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.


Negotiation Skills

Back-and-forth communication designed to reach an agreement between two or more parties with some interests that are shared and others that may conflict or simply be different. Negotiation is an intrinsic part of any kind of joint action, problem solving, and dispute resolution, and may be verbal, nonverbal, explicit, implicit, direct, or through intermediaries. (Michael L. Moffitt and Robert C. Bordone, eds., Handbook of Dispute Resolution [Program on Negotiation/Jossey-Bass, 2005], 279). See Also: How Negotiation Exercises Can Prepare You for Cross-Cultural Negotiations, Cooperation in Congress? Liberals and Libertarians Polish Their Negotiation Skills, Dealmaking and Business Negotiations: 6 Tips for Novice Hagglers.

The following items are tagged Negotiation Skills

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Six Guidelines for “Getting to Yes”

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Six Guidelines for “Getting to Yes”

In their revolutionary book Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In (Penguin, 3rd edition, 2011), Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton introduced the world to the possibilities of mutual-gains negotiation, or integrative negotiation. The authors of Getting to Yes explained that negotiators don’t have to choose between either waging a strictly competitive, win-lose … Read More 

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Coping with International Conflict A Systematic Approach to Influence in International Negotiation

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This text combines the clear, concise, and proven principles and practice of conflict management from Fisher’s bestselling Getting to Yes with the newest problem-solving approaches to international relations. Many of the concepts grew out of materials Fisher and his colleges use in their international consulting work to teach problem-solving and conflict management skills to diplomats … Read More 

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Negotiation Master Class Fall 2017 Program Guide

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Over the years thousands of professional have participated in negotiation programs at the Program on Negotiation (PON) at Harvard Law School. And after a few months or years of putting their negotiation skills and techniques to work, participants inevitably ask us, what’s next? The Program on Negotiation is pleased to announce the Negotiation Master Class, … Read More 

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Police Negotiation Techniques from the NYPD Crisis Negotiations Team

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Police Negotiation Techniques from the NYPD Crisis Negotiations Team

Few negotiators can imagine negotiation scenarios more stressful than the kinds of crisis negotiations the New York City Police Department’s Hostage Negotiation Team undertake. But police negotiation techniques employed by the New York City Police Department’s Hostage Negotiations Team (HNT) in high-stakes, high-pressure crisis negotiation situations, outlined in an article from Jeff Thompson and Hugh … Read More 

Courses and Training

Negotiation and Leadership: Dealing with Difficult People and Problems

Posted by & filed under executive training, Negotiation and Leadership (3 and 1 Day Courses).

It’s often said that great leaders are great negotiators. But how does one become an effective negotiator? On-the-job experience certainly plays a role, but for most executives, taking their negotiation skills to the next level requires outside training. Designed to accelerate your negotiation capabilities, Negotiation and Leadership examines core decision-making challenges, analyzes complex negotiation scenarios, … Read More 

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Great Negotiator 2002: Lakhdar Brahimi

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James Sebenius and Kristen Schneeman Video featuring excerpts from a discussion with Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi regarding his international negotiation experiences, including negotiating a new government for Afghanistan in 2002 … Read More 

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Negotiation and Leadership Fall 2017 Brochure

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It’s often said that great leaders are great negotiators. But how does one become an effective negotiator? On-the-job experience certainly plays a role, but for most executives, taking their negotiation skills to the next level requires outside training. … Read More 

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Courses and Training

Harvard Negotiation Master Class: Advanced Strategies for Experienced Negotiators – November 13-15, 2017

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Strictly limited to 60 participants who have completed a prior course in negotiation, this first-of-its-kind program offers unprecedented access to experts from Harvard Law School, Harvard Business School, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—all of whom are committed to delivering a transformational learning experience. By working closely with them, you will: … Read More 

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Guatemala Role Play, The

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Michael Maturo, Kate Mahoney, Francisco Ingouville and Anthony Wanis St. John, under the direction of David Fairman Six-person mediated negotiation among representatives of the Guatemalan government, military, rebel groups, indigenous people, and U.S. government to address post-armed-conflict human rights, land claims, and cultural and political rights issues … Read More 

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Negotiation and Leadership: Dealing with Difficult People and Problems

Posted by & filed under executive training, Negotiation and Leadership (3 and 1 Day Courses).

Negotiation and Leadership Dealing With Difficult People and Problems Fall: December 5-7, 2016 Spring: April 18-20, 2017 | May 15-17, 2017 | June 19-21 2017

Become a More Effective Negotiator Great leaders are great negotiators. By equipping you with the innovative negotiation strategies you need to excel at the bargaining table, Negotiation and Leadership will help you:

Improve working relationships and resolve seemingly … Read More 

Free Report

NEW FREE REPORT! Salary Negotiations

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Discover how to refine your negotiation skills with this free special report, Negotiation Training: How Harvard Negotiation Exercises, Negotiation Cases and Good Negotiation Coaching Can Make You a Better Negotiator, from Harvard Law School. … Read More 

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Using Negotiation in Daily Life and Receiving Feedback

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example of negotiation in daily life giving feedback in negotiation scenarios

A negotiation Q&A with Sheila Heen, co-author (with Douglas Stone) of the book, Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well. We interviewed Sheila Heen, lecturer at Harvard Law School, PON Faculty member, and Partner at Triad Consulting Group, about her book with Douglas Stone, Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and … Read More 

Courses and Training

The Harvard Negotiation Intensive: A Two-Day Workshop

Posted by & filed under Harvard Negotiation Institute, Harvard Negotiation Institute (5 Day Courses).

