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 techniques

What are Negotiation Techniques?

The negotiation techniques you use can have an enormous impact on the success (or failure) of your negotiation.

You’ve mastered the basics of good negotiation techniques: you prepare thoroughly, take time to build rapport, make the first offer when you have a strong sense of the bargaining range, and search for wise tradeoffs across issues to create value.

Yet, even experienced negotiators often make the mistake of treating important talks as a win-lose negotiation. Overlooking effective win-win negotiation techniques, they focus on trying to claim as much value as they can without trying to create new sources of value.

This is one reason that improving your negotiation skills can only take you so far – eventually, you need to assess your behavior preferences as a negotiator. Being able to predict how you will behave in a given bargaining scenario will help you achieve better outcomes at the bargaining table and refine your negotiation techniques.

In any given negotiation, your bargaining style has a stable component that comes from your disposition and personality; some negotiators are naturally more cooperative than others, for instance. Yet your negotiation styles will also fluctuate depending on the situation and the person across the bargaining table. For example, you’re more likely to focus on maximizing joint gain when you’re negotiating a joint venture with a trusted colleague than when you’re battling with other department heads over the annual budget.

One approach that works well is known as MESO. MESO (multiple equivalent simultaneous offers) negotiation techniques create value at the bargaining table by identifying multiple proposals of equal value and presenting them to your counterpart simultaneously. By making tradeoffs across issues, parties can obtain greater value on the issues that are most important to them.

To learn more about successful negotiation techniques, you can download a complimentary copy of our special report, Dealmaking: Secrets of Successful Dealmaking in Business Negotiations, right now!

 

The following items are tagged negotiation techniques:

NEW! Harvard Mediation Intensive

Posted by & filed under Harvard Mediation Intensive.

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

Business Crisis Management: Crisis Communication Examples and How to Use Police Negotiation Techniques

Posted by & filed under Free Report.

In this free special report negotiation experts offers advice on how to turn crisis situations into collaborative negotiations. Throughout the report, you will discover how to apply the lessons of professional hostage negotiators, avoid disasters through careful planning, diffuse tensions with angry members of the public, and break through impasse with open communication. … Read More

Secrets of Successful Dealmaking

Posted by & filed under Harvard Negotiation Institute, Harvard Negotiation Institute (Five-Day Programs).

Course Dates: This course is closed In corporate dealmaking, much of the action happens away from the negotiating table. Successful dealmakers understand that deal set-up and design greatly influence negotiation outcomes. In this program, you will examine the legal, tactical, and structural elements of dealmaking and acquire practical skills and techniques for navigating difficult tactics and … Read Secrets of Successful Dealmaking

Top Ten Posts About Conflict Resolution

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

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 Top Ten Posts About Conflict Resolution

5 Types of Negotiation Skills

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Business people who are looking for effective negotiation strategies often confront a dizzying array of advice. It can be useful to take a step back and categorize these strategies into various types of negotiation tactics. Highlighting the benefits of negotiation in business, the following five types of negotiation tactics can help you think more broadly … Read 5 Types of Negotiation Skills

4 Sales Negotiation Traps—and How to Overcome Them

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Whether you’re planning to put your home up for sale, trying to unload excess merchandise, or searching for new clients, there’s a good chance you’ll make your next sales negotiation more challenging than it needs to be by falling into common cognitive traps. You can improve your sales negotiation skills by learning about four traps … Read More

5 Win-Win Negotiation Strategies

Posted by & filed under Win-Win Negotiations.

Business negotiators understand the importance of reaching a win-win negotiation: when both sides are satisfied with their agreement, the odds of a long-lasting and successful business partnership are much higher. But concrete strategies for generating a win-win contract often seem elusive. The following five, from experts at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, … Read 5 Win-Win Negotiation Strategies

Cross Cultural Communication: Translation and Negotiation

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

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

Teaching with Multi-Round Simulations: Balancing Internal and External Negotiations

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

Whether in business, law, or international diplomacy, many negotiations are actually comprised of a multi-round process with negotiations internal to the organization preceding external ones. Using multi-round negotiation simulations can help students understand the connection between internal and external negotiations, handle more complex scenarios, and better get into their roles. Engaging in a multi-round negotiation … Read More

Managing Difficult Employees: Listening to Learn

Posted by & filed under Dealing with Difficult People.

