ultimately, the end result. In deal making, the answer to the question “Your place or mine?” is … Read More
There are numerous advantages to hearing from external advisers and experts in a high-stakes negotiation. However, when talks are at an impasse, limiting the negotiation to a small number of participants may be a more beneficial problem solving approach than including outside opinions. This was at the heart of a recent question answered by Guhan Subramanian, … Read More
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
A negotiation research study using distributive negotiation examples sheds interesting light on decision-making capabilities, intelligence, and “intuition.” … Read Test Your Negotiation Decision-Making Ability
How does the presence of lawyers affect the mediation process and mediations in general? You might guess that when one or both sides bring an attorney to a mediation, the process would become more contentious and adversarial, with impasse more likely, than if the parties worked solely with a mediator. … Read More
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
Typically, when parties are negotiating over a resource they both desire – whether fees, budgets, salaries, schedules, or staff – the process results in an uninspired compromise somewhere between their positions. Is it possible to avoid a compromise when negotiating tough distributive issues. … Read More
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
How can dispute resolution skills in negotiation help manage internal conflicts within an organization? This article draws from negotiation research to present some bargaining tips on how you can insure satisfaction within and outside of an organization. … Read More
In the course of a career, a negotiator will confront many skilled persuaders. Here, we review three defensive negotiation strategies a negotiator can employ. … Read More
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. … Read The Power of a Simple Thank You in Negotiation
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 during negotiations. Fearful of being hurt by revealing too much information, most negotiators play their facts and preferences close to the vest. … Read When Not to Show Your Hand in Negotiations
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
If a pet project of yours is facing an up-or-down vote, negotiation can be a powerful tool to help sway the outcome in your favor. One example was New York governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s successful campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in the state, as described by Michael Barbaro in the New York Times. … Read More
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
When life becomes routine we are more likely to overlook details or, conversely, we cannot see the forest for the trees. In both instances, what we may lack is a creative outlook on the situation at hand. In negotiations, creativity can lead to value-creation for both parties. … Read More
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
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 Does Small Talk in Negotiation Offer Big Gains?
Why is sincerity important at the bargaining table and how do negotiators avoid deception in negotiations? Your counterpart may not realize that her behavior is unethical, and even when she does, she may justify her behavior as being ethical in this particular case. … Read More
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
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
One of the most popular questions concerning negotiation strategy and an area of negotiation research that draws heavily on negotiation examples in real life is how do negotiators identify their BATNA, or best alternative to a negotiated agreement, and even better, how do they identify their counterpart’s BATNA? Consider the saga of a company that … Read Understanding Your Counterpart’s BATNA
Among the many types of power in negotiation a negotiator can exhibit is an ability to exert control over the negotiation process. But what about those bargaining scenarios in which the negotiator unable to gain control of proceedings? How should she formulate her negotiation strategy? … Read More
People tend to irrationally fixate on the first number put forth in a negotiation—the anchor—no matter how arbitrary it may be. Even when we know the anchor has limited relevance, we fail to sufficiently adjust our judgments away from it. This is the anchoring effect. … Read An Example of the Anchoring Effect
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. Here are some tips on how to negotiate online and building a rapport with your counterpart … Read How to Negotiate Online
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
Negotiation research sheds light on negotiator expectations of fairness and equality in negotiations. The negotiation skills advice contained here can help business negotiators more effectively craft agreements with their counterparts in business negotiations. … Read More
As integrative negotiations students know well, focusing on interests in negotiation has proven to be the most reliable way to create value and resolve conflicts. Experience indicates that communicating with your lawyers the motivations behind a deal or negotiated agreement is well worth the time. … Read Communicate Your Interests Behind the Deal
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 Negotiation Techniques from the M&A World
Labor unions may be the most obvious example of a negotiating coalitions. 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
Adapted from “When They Slice the Deal Too Thin,” by Michael Wheeler (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Suppose that, after months of negotiation, you reach a detailed agreement with a customer and shake hands. A week later, the customer’s procurement officer calls to tell you that there have to be some … Read Deal with Last-Minute Demands
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
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
After buying a new car, you’re eager to sell your old car. It looks well kept, but you had problems with the engine last winter. Now it’s late summer. Should you tell prospective buyers about the engine, which might or might not act up when the weather turns? … Read More
When we’re deciding whether to trust a counterpart, his facial expressions matter a great deal, suggests a study by negotiation researchers Jeroen Stouten of the University of Leuven, Belgium, and David De Cremer of the Rotterdam School of Management, the Netherlands. … Read More
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
This three-step approach to managing process issues in negotiations will reap significant rewards at the bargaining table. … Read Negotiation Skills: What’s the Best Process?
