Negotiation Mastery Blog

November 1, 2017

Negotiation – Have We Got It Wrong?

*This article first appeared in the Guardian Masterclass Blog. With Brexit negotiations constantly in the news, everyone has become an expert and has an opinion on what David Davis needs to do to get a good deal. But are they right? Do these beermat philosophers really know what they are talking about? Negotiation is a much-researched topic, … Continue reading “Negotiation – Have We Got It Wrong?”

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July 3, 2017

Top Scientist Reveals The Secret Trick To Persuasion

What’s the trick that makes your chances of persuading someone 3 times more likely? We all like to think we make our decisions based on logic and a sound analysis of the evidence but more and more science is showing that we are much less rational than we think and many other factors impact how … Continue reading “Top Scientist Reveals The Secret Trick To Persuasion”

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June 26, 2017

Negotiating On Behalf Of Others

It is part of the role of many professions to negotiate on behalf of their client; lawyers, brokers, estate agents, accountants, surveyors, actuaries, to name a few. And this certainly brings questions and concerns that do not arise when you only have yourself to consider. Interestingly, some people actually feel more confident negotiating on behalf … Continue reading “Negotiating On Behalf Of Others”

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Pricing Matters

The legal world is facing all kinds of challenges and those firms who survive are those who modernise and professionalise. With the arrival of multiple new business models, pricing structures, distribution channels and marketing approaches driven by an explosion of new technologies, the legal industry is becoming ever more competitive. To survive, and indeed thrive, … Continue reading “Pricing Matters”

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March 30, 2017

Are we there yet?

Is a Brexit deal finally in sight and what does it look like?   And it is upon us. Article 50 has been  triggered, the clock is ticking and we have two years to reach an agreement on the Brexit divorce settlement and, perhaps, too, the future relationship between the UK and the EU. So … Continue reading “Are we there yet?”

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March 19, 2017

Brexit Negotiations – Good or Bad So Far?

And is David Davis Macchiavelli’s proud heir? Almost exactly nine months from the referendum and with Article 50 to be triggered any day, perhaps it is time to appraise the progress in the Brexit negotiations so far. It’s not quite half-term in the proceedings but perhaps a school report card is in order. How well … Continue reading “Brexit Negotiations – Good or Bad So Far?”

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March 12, 2017

Can we trust people?

  Can you trust people? You’re buying a car, you’re lending a friend some money, you’re negotiating a contract with a supplier – they’re promising lots of great things but are you being naïve? Anyone who has read my work or been on one of my courses will know I’m a firm believer of the … Continue reading “Can we trust people?”

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January 3, 2017

Happy New Year, There Are Grounds For Optimism!

2016 was an ‘interesting’ year, perhaps interesting as in the Chinese curse, and there was a lot of doom and gloom around. And yet the new year begins and maybe there are more grounds for optimism than we imagine. In actual fact, the world is far better than ever before. There are less wars, there … Continue reading “Happy New Year, There Are Grounds For Optimism!”

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November 28, 2016

The Power Of Flattery

I’ve always thought my readers are a very intelligent lot, far more intelligent than average. And most of them are exceptionally good looking too. And you, I really have to say, are up there at the top.   Who’s a slimeball? Flattery has long been known to be a great influencer. Everyone likes to think … Continue reading “The Power Of Flattery”

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November 16, 2016

5 Top Tips for Getting a Pay Rise!

  Hands up if you deserve a payrise! Yep, of course you do. And look around, everyone else has their hands up too. But payrises have been few and far between in recent times. In fact, adjusted for inflation, average earnings went down by 10% between 2008 and 2014. So how can you make sure … Continue reading “5 Top Tips for Getting a Pay Rise!”

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October 31, 2016

From “Never, Never, Never” to “Nice Doing Business With You”

  There is hope. There is hope that your negotiation can be successful. There is hope that the toughest of negotiators you have to face can come on-side. There is hope that the most intransigent, the most aggressive, the most personally abusive of counterparties can become your ally. There is hope that the most pathologically … Continue reading “From “Never, Never, Never” to “Nice Doing Business With You””

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October 10, 2016

Make love to your enemies!