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

Dealing with Difficult People: Coping with an Insulting Offer in Contract Negotiations

Posted by & filed under Dealing with Difficult People.

The following “Ask the Negotiation Coach” question was posed to Dwight Golann, Suffolk University Law School professor and negotiation expert: “I deal with legal disputes and would like to find reasonable solutions without wasting years in court. But my opponents seem to feel compelled to make extreme—actually, insulting—opening offers. How should I respond to these … Read More

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

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

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

Police Negotiation Techniques from the NYPD Crisis Negotiations Team

Posted by & filed under Crisis Negotiations.

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

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Training: Mediation Curriculum

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

In 2009, we collected many types of curriculum materials from teachers and trainers who attended the Mediation Pedagogy Conference. We received general materials about classes on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) as well as highly specific and idiosyncratic units like Conflict Resolution through Literature: Romeo and Juliet and a negotiating training package for female managers … Read More

Negotiation in International Relations: Finding Common Ground

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

When thinking of negotiation in international relations, it’s difficult to think of any negotiation with higher stakes than those surrounding nuclear nonproliferation. Often conducted amid international conflict and public scrutiny, complicated by language and cultural barriers, and carried out under tight deadlines, talks aimed at ensuring that nuclear technology is used peacefully and that disarmament … Read More

The Benefits of Coalitions at the Bargaining Table

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

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

Lessons for Business Negotiators: Negotiation Techniques from International Diplomacy

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

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

Four Ways to Manage Conflict in the Workplace

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Samantha was livid. While making a presentation during a meeting that both attended, Brad, a newcomer in her department, had shared some slides during a presentation that were clearly based on ideas for a project she’d shared with him privately—without giving her credit. Samantha angrily confronted Brad in his office after the meeting; he became … Read Four Ways to Manage Conflict in the Workplace

5 Good Negotiation Techniques

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

You’ve mastered the basics of good negotiation techniques: you prepare thoroughly, take time to build rapport, make the first offer when you have a strong sense of the bargaining range, and search for wise tradeoffs across issues to create value. Now, it’s time to absorb five lesser-known but similarly effective negotiation topics and techniques that … Read 5 Good Negotiation Techniques

Techniques for Improving Your Negotiating Ability

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

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 Techniques for Improving Your Negotiating Ability

How to Overcome Cultural Barriers in Negotiation

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

Imagine that you’re the American representative of a U.S. food company, and you’re hoping to procure a new ingredient for several of your products from a German company. A representative from the company is flying in to meet with you. Do you expect your German counterpart to behave differently than the Americans you typically deal … Read How to Overcome Cultural Barriers in Negotiation

The Value of Using Scorable Simulations in Negotiation Training

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

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

Negotiating with Governments: How to Deal with Government Officials

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

Whether at the local, federal, or international level, negotiations with governments often involve unique pressures and constraints. Does the official at the table actually have decision-making authority? What kinds of regulatory or policy constraints are they operating under? Governments often pursue very different interests in negotiations from those of a private company. In Seven Secrets for … Read More

When Hard-Bargaining Isn’t Enough

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

Leonardo da Vinci’s painting Salvator Mundi has long been shrouded in mystery. The 16th-century portrait of Jesus Christ periodically disappeared over hundreds of years before being mistakenly sold at auction as another artist’s work for just £45 in 1958. In 2005, art dealers purchased the damaged painting for approximately $10,000 in an estate auction. After … Read When Hard-Bargaining Isn’t Enough

Dear Negotiation Coach: What Hostage Negotiations Can Teach Any Negotiator

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Business negotiations often fail; meanwhile, hostage negotiations have an incredibly high success rate—up to 94%. We spoke with former police psychologist and hostage negotiator George A. Kohlrieser, the Distinguished Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior at IMD Business School in Switzerland and the author of Hostage at the Table: How Leaders Can Overcome Conflict, Influence Others, … Read More