Course Dates: June 8-9, 2017 Whether you’re a vice president, litigator, manager, or transactional attorney, negotiation is central to nearly every professional activity. Systematic and thorough preparation, as well as an ability to manage shared, different, and conflicting interests, is critical to success. Designed to address the core issues that you experience as you negotiate on behalf … Read More 

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Negotiation Workshop: Strategies, Tools, and Skills for Success

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Course Dates: June 12-16, 2017 Turn disputes into deals. Transform deals into better deals. Resolve intractable problems. Negotiating effectively requires the ability to change the game – moving away from conflict and toward collaboration. In this intensive, interactive program, you acquire a proven framework for maximizing the value of your negotiation. … Read More 

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Spring 2016 Seminar Program Guide

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It’s often said that great leaders are great negotiators. But how does one become an effective negotiator? On-the-job experience certainly plays a role, but for most executives, taking their negotiation skills to the next level requires outside training. … Read More 

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Courses and Training

Advanced Negotiation Workshop: Making Difficult Conversations More Productive

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Course Dates: June 12-16, 2017 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 help … Read More 

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Integrative Bargaining Examples: Expanding the Pie – Integrative versus Distributive Bargaining Negotiation Strategies

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integrative bargaining

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 

Courses and Training

Free Report

Harborco: Role-Play Simulation

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Harborco is a consortium of development, industrial, and shipping concerns that are eager to proceed with the building of a new port, but face hurdles and potential opposition as they advance through the licensing process. The Federal Licensing Agency would like to see them work with other stakeholders to develop a project that is acceptable … Read More 

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A Discussion with Frank Sander about the Multi-Door Courthouse Concept

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A Discussion with Frank Sander about the Multi-Door Courthouse Concept

As a collaboration between UST School of Law and the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, the following is the transcript of a conversation between the creator of the multi-door courthouse, Harvard Law Professor Frank E.A. Sander, and the executive director and founder of the University of St. Thomas (UST) International ADR [Alternative Dispute … Read More 

Courses and Training

Negotiation and Leadership: Dealing with Difficult People and Problems

Posted by & filed under executive training, Negotiation and Leadership (3 and 1 Day Courses).

It’s often said that great leaders are great negotiators. But how does one become an effective negotiator? On-the-job experience certainly plays a role, but for most executives, taking their negotiation skills to the next level requires outside training. Designed to accelerate your negotiation capabilities, Negotiation and Leadership examines core decision-making challenges, analyzes complex negotiation scenarios, … Read More 

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Free Report

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Free Report

Negotiation Strategies for Women: Secrets to Success

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As a general manager of a business unit and the father of two daughters in college, I have no tolerance for gender bias in the workplace or anywhere else for that matter. At least that’s what I thought, until a women manager handed me the Negotiation Strategies for Women report that she recently received from … Read More 

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Putting Your Negotiated Agreement Into Action

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negotiation examples in business implementing your negotiated agreement

Normally negotiators focus on the deal-at-hand as well as those present at the negotiation table, neglecting other aspects of the negotiated agreement that would not only impact others outside of the room but also require their cooperation for the agreement’s success and viability. … Read More 

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Sally Soprano: Role-Play Simulation

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Sally Soprano is a distinguished soprano who is now somewhat past her prime. She has not had a lead role in two years but would like to revive her career. The Lyric Opera has a production scheduled to open in three weeks, but its lead soprano has become unavailable. Lyric’s representative has requested a meeting … Read More 

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Negotiation Games

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negotiation games

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

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Teaching Negotiation: Understanding The Impact Of Role-Play Simulations

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Negotiation can be challenging. And so can teaching it! At the Program on Negotiation (PON) at Harvard Law School, we help educators, scholars and practitioners like you learn how to more effectively teach negotiation. Notably, role-play simulations are a particularly useful way to facilitate experimentation and introduce participants to new dispute resolution tools, techniques and … Read More 

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Free Report

Training Women to Be Leaders: Negotiating Skills for Success

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In this Special Report, we offer advice selected from the Negotiation newsletter to help women develop the negotiation skills essential to career advancement, and to help organizations encourage women employees to be more effective at the bargaining table. You will learn what hold women back from asking for more, the link between gender and flexible … Read More 

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Salary Negotiation: How to Ask for a Higher Salary

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

For a new employee, salary negotiation skills can be the most important and the most intimidating, but the most important, of difficult conversations to have at the beginning of your career. A new employee, successfully negotiating a salary offer up by $5,000 could make a huge difference over the course of her career. … Read More 

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Free Report

Negotiation Master Class Fall 2013 Program Guide

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For the first time ever, the Program on Negotiation is offering a master-level course for negotiators. The program is highly personalized and taught by 4 negotiation experts from Harvard and MIT. If you are selected to participate, you will be assigned to small learning groups, take part in dynamic exercises with two-way feedback, work closely … Read More 

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Six Guidelines for “Getting to Yes”

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Six Guidelines for “Getting to Yes”

In their revolutionary book Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In (Penguin, 3rd edition, 2011), Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton introduced the world to the possibilities of mutual-gains negotiation, or integrative negotiation. The authors of Getting to Yes explained that negotiators don’t have to choose between either waging a strictly competitive, win-lose … Read More 

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Salary Negotiations and How to Negotiate Performance-Based Pay

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Salary Negotiations and How to Negotiate Performance-Based Pay

Salary negotiations are never predictable. Imagine that you are a sales rep with a company that is getting hit hard by a financial crisis. No one has been laid off yet, but everyone is nervous about that possibility. In an effort to save jobs, your sales manager has quietly proposed that everyone take lower base … Read More 

