In most negotiations, we face two goals: claiming value and creating value. Value can be defined as anything you would like to get out a negotiation, whether it be more dollars, a consulting contract, a new rug, an end to conflict, and so on. … Read Value Claiming in Negotiation
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.
What are Professional Negotiators?
While all of us negotiate on a daily basis, professional negotiators can teach us a lot about finding success in unexpected ways.
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 lesser-known but similarly effective negotiation skills and techniques from professional negotiators.
One thing professional negotiators remain aware of is the optics. How can professional negotiators reach their goals while also securing broad approval for their deals? It is always wise to consider what would happen if your decisions and behavior in a negotiation became public knowledge. That doesn’t mean your negotiations can’t be private. But top negotiators pause to think about how various proposals and arrangements would affect outsiders. This negotiating skill brings ethical concerns to the forefront and clears the way for a fair and honest negotiation.
Professional negotiators also look beyond the immediate negotiation concerns. Although most of us understand the importance of preparing thoroughly for negotiation, we often focus too narrowly on tactics at the table: how to frame an opening offer, how to be persuasive, and so on.
By contrast, professional negotiators are more likely to grasp the importance of negotiating in three dimensions rather than one. They move beyond the first dimension of “at the table” interpersonal skills and tactics to move on two other dimensions: setup moves (ensure that the right people are at the right table) and deal design (identifying potential tradeoffs).
One important technique that professional negotiators are more likely to follow is simultaneously presenting three offers that you value equally, but that vary across issues. Such “MESOs,” or multiple equivalent simultaneous offers, are likely to draw out your counterpart’s priorities and interests in a way not captured by direct questioning.
Discover how to boost your power at the bargaining table in this free special report, BATNA Basics: Boost Your Power at the Bargaining Table, from Harvard Law School.
The following items are tagged professional negotiators:
5 Good Negotiation Techniques
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
Why Great Negotiators Earn More Money
What’s the best way to claim more money in a negotiation? Many professional negotiators would recommend hard-bargaining tactics, such as asking the other party to disclose their bottom line, standing firm on price, and threatening to walk away. But truly great negotiators recognize that using haggling strategies alone may leave significant money on the table. … Read Why Great Negotiators Earn More Money
Negotiation Techniques To Get New Business Partnerships Off on the Right Foot
“A huge mistake.” “A shot in the dark.” “An audacious move.” Those are a few of the media’s characterizations of wireless carrier AT&T’s acquisition of media and entertainment firm Time Warner, announced on October 22, 2016, for $85.4 billion. … Read More
Will You Avoid a Negotiation Impasse?
In the summer of 2016, Illinois became the only U.S. state in the past 80 years to go an entire year without a full operating budget, according to Reuters. It reached that dubious milestone thanks to an epic negotiation impasse between Republican governor Bruce Rauner and the Democratic-controlled state legislature. The story of the negotiation … Read Will You Avoid a Negotiation Impasse?
Learn from the Best with the Great Negotiator Case Studies
No one can provide perspective on conflict resolution like experts who have been involved in some of the world’s most complex negotiations. Since 2001, the Program on Negotiation (PON) has bestowed the Great Negotiator Award upon distinguished leaders whose lifelong accomplishments in the fields of negotiation and dispute resolution have had compelling and lasting results. The Great … Read More
Dear Negotiation Coach: What is the Secret to Negotiating with Kids Successfully?