Negotiating Identity and Values-Based Disputes

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

How Do Parties in Conflict Negotiate Core Beliefs? Identity and values-based disputes are particularly challenging to resolve, as identities are naturally inflexible and values are typically much less elastic than interest-based issues. In conventional interest-based negotiation, parties often do give up one thing in exchange for getting something they want more. This is often not possible … Read Negotiating Identity and Values-Based Disputes

Overcoming Cross-Cultural Barriers to a Negotiated Agreement: Negotiation Ethics and International Negotiations

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

Cross cultural negotiation examples provide insights into how negotiation techniques change depending on the context in which negotiators find themselves. As Professor Cheryl Rivers of Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, points out in a recent negotiation research literature review, seasoned negotiators often hear stories about the unethical behaviors of people of other nationalities. … Read More

MESO Negotiation Strategies and Negotiation Techniques

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

MESO negotiation techniques for negotiators include creating value at the bargaining table by identifying multiple proposals of equal value and presenting them to your counterpart simultaneously. By making tradeoffs across issues, parties can obtain greater value on the issues that are most important to them. But how can you be sure you’re making the right … Read More

New Conflict Management Skills: Understand How to Resolve “Hot Conflicts”

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Negotiating effectively with colleagues can be more challenging than dealing with outsiders. Conventional wisdom advises addressing team conflict by staying focused on tasks and avoiding relationship issues. Yet a case study of conflict management by Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson and Diana McLain Smith of The Monitory Group concludes that this approach to dispute … Read More

Teaching with Video-Based Negotiation Scenarios

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

Access to multimedia content has rapidly increased throughout the world, with videos and short clips permeating our daily life. We are consuming, producing, and interacting with videos more now than ever before. In light of increasing video fluency and interest in using videos in education, the Program on Negotiation’s Teaching Negotiation Resource Center is creating … Read Teaching with Video-Based Negotiation Scenarios

Nagorno-Karabakh: Decades Old Conflict Resurfaces Between Armenia and Azerbaijan

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

The brutal conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh has resurfaced in recent weeks, bringing devastation to many communities in the region. Nagorno-Karabakh, located in the Caucasus Mountains, is internationally recognized to be part of Azerbaijan, but is politically controlled by an Armenian ethnic majority. Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a war over … Read More

Advanced Negotiation Techniques: Online Dispute Resolution

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, negotiators are increasingly making deals and resolving disputes online. But a trend toward online dispute resolution (ODR) was already in the making before we all began to quarantine. On July 15, experts discussed how technology can help us effectively and efficiently resolve disputes in a roundtable discussion, “AI Agents Negotiating Deals … Read More

Ask A Negotiation Expert: Network Building in the Middle East

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

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

Advanced Negotiation Techniques: Get the Most out of Negotiation Training

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Training.

So, you’re thinking about taking a negotiation course but are not sure if it will be worthwhile. Or maybe you attended one recently (or not so recently) and are wondering whether you are effectively applying what you’ve learned to the negotiations in your business and personal life. Unfortunately, even after the best negotiation training courses, many … Read More

Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement: Beyond the Basics

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

What is your greatest source of power in negotiation? In their landmark negotiation book Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In (Penguin, 1991), Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton write that it is often a strong BATNA, or best alternative to a negotiated agreement. Before and during their negotiations, wise negotiators determine their … Read More

Best-In-Class Negotiation Case Studies

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

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 Best-In-Class Negotiation Case Studies

Hostage Negotiation Techniques for Business Negotiators

Posted by & filed under Crisis Negotiations.