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

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characteristics of negotiation styles negotiation skills for win-win negotiations

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

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Negotiation Techniques: How to Predict a Negotiator’s Decisions

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negotiation skills and negotiation techniques predicting negotiator decisions and behavior

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

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

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

Writing a contract that both encapsulates the negotiated agreement but also incorporates future elements such as the business relationship and the sustainability of the agreement can be a daunting task for even the most experienced negotiators. Executives often leave the legal issues surrounding their deals to their attorneys. While this division of labor is often … Read More 

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

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integrative negotiation and a win-win solution a place in business negotiations

Even those who effectively engage in an integrative negotiations or mutual-gains approach to negotiation, a bargaining scenario in which parties work together to meet interests and maximize value creation during the negotiation process, can be stymied by the task of dividing up a seemingly fixed pie of resources, such as budgets, revenue, and time. … Read More 

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5 Win-Win Negotiation Strategies

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5 Win-Win Negotiation Strategies

Business negotiators understand the importance of reaching a win-win deal: when both sides are satisfied with their agreement, the odds of a long-lasting and successful business partnership are much higher. But concrete strategies for generating a win-win contract often seem elusive. The following five, from experts at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, … Read More 

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The Moral Quandary: Negotiation Exercises Featuring Ethical Dilemmas

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In a negotiation, few issues heighten tensions faster than when one party feels that the other party has done something ethically or morally incorrect. To help professionals prepare for times like this, the Program on Negotiation’s Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) offers a variety of negotiation exercises designed to teach participants how to handle disputes that … Read More 

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Negotiation Skills: How to Become a Negotiation Master

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Negotiation Skills: How to Become a Negotiation Master

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

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Negotiation Techniques from International Diplomacy: Lessons for Business Negotiators

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Negotiation Techniques from International Diplomacy: Lessons for Business Negotiators

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

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Negotiation Exercises to Help Your Students Avoid Cross-Cultural Pitfalls

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It’s no secret that communication and negotiation etiquette varies widely across cultures. In France, for example, it is rude to talk money over dinner, while in Brazil the American ‘A-OK’ gesture (thumb and forefinger forming a circle) can be a major insult. The increasingly diverse and global nature of business sets the stage for disputes that … Read More 

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4 Negotiation Tactics Robert Kraft Used to End the NFL Lockout

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negotiation tactics

Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, was by all accounts a major factor in getting the NFL collective bargaining agreement signed earlier in October 2011. To do so, Kraft employed four key negotiation tactics to help the players and owners come to a “win-win” solution. … Read More 

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

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power in negotiation the impact on negotiators and the negotiation process

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

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How Emotions Affect Your Negotiating Ability

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

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

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Negotiation Case Study: Sincerity’s Power in Negotiation

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negotiation case study

Most of us have had the experience of delivering an apology that fell on deaf ears. When apologies fail to achieve their aims, poor delivery is usually to blame. The importance of sincerity in such a situation cannot be overstated, because if the recipient thinks your apology is less than sincere, she is unlikely to … Read More 

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The Best Negotiation Exercises, Simulations and Videos

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Have you planned your curriculum and purchased your teaching material for the next academic year? We’re here to help you to find the best negotiation exercises and teaching aids for your negotiation classes. The Teaching Negotiation Resource Center is your one-stop shop for negotiation exercises, role-play simulations and teaching videos. Whether you’re teaching a new course … Read More 

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Conflict Off the Rink: The NHL Negotiations

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Conflict Off the Rink: The NHL Negotiations

Negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the National Hockey League Player’s Association (NHLPA) and the NHL’s team owners took a tumultuous turn in mid-August, a month before the current agreement’s looming expiration date of September 15. … Read More 

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

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cultural conflict

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

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What is Negotiation?

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negotiation style

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 More 

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5 Tips for Improving Your Negotiation Skills

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5 Tips for Improving Your Negotiation Skills

The prospect of boosting our negotiation skills can be so overwhelming that we often delay taking the necessary steps we can follow to improve, such as taking time to prepare thoroughly. The following five guidelines will help you break this daunting task into a series of manageable—and often essential—strategies. … Read More 

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Revolutionize How You Teach TNRC Negotiation Exercises and Role-Plays

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You’ve told us that using technology in your teaching is important so we spent some time evaluating various platforms and software that help negotiation teachers and trainers to utilize the power of role-plays in their classes. The team at iDecisionGames has created a web-based platform that offers many benefits and opportunities to transform how you … Read More 

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Using Negotiation Games to Develop Skills for Commercial Dispute Resolution

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negotiating skills and negotiation tactics developing skills for commercial dispute resolution using negotiation games

Private sector or commercial negotiations can range from relatively straightforward, high-stakes contract negotiations between suppliers and distributors to complex, multiparty negotiations between government, industry, and other interest groups. By honing their skills and more effectively engaging in negotiations, firms can positively influence their bottom line. Likewise, government officials and other stakeholders will achieve better outcomes … Read More 

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Bullard Houses Role-Play Simulation Helps Researchers Explore Gender Inequality

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Bullard Houses Role-Play Simulation Helps Researchers Explore Gender Inequality

In a recent Slate.com article, writer and PhD in Psychology Jane Hu described the findings of a research study by Professor Laura J. Kray, University of California, Berkeley. Kray, along with co-authors Jessica Kennedy, PhD, and Alex Van Zant, PhD, investigated the role gender played in negotiation and focused specifically on whether the stereotype of women … Read More 

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

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reservation point negotiation reach negotiated agreements by asking the right questions

