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Harvard Kennedy School

Mastering Negotiation: Building Agreements Across Boundaries

Overcoming obstacles in negotiation
May 3—8, 2020
6 days
Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
USD 9100
USD 1516 per day

How it works


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When it comes to successful negotiations, the only advantage you have is the capacity to understand and shape the negotiating environment before circumstances force you to react. Doing that isn't so easy, however.

Effective negotiation is not about being stubborn in the face of inevitable change. Nor is it about being passive when challenged. It is about mastering strategic and analytic skills that enable you, as an organizational leader, to accurately diagnose problems, build winning coalitions and craft robust agreements.

In short, it is about shaping your circumstances before they shape you.

Improve Your Negotiation Strategies

Mastering Negotiation: Building Agreements Across Boundaries is a one-week program that goes beyond other negotiation workshops to address the challenges of negotiating across cultures, organizations and sectors.

Led by Harvard faculty with decades of experience, this program explores how to achieve consensus among a variety of stakeholders in order to create sustainable solutions. You'll examine the effects of social and organizational culture on negotiation while also developing the adaptive skills you need to translate your effectiveness to other settings.

This negotiation strategies executive program will provide you with:

  • The tools and frameworks to build sustainable agreements
  • Strategies for consensus building
  • A deep understanding of the role social, organizational and cultural differences have on negotiations
  • An opportunity to learn from Harvard faculty and expert practitioners
  • A lasting network of peers with similar backgrounds and experience


Mastering Negotiation is a one-week executive program that equips senior leaders like you with the skills and frameworks you need to increase the effectiveness of negotiations.

During this intensive program, you'll enjoy a highly interactive classroom setting, learning through a variety of methods. Lectures from faculty, who have both practical and theoretical knowledge of negotiations illuminate theory. Also, a role-playing component featuring one-on-one and multi-party simulations enables you to immediately apply the lessons learned. This practical application is an invaluable opportunity to hone your skills with other program participants.

Mastering Negotiation also makes extensive use of the case study method pioneered at Harvard. You'll study real-world situations that mirror the kind of negotiations you face every day. Through analysis of the experience as well as interactive discussions about the critical choices made by key players along the way, you'll gain valuable insights, training and practice in making challenging leadership decisions about actual situations.

The Mastering Negotiation curriculum focuses on:

  • Shaping the agenda for strategic action in the face of resistance and uncertainty
  • Cultivating relationships in order to build coalitions and make effective deals
  • Exploiting leverage points in rules, prior commitments and obligations to influence perceptions and alternatives
  • Mapping influential players to anticipate barriers to and opportunities for negotiated agreements
  • Framing persuasive arguments and alternatives in order to create added value
  • Shifting the balance of forces within and across organizations to build momentum
  • Initiating strategic moves at and away from the table to change the dynamic
  • Assessing negotiation outcomes with a view to improving future performance

Who should attend

Mastering Negotiation is designed for senior leaders across sectors seeking to advance their negotiation skills.

Recommended applicants include:

  • Senior public officials at the national, state and local level
  • Corporate executives, including C-level, vice president and director
  • Nonprofit and NGOleaders

The program is intended for people who have some practice in negotiation in a professional context, or who have taken a negotiation course in the past.


Kessely Hong is a Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) and teaches both Degree Program as well as Executive Education students in the areas of negotiation and decision-making. Kessely was presented with the Manuel C. Carballo Award for Excellence in Teaching by the gradua...
Brian S. Mandell is Senior Lecturer in Public Policy, Director of the Harvard Kennedy School Negotiation Project, and Chair of the Wexner Senior Leadership Program. His teaching and research address the theory and practice of negotiation, emphasizing third-party facilitation and consensus buildin...

Next dates

May 3—8, 2020
6 days
Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
USD 9100
USD 1516 per day

How it works

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