What do FBI hostage negotiation techniques and business dealmaking have in common? Not a lot, we might assume. In workplace talks, lives are rarely at stake, and tensions seldom escalate into violence. Yet dig a bit deeper, and similarities emerge: just as in a crisis negotiation, business talks can be highly charged, unpredictable, and emotional. In … Read More

Mandated Mediation: What to Expect

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

More and more companies are inserting alternative dispute resolution (ADR) clauses in their contracts with customers and vendors—and even, in some cases, in agreements with their own employees. ADR clauses can be beneficial for all concerned if it means avoiding the cost, delay, and uncertainty of going to court. Mandated mediation, in particular, may offer … Read Mandated Mediation: What to Expect

Effective Negotiation Techniques: Strive for a Precision Advantage

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

As you may have noticed, the first offer made in a negotiation often has a significant influence on the final outcome. In their research, psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky documented that the first number introduced in a negotiation serves as an “anchor” that can be impossible to ignore—no matter how irrelevant, outrageous, or insulting … Read More

Win-Win Negotiation Techniques: Create Value with Rivals

Posted by & filed under Win-Win Negotiations.

Even experienced negotiators often make the mistake of treating important talks as a win-lose negotiation. Overlooking effective win-win negotiation techniques, they focus on trying to claim as much value as they can without trying to create new sources of value. It’s also the case that competitors in a given market or field may fail to recognize … Read More

MESO Negotiation: Learn from a Seller’s Market

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

What negotiating skills can negotiators take away from hyper competitive bargaining situations? With home sales heating up (again) in some parts of the United States, homebuyers are facing competition they haven’t seen since before the real-estate bubble burst back in 2008, and it’s showing up in the form of packed open houses, multiple bids above … Read MESO Negotiation: Learn from a Seller’s Market

Integrative Negotiation Examples: MESOs and Expanding the Pie

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

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

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

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

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

Modest Goals Gave Hope to Syria Peace talks

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

In international negotiations and other complex multiparty negotiations, should you set ambitious goals right from the start or begin with more modest ones? Aiming high can lead to dramatic payoffs if you succeed, but the difficulty of orchestrating complicated international negotiations can increase the risk of impasse. By contrast, starting with more modest goals may suggest … Read Modest Goals Gave Hope to Syria Peace talks

In Negotiations with Ben Affleck, No Appealing BATNA

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

In negotiation, your best source of power is typically your best alternative to a negotiated agreement, or BATNA. Having a strong outside alternative enables you to walk away from a deal that doesn’t meet your needs or that would compromise your vision or ethics. But when you are dealing with a negotiating partner who seems irreplaceable, … Read More

Overcoming Cultural Barriers in Negotiations: The Importance of Culture and Etiquette in Bargaining Scenarios

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

Learn how and when to engage in appropriate cultural traditions when negotiating with counterparts from a different culture. In this article we offer negotiation tips for overcoming cultural barriers in negotiation and present additional articles drawn from negotiation research that may be of benefit to negotiators who need to improve their international negotiation skills. … Read More

Business Negotiation Techniques and Dealmaking – Bargaining with Agents

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

When using an agent in negotiation, your negotiation strategy and definitely the negotiation techniques you use to achieve success at the bargaining table change – but how much so? How different is negotiating with an agent from negotiating with an equal counterpart? In this article the Program on Negotiation explores the business negotiation techniques negotiators … Read More

Share Your Stories With The Negotiation Community

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

At the Program on Negotiation (PON) at Harvard Law School, we know that learning from your peers can be extremely valuable. That’s why we’d like to ask you to share your experiences using the role-play simulations, videos, and other materials available through the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) at PON. Our goal is for you to … Read Share Your Stories With The Negotiation Community

Business Negotiation Advice: When Your Image is Everything

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Turning to another questionable negotiation from Illinois politics, in 2005, then–U.S. senator Barack Obama and his family bought a house in Chicago. On the same day the Obamas closed on the property, the wife of real estate developer Antoin Rezko bought an adjacent parcel of land. Rezko was a key fundraiser for Obama’s Senate campaign. … Read More

Negotiate with Your Kids?

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills.

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?

Making and Using Films to Teach Negotiation

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills, Pedagogy at PON.

Access to multimedia content is rapidly increasing throughout the world, with videos and short clips permeating our daily life – whether in gas stations, on ATMs, cell phones, or mobile entertainment devices.   We are consuming, producing, and interacting with videos more now than ever before: YouTube is the third-most visited website on the Internet, the … Read Making and Using Films to Teach Negotiation

Negotiating with Your Children

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

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