Negotiation Coach

Learn how to master the art of negotiation and dispute resolution with the insights from experts at the Harvard University's Program on Negotiation.

In negotiations, should you reveal everything?

April 15, 2015
Q: After working at the same company for many years, I was laid off. Al­­though I was devastated, I decided to view this as an opportunity to take a year off. When I’m asked for the name of my employer during 2014, I simply leave the question blank because I’m worried about making this employment gap a bigger deal than it already is. Is my intuition right?

Manage their perceptions

February 13, 2015
Q: A customer is pressuring me to make a deal fast. I don’t want to be forced into a one-sided agreement and prefer to reach a compromise on mu­­tually beneficial terms. How should I respond to such hard-bargaining tactics?

Moving from ‘should’ to ‘could’

December 15, 2014
Q: During a private conversation with a friend who works in my industry, I learned confidential information that will put my small company at risk of considerable loss if it reaches agreement in an ongoing negotiation with another small company. What should I do?

Hidden benefits of distrust

October 9, 2014
Q. I’ve heard a lot about the benefits of developing trust in negotiation and experienced some of them myself. But in my negotiations, I find myself struggling with the question of how trusting to be. Should I always aim to be as trusting as possible?

Defusing negotiation anxiety

August 18, 2014
Q. Negotiations make me anxious. In the past year, I negotiated for a car at a dealership, a higher salary at work, a lower price on a piece of furniture at an antiques market, and an important business contract as part of a team. Each time, my palms got sweaty, my heart started to race, and I found the whole process to be unpleasant. What can I do to feel less anxious when I negotiate?

Dealmaking after handshaking

May 13, 2014
Q. I’ve heard a lot about the benefits of nonverbal behavior in negotiation. Shaking hands seems like such a natural way to begin a negotiation, but does it signal too much eagerness to reach agreement?

A ‘straight shooter’s’ blind spot

March 17, 2014
Q. I negotiate for a living, and I get great deals for my organization. On occasion, though, I’m accused of being abrasive and “difficult,” not just by competitors but by colleagues, too. I used to have a temper, but I’ve worked hard on that. I try to be polite and civil, so I’m frustrated by this feedback. Maybe people just don’t like a straight shooter. Any advice?

Faltering by ‘paltering’?

January 9, 2014
Q. As an HR manager, I struggle with the issue of how open and transparent to be during hiring negotiations. Some­­­­times, for example, I have only one worthy candidate for a position. Naturally, I would prefer not to share this fact because the candidate might use it to gain an edge. In cases like this, I have sometimes implied that the candidate has serious competition. I am wondering whether the experts consider this type of fudging to be permissible.

Your presence is present enough

November 21, 2013
Q. As a salesperson, I used to provide meals and tickets to sporting events to my clients. But more and more, my clients are telling me that because of their organizations’ rules, they cannot accept my gifts. As a consequence, we are spending less time together in social settings, and I feel I am less useful to them. These changes have affected my relationship with them for the worse. How do I negotiate in this new world?

Sweetening the deal?

July 12, 2013
Q. I run a midsize retail sports-apparel chain located in the southwestern United States. I’ve been searching for a seasoned executive to lead new store expansion in our fast-growing market. I finally found the perfect candidate, and we’ve agreed to most terms. The one sticking point is that she is obligated to give her cur­rent employer six months’ notice. She says that she feels compelled to honor her word to her current employer but will join us as soon as she can. Should I consider a deal sweetener, such as an early-start bonus?