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 Alice Isen and Peter Carnevale found that a positive mood leads to greater value creation. … Read The Angry Negotiator
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 Negotiation Skills for Win-Win Negotiations
Daniel, a senior manager at a large consumer products firm, has been asked by a company vice president to submit a detailed budget request for his department. Daniel has an incentive to overstate anticipated costs: in the case of overruns, it’s nice to have a little cushion built into the budget, rather than having to … Read Deception in Negotiation
Going to trial, it’s said, is like rolling the dice. In this article, we discuss what negotiators need to be aware of to avoid negotiation games before heading to the courtroom. … Read Negotiation Games
Labor unions are the most obvious example of negotiating coalitions. If an individual employee made demands of its employer, the company could threaten to hire someone else. … Read More
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
Before and during your negotiation, think about who you’ve chosen as a reference group against which you measure yourself. Did you select the group purely to enhance your own status, or did you try to make a more appropriate comparison? What are your negotiation skills in business communication? … Read More
Many organizations strive for moral leadership; too many fall short of that goal. When moral leadership is lacking in an organization, employees ended up disaffected and alienated, productivity suffers, and unethical behavior becomes more likely. Moral leadership doesn’t require perfect behavior, but it does require a willingness to do better. In her book, The Person You … Read Moral Leadership and the Role of Unconscious Bias
In many negotiations, both parties are aware of what their interests are, and are willing to engage in a give-and-take process with the other party to come to agreement. … Read More
Goal setting affects performance. In a review of goal-setting research, negotiation scholars Deborah Zetik and Alice Stuhlmacher of DePaul University found that when negotiators set specific, challenging goals, they consistently outperform those who set lower or vague goals. … Read More
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 Learning From Negotiation Role-Plays
In the #MeToo era, entertainment companies have incurred significant financial and reputational damage from alleged crimes and misbehavior by the producers, directors, executives, and actors they’ve employed. … Read More
There are many business negotiation examples involving auctions. Suppose you’ve weighed the pros and cons of selling an asset via auction or negotiation and decided an auction is the best choice. What kind of auction should it be? … Read More
Whether we like it or not, negotiators often lie. Researchers have found that while most of us are generally aware of this fact, few of us are adept at detecting actual lies in negotiation. In two studies, Maurice E. Schweitzer and Rachel Croson of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania move beyond the challenge … Read Learn How to Detect Lies in Negotiation
In a winner’s curse negotiation scenario, the winner may often find herself on the losing end of the deal. Ever win something you wanted, then realize too late you got a raw deal? Here’s how to recognize when backing away is your best bet in a negotiation. … Read Try to Avoid the Winners Curse When Negotiating
To further improve negotiations, a company could publish an internal negotiation newsletter that can be distributed through a secure company intranet. Each month, the person overseeing the newsletter could choose a negotiation involving someone within the company. … Read More
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
Suppose that you and your negotiating counterpart become deadlocked after exchanging a series of offers and counteroffers. With each of you anchored on very different positions, you can’t seem to find a solution that pleases you both. … Read More
Negotiation training lectures, like publications, 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 experts talk … Read More
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 Bargaining at a Fever Pitch
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 Negotiate Your Organizational Vision
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
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
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 Managing Faultlines in Group Negotiations
One of the most popular negotiation topics in business concerns the role of outsiders to the negotiation. In this article the Program on Negotiation explores how to include outsiders in both your strategy and at-the-table negotiations. … Read More
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
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 Satisficing and Negotiation
To maximize the joint gain created by a deal, both sides need to take risks which requires building trust in negotiations. Here’s how negotiators can establish the necessary trust. … Read How to Build Trust at the Bargaining Table
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 How to Capitalize on Luck in Negotiation
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
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 Negotiating with People Pleasers
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
Regrouping from the cancellation of the 2004–2005 season due to failed labor negotiations, National Hockey League (NHL) teams and players faced the challenge of radically restructuring their collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in July 2005. The new CBA instituted a uniform cap (as well as a floor) on team payrolls. It also set maximums and minimums … Read Negotiation Topics in Business: Make a Bump Plan
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
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
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
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
Learn how mediation techniques could have informed Apple’s negotiation strategies when it discovered discrepancies in working conditions among its supplier factories in China. … Read More
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 Beware Your Counterpart’s Biases
Like other cognitive biases, competitive expectations can be insidious. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to forestall their negative consequences. … Read Protecting Yourself from Competitive Expectations
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 A Closer Look at Court-Sponsored Mediation
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
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 What is the Winner’s Curse?
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 Dealmaking: Avoiding Pitfalls in Deal Drafting
When a negotiating counterpart threatens to scuttle a potentially beneficial deal, how can you defuse the threat and get talks back on track? … Read More
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 A Second Look at Rights of First Refusal
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
What at first seemed like a minor misunderstanding has spiraled out of control. A Chicago-based printing company hired your Chicago-based IT consulting firm to train its staff to use its new computer system. … Read More
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 Is Mediation Expertise What You Need?
