You don’t have to be a professional negotiator to take on a negotiation project. Here’s what you need to know to be successful.
Whether you’re purchasing a new home or car or negotiating a discount on an inventory purchase for your firm, engaging in a negotiation project enables us to make a strong claim for our share of the pie.
Unfortunately, our biggest obstacle in any given negotiation project usually isn’t a difficult partner, bad timing, or a lack of power. Rather, it is ourselves. We sabotage ourselves by reacting in ways that do not serve our true interests. Virtually all of us have destructive patterns that we fall back on in negotiation, such as losing our temper, withdrawing instead of communicating, or saying yes when we need to set limits.
In almost any negotiation project, emotions are inevitable. Whether you’re hammering out a labor contract, purchasing a new home, or negotiating a multibillion-dollar acquisition, emotions play a powerful role.
Left unchecked, emotions can turn productive negotiations into disasters. Managed properly, however, they can serve as a lever for creating greater value and achieving better outcomes.
Before you plan your next negotiation project, follow these tips for improved outcomes.
Listen to yourself first, identify your deepest needs, and think about how they can be met.
Give up the blame game and assume responsibility for your relationships and your needs. You can go right to the root of conflict and take the lead in transforming your negotiations and your life.
Move beyond a scarcity mind-set, and reframe the situation. For example, we can strive to view our negotiations as opportunities for collaboration rather than adversarial contests.
Imagine that you’re buying a used car from its original owner. Of course, you want to get the best deal you can for your money, while your counterpart wants to maximize the value of his asset. After haggling with one another, each side finally arrives at a price point acceptable to both parties. But how … Read More
Course Dates: This course is closed
Too many negotiators leave value on the table. They painfully divide a small pie after a costly battle while failing to capture offsetting opportunities for joint gain, or win the battle, but at the cost to relationships and reputation that limit long-term value. Reliably negotiating optimal outcomes requires a keen … Read More
Use Video Examples to Teach Your Students to Become Better Mediators
Parties engaged in disputes are often unable to reconcile their differences alone, or fail to reach outcomes that are adequate for everyone. Mediators can add a great deal of value by helping parties to efficiently and effectively examine the issues at hand, take the interests … Read Download Your Next Mediation Video
Course Dates: This course is closed
When negotiations become difficult, emotions often escalate and talks break down. To overcome barriers and turn negotiations from difficult to collaborative, from breakdown to breakthrough, you must learn to understand the inter- and intra-personal dynamics at play. In this program, you will examine how your own assumptions and behaviors can … Read More
There’s a better, third way of negotiating—one that doesn’t rely on toughness or accommodation, but that will improve your likelihood of meeting your negotiation goals. In their pivotal negotiation text, Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In (Penguin, 2nd edition, 1991), Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton of the Harvard Negotiation Project promote … Read More
Many people dread negotiation, not recognizing that they negotiate on a regular, even daily basis. Most of us face formal negotiations throughout our personal and professional lives: discussing the terms of a job offer with a recruiter, haggling over the price of a new car, hammering out a contract with a supplier.
… Read What is Negotiation?
Whether you are facing negotiations with Congress, colleagues, customers, or family members, the following negotiation books, published in recent years by experts from the Program on Negotiation, offer new perspectives on common negotiating dilemmas.
… Read More
The ladder of inference describes how a negotiator, or any decision maker, relies upon her personal knowledge, or observable data, up the ladder of inference to the next stage, which is selected data.
… Read The Ladder of Inference: A Resource List
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
The first offer in a negotiation often acts as an anchor upon which subsequent offers are generally based. Making the first offer can give you a strong starting point in a negotiation. As we’ll see, however, that opening number can also send a message about how much you value the other party’s involvement.
… Read More
Negotiation is not only something we do at work; often the toughest negotiations we encounter are in our personal lives. Some of the most successful negotiation examples of the power of negotiation skills in dispute resolution is when they repair relationships between friends.
… Read Repairing Relationships Using Negotiation Skills
At a Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) faculty pedagogy seminar, members of the PON faculty and negotiation community gathered to hear Gordon Kaufman (MIT Morris A. Adelman Professor of Management, Emeritus) speak about how he uses quantifiable data to plot student-learning trajectories. The conversation focused on the ongoing debate within the negotiation pedagogy community regarding the way … Read More
Amid our polarized political climate, dysfunction and conflict seem to rule the day in the U.S. Congress and state legislatures. To help legislators and their staff learn to build bridges and negotiate through impasse, the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) Legislative Negotiation Project, with support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Madison Initiative, has developed … Read More
In his book How to Negotiate with Kids…Even When You Think You Shouldn’t (Viking, 2003), Scott Brown, a co-founder of the Harvard Negotiation Project at Harvard Law School, outlines a framework for dealing with your children using the principles of negotiation.