In the world of work, we often have an enemy. It could be our boss who hates us and gives us more work than the laws of physics allow; it could be that colleague who blocks everything we do or even think of doing; it could be the finance director who slashes our budget out … Continue reading “Make love to your enemies!”

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September 26, 2016

Is your body language setting you up to lose in negotiation?

Negotiation is, of course, all about communication but have you ever thought about what you are communicating through your body language? Think about it, spoken language has been around for a million years at most but animals have been communicating through body language for hundreds of millions of years. So we have very deep wiring … Continue reading “Is your body language setting you up to lose in negotiation?”

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July 27, 2016

What does Brexit mean for your business?

We are over the shock of the Brexit vote and we now have to live with the new reality, so the big question is: what does it actually mean in practice for your business? The challenge being, of course, we still cannot know for definite, such is the uncertainty abounding but we can at least … Continue reading “What does Brexit mean for your business?”

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July 14, 2016

Will this be Theresa May’s negotiation strategy?

• There will be an announcement of an announcement • Negotiation will come in waves • We can be certain of more uncertainty One thing for certain, there is a lot of uncertainty around. But with a new Prime Minister and her cabinet in place, perhaps we can start to conjecture what our future relationship … Continue reading “Will this be Theresa May’s negotiation strategy?”

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July 11, 2016

5 killer phrases that all negotiators should know

Negotiations can often be a mysterious process. Maybe the conversation has reached a sticky point, no one is budging and tempers are beginning to rise. Then one person says something and the whole situation transforms; you strike a great deal and everyone is best friends. How did that happen? How did they know just what … Continue reading “5 killer phrases that all negotiators should know”

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June 27, 2016

Why Boris Johnson may be Remain voters’ best hope

Much of the world woke up on Friday morning to a state of shock. And I don’t just mean Remain voters, even Boris Johnson and Michael Gove looked worried now they actually had the result they fought for. So, given it is what it is, how will negotiations unfold and what will be the final … Continue reading “Why Boris Johnson may be Remain voters’ best hope”

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October 6, 2013

Now, that was a negotiation!

  “You think that was a negotiation? Ha, I’ll tell you about a negotiation!” A friend of mine, Wes, works at an investment bank and heads up a team that runs 9- or 10-figure property deals across Europe. A few years back, he came out of a meeting discussing a very large investment in Georgia … Continue reading “Now, that was a negotiation!”

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September 8, 2013

From setback to success

  Do-do happens and it is part of the journey. Sometimes it feels like really deep do-do. But we saw last week that failure does not mean forever, failure is not final. So, how do you turn setbacks into success? If do-do happens to you, what exactly should you do-do? J.K. Rowling’s manuscript for Harry … Continue reading “From setback to success”

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July 28, 2013

Negotiation and Yoga

  I’ve just come back from a great holiday at a yoga retreat in Ibiza and the topic of negotiation came up a lot, not least when I managed to get 9 people into a nightclub for free! But it reminded me of an interview I did a few months back with the yoga/well-being blog … Continue reading “Negotiation and Yoga”

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March 22, 2013

Becoming the “Go To” negotiations trainer

  Alison Miles-Jenkins is the expert on building training businesses, particularly how they can become the “go to” expert in their niche. She interviewed me recently on how I’ve built my niche in negotiations and particularly how I’ve brought my own particular flavour to the field and how the book has helped with this. You … Continue reading “Becoming the “Go To” negotiations trainer”

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February 27, 2013

Negotiation podcasts

Recently, I’ve been recording some interesting conversations with negotiations expert Clive Rich. Covering various topics around the subject of negotiation, the good news is that we agree on most of the answers! The Importance of Bargaining Power Dealing with Tough Guys Can You Be Nice and Still Be a Good Negotiator   More to come … Continue reading “Negotiation podcasts”

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November 25, 2012

Negotiation Mastery in the press

  Quite apart from the book reviews, I’ve had several articles in national newspapers or trade magazines in recent weeks so I thought it worth collating them here. More to come in the next few weeks eg, FT, Daily Mail, The Edge (magazine of the Institute of Leadership and Management) and Management Today.   Edge, … Continue reading “Negotiation Mastery in the press”