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
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 How to Practice Interests-Based Leadership
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
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 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
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
Negotiation skills tips to help create value during your next session at the bargaining table. Read how collaboration and competition can lead to value creation in business negotiations. … Read More
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
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
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
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 Pull Ahead of the Pack with a “Negotiauction”
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 Dealmaking: What About the Fine Print?
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 The Lessons of Diplomacy
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
You can’t control the U.S. financial markets, but you can take these three steps to make sure your deals don’t contribute to a predictable surprise in your own home or organization. … Read More
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 Business Negotiations: Why Does Process Matter?
A large pharmaceutical company was engaged in licensing negotiation with a small biotech firm over the terms of a technology transfer. When the talks reached a standstill over royalty rates, the two sides began an all-weekend marathon session. Each side came armed with supporting arguments and data, but, by Sunday afternoon, they had failed to converge toward … Read Have You Negotiated How You’ll Negotiate?
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
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 Deal Making: When You Hold All the Cards
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
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 “Sacred Values” Crop Up in Conflict Management
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 Three Things to Consider When Choosing a Mediator
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 Dealmaking: Why It’s Tempting to Trust Your Gut
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
Joint fact finding is a multistep, collaborative process for bringing together negotiating partners with different interests, values, and perspectives. Here are the five stages through which joint fact finding typically proceeds. … Read More
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
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
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 Social Comparisons in Negotiation
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
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 Questioning Compromises
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 How Mental Shortcuts Lead to Misjudging
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 How Inadmissible Evidence Leads to Misjudging
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
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 When You Shouldn’t Go It Alone
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 Find the Right Leadership Voice
Even with these precautions in place, there will be times when one side demands renegotiation of a deal. Here are some guidelines on how to proceed. … Read Dealmaking: What to Do After the Deal Breaks Down
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 Choosing When to Choose
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
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 What If You Have to Arbitrate?
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 Becoming a More Ethical Negotiator
There are three major reasons that managers are reluctant to seek the assistance they need. … Read Why Do Managers Resist Facilitation?
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 What to Do Before the Deal Breaks Down
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 Bring Long-Term Concerns to the Bargaining Table
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 Moving to a Different Table
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 A Better Approach to Decision Making
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
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 Team Building, One Player at a Time
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 In Deal Making, Broaden Your Focus
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 Google Searches for a More Diverse Team
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 A Peacekeeper Abandons Negotiations in Syria
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
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 Accounting for Outsiders in Your Negotiations
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 When Negotiations Take Advantage of Outsiders
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
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
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 Should Your Boss Be at the Negotiation Table?
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 Are You Avoiding a Key Negotiation?
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 Touchy-feely Negotiators?
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 Negotiate How You’ll Negotiate
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 Are You Talking to the Right Person?
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 Offer Your Counterpart a Graceful Retreat
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
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 Does the majority really rule?
When it comes to business negotiations, you probably understand the importance of being as principled as possible to protect your reputation and ward off legal trouble. You probably expect your counterparts to follow the straight and narrow as well. Yet negotiators often have only a fuzzy grasp of which claims and strategies are legal and … Read Sellers: Stay out of legal hot water
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 Negotiate your role as advisor
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 Are you really an ethical negotiator?
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 Negotiator toolbox: Capitalize on differences
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 Why your lawyer could be wrong about apologies
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 Resolving conflict, creating value
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 Avoid conflict and broken trust
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 How comparisons affect satisfaction
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 Making threats strategically
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 Address your negotiation jitters
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 Choose the right messenger
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 Are you asking enough questions?
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 Negotiate for what you really want
Read more on “Israel’s Prisoner Exchange: An Irrational Trade?” from the January 2012 issue of the Negotiation newsletter in the following two articles: Israel’s Deals with the Devils
By: Robert Mnookin
The Shalit Deal: Opportunities for Negotiators
By: Dr. Ehud Eiran
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 Capitalize on negotiator differences
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 Hardball tactics from a major leaguer
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 When women negotiators thrive
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 Negotiating the Distance Between You
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 Avoid judicial bias with negotiation
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 Sellers: Set the right price
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 The late-night-TV disputes
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 Making room for intuition in negotiation
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 When negotiation goals backfire
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 Conflict management from the start
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
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 Have you negotiated the authority you need?
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 Negotiating among friends
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 Defend yourself against deception
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 Negotiation: Challenge or threat?
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 Have you chosen the right counterpart?
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 Why it pays to build relationships
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 When you have all the power
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
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 When we judge others too harshly
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 Is it really worth that much?
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 Sizing up the competition
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 Negotiating the Gender Gap
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 Should you deal with the devil?