He identifies six principles of “persuasive parenting” that will allow you and your child to … Read Persuasive Parenting through Negotiation
Managing difficult employees is one of the biggest challenges that leaders face. When employees seem unreasonable, belligerent, or uncooperative, managers may be tempted either to brush aside the problem or, alternatively, to fly off the handle.
A better solution when managing difficult staff? Use negotiation techniques to get to the root of underlying problems. The following … Read Managing Difficult Employees: Listening to Learn
We’ve all been there. One kid wants it his way; the other wants it her way and an inevitable conflict ensues. Shouting, crying, and harsh words are often part of the mix—creating stress for everyone, including the parents who just want to know how to resolve conflicts.
… Read More
Policymakers, practitioners, and academics have seized on the need for peacebuilding negotiation strategies in international negotiation to be as complex and adaptive as the societies within which they work.
As a result, there are loud calls for “whole of government” or “whole of community” approaches that cross traditional sectoral boundaries. The problem is that these approaches are … Read More
A lack of effective communication has worsened ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. In 2014, regional stakeholders created the Negotiation Strategies Institute (NSI) to promote communication across disputing governments and other groups affected by the conflict. With the Harvard Negotiation Project (HNP) as its academic sponsor, NSI holds an intensive 10-month executive program each year … Read More
On November 15th, 2019, the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) hosted a conference on excellence and innovation in negotiation pedagogy.
Negotiation and dispute resolution teachers and trainers from around the world came to Cambridge to learn about new approaches and share their experiences. Speakers at the conference spotlighted innovative instructional techniques in many diverse fields of … Read More
The year 2017 offered plenty of negotiation hits and misses in the realms of government, business, and beyond. To avoid failed negotiations in 2018, politicians, business leaders, and the rest of us would be wise to explore the following recent negotiation books, which can help steer us through our most difficult negotiating dilemmas:
… Read Must-Read Negotiation Books for 2019
Here is a brief story about about a teenager named Chris Jensen.
On his way home from basketball practice, he walked into a grocery store and shoplifted some candy bars and a soda. The storeowner saw him, chased after him, and, as luck would have it, they ran right into a police officer.
But instead … Read More
A distinguished older soprano, Sally has not had a lead role in two years. However, when another soprano falls ill, the Lyric Opera is eager to hire Sally…but at what price?
Sally Soprano is one of the best-known role-play simulations from the Program on Negotiation’s Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC). And it’s a classic for good … Read More
On September 20th, Harvard Law School awarded the prestigious annual Great Negotiator award to Nobel Prize Winner, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, on behalf of the Program on Negotiation. This award recognizes those whose lifetime achievements in the field of negotiation and dispute resolution have had a significant and lasting impact. Santos is also a … Read More
Jim Sebenius, the Gordon Donaldson Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, and Director of the Harvard Negotiation Project, addressed these questions in his presentation at the NP@PON Faculty Dinner Seminar on October 7, 2010. His article, “Developing Negotiation Case Studies,” began as a memo to a novice case writer about how to write … Read More
An article was published today about how to negotiate with the Russians, a product of the Harvard Negotiation Project on “Negotiating with Putin,” featured in the July/August 2017 print version of The National Interest under the headline “Russian to Judgment.”
It was also released today as the lead essay in the online edition at nationalinterest.org (The accompanying … Read More
This negotiation simulation comprised “the most intense, challenging and educational days of my life” reported one participant. What sort of experience could possibly elicit such a comment? One of the most immersive and rewarding negotiation games ever developed: a 72-party mega-simulation called the Transition Exercise!
The Transition (Excercise Trailer) from MediaTank on Vimeo.
