What is a Negotiation?/Martin Rosenfeld, JD

Posted on January 18, 2019


A recent article appeared at HuffingonPost.com (1/16/19)entitled “How Bad is Trump at Making Deals? Even Worse Than you Think”. The author, Emily Peck, wrote about an upcoming issue of PON Quarterly, the Harvard journal that discusses negotiation. Ms. Peck points out that the irony of Mr. Trump’s “The Art of the Deal” is that Mr. Trump did few real estate deals. The deals were primarily orchestrated by Roy Cohn or George Ross. The lessons we can learn from Trump negotiation, however, are primarily what not to do in a negotiation. These lessons include:

1. Mr.Trump believes that a negotiation is a zero-sum game; one party wins and one loses. (Think no further than the Wall controversy.)A wise negotiator believes in Win-Win. As Carrie Menkel-Meador, a negotiation trainer, summed it up: “To get what you want, you have to give other people what they want.”

2. Do not make the other party your enemy. (Think Twitter taunts in the alternative.)

3. You must engender trust. President Johnson was a tough negotiator, but his word was his bond.(Examples abound in this area re Mr.Trump.)

In summation, pursue Win-Win, do not seek to paint yourself as an enemy, and be trustworthy. Wise thoughts for the business world or the world of interpersonal relations. Mediate don’t litigate.