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Original promotional video

  Here is the original version of the promotional trailer for my book, Negotiation Mastery. It was great fun making, thanks to the help of all my circus friends. Ultimately, though, it doesn’t work as marketing material because there’s so much interesting visual stuff going on, you don’t listen to my talk-over! So we stopped … Continue reading “Original promotional video”

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November 11, 2012

Book reviews in the press

  Since the book was published two months ago, there have been a number of reviews in the press and I thought I would collate them here. Fortunately, all of them have been positive, including being the Institute of Director’s Book of the Month, so I’m quite happy to include them! If you don’t have … Continue reading “Book reviews in the press”

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October 20, 2012

The most important negotiation the world has ever seen

  Fifty years ago this week, the world found itself staring apocalypse in the face. The Cuban Missile Crisis was the closest we have ever come to all-out nuclear war and the ensuing mutually assured destruction. Remarkably, John F Kennedy had a tape recorder running 24/7 in the White House throughout this period so we … Continue reading “The most important negotiation the world has ever seen”

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October 14, 2012

BAE-EADS article in Sunday Express

With the BAE-EADS merger collapsing this week, the Sunday Express wanted to know my views on why it failed. Read the article by clicking on the image below:       Negotiation Mastery is available from all good bookstores including Amazon, Foyles and Waterstones in the UK and Barnes and Noble and Amazon in the … Continue reading “BAE-EADS article in Sunday Express”

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October 9, 2012

Article in Entrepreneur Country

  The October issue of Entrepreneur Country magazine has a two page excerpt from my book on the nature of power. You can see it here. Or I guess you can by the book! Or you can read the attachments below.    

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October 7, 2012

How to crack the BAE/EADS puzzle?

  Negotiations can get pretty complicated at times. The latest merger talks between defence company BAE and civil aviation giant EADS to create a European Boeing are proof of that and those complications could be causing it to come apart. Mergers are challenging enough, trying to find agreements between management teams and value for shareholders, … Continue reading “How to crack the BAE/EADS puzzle?”

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Sunday Express Interview

  Yesterday I was telephoned by Tracey Boles, the Business Editor of the Sunday Express, for my views on the latest developments in the merger discussions between BAE and EADS, specifically some of the moves by various national governments and how this will impact the deal. I’ve attached Tracey’s article here or you can go … Continue reading “Sunday Express Interview”

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September 16, 2012

Glencore, Xstrata and Tony Blair – Just exactly what did he do?

  Last week an $80bn merger between mining giants Glencore and Xstrata seemed to be hitting the rails until Tony Blair saved the day (well, maybe) at a very nice dinner at Claridges. Tracey Boles, the Business Editor at the Sunday Express, asked me exactly how he would have done this and you can read … Continue reading “Glencore, Xstrata and Tony Blair – Just exactly what did he do?”

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September 9, 2012

Trust but verify

Since the book is being published this week, I thought I would post a short excerpt from the book to give you a flavour of it. Trust but verify So you find yourself in a negotiation and the guy on the other side of the table has horns, cloven feet and a tail and there … Continue reading “Trust but verify”

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August 26, 2012

Video trailer for book

  To give you an idea of the book, I’ve made a promotional trailer for it and put it on Vimeo, which you can see here (or the low-res version on Youtube here), I hope you like it. It is actually version 2. A few months back we made another film which was great fun … Continue reading “Video trailer for book”

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August 5, 2012

Whatever you want? Just ask!

  A crucial part of negotiation is to ask for what you want. That seems so elementary and yet so frequently people forget or are afraid. Of course, asking does not mean you will receive. But you can be quite sure that not asking means you will not receive.   What’s your favourite birthmark? A … Continue reading “Whatever you want? Just ask!”

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July 8, 2012

Planning to Make Miracles

  Have you ever walked into a meeting and forgot to bring a key document; or walked out of one thinking, “Oh, I never asked about…”; or signed a contract then realised something had been omitted? I’m sure you’re all pretty experienced and excellent at your job, and yet it happens to the best of … Continue reading “Planning to Make Miracles”

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July 1, 2012

Negotiation – The Conversational Way

  It’s a smoke-filled room, getting close to midnight, they’re shouting and banging the table, and sweat is dripping down your temples as you desperately try to save the deal. The clock is ticking… Hmm, quick reality check: this may be the cartoon image, it may even be your recurring nightmare, but it’s not usually … Continue reading “Negotiation – The Conversational Way”

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June 17, 2012

Stop Discounting Your Price!