This one-of-a-kind, intensive, multi-party … Read More
After my experience flipping this class, I came away with the following lessons:
1. Negotiation is a very suitable topic for this type of methodology.
2. This approach helps students who are audio and visual learners.
3. The in-class one-on-one time allows instructors to really work with students on specific problems and challenges.
4. Class size may present a … Read More
The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, the Harvard International Negotiation Program, and the Religions and the Practice of Peace Colloquium are pleased to host:
Bridging the Religious Divide: Transforming Conflict when Emotions and Religion are at Play
Daniel L. Shapiro
Director, Harvard International Negotiation Program
Associate Professor of Psychology, Harvard Medical School/McLean Hospital
Rev. Septemmy E. Lakawa
Research Associate … Read More
The Abraham Path Initiative
and the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School are pleased to present:
Negotiating the Path of Abraham:
The Flip Side of the Middle East
Co-author of “Getting to Yes” and co-founder of Harvard’s Program on Negotiation
Dave Cornthwaite, Leon McCarron, Hannah Messerli,
James Sebenius, and José Filipe Torres
Saturday October 10
Milstein East B, Wasserstein Hall
Harvard Law School Campus
Free … Read More
The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, the Gleitsman Program for Leadership on Social Change at the Center for Public Leadership, the Harvard Kennedy School Negotiation Project, and the Belfer Center’s Future of Diplomacy Project are pleased to announce:
Registration Is Now Open for the 1st Annual
Harvard International Negotiation Crisis Simulation
Undergraduates, graduates, and PhD students from … Read More
The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School invites you to join us for
A 50th Anniversary Celebration of
A Behavioral Theory of Labor Negotiations
with Robert B. McKersie and Richard E. Walton
A live webcast of this event will be available for viewing at
Thursday, March 5, 2015
12:00 p.m. Registration opens
1:00 – 5:30 p.m. Program
5:30-6:30 p.m. Reception
Wasserstein … Read More
Whether you’re purchasing a new home or car, or negotiating a discount on an inventory purchase for your firm, the art of haggling enables negotiators to make a strong claim for their share of the pie. Here are six tips from the Negotiation Briefings newsletter to help you start becoming a better at haggling in … Read More
The Harvard Negotiation Project was recently mentioned in the Wall Street Journal by David Feith in his interview with Benny Tai, “China’s New Freedom Fighters.”
Benny Tai, a 49 year old lawyer who has been branded an “enemy of the state,” founded Occupy Central with Love and Peace, a group that promotes civil disobedience in order … Read More
On March 2, 2013, the Harvard Negotiation Law Review held their 2013 Symposium, entitled “Ideas and Impact: Roger Fisher’s Legacy.” This event celebrated Professor Fisher, co-founder of the Harvard Negotiation Project and the Program on Negotiation. Professor Fisher passed away last summer.
During the day-long event, distinguished panelists explored current trends and opportunities for aspiring scholars … Read More
Complexity Personified: International Standards Negotiations from a Microsoft Manager’s Perspective
On April 3, 2013, the Program on Negotiation hosted Jason Matusow, General Manager of International Standards at Microsoft, for a lunch seminar. His talk, titled “Complexity Personified: International Standards Negotiations from a Microsoft Manager’s Perspective,” covered the myriad of challenges that can arise when managing both … Read More
The Harvard Negotiation Law Review’s 2013 Symposium, entitled, “Ideas and Impact: Roger Fisher’s Legacy,” will be held on Saturday, March 2, 2013 at the Harvard Law School in Austin North from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The full-day event will explore the contributions of the late Roger Fisher, co-founder of the Harvard Negotiation Project and … Read More
Roger Fisher, co-founder of the Program on Negotiation and the Harvard Negotiation Project, died on August 25 at age 90. A true pioneer and leader, he helped launch a new way of thinking about negotiation, and he worked tirelessly to help people deal productively with conflict.
“Through his writing and teaching, Roger Fisher’s seminal contributions literally … Read More
Karen Lee Bar-Sinai is the director and co-founder of SAYA/Design for Change (www.sayarch.com). SAYA is based in Israel and specializes in what can be called “peace architecture” — using planning and design to support decision-making, negotiations and peace processes in areas of conflict. Bar-Sinai’s talk will explore how urban design thinking and planning can … Read More
Roger Fisher, one of the cofounders of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and Samuel Williston Professor of Law, Emeritus, was honored on the 8th of April with a celebration of his career, research, and contributions to both the HLS community and the field of negotiation.
