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The last item talked about successes in negotiation during 2014.  Of course, not every negotiation is successful.  Further, the benchmark for success when negotiations is a bit ambiguous.  Tourists realize this paradox when bargaining at some shop for a bit of local jewelry or carving; they feel pretty good for convincing the shop-owner to cut his first offer in half, until they talk to somebody else on the tour whose price for the same thing was 50 percent less.

The essential problem, and the biggest lesson, is that the real measure of success depends on what the other side was willing to accept.  That information is rarely available.  Or, despite what some people think, negotiating badly can make both sides worse off.  Or, you may think that you are playing bridge when the other side thinks that they are playing poker.

It helps to study negotiations conceptually to see patterns and to recognize that, in addition to what was seen to happen, something else could have happened.  With that in mind, the Program on Negotiations are Harvard Law School published their list of the 10 worst negotiations during 2014.

Enjoy, and ask yourself if you could do better.

PA

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