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 When emotions linger
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 Expressing emotions strategically
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 Involving mediators in settlement talks
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 When irrationality isn’t the issue
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 Why it pays to haggle
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 Set your sales force up for success
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 The creative negotiator
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 Joining the barter economy
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 After the deal breaks down
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 When we expect selfish behavior
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 Holding negotiators accountable
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 Negotiators: Keep yourself honest
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 When advice to negotiators is wasted
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 Don’t rush into a flawed contract
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 Avoiding “Close Calls” in Negotiation
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 Negotiating ‘Sacred’ Issues
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 When Negotiation Trumps Procurement Auctions
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 How Subtle Favoritism Harms Negotiators
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 Adapting to Your Counterpart’s Style
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 The Value of Satisfaction
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 Consider the Setting
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 Build Your Bargaining Endowment
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 Should You Negotiate Sooner or Later?
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 Bringing Mediators to the Bargaining Table
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 Get Ready for Team Talks
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 Anchors Away?
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 How Accountable are Your Negotiators?
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 Learn More from Your Proposals
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 Sad Negotiators, Poor Outcomes?
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 Unlocking Labor Disputes
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 Negotiating for the Long Haul
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
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 Did You Really Get a Great Deal?
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 Negotiating Across Borders
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 Reducing Negotiation Stress
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 What’s Relevant?
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 The Ambidextrous Negotiator
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 Will Your Deal Thrive in the Real World?
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 How to Avoid the Status Trap
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 Could Your Power Trip Backfire?
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 Dealing with Busy People
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 Learning from Negotiation Training
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 A Closer Look at Collective Bargaining
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 Dealing with Option Overload
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 Put Apologies in Your Toolbox
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 Negotiation and the Glass Ceiling
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 When Negotiators Act Like Parasites
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 Put More on the Table
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 Consider the Source
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 Don’t get Lost in Translation
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 Why it Pays to Save Face
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 When Two Cultures are Better Than One
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 What to do When the Ink is Dry
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 How to Get to the Table
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 Make Your Best Offer Look Better
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 Picking Teams
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 Negotiators: Don’t Go on a Power Trip
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 Should You Dwell on Past Negotiation Outcomes?
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 Dealing With a Stubborn Counterpart
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 Putting Negotiation Training to Work
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 Avoid the Green-eyed Monster
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 Looking for a Breakthrough
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 Negotiating Online? Meet Face to Face First
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 Improve Your Online Negotiation Results
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 How to Turn a Maybe Into a Yes
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 Let Them Compare and Contrast
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 Is the Issue Really Sacred?
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 When Focus Comes at a Price
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 The Right Time to Negotiate
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 When Teams Work
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 Dealing With the Government
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 A Powerful Strike-out
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 Let Go of Lawsuits
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 Agreeing to Disagree
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 The Upside of Anger
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 Bridging the Gap Between Groups
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 An Excuse for Selfishness
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 Always Connect
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 Who’s Looking Over Your Shoulder?
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 The Regretful Negotiator
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 Pitfalls of the Powerful
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 Dealing With Constituents
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 Letting Them Down Easy
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 The Power of Schadenfreude
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 Why Disclosure Doesn’t Work
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 Is Your Possession Really Sacred?
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 Do You Really Know Yourself?
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 How Stereotypes Impair Performance
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 When You’re on Stage
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 Everyday Ingenuity
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 Checking Your Ego
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 Dueling Experts?
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 Adding Value to E-mail Negotiations
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 Devilish Contractual Details
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 Too Tough Talk?
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 Change the Trust Default
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 When Compromise Fails
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 Help Your Organization Do More with Less
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
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 Culture and Communication
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 Pull Ahead of the Pack
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 To Get Ahead, Grab Their Coattails
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 Consult Your “Inner Outsider”
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 Help Them Be More Certain
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 To Avoid an Impasse, Keep Talking
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 Learn More From Your Deals
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 Honor Your Fellow Negotiator
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 Don’t Just Do the Math
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 The Curse of Knowledge
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 Negotiate with Your Kids?
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 Keep it Out of Court
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
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 Mirror, Mirror
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 Are Your Talks too Complex?
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 Negotiating for Career Satisfaction
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 Should You Ignore a Threat
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 Find Strength in Numbers
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 Don’t Be Cursed
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 Getting to No
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 Trusting from Square One
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 Set Yourself Up for Success
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 When Power Corrupts
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 Get the Kinks Out
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 Caveat Emptor?
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 Choose Your Words
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 Offering Gifts—With Strings Attached
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 Family Matters
Adapted from “Negotiating with a 900-pound Gorilla,” by Lawrence Susskind (professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Does your company ever have to negotiate with a behemoth that dominates your market–the so-called 900-pound gorilla? Whether they’re big-box retailers with aggressive pricing strategies or well-established computer software providers, one or two companies seem … Read The 900-pound Counterpart
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 Accentuate the Positive
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 Keeping Your Options Alive
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 When Does Personality Matter?
