Exclusive Interview with Remi SMOLINSKI – N-Conference 2024 Keynote Speaker 

I recently had a conversation with Anna Cajot, the N-Conference Director, about my upcoming keynote at the October conference. I shared my excitement about presenting the Negotiation Competency Model, a framework developed from extensive research that links observable behaviors to successful negotiation outcomes. In our discussion, I emphasized that great negotiators are distinguished by their ability to achieve substantive results while building strong relationships and by leveraging diverse team dynamics for superior performance.

I explained that measuring and improving negotiation skills is challenging but crucial. To address this, we need structured environments where negotiators can be evaluated and compared systematically. These controlled settings, such as internal or open competitions, allow for precise assessment and provide valuable feedback for continuous improvement. Drawing parallels to sports, I stressed that achieving negotiation mastery, much like excelling in soccer, requires ongoing practice, feedback, and refinement. Our goal is to create environments that support professionals in their journey towards becoming effective negotiators.


NCMR Article of the year Award 2024

Somebody pinch me please! Two papers of the year in the same year? I must be dreaming…

We are delighted to share that we’ve just received an email from the Editor-in-Chief of the Negotiation and Conflict Management Research Journal Jimena Ramirez Marin that our literature review on the first offers and anchoring in negotiation has received the NCMR Article of the Year Award 2024!

Our paper reviews 119 journal articles published since 1967 and proposes a process model of first offers in negotiation that organizes our knowledge about this highly important element of the negotiation process.

While writting this paper with my partners in crime: Wolfram Lipp from Technical University of Munich and Peter Kesting from Aarhus University we also realized how much we still don’t know about first offers and anchoring in negotiation.

The paper is available in open access and can be viewed and downloaded here. Please let us know what you think!

Thank you, dear committee members: Michael Gross, Nazlı Bhatia, PhD, Jingjing Yao, David Hunsaker, PhD, Teng Zhang for your kind recognition!

Thank you HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management for supporting our research at the Center for International Negotiation.

Leaders as Negotiators: Padmé vs. Palpatine

We’re thrilled to announce that our chapter on Leaders as Negotiators including a structured comparison of Padmé and Palpatine has just been published in a book edited by Jen Reynolds and Noam Ebner: “Star Wars and Conflict Resolution II“!

In our chapter, based on the framework introduced by Jeswald Salacuse in “Real Leaders Negotiate“, we explore the contrasting leadership and negotiation styles of these influential leaders and the profound impact they had on the fate of the galaxy. While Padmé epitomizes diplomacy, empathy, and a commitment to peaceful resolution, Palpatine embodies manipulation, deceit, and a relentless pursuit of power.

Throughout the “Star Wars” saga, Padmé Amidala, the former queen and senator of Naboo, emerges as a beacon of hope and resilience. Her negotiation tactics are grounded in compassion and a genuine desire for the greater good. Padmé navigates complex political landscapes with integrity and courage, striving to bridge divides and forge alliances.

In stark contrast stands Emperor Palpatine, a master manipulator and orchestrator of chaos. Concealed behind a facade of benevolence, Palpatine exploits fear and uncertainty to advance his sinister agenda. His negotiation tactics are shrouded in deception and coercion, serving only his insatiable thirst for domination.

Padmé’s unwavering commitment to dialogue and compromise teaches us the power of empathy and understanding in resolving disputes. Conversely, Palpatine’s cunning strategies shed light on the dangers of manipulation and the importance of vigilance in safeguarding against tyranny.

“Star Wars and Conflict Resolution II” offers a unique lens through which to examine timeless principles of negotiation and conflict. Through the lens of this epic saga, the authors explore the complexities of human (and alien) interaction and the enduring struggle between light and darkness.

May the Force be with you!

2024 Gregory Kersten GDN Journal Best Paper Award

We are delighted to share that our paper Beyond the First Offer: Decoding Negotiation Openings and Their Impact on Economic and Subjective Outcomes, co-authored by Wolfram Lipp, Peter Kesting, and me has been awarded with 2024 Gregory Kersten GDN Journal Best Paper Award!

I remember how happy we all were when the paper got accepted by the Group Decision and Negotiation journal, but none of us ever thought it would earn us this prestigious award!