A reservation point negotiation is a bargaining scenario in which each side is trying to reconcile the other’s highest offer and the other’s lowest price. This negotiation example can apply to many other bargaining situations and demonstrates the value of open communication with your counterpart at the negotiation table. … Read More 

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Best Negotiators in History: Nelson Mandela and His Negotiation Style

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Best Negotiators in History: Nelson Mandela and His Negotiation Style

The late Nelson Mandela will certainly be remembered as one of the best negotiators in history. He was clearly “the greatest negotiator of the twentieth century,” wrote Harvard Law School professor and Program on Negotiation Chairman Robert H. Mnookin in his seminal book, Bargaining with the Devil, When to Negotiate, When to Fight. … Read More 

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When a Job Offer is “Nonnegotiable”

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When a Job Offer is "Nonnegotiable"

Question: I am in my final year of business school and starting to prepare for job interviews. I have heard many of the organizations that recruit on campus are not open to negotiating specific terms of employment. Rather, they offer everyone roughly the same deal terms. To what extent should I respect such conventions versus … Read More 

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Conflict and Negotiation Case Study: Long-Term Business Partnerships and Negotiated Agreements

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Conflict and Negotiation Case Study: Long-Term Business Partnerships and Negotiated Agreements

To protect the future interests of their organization, negotiators sometimes must accept fewer benefits or absorb greater burdens in the short run to maximize the value to all relevant parties – including future employees and shareholders – over time. Suppose that the operations VPs of two subsidiaries of an energy company are preparing to negotiate the … Read More 

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What an Operatic Role-Play Simulation Can Teach You About Negotiation

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What an Operatic Role-Play Simulation Can Teach You About Negotiation

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 

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How to Negotiate Online

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how to overcome cultural barriers to communication how to negotiate online

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

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Negotiation Case Studies: Teach By Example

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There are good negotiators and there are great ones. Once a year, the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School selects an outstanding individual who embodies what it means to be a truly great negotiator. To earn the Great Negotiator Award, the honoree must be a distinguished leader whose lifelong accomplishments in the field of dispute … Read More 

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The Negotiation Process in China

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negotiation process

With its booming economy and growing international consumer influence, the role of negotiation in international business is more important than ever and negotiation skills appropriate for China are in high-demand. Here are a few negotiation tips to help you successfully navigate your next round of business negotiations in China. … Read More 

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Dealmaking Negotiations – Writing the Negotiated Agreement

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negotiated agreements and dealmaking negotiations - writing the negotiated agreement

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

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Negotiating with People Pleasers

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Negotiating with People Pleasers

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

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Essential Negotiation Skills: Limiting Cognitive Bias in Negotiation Scenarios

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Essential Negotiation Skills: Limiting Cognitive Bias in Negotiation Scenarios

In past articles, we have highlighted a variety of psychological biases that affect negotiators, many of which spring from a reliance on intuition, and may hinder integrative negotiations. Of course, negotiators are not always affected by bias; we often think systematically and clearly at the bargaining table. Most negotiators believe they are capable of distinguishing … Read More 

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The Importance of Communication in Negotiations: Preparing Your Negotiating Team

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The Importance of Communication in Negotiations: Preparing Your Negotiating Team

When a team is preparing for a critical negotiation, members need to appoint a leader, allocate roles and responsibilities, and discuss their at-the-table strategy. Another key objective that teams sometimes fail to discuss is the importance of staying “on message” – that is, making sure that statements by individual members don’t contradict the group’s agreed-upon … Read More 

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3 Negotiation Strategies for Conflict Resolution

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3 Strategies for Conflict Resolution

When a dispute flares up, the outcome can be sadly predictable: the conflict escalates, with each side blaming the other in increasingly strident terms. The dispute may end up in litigation, and the relationship may be forever damaged. … Read More 

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Global Impact Negotiation Simulation

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Global Impact Negotiation Simulation

International law and diplomacy is a rapidly evolving field that depends on the brokering of agreements between nations and other stakeholders. Whether there are language barriers, cultural differences, or both, some of the most challenging negotiations involve parties from different nations. Because of the relative lack of clear legal precedents and the difficulties of enforcement, … Read More 

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Win Win Negotiation Example: Different Cultures, Shared Meals

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From movie moguls hammering out film deals in Los Angeles to publishers and agents assessing each other’s tastes in New York, the “power lunch” has become a familiar institution. Across the globe, negotiators often do business over shared meals, whether out of convenience or as part of a concerted effort to get to know one … Read More 

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Emotional Intelligence as a Negotiating Skill

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successful negotiation examples emotional intelligence as a negotiating skill and negotiation tactic

The concept of emotional intelligence burst into the cultural imagination in 1995 with the publication of psychologist Daniel Goleman’s bestselling book of the same name. Experts have predicted that scoring high on this personality trait would boost one’s bargaining outcomes and have found many successful negotiation examples using emotional intelligence in their research. … Read More 

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Conflict and Negotiation Case Study: The Pitfalls of Negotiations Over Email

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conflict resolution online the pitfalls of negotiations over email

Negotiation research suggests that email often poses more problems than solutions when it comes to relationships, information exchange, and outcomes in conflict resolution negotiation scenarios. First, establishing social rapport via email can be challenging. The lack of nonverbal cues and the dearth of social norms regarding its use can cause negotiators to be impolite and … Read More 

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How Negotiation Role-Play Simulations Can Help You Resolve Environmental Disputes