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 When the Sexes Face Off
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 Are You Overlooking Mediation?
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 Choosing Your Next Relationship
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 Making Time for Relationships
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 What Exactly Are You Saying?
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 Think Fast!
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 Check Your Impulses
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 When Emotions Converge
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 Expand the Pie with Matching Rights
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 The Power of Vivid Data
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 When peace breaks out
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 Questioning threats
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 The negotiating QB
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 Smoking out liars
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 Negotiation or an auction?
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 Make your threat more credible
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 When the going gets tough…
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 Resolving disputes with respect
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 When incentives strike out
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 Know your rights!
Adapted from “Team Negotiating: Strength in Numbers?”, first published in the Negotiation newsletter. According to conventional wisdom, when it comes to negotiation, there’s strength in numbers. Indeed, several experimental studies have supported the notion that you should bring at least one other person from your organization to the bargaining table if you can. On average, this … Read Teams across cultures
Adapted from “Uncover Hidden Value with a Post-settlement Settlement,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. You’ve reached an agreement that you find satisfactory and your counterpart does as well-but you can’t shake the sense that you could have done even better. For example, you might be happy with the price you achieved in a purchasing contract … Read After the deal is inked
Adapted from “Set off a Chain Reaction,” by Michael Wheeler (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Artful sequencing in negotiation means lining up deals so that each agreement increases the odds of nailing down the next one. A hedge fund manager might find that certain investors will decline to put their … Read Get the sequence right
Adapted from “Entitlement in Negotiation,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Simon Gachter of the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland and Arno Riedl of the University of Amsterdam studied the tendency of negotiators to maintain allegiance to past norms concerning entitlement, even when those norms are unrelated to the parties’ real bargaining power. The researchers … Read How entitled are you?
Adapted from “How High Should You Aim?”, first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Research shows that moderately difficult goals can energize people and increase their performance. In negotiation, parties with relatively high aspirations often negotiate higher individual payoffs. But there can be a downside: impasse and unethical behavior may be more likely. In a study conducted by … Read Aim high…or not?
Adapted from the Negotiation newsletter.
A bank in the Philippines started a program that encouraged would-be nonsmokers to open savings accounts and, for six months, deposit the amount they would have spent on cigarettes. Customers who tested clean for nicotine after six months got their money back; otherwise, the funds were donated to charity. The program … Read A nudge in the right direction
Adapted from “Accept or Reject?” by Deepak Malhotra (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter.
Negotiators usually have strong feelings about fairness. Unfortunately, our fairness perceptions tend to be biased in a self-serving manner. Research has shown that, at the end of a negotiation, most people feel they were more cooperative … Read When “fairness” is a distraction
Adapted from “Faulty Expectations,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. One of the most common, clear recommendations to emerge from negotiation literature is the need to consider the other party’s decisions. Ample evidence shows that negotiators too often fail to think about the other negotiator or do so in a simplistic manner. Professors Kristina A. Diekmann … Read Great expectations?
Adapted from “Negotiating with Sole Suppliers,” by David Lax (managing principal, Lax Sebenius LLC), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Negotiators often wonder how to do business with sole suppliers who know they don’t have any real outside alternative and who take advantage of this. Without the power of a realistic best alternative to a negotiated … Read Gain greater leverage with sole suppliers
Adapted from “Handle with Care: Negotiating Strategic Alliances,” by Lawrence Susskind (professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Some business partnerships are more important than others. This is especially true in supply chains, where producers of key components can be irreplaceable. Consider the relationship between two hypothetical companies, Brattlebury Corporation, which manufactures … Read Staying in touch with strategic partners
Adapted from “Anchors or Trial Balloons?”, first published in the Negotiation newsletter. The power of anchors in negotiation has been demonstrated time and again. Sellers who demand more tend to get more. Indeed, the initial asking price is usually the best predictor of the final agreement. A trio of researchers may have found an important exception … Read Dropping anchors
For many people, thinking about the role of power in negotiation can be paralyzing. In fact, the same people who are anxious about negotiating in general tend to be anxious about exerting their power during negotiation. Why? Perhaps because most of us realize that power, even when not explicitly discussed, is often the precipitating and … Read Powerful Thoughts
Adapted from “When Does Gender Matter in Negotiation?” by Dina W. Pradel (vice president, Y2M), Hannah Riley Bowles (professor, Harvard Kennedy School), and Kathleen L. Mcginn (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Businesspeople often wonder whether men or women are better negotiators. According to research, gender is not a reliable predictor of … Read When women make good agents
Adapted from “Are You Overly Committed to the Deal?” First published in the Negotiation newsletter. A telecommuter hires a carpenter to build a workstation for her home office. The carpenter’s contract requires payment of 50% upon signing, an additional 30% halfway through the job, and the final 20% upon completion. When the job is done, … Read Too much commitment?