Some of our toughest negotiations happen away from the bargaining table. In fact, they may happen closer to our dinner table. We recently received a question from a reader about negotiation with kids, and asked Program on Negotiation’s Katie Shonk for some insight. Q: I avoid using hardball tactics in my professional negotiations since they often … Read More
Dear Negotiation Coach: When Time is Not Money at the Negotiation Table
Q: I have been doing a lot of business deals in the Middle East and elsewhere in Asia. With all due respect, negotiations seem to drag on and on in that part of the world. How can I negotiate effectively in this situation at the negotiation table? A: You’ve picked up on a critical cultural difference that, … Read More
Managing a Multiparty Negotiation
Multiparty negotiations can be incredibly challenging. Just ask the negotiators from over 170 countries who managed to reach agreement on October 15 on a legally binding accord to combat climate change. … Read Managing a Multiparty Negotiation
For Better Communication, Try Appreciation
Many professional negotiators have come away from talks wondering, How did that pleasant discussion turn sour? Why did the deal unravel at the last minute? … Read For Better Communication, Try Appreciation
Negotiation Case Study: Sincerity’s Power in Negotiation
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
Fundamental Aspects of Negotiation: Setting the Table
In March 2018, U.S. president Donald Trump shocked even his own White House staff when he revealed that he had accepted an invitation to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. After months of name-calling and threats between Trump and Kim, the news that the two leaders would discuss the possibility of North Korea dismantling … Read More
For Professional Negotiators, Three Is a Magic Number
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
Professional Negotiators: Give Texts a Chance
Do you negotiate via text? If you’re a young person early in your career, your answer may be an emphatic yes. If you’re a little older, maybe you answered no. Even so, if you took a closer look at the saved text messages on your smartphone, you might find you’ve recently negotiated the division of … Read Professional Negotiators: Give Texts a Chance
Creating Value in Negotiations through Word Choice
When the delegates from the Group of 20—the world’s 20 largest economies, or G20—met in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in December 2018 to negotiate reforms to the global trading system, the words they didn’t use turned out to be just as important as the ones they did when it came to creating value in negotiations. … Read More
10 Notable Negotiations
In 2016, political dealmaking and corporate mergers took center stage. We look back on some of the most notable of these negotiations, which offer significant lessons to professional negotiators. … Read 10 Notable Negotiations
Learn from the Best with the Great Negotiator
No one can provide perspective on conflict resolution like experts who have been involved in some of the world’s most complex negotiations. Since 2001, the Program on Negotiation (PON) has bestowed the Great Negotiator Award upon distinguished leaders whose lifelong accomplishments in the fields of negotiation and dispute resolution have had compelling and lasting results. The Great … Read Learn from the Best with the Great Negotiator
Top International Multiparty Negotiations: Dissent in the European Union
A European Union summit held in late October 2013 failed to make headway toward more coordination of economic policies. Facing resistance from Germany in particular, European officials grew pessimistic regarding their odds of negotiating a deal over the next year to lay the foundation for a banking union for the 17 nations that use the … Read More
How Professional Negotiators Can Avoid Public Controversy
In negotiation, we sometimes become so focused on what we’re trying to achieve at the bargaining table that we fail to adequately account for how the deal could look to observers. As two recent deals that the U.S. government reached with Iran show, it’s important for professional negotiators to consider the optics. … Read More
In Platform Negotiations with Clinton, Sanders Was Victorious
With the 2016 Democratic National Convention now over, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders used the Hillary Clinton campaign’s fear of a divisive spectacle in Philadelphia to extract concessions on the party’s official platform and committee assignments. The senator’s tough dealmaking suggests an important negotiation lesson: Always know your BATNA and ZOPA in any negotiation. … Read More
Hoping for an Uncontroversial Negotiation? Consider the Optics
January 16, 2016, was a memorable day in U.S.-Iranian relations. That day, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran was in compliance with the terms of the nuclear agreement it reached in mid-2015 with the United States, which represented Russia, China, France, Germany, and Great Britain in the talks. The news prompted the United … Read More
What is the Winner’s Curse?
Imagine that while exploring an outdoor bazaar in a foreign country, you see a beautiful rug that would look perfect in your home. While you’ve purchased a rug or two in your life, you’re far from an expert. Thinking on your feet, you guess that the rug is worth about $5,000. You decide to make … Read What is the Winner’s Curse?
Engineering Breakthroughs When Trust is Low
The Obama administration capitalized on its recent nuclear deal with Iran to secure the release of Americans imprisoned in the Middle Eastern nation. In recent years, the United States has urged Iran to release a number of Americans, including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, who had been seized and imprisoned on what the U.S. government called … Read Engineering Breakthroughs When Trust is Low
In Renegotiation with Britain, EU Faced Weak BATNA
How David Cameron’s Tory government’s plans to leave the euro-zone have EU ministers scrambling in negotiations with a weak alternative to a negotiated agreement. … Read More
With Patient Approach, FBI Steered Oregon Occupiers Toward Their BATNA
The 41-day armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon ended on February 11 when the last occupiers surrendered. Federal authorities in six states also arrested seven others accused of being involved in the occupation, according to the Associated Press. The standoff had begun when Ammon Bundy and his followers took over the … Read More
Forging a Global Agreement on Climate Change
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 Forging a Global Agreement on Climate Change
Dr. Ury featured in Washington Post article on debt ceiling negotiations
In a recent article published in the Washington Post, Dr. William Ury, co-founder of the Program on Negotiation, suggests that Republicans and Democrats hammering out a deal on the national debt ceiling could benefit from the experience of negotiators. Professional negotiators know that certain tactics can backfire in tense situations. Issuing ultimatums, publicly criticizing your counterpart, … Read More