  You know the situation. You have a great product, you’ve become best friends with the customer who is really excited about buying and the deal is just about to be signed. At which point the purchasing department takes over and your best friend is replaced by someone who looks like the bastard child of … Continue reading “Stop Discounting Your Price!”

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June 10, 2012

The Alternative Contents Page

  Last post we had the contents page and earlier we had an executive summary. I think its worth balancing all of that practicality with some fun stuff. On the one hand, the book is exceedingly pragmatic. You will read how to negotiate like a master and you will learn the step-by-step techniques of what … Continue reading “The Alternative Contents Page”

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June 3, 2012

Negotiation Mastery – The Contents

So the book is now complete and sent off to the publishers. The last i dotted, the last t crossed, the last typo’d page squashed up and thrown in the bin. Earlier, I wrote a kind-of executive summary to give you a taster, and here, below is the contents page. That said, this is only … Continue reading “Negotiation Mastery – The Contents”

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May 27, 2012

3-D Negotiation – A Book Review

  There are a huge number of books on negotiation out there, many of which either promote quite unhelpful tactics or promote useful tactics but don’t say anything new. “3-D Negotiation” is a book that progresses the thinking on the field and is well-written too. Its from a good source, as well; its authors, David … Continue reading “3-D Negotiation – A Book Review”

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May 13, 2012

Top Negotiator Wins Britain’s Got Talent

So we all watched the final of Britain’s Got Talent last night and wasn’t it heartwarming to see Ashleigh and Pudsey win. In case you haven’t seen it yet, they did a great dance act to the Mission Impossible theme – not that remarkable, I guess, until you realise that Pudsey is a dog. Quite … Continue reading “Top Negotiator Wins Britain’s Got Talent”

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May 7, 2012

The Origins of Negotiation…I Think

Negotiation began in 2374BC. This is when Noah agreed a covenant with God. If you add up the ages of all of the Enochs and the Enoshes, the Hams, the Sheps and the Japheths, and the Methuselahs and the Melchisedechs, and you include all the begets and the begats, you can very clearly pinpoint it … Continue reading “The Origins of Negotiation…I Think”

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April 22, 2012

Check Your Information…Then Double-Check!

I’ve just come back from a great week in India – Goa, beautiful. It matches the Jungle Book picture we have in our heads, in a way that most of India does not. It was actually my 4th visit to the country. The last time I was there, I was teaching in a school and … Continue reading “Check Your Information…Then Double-Check!”

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April 10, 2012

What Would You Do With A Magic Wand?

Every time I run a negotiations skills course, I start the day by asking the delegates what  they want to get from the programme. And pretty much every time, what they are looking for is a magic wand. This is true on an Introduction Course and on Advanced Course. Fortunately, I can give them what … Continue reading “What Would You Do With A Magic Wand?”

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April 1, 2012

Coaching the Next Generation

  Sometimes I love my job. On Friday, I spent the day up at Oxford with the Emerge Venture Lab mentoring programme. It was an amazing day.   These were a high-calibre bunch, we’re talking Rhodes Scholars and other similarly impressive people. Emerge is a spin-off from the Said Business School at the university here, … Continue reading “Coaching the Next Generation”

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March 25, 2012

Sex & Drugs & Rock’n’Roll & Negotiation

  The music business is all about making the deal. Let’s say you’re a band wanting to play a gig. Should be simple, eh? Well, kind of. Simple if talks between you, your manager, your agent, the promoter, the venue, the record company, the publishers, the television channel, the production company, the distributor, the merchandising … Continue reading “Sex & Drugs & Rock’n’Roll & Negotiation”

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March 11, 2012

If You Were A Super-Hero, What Power Would You Like To Have?

It’s not that childish a question, actually. The world is full of remarkable people who have developed skills to a degree beyond credulity. I just spent a day at a TEDx event organised by the British newspaper The Observer. Lots of very interesting and very worthy speakers, as you would expect from such a cornerstone … Continue reading “If You Were A Super-Hero, What Power Would You Like To Have?”

