Negotiation Skills Company, Inc.
Negotiation Skills Company, Inc.

The Negotiation Skills Company -- Newsletter April 2000
Spring 2000

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The occasional newsletter of
The Negotiation Skills Company, Inc. (TNSC)


To achieve optimum results from negotiations, we need to pay attention to interests of the parties and their constituents. Individuals' and groups' interests are most simply described as why they want what they want. A fair negotiation process aims at addressing those interests so that the parties can create an agreement that will be fulfilled according to the promises each party has made.

There are many ways to characterize interests; some relate to such issues as ego or face, satisfying the boss, or getting a price that makes economic sense. Sometimes it is easy to reach agreement on the parties' varied interests; often one needs to pay attention to three different kinds of interests to reach a realistic solution.

Interests can be typed using the Three C approach:

It is generally simplest to reach agreement about Common interests. For example, both of us want to have a good meal at a reasonably priced restaurant - and we both enjoy Italian food. When there are common interests, simply finding them is the basic job of the negotiating parties.

Quite often, the interests we discover are Complementary. The most frequently cited example of complementary interests is when two children are arguing over which one gets the family's only orange. When it turns out that one wants the juice and the other wants to use the skin of the orange for cooking, it is clear their interests complement each other. The interest of each child can be met without either one 'losing'.

When interests are in Conflict, negotiators have to work with great care and skill to reach a workable solution. Here the fundamental job is to look at those conflicting interests as complex rather than simple objectives. Each negotiating party needs to do a good job of self-examination: "Is my interest indivisible, or is it made up of elements that can be treated individually?" Clearly the same question has to be asked about the interests of the people with whom we are negotiating. If we can fractionate conflicting interests, we may be able to create building blocks to use to develop a workable solution.

Recognizing that conflicts exist does not bring the negotiation process to a halt. Rather it offers negotiators an opportunity to re-examine their own interests and those of other parties to see if resolving segments of the conflicting interests offers a route to a satisfactory and workable resolution.


We were pleased that our long process of recruiting Marsha Vaughan bore fruit at the beginning of January. Mrs.Vaughan joined us as TNSC's Marketing Vice President at that time. Marsha brings two decades of business experience as well as a terrific personality to our crew. She replaces Felicity Barber who was with us for six years. Felicity has 'graduated' TNSC, using her talents to benefit a new range of clients.

"Dr. Curtis Johnson is the newest addition to TNSC's team of Senior Trainers. His outstanding professional background adds unique expertise to our crew. Dr. Johnson is an excellent experienced trainer as well as a riveting public speaker."

In addition to continually expanding client base for our training programs, TNSC's consulting and mentoring business has been growing as well. Because we work with such a varied group of clients, we are able to keep developing our comprehension of the wide range of issues faced in different business, corporate, and national cultures. This helps add value to the work we do with each individual client.

Our mentoring activities have included work on some interesting projects: renegotiating a partnership agreement, work regarding war reparations (not involving a European country), a management buy-out, and advice involving corporate partnering/mergers/joint venturing. Negotiation is an element in a tremendous variety of business and personal activities.


Many people ask us for a schedule of public seminars they might attend. TNSC only presents our training programs for companies or other organizations. On rare occasions we are allowed to bring 'outsiders' into programs in the United States and other countries. Next October, Groupe HEC, the business school outside Paris where Steve Cohen is a visiting Associate Professor, is offering 'Fighting Fires Without Burning Bridges' as an open two-day program. If you are interested in attending, please let us know.


"To be humble to superiors is duty, to equals courtesy, to inferiors nobleness."
Ben Franklin

Good Luck and Good Negotiating


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The Negotiation Skills Company, Inc.   P O Box 172   Pride's Crossing, MA 01965, USA   
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