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From complicated land use debates to the regulation of pollutants, environmental negotiations are fraught with dynamic legal, scientific, and societal considerations. Because many of the natural resources in question are limited and fragile, disputes over them can be particularly difficult. To help educate professionals about how to work through challenging environmental and sustainability negotiations, the Program … Read More 

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For Price Negotiators, Preparation is the Key to Success

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For Price Negotiators Preparation is the Key to Success

Some cultures have a long tradition of haggling—bargaining back and forth about the price of an item—in markets and bazaars. By contrast, in the United States and many other countries, haggling between buyers and sellers is an under-practiced skill. You might routinely pass up opportunities to haggle in situations where financial negotiations are not the … Read More 

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Negotiation Examples: The Benefits of Coalitions at the Bargaining Table

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integrative negotiation examples the benefits of coalitions in bargaining

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

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

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

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

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Teaching Kids How to Negotiate World Peace

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Teaching Kids How to Negotiate World Peace

A few years ago, the Program on Negotiation Film Series screened “World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements,” a documentary film that follows John Hunter, a public school teacher in Virginia, and his class of fourth graders as they play a highly interactive game called the “World Peace Game.“ Hunter invented this game to teach … Read More 

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Famous Negotiations Cases – NBA and the Power of Deadlines at the Bargaining Table

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Famous Negotiations Cases - NBA and the Power of Deadlines at the Bargaining Table

It was a classic professional sports negotiation case. In the summer of 1988, National Basketball Association (NBA) team owners and players were at loggerheads over their new contract. At midnight on June 30, the owners declared a lockout, halting preparations for the start of the 1998–99 NBA season. The players and owners negotiated for six … Read More 

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Best-In-Class Negotiation Case Studies

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Best-In-Class Negotiation Case Studies

What’s one of the best ways to teach the art and science of negotiation? Case studies and articles that spark lively discussion or facilitate self-reflection. Based on real-world examples, these teaching resources are designed to help students envision how to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom and beyond. The Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) at … Read More 

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Powerful Conflict Resolution Games to Help You Teach Negotiation

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Powerful Conflict Resolution Games to Help You Teach Negotiation

From complicated negotiation strategies to artful subterfuge, conflict resolution games are one of the very best ways to prepare for the challenges of real-world negotiation. Games that employ a Prisoner’s Dilemma structure (where rational parties may not cooperate despite their best interests) enable participants to analyze negotiations, make strategic decisions, and anticipate their counterpart’s next … Read More 

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Building Coalitions: Apple and the Art of Persuasion

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definition of negotiation the art of persuasion apple and effective framing

Whether you have one of its ubiquitous products or even its rivals offerings, you most certainly have heard of Apple, the United States electronics giant whose phoenix-like rise to the top of the business world has inspired legions of fans and detractors alike. … Read More 

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Conflict Management and Negotiation: Personality and Individual Differences That Matter

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

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What Leads to Renegotiation?

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What Leads to Renegotiation?

Renegotiation is generally triggered for one of two reasons: an imperfect contract or changed circumstances. The goal of any written contract is to express the parties’ full understanding of their deal. … Read More 

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Navigating Business Relationships Using Negotiation

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Navigating Business Relationships Using Negotiation

A three-year dispute between Starbucks and Kraft Foods over distribution of Starbucks packaged coffee in grocery stores was resolved in 2013 when an arbitrator determined that Starbucks had breached its agreement with Kraft and ordered the coffeemaker to pay the food giant $2.75 billion. … Read More 

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Servant Leadership and Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge

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Servant Leadership and Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge

Billionaire Warren Buffett is not particularly interested in making more money for himself. At 85 years old, he has amassed a staggering fortune, worth over $65 billion. Instead, what has consumed him for the last six years is how to give it all away, and how to convince other billionaires to do the same. … Read More 

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

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zone of possible agreement

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

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Team Building Using Negotiation Skills

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negotiation situation examples team building and negotiating skills and negotiation tactics

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

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Techniques for Improving Your Negotiating Ability

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negotiation skills and negotiation training techniques and strategies for improving your negotiating ability

Many organizations subject their executives to rigorous performance reviews, yet few companies include negotiation effectiveness as one of the core competencies they track. Instead, negotiation is usually subsumed under categories such as “emotional intelligence,” or “persuasiveness” and negotiation techniques and their improvement through negotiation training are not a regular part of employee training programs. … Read More 

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Negotiation Techniques: Diagnose Your Negotiating Style

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Negotiation Techniques: Diagnose Your Negotiating Style

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

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Managing Difficult Negotiators

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Managing Difficult Negotiators

In negotiation, we are often confronted with the task of dealing with difficult people—those who seem to prefer to set up roadblocks rather than break down walls, or who choose to take hardline stances rather than seeking common ground. If you’re skilled in BATNA negotiations, you’ll have an easier time dealing with such people. … Read More 

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Negotiation Skills: How to Work with Your Counterpart in Negotiations

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negotiation skills in business communication seeking advice from others

Negotiation skills in business communication and seeking advice from others, what are the potential benefits? Advice seeking inherently employs multiple self-presentation tactics (including ingratiation, self-promotion, and supplication), it allows us to improve both our competence and our likability. … Read More 

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Negotiation Skills and Bargaining Techniques from Female Executives

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Negotiation Skills and Bargaining Techniques from Female Executives

Dozens of female CEOs and other high-level women negotiators have told us about their experiences negotiating in traditionally masculine contexts where standards and expectations were ambiguous. Their experiences varied according to the gender triggers that were present in the negotiations and they adapted their negotiation strategies to accommodate these shifts. … Read More 

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For Professional Negotiators, Three Is a Magic Number