… Read More
In a panel discussion on February 3 at the Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard faculty members shared their reflections on this year’s annual summit of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Panelists included Dr. Daniel Shapiro of the Harvard Negotiation Project, as well as Kennedy School faculty Charles W. Eliot … Read More
The PON Film Series presents
followed by a post-screening discussion with
William Ury, co-author of Getting to YES &
Gary Slutkin, Executive Director of Chicago’s Ceasefire
Date: Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: Ames Courtroom, Austin Hall, Harvard Law School Campus
The Interrupters tells the moving and surprising stories of three Violence Interrupters who try to protect their Chicago … Read PON Film Series presents “The Interrupters”
A major measure of the economy is the prevailing mood. A bleak job market and less-than-rosy economic outlook influence how we feel in an organization. Tighter budgets and increased layoffs are causes for concern, and many of us respond with “fight or flight” behavior. We defend our turf or avoid tense conversations in the hopes … Read Dealing with emotions during tough economic times
In a recent article published in the Washington Post, Dr. William Ury, co-founder of the Program on Negotiation, suggests that Republicans and Democrats hammering out a deal on the national debt ceiling could benefit from the experience of negotiators.
Professional negotiators know that certain tactics can backfire in tense situations. Issuing ultimatums, publicly criticizing your counterpart, … Read More
Why are some negotiation exercises still used in a great many university classes even twenty years after they were written? In an effort to understand more about the enduring quality of some classic teaching materials, we asked faculty affiliated with PON to explain why they think some role play simulations remain bestsellers in the Clearinghouse … Read Why Classic Cases?
On December 6, 2010, faculty and associates from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School met at a private lunch with Norway’s Foreign Minister, Jonas Gahr Store, and the ambassador of Norway to the U.S., Wegger Chr. Strommen. At the meeting, the Foreign Minister described how he helped bring decades of negotiation with the … Read Norwegian Foreign Minister visits PON
The Program on Negotiation’s 2010 Great Negotiator Award was given to former Finnish President, Martti Ahtisaari, for his many significant achievements in the fields of negotiation and diplomacy. He was central to the Namibian independence negotiations in the late 1980s. He also served as chief United Nations negotiator to Kosovo from 2005-2006, and was instrumental … Read More
Program on Negotiation Co-Founder and Senior Fellow of the Harvard Negotiation Project William Ury presented at TEDxMidwest. Ury discusses negotiations ranging from personal, to business, to international.
Click “read more” to see the full post and video.
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?
There is often a profound gap – of which we are typically unaware – between what we “know” or “believe” about effective negotiation practice and what we actually do as practitioners under pressure. Bruce Patton, the founder of Vantage Partners and co-founder of the Harvard Negotiation Project, advocates helping students master key “micro-skills” to enable … Read More
The Program on Negotiation (PON) is the world’s first teaching and research center dedicated to negotiation, and its founders are among the true pioneers in the field. On April 8, 2003, seven of these founders gathered to reflect on PON’s beginnings in the early 1980s, and on their own journeys as leaders in the field … Read Who are the founders of PON?
An Experiment: Exploring Interdisciplinary Linkages between Negotiation and Communication Studies
What would negotiation pedagogy look like if we focused more on the core meanings and practices of communication? How can understanding the underpinnings of communication – the components of conversation and the exchange of meaning – help us understand and improve our negotiations? The weekend of … Read More
The PON Film Series has shown nearly 50 films over the past several years at events that are open to students and the public. On December 8, the PON Film Series had a “world premiere” of several short films about the Abraham Path Initiative, a hiking trail being developed in the Middle … Read More
This month’s Harvard Business Review features an article by Daniel Shapiro, an Associate at the Harvard Negotiation Project. Shapiro’s article focuses on repressing emotions and its negative effect on businesses.
… Read Why Repressing Emotions is Bad for Business
By Larry Susskind
Nearly two hundred educators and trainers from eighteen countries gathered on May 15th and 16th to share ideas about teaching mediation. It was unusual for mediation teachers and trainers from fields as diverse as law, family services, public management, business, international relations, urban planning, community development, psychotherapy, and education to share ideas on … Read More
Registration is now closed for the NP@PON Mediation Pedagogy Conference.
Professors Lawrence Susskind (MIT) and Michael Wheeler (Harvard Business School) are pleased to announce a Mediation Pedagogy Conference to be held by Negotiation Pedagogy at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School (NP@PON). This two-day Conference will be held Friday, May 15 and Saturday, May … Read Mediation Pedagogy Conference
Negotiating with your children may seem counterintuitive but parents can build stronger relationships with them by implementing a problem-solving approach when trying to resolve family conflicts.
In his book How to Negotiate with Kids…Even When You Think You Shouldn’t (Viking, 2003), Scott Brown, a founder of the Harvard Negotiation Project at Harvard Law School, outlines a … Read Negotiating with Your Children
The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School
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