In our paper, we report on the results of two empiracal studies that suggest that counteroffers similarly to the first offers affect negotiation outcomes. We also introduce the concept of an “anchor zone” between initial and counter offers, which significantly influences final agreements.

Gregory Kersten GDN Journal Best Paper Award was handed over during a joint conference from the Group Decision and Negotiation (INFORMS) and Euro-Working Group in Decision Support Systems Technology (EURO) on June 2-5 at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto, in Porto, Portugal.

The paper is a result of a great collaboration project between Technical University of Munich, Aarhus University, and HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management. Thank you Wolfram and Peter for our long discussions and endless revisions. I genuinely enjoyed every minute, and it was definitely worth it!

The paper is available in open access and can be viewed and downloaded here. Please let us know what you think!

Leadership lesson from 2023 – a story of a servant leader

2023 is over now, but I would like to share the second powerful leadership lesson I’ve learned that year while working on The Negotiation Challenge for Students.

TNC 2023 took place Luiss Guido Carli University in Rome and it’s organization was coordinated by Angelo Monoriti, whom I’m priviledged to call a friend now. Organizing a 3-4 days event for over 100 participants is a complex task, which requires a significant effort and a strong team.

All throughout the preparations and the intensity of the finals in Rome, we’ve met many dedicated and highly successful professionals from various disciplines who offered their time and resources to support TNC 2023. Not because of TNC, which they had not known before, but because they were asked by their friend, Angelo! Their involvement exceeded mere attendance. They got involved in TNC as if it was their own project, offering their support, resources, and advice, whenever needed!

For many years, Angelo has been inspring students of Luiss Guido Carli University helping them to become better negotiators. His motivation is not rooted in the pursuit of wealth or fame but in the belief that these students need these skills to evolve into better versions of themselves and, ultimately, better leaders. When I spoke to some of them during the TNC finals in Rome, they emphasized that their relationship with Angelo has evolved from beining students of his class, through becoming Angelo’s mentees, and ending up as his friends. They learned together, grew together, celebrated together, and cried together. He was always there for them and I’m sure that they will be there for him, should he ever need their help.

On behalf of all your friends, thank you, Angelo, for helping us understand, the meaning of true leadership. Thank you for being there for us! Luiss Guido Carli University is lucky to have you on their faculty! I look forward to working with you!

Leadership lesson from 2023 – a story of a powerful lion and a clever rabbit

As this year is slowly coming to an end, following the great example of Charles Dickens, I would like to share two leadership stories, which are inspired by true events I’ve witnessed this year.

One day, in the heart of the Animal Kingdom, two prominent figures caught the attention of the entire kingdom. Ryan, the diligent rabbit, worked tirelessly for the kingdom’s prosperity. Cedric, a proud and powerful lion, held a high position and was in charge of making important decisions.

Cedric, however, decided to let go of Ryan from his duties, citing reasons that seemed surprising and unjust to many in the Animal Kingdom. The news spread like wildfire, and whispers of discontent echoed through the trees and fields.

Months passed, and the kingdom observed with keen interest the decisions made by Cedric. To the surprise of many, Cedric’s actions were not well received by his fellow animals. His partners, a coalition of wise and experienced animals, decided that his leadership lacked the wisdom and fairness the kingdom deserved.

One evening, as the sun dipped below the horizon, the partners gathered in a secret meeting. The partners, tired of Cedric’s erratic decisions, concluded that it was time for a change. They believed that a leader should be fair, just, and considerate of the well-being of all animals in the kingdom. After a long deliberation, they made the difficult decision to relieve Cedric of his duties.

Word spread through the Animal Kingdom, and the creatures couldn’t help but draw parallels between the fate of Ryan and Cedric. The wise old owl, Oliver, took it upon himself to share the moral of the story with the kingdom.

“Dear friends,” Oliver, the Owl hooted from his perch, “let this tale be a lesson to us all. In the vast tapestry of the Animal Kingdom, fairness and wisdom are the pillars of good leadership. Treat others with kindness and consideration, for one’s actions have a way of coming full circle.”