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February 27, 2012

The Dragons Den Guide To Negotiation

As one of the hats I wear in the business world, I sit on a panel that is a kind of a match-making site for financial investment. Entrepreneurs apply to this panel, we assess their suitability and provide them with appropriate coaching, and then let them pitch to investors for funding, just like a real-life … Continue reading “The Dragons Den Guide To Negotiation”

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February 19, 2012

Thinking On Your Feet

3 Top Tips For Thinking Quickly When The Pressure Is On   Imagine you’re in the Dragons Den, you’re up against a panel collectively worth a billion pounds. The success or failure of your business rests with the decisions you make in the next few minutes. There are 4 million viewers watching. No pressure then. … Continue reading “Thinking On Your Feet”

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February 12, 2012

Homage to the best book on negotiation ever

Apart from mine, of course! You probably know I have just written a book called “Negotiation Mastery”, available in the shops soon. In researching this, I read somewhere around 200 other books related directly or indirectly to negotiation and I thought that over the months to come I will review several of them here. There … Continue reading “Homage to the best book on negotiation ever”

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February 3, 2012

How To Trade A Paper-Clip For A House

Think you’re a crack negotiator? Think you can wangle a nice deal? How about trading a paperclip for a house? Reckon you can do it? Kyle Macdonald of Vancouver did. It took him 15 trades over the period of one year but he got there. And managed to write a book about it as he … Continue reading “How To Trade A Paper-Clip For A House”

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January 29, 2012

Learn From The King, How Would Elvis Negotiate?

A short article this week, inspired by a story I read about Elvis. At the beginning of his career, Elvis actually had stage fright. The first time he performed to a live audience, when he was 19, he was so nervous his left leg shook visibly. Other than that, though, the performance went well and, … Continue reading “Learn From The King, How Would Elvis Negotiate?”

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January 22, 2012

How To Negotiate Your Best Rate (Part 2)

5 top tips for increasing your earnings   So you’re a professional, you’re good at your job, but when it comes to talking fees, you don’t feel so comfortable. You want to increase your rate, you feel you deserve it, but you’re not quite sure how to go about it successfully. It’s a common situation. … Continue reading “How To Negotiate Your Best Rate (Part 2)”

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January 15, 2012

How To Negotiate Your Best Rate.

5 top tips for increasing your earnings.   I was recently asked to write an article about negotiating rates for the website Network Locum Survival Guide, a one-stop shop providing support for locum doctors. Now locum doctors are obviously highly trained and knowledgeable experts in their field but they are often quite uncomfortable when it … Continue reading “How To Negotiate Your Best Rate.”

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January 8, 2012

Is Your Negotiating Counterparty Acting Crazy?

(4 more lessons from the U.S. Debt Deal) So, before being rudely interrupted by Christmas and the New Year, I was writing about the U.S. debt deal and the lessons we can draw from it with respect to our divorce (or, of course, any negotiation because hopefully we aren’t actually getting divorced). Why did the … Continue reading “Is Your Negotiating Counterparty Acting Crazy?”

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January 1, 2012

New Year, New Negotiation Tactics

5 top tips for a successful year January 1st, time to throw out the old, bring in the new and we can start by getting rid of the hangover. Time to put on your new running shoes and jog down to the gym…hmm, maybe after one more coffee. Well, perhaps I can help with some … Continue reading “New Year, New Negotiation Tactics”

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December 23, 2011

Negotiating Christmas!

There’s been far too much seriousness and worry lately so let’s take a break from that and enjoy a good Christmas. And let’s make sure we negotiate well even here. What? Negotiate? At Christmas? Of course, we’re negotiating all the time. The trains may stop for Christmas, negotiations don’t. Turkey or goose? The Cartoon Network … Continue reading “Negotiating Christmas!”

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December 18, 2011

Can We Have Some New Leaders Please?

Or: “A primer on how not to negotiate” Looking back on 2011, the negotiation story of the year has, of course, been the Eurozone crisis. Unfortunately, it will probably be the story of next year too. It is a pretty tough nut to crack, I have to admit; if I was in charge of Europe, … Continue reading “Can We Have Some New Leaders Please?”