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professional negotiators

Everything good comes in threes, they say. For storytellers, this means understanding that readers and listeners find a sequence of three things to be memorable, satisfying, and compelling—whether it’s three bears, three little pigs, or three kings. For professional negotiators, sequences of three can be rewarding as well. The following examples of good negotiation skills … Read More 

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How to Control Your Emotions in Conflict Resolution

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How to Control Your Emotions in Conflict Resolution

To guard against acting irrationally or in ways that can harm you, authors of Beyond Reason: Using Emotions As You Negotiate Roger Fisher and Daniel Shapiro advise you to take your emotional temperature during a negotiation. Specifically, try to gauge whether your emotions are manageable, starting to heat up, or threatening to boil over. … Read More 

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In Business Negotiations, Dress the Part

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negotiation topics in business dress the part at the bargaining table

Negotiators involved in high-stakes mergers and acquisitions typically come to the table armored in meticulously tailored apparel and designer shoes. But as Dana Mattioli reports in a recent Wall Street Journal negotiation topics in business article, those who are trying to woo business from an apparel company often end up dressing down at the bargaining … Read More 

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BATNA and Risky Negotiation Tactics

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batna negotiation examples brinksmanship while negotiating

Your BATNA is your “best alternative to a negotiated agreement.” Expect that your negotiating counterpart has one going into a negotiation, and so should you. Below is a good BATNA negotiation example involving how to leverage your away-from-the-bargaining-table options and the risks inherent with such a negotiation strategy. … Read More 

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

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

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

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Cross Cultural Communication: Translation and Negotiations

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Cross Cultural Communication: Translation and Negotiations

In previous international negotiation articles from cross cultural negotiation case studies, we have focused on how international negotiators can avoid cognitive biases and overcome cultural barriers. But how do negotiators dealing with counterparts that speak another language modify their negotiation techniques to accommodate for the lack of a common language? … Read More 

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Repairing Relationships Using Negotiation Skills

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Repairing Relationships Using Negotiation Skills

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 More 

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Are You Ready to Negotiate?

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Are You Ready to Negotiate?

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

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Your Reputation at the Bargaining Table in Business Negotiations

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Business Negotiations

In multi-issue negotiations, research suggests that the advantage goes to negotiators with a reputation for collaboration rather than competition. In a series of studies by Catherine H. Tinsley and Kathleen O’Connor, participants were told they would be negotiating with someone who had either a tough reputation, a cooperative reputation, or an unknown reputation. Although this … Read More 

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Metaphorical Negotiation and Defining Negotiation Skills

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metaphorical negotiation and defining negotiation skills

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 to one another. … Read More 

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Are Salary Negotiation Skills Different for Men and Women?

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Salary Negotiation Skills

Most negotiators don’t engage in the kinds of high-stakes bargaining we read about in publications such as The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times, but almost every negotiator will need advanced salary negotiation skills during the course of her career to deal with a scenario that is, in many ways, the definition of a … Read More 

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

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how does mediation work in a lawsuit choosing the right mediator

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

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Implement Negotiation Training in Your Organization

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For Better Job Negotiations, Improve Performance Reviews

Organizations across the globe spend many millions of dollars each year on negotiation training for their employees. This training can be in-house, led by consultants and other experts, or employees can travel to training programs at universities and elsewhere. After engaging in a couple of days of training, employees return to the office and attempt … Read More 

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Ten Popular Business Negotiation Articles

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top 10 business negotiation articles

Here are ten popular business negotiation articles on the Program on Negotiation website. Drawn from a variety of negotiation case studies as well as negotiation research, the following articles present negotiation examples in real life and offer strategies for engaging in integrative negotiations strategies aimed at creating win-win scenarios for each party at the negotiation … Read More 

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Negotiation Advice: When to Make the First Offer in Negotiation

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negotiation advice - when to make the first offer in negotiation

When or when not to make the first offer in negotiations is a question many expert negotiators ask themselves when approaching business negotiations, real estate transactions, or even interpersonal negotiations with friends and family. In this article drawn from negotiation research, we offer negotiating skills and negotiation tips for when, and when not, to make … Read More 

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Make the Most of Your Salary Negotiations

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Make the Most of Your Salary Negotiations

What salary negotiation skills can you use if a potential employer asks you about your past salary? If you earned a competitive wage, your concern may be whether the new employer can afford you. … Read More 

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Advanced Negotiation Strategies and Concepts Using Negotiation Examples from Real Life: Hostage Negotiation Tips for Business Negotiators

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Advanced Negotiation Strategies

Upset by a delay in the delivery of one of your products, a longtime buyer threatens to turn to the media unless you meet his extreme demands. Not only is the relationship in jeopardy, but your company’s reputation seems to be as well. What should you do? Turn to some tried and true hostage negotiation … Read More 

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How Chaos at the Bargaining Table Can Help Negotiators Reach Agreement

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negotiators - examples of negotiation situations

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

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Gender Discrimination: How to Reach a Negotiated Agreement

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gender-negotiated-agreement

As you know, gender stereotypes often enter the negotiation process. Women and men are perceived to, and often do, act differently in negotiations. Furthermore, gender-based discrimination—such as less pay, unequal treatment, and sexual harassment—is often a source of conflict. With the resources available through the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC), professionals can learn how to … Read More 

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Negotiation Ethics May Be a Slippery Slope

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negotiation ethics may be a slippery slope

Negotiation researchers have refuted the widespread belief that honesty varies widely among individual negotiators. Rather, because people respond strongly to their environment, personal standards for negotiation ethics often vary depending on the context. … Read More 

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Power in Negotiation and Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

