• Wednesday, January 5, 2011 - 12:00

    A New York Times article about a proposed buyout of J. Crew mentioned that several potential suitors “have been studying J. Crew’s books.”  Obviously, when deciding to potentially spend $3 billion, completing your due diligence is of utmost importance.  Unfortunately, in other contexts negotiators frequently find it easy to skip the information gathering stage and start negotiating prematurely – often with disastrous results.

  • Wednesday, December 22, 2010 - 12:00

    As I finish up my holiday cards, I’m reminded of a story from Robert Cialdini’s book, Influence: Science and Practice, about a university professor who sent holiday cards to a group of strangers to see what, if any, response he would get.  Amazingly, cards “came pouring back” from the recipients, many of whom didn’t even inquire about who he was.

  • Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - 12:00

    Derek Jeter recently signed a three-year contract worth up to $65 million to continue playing baseball for the New York Yankees.  At the official announcement, Jeter expressed anger that the Yankees had asked him to “go shop” himself to other teams even though Jeter told them he only wanted to play for them. He was also angry this became public knowledge.

  • Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - 12:00

    Here is an example of counterparts in a negotiation beginning the “standards dance” – when the parties identify the most favorable independent standards justifying their position and then negotiate over which is the most fair and reasonable.

  • Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - 12:00

    Most of us have a strong desire to appear consistent. Consistency is valued in our society and is associated with other positive traits like honesty, stability and intelligence. Similarly, most of us will go to great lengths to fulfill our commitments. Psychologist Robert Cialdini calls these tendencies the Commitment and Consistency Principles.

  • Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - 12:00

    In 1938, psychologist Gregory Razran found that his subjects developed a more favorable view of the people and things they experienced while they were eating – a result Razran coined as the “luncheon technique.”

  • Wednesday, November 3, 2010 - 12:00

    In last Sunday’s Dilbert cartoon, Dilbert requests permission from his boss to attend a class to update his skills.  His boss asks for alternatives and Dilbert provides several comic responses including, “replace me with someone younger who earns less than I do and already has the skills.”

  • Wednesday, October 20, 2010 - 12:00

    In light of Bill O’Reilly’s contentious appearance on ABC’s The View, which culminated with Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar walking off the set, here are three negotiating tips to consider when strong emotions erupt in the negotiation context.

    1.  Don’t immediately react – Responding in kind to an emotional outburst can quickly cause things to spiral out of control.  So remain silent and let your counterpart vent.  Thomas Jefferson wisely said, “When angry, count 10 before you speak; if very angry, a hundred.”

  • Wednesday, October 6, 2010 - 12:00

    I recently appeared on Fox Business with Neil Cavuto to discuss the souring relationship between the White House and the Republican congressional leadership and its potential impact on their future negotiations. Since this raises critical negotiation issues, I thought you might be interested in my thoughts on it.

  • Wednesday, September 29, 2010 - 12:00

    In August 2000, former White House OMB Director Jack Lew told me “(t)he most critical thing in a negotiation is to get inside your opponent’s head and figure out what he really wants.”

    In a talk today assessing the Vietnam war, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger reinforced this point by saying most of what went wrong in Vietnam began with U.S. policy makers underestimating the resolve of its North Vietnamese counterparts to achieve reunification. “America wanted compromise,”  Kissinger said, and “Hanoi wanted victory.”

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