Let’s Make a Deal: Negotiation Science Workshop

By Amber Nimocks

Some people are born negotiators. And then there’s the rest of us.

Those of us who  have trouble bargaining on our own behalf — or on behalf of clients — usually fear negotiating because we lack experience in it — and we’re afraid of losing, says Jeff Langenderfer, who teaches marketing and law at Meredith College School of Business. His upcoming NCBA CLE course, Negotiation Science Workshop, aims to arm legal professionals with the tools and knowledge to help them bridge these gaps.


Negotiation Science Workshop
Live, North Carolina Bar Center, Cary
Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Find more information and register here.

He talked through a few of the topics he will focus on in a quick Q&A.

Q: What are the top reasons people fear negotiating?

A: It is common to be concerned that you’ll be taken advantage of, and almost everyone has experienced the sinking feeling that they could have negotiated better. This training session will make those kinds of sinking feelings much less common and enable students to enter future negotiations with confidence.

Q: Based on your research, what are the most common mistakes that rookie negotiators make?

A: The primary mistakes of inexperienced negotiators all revolve around insufficient preparation. Usually, inexperienced negotiators have not thought through their options and what they will do if they cannot get the deal they hope for. They usually have not thought about the options of their negotiation counterpart either, so they tend to make decisions on the fly rather than as the result of careful preparation. In this training session, we’ll cover  a method of systematic preparation that will enable participants to be immediately be better prepared than 90% of negotiators.

Q: If you’re a novice sitting across the table from a veteran negotiator, how can you get the upper hand?

A: This is science, not magic. 🙂

Q: What role does empathy play in being a successful negotiator?

A: Certainly, individuals with high emotional IQs who can read and empathize with their negotiation counterparts tend to be stronger negotiators. These types of individuals can often sense when what sorts of offers will be appealing to the other party and also when they have gotten all they can hope to get in a particular negotiation. Fortunately, this training emphasizes techniques that will work even if you don’t have a high emotional IQ. The approach to negotiation that will be taught is based on preparation and will improve negotiation skills for everyone, whether they have a high emotional IQ or not.

Q: It’s been said that during negotiations, the party who is first to say a number is most likely to win the negotiation. Do you find that to be true?

A: Research suggests that making the first offer is a wise negotiation strategy if a negotiator has sufficient information to make a reasonable and justifiable offer based on their own and their negotiation counterpart’s options. If you lack sufficient information, it is generally better to either cure your information disadvantage rather than making an uneducated offer. If curing your information disadvantage is impossible, it is typically wiser to allow the other party to make the first offer.

Q: Can you briefly describe the scoring system you will present during the program and how it will help participants in their negotiations?

A: The scoring system is a method of quantifying complex multi-issue negotiations to enable a negotiator to evaluate offers on-the-fly in real-time and to present bundles of options that enable parties to trade off issues based on differential valuations. A scoring system makes negotiators much more flexible and helps both parties to find win-win solutions. Scoring systems are a natural result of sufficient preparation in complex, multi-issue negotiations.