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When you expect people to be competitive, it’s not only your own behavior that changes. You also set up a self-fulfilling prophecy, such that your expectations about the other side’s behavior lead him to behave in ways that confirm your expectations. … Read More 

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Managing Factions in Multiparty Negotiations Faultlines in Groups

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

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Emotion and the Art of Business Negotiations

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The sale of Picasso’s works by his heirs is fraught with negative emotion. How do negative emotions impact negotiation and behavior at the bargaining table? This article offers negotiation skills insights into how to counter or prevent negative emotions in negotiation. … Read More 

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Great Negotiators vs. Great Negotiations: The Program on Negotiation’s Great Negotiator Teaching Series

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great negotiators vs great negotiations the program on negotiation’s great negotiator teaching series

Teaching negotiation using case studies focused on the efforts of great negotiators can help achieve several pedagogical goals at the same time. Developed by Professor James Sebenius of Harvard Business School, the Program on Negotiation’s Great Negotiator case study series, available from the PON Clearinghouse, highlights the lessons learned by each recipient of PON’s Great … Read More 

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New Negotiation Game to Teach Crucial Leadership Skills

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A Crisis Creates a Leadership Vacuum A publicly traded company on the NYSE with a reputation for business savvy and lucrative deal making is caught in a morally questionable situation that threatens the very future of the firm. As the dust settles, the CEO, on whose watch the scandal occurred, is forced to step down. Word … Read More 

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Case Studies: Ten Great Conflict Resolutions

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top ten conflict resolution posts

Conflict resolution is the process of resolving a dispute or a conflict by meeting at least some of each side’s needs and addressing their interests. Conflict resolution sometimes requires both a power-based and an interest-based approach, such as the simultaneous pursuit of litigation (the use of legal power) and negotiation (attempts to reconcile each party’s … Read More 

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The Value of Using Scorable Simulations in Negotiation Training

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In the fall of 2015, 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 we assess instructional outcomes. Quantif-why-able? PON co-founder … Read More 

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Creating and Claiming Value Through Haggling – Assess The Other Party’s BATNA in Dealmaking Negotiations

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Now it’s time to assess the best deal you might get. Figuring out the other party’s reservation price is the key to knowing how far you will be able to push him, write Deepak Malhotra and Max H. Bazerman in their book Negotiation Genius: How to Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Brilliant Results at the Bargaining … Read More 

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Grading a Negotiation: Examples of How to Evaluate Student Performance

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Grading a Negotiation: Examples of How to Evaluate Student Performance

Whether to grade student role-play performance, process and outcomes is a tricky question. Jim Lawrence, a long-time PON contributor, simulation author, attorney and practicing mediator with Frost Brown Todd LLC, recently shared his thoughts on the value and purpose of grading students participating in negotiation simulations. … Read More 

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Worst Negotiation Tactics of 2015

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Here are some of the worst negotiation tactics displayed during calendar year 2015 – from hard-bargaining, distributive negotiation strategies aimed at getting the whole pie to stonewalling strategies intended to stymy the development of a negotiated agreement. … Read More 

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10 Top Negotiation Examples

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Famous Negotiators Feature in Top Negotiations of 2012

It never hurts to learn from the past. Here’s a recap of some of the most interesting and challenging negotiations from the past, featuring many of the world’s most famous negotiators. … Read More 

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In “Non-negotiation” with Antonio Brown, Steelers Find Mutual Gains

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The National Football League’s Pittsburgh Steelers faced a dilemma. Mid-contract, the team’s star wide receiver, Antonio Brown, asked the team to improve upon the six-year, $42.5 million deal they negotiated back in 2012. Brown had risen to become the best receiver in football and believed he was underpaid. … Read More 

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Top 10 Negotiation Skills You Must Learn to Succeed

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top negotiation skills

Increasingly, business negotiators recognize that the most effective bargainers are skilled at both creating value and claiming value—that is, they both collaborate and compete. The following 10 negotiation skills will help you succeed at integrative negotiation. … Read More 

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Negotiation Examples to Help You Become a Better Mediator

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When opposing parties cannot come to a satisfactory resolution, a strong mediator can make all the difference. By effectively examining the issues at hand and helping parties identify creative solutions, a well-trained mediator builds consensus where there once was none. To help professionals learn the art of mediation, the Program on Negotiation’s Teaching Negotiation Resource Center … Read More 

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Negotiation Scenario: Hammering out Local Strategies for Managing Climate-related Public Health Risks

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Climate change is already causing increased temperatures, more intense storms, and rising sea levels in many parts of the world. The threats, particularly the impacts on human health, are daunting. Despite uncertainties about the timing and severity of the impacts of climate change in each location, this simulation asserts that cities and towns must take … Read More 

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Negotiation Situations: Examples of When Negotiators Assume Too Much

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negotiation situations examples of when negotiators assume too much

One pitfall is that 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 non-expert consumers at predicting the beliefs, values, and tastes of consumers. … Read More 

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Conflict Resolution Games: Life, Death, and Career Consequences

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High-Stakes Conflict Resolution Games In Drug Testing in the Workplace—a popular role-play from the TNRC—a truck driver tests positive for marijuana in a random drug test. To play this conflict resolution game, participants assume the roles of truck driver, personnel director, and a representative from the Employee Assistance Program Center, and then explore the question: What is the … Read More 

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Drinks at the White House? Clinton Plans on It

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The practice of using alcohol to grease the wheels has a long and storied role in famous negotiations. In recent decades, shared drinks during adversarial bargaining helped lead to breakthroughs in conflicts in Serbia and Northern Ireland, for example. … Read More 

