What is Negotiation?
Negotiation is a bargaining process through which parties attempt to forge an agreement to resolve disputes, establish a business contract, purchase a new home, or conclude a peace treaty.
In the business world, some negotiators always seem to get what they want, while others more often tend to come up short. What might make some people better negotiators than others? People bring different negotiation styles and strategiesto the bargaining table, based on their different personalities, experiences, and beliefs about negotiating.
The Program on Negotiation’s founder Roger Fisher authored the book Getting to Yes with Harvard faculty William L. Ury and Bruce Patton and defines negotiation as a “back-and-forth communication designed to reach an agreement when you and the other side have some interests that are shared and others that are opposed.”
Other experts define negotiation using similar terms. In her negotiation textbook The Mind and Heart of the Negotiator, Leigh Thompson refers to negotiation as an “interpersonal decision-making process” that is “necessary whenever we cannot achieve our objectives single-handedly.” And in their book Judgment in Managerial Decision Making, Max H. Bazerman and Don A. Moore write, “When two or more parties need to reach a joint decision but have different preferences, they negotiate.”
Together, these negotiation definitions encompass the wide range of negotiations we carry out in our personal lives, at work, and with strangers or acquaintances.
You can improve your negotiation skills in business and personal disputes by downloading a complimentary copy of our special report, Negotiation Skills: Negotiation Strategies and Negotiation Techniques to Help You Become a Better Negotiator, from Harvard Law School, right now! We will send you a download link to your copy of the report and notify you by email when we post new business negotiation advice and information.
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