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December 12, 2011

When Do Negotiations End?

Its been a major week for negotiations! In Brussels, 26 countries took a large step closer to fiscal integration whilst one, Britain, used its nuclear option of vetoing the deal, to potentially massive consequences. And in Durban, many thousands of miles due south, a last minute deal was reached at the climate change conference. Both … Continue reading “When Do Negotiations End?”

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December 4, 2011

Laying the Foundations For a Successful Deal

(More Ruminations on the U.S. Debt Deal and Your Divorce) Why was the U.S. debt deal clever? So in the last article, we saw how the negotiators on the U.S. debt ceiling did a very clever trick to make sure that both sides kept to the agreement: they included a clause that if no deal … Continue reading “Laying the Foundations For a Successful Deal”

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November 28, 2011

Sticking to their side of the bargain

(or ‘The U.S. Debt Deal and Your Divorce’) You come to an agreement with the other party but you don’t trust they will stick to it. How do you make sure they do? Well, the U.S. debt negotiations broke down last week and there are some interesting lessons you can learn from the happenings. Disaster … Continue reading “Sticking to their side of the bargain”

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June 19, 2011

Follow up on creativity

Just thought I’d follow up on my last article on innovation. Perhaps I was a bit too harsh on business people who are uncomfortable with the creative process. I came across a lovely description recently which which very humorously brings out its painful nature. It was on the website of the award-winning architect, Eva Jiricne, … Continue reading “Follow up on creativity”

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June 14, 2011

Is creativity the most important business skill?

I had a bit of a clear out recently and came across an old magazine, a special 75th anniversary edition of Business Week, and I had to sit down and read it again, as you do, because the whole edition was dedicated to the subject of innovation. They had looked at the 75 years of … Continue reading “Is creativity the most important business skill?”

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March 23, 2011

A Celebrity’s Guide to Negotiation

I thought I would take a quick romp through history to see if there are any lessons to be learnt about the art of negotiation from some of the famous figures and celebrities from the present and past. Lyndon B Johnson & Indira Gandhi Lesson: flirt outrageously with your counterparty. The love-in between these two … Continue reading “A Celebrity’s Guide to Negotiation”

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February 4, 2011

Negotiation Mastery

  Update: Aug 2012. The book is now available on Amazon, hope you like it! I am in the middle of writing a book called Negotiation Mastery. The idea is that it gives you the current understanding of negotiation best practice, as drawn from the literature, and then it goes further, to give you advanced … Continue reading “Negotiation Mastery”

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January 6, 2011

Do you work with a psychopath?!

Do you work with a psychopath? Well, your boss can get pretty stroppy at times and you’ve probably had doubts about that guy in accounts but a real certificate-carrying psycho? We’ve all seen the films and we think we know what psychopaths are like. Fortunately, most of them are locked up in jail, aren’t they? … Continue reading “Do you work with a psychopath?!”

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October 31, 2010

Leadership Lessons from North Korea

Leadership Lessons from North Korea  So I have just come back from a week’s holiday in North Korea and learnt a lot about leadership and management. I’m sure your eyebrows are raised at this point so I’ll just get a few things straight to start off: I’m not a raving commie and I’m certainly not … Continue reading “Leadership Lessons from North Korea”

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September 12, 2010

The Secrets Of High-Performing Teams

  If your team wins, you win.  In fact, you only win if your team wins. We all work in a team. A business is even a team of teams. In team games, you only win if your team wins. Knowing this moves your focus on to achieving the team goal rather than your own … Continue reading “The Secrets Of High-Performing Teams”

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September 5, 2010

The Return on Your Investment

A note to the business Your business is there primarily to make money. Of course, there are other reasons, but unless it makes money it simply wont stay in existence. That is the bottom line. So we realise that any project you undertake must have a positive return on its investment. And this includes training. … Continue reading “The Return on Your Investment”

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August 29, 2010

What is Systems Thinking?

Systems thinking is a bit of a buzzword and often people wonder what it actually means and how does it have any practical uses. I thought I would write a short(ish) article on it, starting off with a few illustrations of systems thinking in real life. The annoying shower You are staying at a small … Continue reading “What is Systems Thinking?”

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