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A Second Look at Rights of First Refusal

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

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Negotiation Training with Heart

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negotiation training with heart

In typical negotiation skills training, we are taught to get beyond our emotions and look at situations rationally. There’s merit to this approach, of course, as feelings can cloud our judgment. But consider what Lieutenant Jack Cambria, who retired in August as the longest-running head of the New York Police Department’s (NYPD’s) hostage negotiation team, … Read More 

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Negotiation Research Demonstrates the Impact of Memory on Decision Making Processes in Bargaining Scenarios

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Findings from Negotiation Research How Memory Affects Decision Making in Negotiations

Recent negotiation research published by Psychological Science from Program on Negotiation faculty member and assistant professor at Harvard University’s Department of Psychology Joshua Greene and his colleague Elinor Amit explores the impact vivid mental imagery has on decision-making processes for negotiators. The negotiation skills insights that can be obtained from such negotiation research are many … Read More 

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Case Study: Teaching with a Powerful Negotiated Agreement

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What do a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, the CEO of an international financial advisory firm, and the former United States ambassador to the United Nations have in common? They’ve all received the Great Negotiator Award. Every year, the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School bestows this prestigious honor on distinguished leaders whose lifelong accomplishments in … Read More 

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Negotiation Role-Plays for Building Critical Skills

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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 

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Make the Most of Negotiation Skills Training

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make the most of negotiation skills training

Across the globe, negotiation skills training has become a common activity in managerial life. Organizations often take steps to improve their managers’ negotiation skills and their ability to manage other negotiators by enrolling them in negotiation skills training programs. Yet often when these managers return to the office, they fail to thoroughly apply the lessons they’ve … Read More 

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The Negotiation Simulation Method: Teach Legal Lessons by Immersive Means

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In complex legal negotiations, money, reputations, and sometimes even lives are often at stake. Legal professionals must know how to read and debate the law as well as fully embrace the art and science of negotiation. To help attorneys and other legal professionals become well versed in law and court-based negotiation, the Program on Negotiation’s Teaching … Read More 

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Negotiation Exercises Designed To Help Settle Workplace Conflict

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From brokering a deal to negotiating a sale, there are many disputes that happen at work. Among the most challenging are those involving employers and employees. That’s the case with Binder Kadeer: Consultation in the Company, a negotiation exercise brought to you by the Program on Negotiation’s Teaching Resource Center (TNRC). … Read More 

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Negotiation Skills for Resolving International Conflicts

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What are the essential skills a negotiator needs to resolve conflicts abroad? How do international conflicts differ from domestic conflicts? What issues specific to bargaining across borders emerges in intercultural negotiations? In this article we explore ways in which negotiators can develop bargaining skills to overcome any barriers to communication they may encounter in negotiations … Read More 

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Negotiating Skills: How to Bargain “Behind the Table”

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

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Forging a Global Agreement on Climate Change

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The ambitious goal of the professional negotiators who participated in the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, held in a Paris suburb from November 30 through December 11, 2015, was to reach enforceable commitments from nations around the world to lower their greenhouse-gas emissions to levels that could ward off environmental disasters. At the Paris climate … Read More 

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Dealmaking and the Trade Deal: Obama’s Uphill Battle with Congress

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Sometimes in dealmaking, reaching agreement would require us to make compromises that we know will displease those who need to authorize the deal, such as our superiors back at the office. Fail to compromise, and impasse may be inevitable. Compromise and save the deal, and accept the difficulty of closing the deal in negotiations with … Read More 

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In Greece Crisis Negotiation, Tough Conditions May Have Affected the Deal

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in greece crisis negotiation, tough conditions may have affected the deal

During a crisis negotiation, all that may seem to matter is reaching a deal as quickly as possible. The desire to head off a disaster may lead crisis negotiators to forego the usual comforts of life, such as sleep, in their single-minded pursuit of their goal. Those appear to have been the conditions under which the … Read More 

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Top 10 Celebrity Negotiations of 2015

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Here are the top 10 celebrity negotiations from the year 2015. From integrative bargaining strategies to building bridges with counterparts in contentious talks, these negotiation scenarios demonstrate the effectiveness of collaborative, win-win negotiation tactics. … Read More 

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Negotiation Research on Organizational Approaches to Negotiating Systems

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While most negotiation research aims to sharpen individual managers’ skills, there is growing scholarly and professional interest in an organizational approach to negotiation.A systemic perspective evaluates the training, authority, procedures, and resources that manager need to improve their companies’ “return on negotiation,” as consultant Danny Ertel puts it. Looking at negotiations broadly reveals important design … Read More 

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Top 10 Best Pieces of Negotiation Advice of 2015

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Across politics, business, entertainment, and sports, negotiators reminded us that collaboration and close attention are needed to resolve disputes and reach innovative deals. 10. Searching the haystack. As reported this year, an unexpected break came in the U.S. Department of Justice’s investigation of large U.S. banks’ role in the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis after an … Read More 

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In Business Negotiations, Capitalize on a Right of First Refusal

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in business negotiations capitalize on a right of first refusal

As dealmakers look for more sophisticated ways to reduce risks and increase returns, a right of first refusal—a contractual guarantee that one side can match any offer that the other side later receives—has become a common and useful tool to add to your business negotiation skills.

in business negotiations capitalize on a right of first refusal

As dealmakers look for more sophisticated ways to reduce risks and increase returns, a right of first refusal—a contractual guarantee that one side can match any offer that the other side later receives—has become a common and useful tool to add to your business negotiation skills.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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