Negotiate 1-2-3

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Negotiating How to Negotiate

Learning Objectives Est. time: 15 min.

  • Understanding how early interactions in negotiation often set the tone of the entire process
  • Encouraging constructive responses from other negotiation counterparts
  • Dealing with people who have different bargaining styles

This module explores the topic of “negotiating how to negotiate.” By examining “real-world” negotiation scenarios and completing a series of activities, it will become clear that effective negotiation is not a matter of bargaining or simply trading one thing in return for another. Instead, it’s an indirect, back-and-forth process in which the relationship emerges from what each person says and does, step by step.

Key Concepts

As you consider each negotiation scenario, keep in mind three important things that take place simultaneously in the early moments of any negotiation:

Important: it is strongly recommended that you follow the sequence of Pair A > Pair B > Compare A/B below as each scenario builds upon the previous example. (Note that these activities will open in a new tab in your browser.)


When people come together to make a deal or resolve a dispute, they inevitably negotiate how to negotiate. It’s an ongoing process of engaging, framing, and norming that takes shape according to what they do and say, and how they respond to one another. The patterns that they establish in the opening moments often have an influence, for better or worse, on whether they reach agreement and whether their relationship is strengthened or stressed. You can’t dictate this three-level process, but it’s essential to constantly monitor and proactively guide it.

Engaging: Defining the Relationship

  • Friend or Foe?
  • Easy or Hard?
  • Up or Down?

Framing: Defining the Task

  • A win-lose contest?
  • A collaborative effort?
  • Something in between?

Norming: Defining the Process

  • Haggle game
  • Creative exploration
  • Wait-and-see?

Additional Resources

Next Module: Interpersonal Dynamics [25 min.]

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