Adapted from “Predicting Your Response to Conflict,” first published in 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 … Read Overestimating our resolve
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 a little harder, I would have gotten more.” … Read Fine-Tuning Your Contract
Parties in litigation are often overly optimistic about their chances of winning in court. This tendency reduces the bargaining range for settlement because one or both parties perceive their walkaway alternative (namely, letting the courts decide) to be more attractive than it actually is. According to conventional wisdom, lawyers can help their clients overcome this … Read Beware Your Lawyer’s Biases
Adapted from “It’s Not Intuitive: Strategies for Negotiating More Rationally,” by Max H. Bazerman and Deepak Malhotra (professors, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. When deciding whether to start a new business, entrepreneurs should critically and comprehensively analyze negotiations over land, construction, hiring, and so on. Yet in a study by Arnold Cooper … Read A second look at snap decisions
So, you’ve decided to use an agent in your next negotiation. Now what? It’s important not to rush headlong into the process of choosing an agent—picking the first one you speak to, for example, and sending him off to talks the next day. You need to choose your agent carefully, then establish a clear, detailed understanding … Read Pick the Right Agent
Adapted from “What Makes Negotiators Happy?” First published in the Negotiation newsletter. We all know that people have a strong need to compare their outcomes with those of others. So a negotiator’s mostly likely target of social comparison is her opponent, right? Maybe not. Nathan Novemsky of the Yale School of Management and Maurice E. Schweitzer of … Read Compare and contrast
Adapted from “Driving the Deal Home,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Having trouble convincing someone to follow through on a promise? Borrow a page from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s playbook. In September 2007, fashion designer Mark Ecko purchased Barry Bonds’ record-setting 756th home run ball in an online auction for $752,467. After … Read The threat of bad publicity
Ron McAfee, a carpenter and roofing expert, spent considerable time working with a condominium association on the design of a new roof deck. After gaining agreement on the proposed layout, design, and materials, McAfee submitted a written bid of $12,500. One of the board members subsequently showed McAfee’s plans to another roofer, who offered to … Read “Are We Exclusive?”
Ford vs. GM. Coke vs. Pepsi. Oxford vs. Cambridge. These famous rivalries remind us that the top two achievers in a given realm often compete fiercely with each other. Researchers Stephen M. Garcia and Richard Gonzalez of the University of Michigan and Avishalom Tor of the University of Haifa have produced a useful series of … Read Eyeing the Competition
For decades, General Electric (GE) and the Environmental Protection Agency sparred over who would pay for the removal of PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, that GE had discharged into New York’s Hudson River, a cleanup project expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars. In October 2005, the two sides came to an agreement. … Read How to Lighten Your Burdens
In 2004, U.S. Air Force procurement officer Darleen Druyun was sentenced to nine months in prison on corruption charges after it was discovered that she had favored Boeing in her negotiations for aircraft purchases to win jobs at Boeing for herself, her daughter, and her son-in-law. Druyun had unfettered control over the air force’s annual … Read Handling Shady Dealers
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 Make more out of less
Adapted from “Make Them More Satisfied with Less,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. In negotiation, sometimes you just don’t have much to give. If your department’s budget has been slashed, your subordinates will have to settle for smaller raises than usual – or none at all. When consumer demand for your red-hot product levels … Read Improve their satisfaction
Remember that big sales contract you negotiated last fall, the one that got you a fat year-end bonus? Well, your manufacturing department has just told you that delivery will be two months late. So now it’s your job to persuade your customer to accept a new date without canceling the deal. And that’s not all. … Read How to Avoid a Do-Over
Which of these scenarios would make you happier? … Read The Installment Plan
Adapted from “Negotiating a More Civil Divorce,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. In the United States, lawyers who recognize the benefits of collaborative negotiation are sometimes stymied by vengeful clients and ruthless opposing counsel. Many attorneys put up with a contentious settlement process in which litigation is a threat. Yet some U.S. lawyers have begun … Read A more cooperative divorce
Adapted from “Honey or Vinegar?”, first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Who brings out the best in us: someone nice or someone nasty? According to a recent study by Gerben A. van Kleef and colleagues of the University of Amsterdam, we may be more generous toward angry people than toward happy people. In the first two … Read Should you be nasty or nice?
Looking for yet another way to build your power at the negotiating table? Examine the incentives of your counterpart—and then consider whether they align with those of the group she represents. … Read Understand Your Counterpart’s Incentives
Adapted from “Self-Analysis and Negotiation,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. “Separate the people from the problem,” advises the bestselling negotiation text “Getting to Yes”. That’s certainly good counsel when tempers flare and bargaining descends into ego battles, but it’s a mistake to ignore the psychological crosscurrents in negotiation. Unless they are addressed, a deal may … Read First, know thyself
Adapted from “Pitch Your Offer—and Close the Deal,” by Deepak Malhotra and Max H. Bazerman (professors, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. When you’re having trouble persuading someone, you might be tempted to sweeten the pot with hefty financial incentives. Before doing so, consider whether there are cheaper ways of gaining compliance. A … Read Give at work
Adapted from “Tired of Fighting City Hall? Negotiate Instead,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. No matter what organization you work for or where you choose to live, sooner or later you’ll find yourself facing off with a government official or agency. Here are a few examples:
You apply for a permit from your local zoning board … Read Don’t fight City Hall
Adapted from “When You’re Stuck in the Middle,” by Susan Hackley (Managing Director, Program on Negotiation), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. At a company in a Midwestern city, employees were divided into two camps: those loyal to the founder and his vision of a mom-and-pop business with a dozen regional stores, and those aligned with … Read Caught in the middle
How often have you heard a friend or colleague refer to a contract as being “in the bag,” only to find out later that the deal didn’t go through? There always turns out to be a good reason a negotiation fell apart. Yet the fact remains that most negotiators are overconfident about their chances of … Read When We Expect Too Much
Adapted from “You Need to Know What You Want,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Do you really know what you want out of life? Most of us don’t, according to Timothy D. Wilson and Daniel T. Gilbert, psychology professors at the University of Virginia and Harvard University, respectively. The impact bias describes the common, systematic … Read Is that really what you want?
Just before a meeting with her boss, Cindy peeks into his secretary’s office and whispers: “How’s his mood today?” When the secretary gives a thumb’s up, Cindy decides the time is right to ask for a big raise. … Read Let Them Know How You Feel
Imagine that you and a colleague get into an argument about the layout of a final report in front of a coworker you both like. Now suppose the same argument occurs in front of someone your colleague likes but you do not or vice versa—in front of an ally who is your colleague’s foe. As … Read Allies and Enemies
Adapted from “Resolve Employee Conflicts with Mediation Techniques,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter.
If you manage people, disputes will show up at your door. The marketing VP protests that the budget cap you and your new finance VP proposed is hindering a research initiative you supported. Two young sales representatives are embroiled in a … Read Mediating disputes on the job
Adapted from “Beyond Blame: Choosing a Mediator,” by Stephen B. Goldberg (professor, Northwestern University), first published in the Negotiation newsletter.
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 … Read Choosing a mediator
You’ve found a beautiful condo that you’d like to call your own. You conduct a thorough assess¬ment of its value and identify several other ap¬pealing properties in the same neighborhood and price range. Believing you’ve found the magic bid, you phone your real-estate agent. … Read Should You Trust Your Agent?
Adapted from “Gender Assertiveness and Implicit Sexism,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Most gender research in negotiation has examined differences between women and men, such as the tendency of women to be more anxious about the process and to set lower aspirations than men. The question of how people react to female negotiators versus … Read Gender matters
Adapted from “Overcoming Stage Fright: How to Prepare for a Negotiation,” by Michael Wheeler (Professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter.
Many negotiators grow anxious as they approach the bargaining table, a reaction that puts them in good company with other distinguished professionals. Laurence Olivier’s stage fright almost ended his acting … Read Are you afraid of commitment?
This past November, in an unusual move, Costco, the largest wholesale club in the United States, removed Coca-Cola products from its shelves and posted messages telling shoppers that Coke products would not be available until the company lowered its prices. … Read Learning from the Soda Wars
At one time or another, most of us have confronted a fellow negotiator who seemed intent on blocking even our most reasonable requests and actions. This was the situation faced by Alexis, the CIO at a midsize publishing company. Phil, the company’s CEO, hired Alexis to create an online information system tailored to the needs … Read Business Negotiations: Spoiler Alert!
In the midst of the recent financial crisis, accusations of greed on Wall Street have sounded across the globe. Greed may be a significant factor in the collapse of credit markets, but it’s not the only one. Overlooked in cries to punish the “bad apples” is the role of a mistake that virtually all negotiators … Read To Avoid Disaster, Plan Ahead
Adapted from “The Payoff of Trust,” by Iris Bohnet (Professor, Harvard Kennedy School), first published in the “Negotiation newsletter.” It’s natural to fear trust betrayal, or the violation of pivotal expectations of trustworthiness. Recent corporate and religious scandals have tragically demonstrated the substantial costs of such betrayals. Victims suffer emotional harm, and their ability to trust … Read To trust or not to trust
Should you make the first offer? Few questions related to negotiation have yielded more attention and debate. The conventional wisdom among some: Don’t make the first offer, or risk “showing your cards” and perhaps unknowingly giving away some of the bargaining zone. … Read More
Adapted from “Turn Your Adversary into Your Advocate,” by Katie A. Liljenquist and Adam D. Galinsky, first published in the Negotiation newsletter.
Most of us seek advice on a daily basis, for at least three reasons: to improve the quality of our decisions, to validate our choices, and to diffuse risk. Advice seeking also generates significant … Read Take their advice
First published in the Negotiation newsletter. You don’t have to be serious to be a serious negotiator. Humor, deftly used, can be a positive factor in promoting agreement. That’s what Finnish researcher Taina Vuorela confirmed in a comparative study of two real-world transactions. One was an internal meeting of a sales team trying to hammer out … Read Funny business
Would you rather negotiate with someone who is rational or irrational? Too many negotiators falsely assume that bargaining with an irrational partner lends you a competitive advantage. You may think that you should use their mistakes to your advantage. … Read Why You Should Help Them Be Less Biased
Most everyday auctions are English: they begin with an opening bid, continue with ascending bids, and end when the bidding stops. But for some assets, the seller opens at a very high price, then moves down rather than up if all bidders are silent. … Read Should You Go Dutch?
For decades, Hormel Foods and its employees enjoyed one of the most cooperative and productive labor-management relationships in the processed foods industry. But beginning in the late 1970s, when Hormel pushed for wage concessions, the company’s relationship with its workforce began to deteriorate, especially at the plant in Austin, Minn., the quiet “company town” where … Read Turn Vicious Cycles Into Virtuous Ones
Adapted from “Should You Make the First Offer?” by Adam D. Galinsky (Professor, Northwestern University). First published in Negotiation Newsletter. Whether negotiators are bidding on a firm, seeking agreement on a compensation package, or bargaining over a used car, someone has to make the first offer. Should it be you, or should you wait to … Read Making the first move
The question above may seem silly. Getting more of what we care about seems the obvious answer. Yet negotiators often don’t know how to accurately assess a good outcome; instead, they rely on outside indicators to determine their satisfaction, for instance by comparing their outcomes to those of others. Your negotiated annual salary of $100,000 … Read What Makes Negotiators Happy?
Recently, a local incident grew into a national dispute that seemed ripe for mediation. After being locked out of his home and forcing his way in, Henry Louis Gates, an African-American Harvard University professor, had a confrontation with Cambridge, Massachusetts police sergeant James Crowley and was arrested for disorderly conduct. In a press conference, President … Read Obama as mediator?
In challenging economic times, negotiators can find themselves in an entirely new ball game. That’s what happened to actor Brad Pitt, film director Steven Soderbergh, and their production team when Sony Pictures abruptly pulled the plug on their film project Moneyball just days before the start of shooting in late June. … Read More
Imagine you’re celebrating a special occasion with friends at an upscale restaurant. Soon after you take your seats, the wine director introduces himself and hands you a list of high-end bottles of wine. You notice that the prices—all in the $200–$600 range—have been slashed through with a red pen. … Read Become a Better Haggler
Have you ever found yourself negotiating with people from other cultures, whether at home or abroad? If so, did you try to adapt your negotiating style to fit the other person or team’s culture, and if so, how? Most negotiators understand that cultural differences are likely to be a factor in negotiations. Unfortunately, many negotiators actually … Read Coping with cultural differences
Basic negotiation skills may seem easy to apply in business situations but what about when business and family collide? For example, a 69-year-old CEO of a large financial firm that has been in his family for three generations is considering retirement. He has three children who may be interested in taking over the business in addition … Read Negotiating When Business and Family Collide
The recent dispute between the Writers Guild of America (WGA) West and East and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) illustrates how a disagreement at the negotiating table can lead to a long and costly strike. As the two sides battled back and forth, AMPTP member companies laid off support staff, and … Read How to Defuse a Strike
Even when parties at the negotiating table have the same interests, they may disagree on the amount of risk they are willing to take. … Read More
Individuals in this position often feel as though they have few if any options. In his February 2006 article in Negotiation newsletter, “Negotiating with a 900-Pound Gorilla,” MIT Professor Lawrence Susskind offers strategies for how negotiators in a weak position should deal with a seemingly all-powerful opponent. … Read More
What’s the right number of options to put forward in financial negotiations? In their April 2005 article in the Negotiation newsletter, “Putting More on the Table: How Making Multiple Offers Can Increase the Final Value of the Deal,” Northwestern professors Victoria Husted Medvec and Adam D. Galinsky write that issuing three equivalent offers simultaneously can … Read More
You’re facing business negotiations with the goliath in your industry. What’s your choice? Take what little the other side offers or be squeezed out of the market entirely? … Read Elegant Solutions in Business Negotiations