… and Ryan? After a few weeks of disappointment, Ryan, the rabbit, found himself exploring new territories within the Animal Kingdom. In a distant meadow, he stumbled upon a diverse community of animals facing challenges and seeking a leader. With resilience and determination, Ryan stepped forward to offer his guidance. The animals quickly recognized his fairness, empathy, experience, and wisdom traits that had been overlooked by his previous employer. In this new stimulating environment, Ryan flourished as a leader, fostering a sense of unity and cooperation among the diverse group of animals. Together, they thrived in harmony, proving that sometimes, a setback can lead to an even brighter and more fulfilling chapter in one’s journey.

Stay tuned for the next leadership fable on the New Year’s Eve!

Happy Holidays, my friends! Thank you for being a part of my journey!

A Practical Guide to Negotiation Simulation Writing

Delighted to share that our paper: A Practical Guide to Negotiation Simulation Writing is available in open access on the website of Harvard’s Negotiation Journal!

Running negotiation competitions for students and professionals requires producing new negotiation simulations. Over the years, we’ve designed, written, tested, and assessed hundreds of negotiation simulations and our paper shares the lessons we’ve learned along the way. It includes also a step-by-step practical guide how to write effective negotiation simulations.

Many thanks to my partner in crime Peter Kesting for this excellent idea and Silvia P. Glick, Melissa Manwaring and other anonymous reviewers for their suggestions and feedback.

We are super excited and couldn’t wait to share it with you and look forward to receiving your feedback!

Source: A Practical Guide to Negotiation Simulation Writing – Kesting – 2023 – Negotiation Journal – Wiley Online Library

The Negotiation Challenge for Professionals

Negotiation is an art we all practice, whether we realize it or not. It permeates various aspects of our lives, from deciding where to eat with friends to securing business deals that impact our economic well-being. Some of us even negotiate professionally, making negotiation skills a crucial asset for success in our careers. Given its ubiquity and significance, it becomes vital to introspect and ask ourselves: Are we good negotiators? Can we negotiate effectively when it truly matters?

As founders of one of the first international negotiation competitions, The Negotiation Challenge, we once struggled to pinpoint the exact factors contributing to negotiators’ performance. The journey began with intuition, but we knew we needed more. Over time, we crafted a comprehensive evaluation system grounded in solid academic research, which has since proven to be a reliable benchmark for assessing and comparing negotiators’ abilities.

Throughout human history, we have relentlessly pursued mastery and excellence in various fields. Whether it’s determining the fastest runner, the strongest warrior, or the most skilled musician, competitions have been our means of comparison and a catalyst for greatness. In the spirit of this quest, we established The Negotiation Challenge for Professionals, a fair and transparent competition designed to put your negotiation skills to the test and measure them against others in your domain.

No matter your professional background—be it sales, procurement, entrepreneurship, M&A advisory, strategy consulting, or legal practice—The Negotiation Challenge invites you to participate and systematically assess your negotiation prowess alongside passionate negotiators from diverse countries and cultures.

Why should you seize this unique opportunity to develop your negotiation skills?

  1. Negotiate with the Best – The Negotiation Challenge attracts top-notch negotiators from around the world. Facing off against them demands the utilization of a wide array of negotiation tools and methods to engineer value and strike astute agreements. This challenge is your gateway to becoming an even better negotiator.
  2. Network with Passionate Negotiators – Engaging in The Negotiation Challenge allows you to connect with fellow passionate negotiators from various companies and nations. Through these interactions, you can exchange experiences, broaden your network, and learn from different perspectives.
  3. Feedback from Negotiation Experts – The founders and judges of The Negotiation Challenge are not just thought leaders and experts in the field; they are seasoned negotiators themselves. Their invaluable feedback has helped countless participants diagnose weaknesses and optimize their negotiation styles for success.
  4. Develop Your Negotiation Skills – Confronted with intricate negotiation scenarios and competing against well-trained and experienced counterparts, participants receive an excellent opportunity to elevate their negotiation skills. The guidance and coaching provided by judges further aid in their development.

The ability to navigate conflicts and negotiate wise agreements profoundly impacts the quality of our lives. Whether you are a seasoned negotiator or aspire to hone your negotiation craft, we extend our invitation to join The Negotiation Challenge. Together, we will shape a world where effective negotiation becomes a cornerstone of personal and professional success.

Unlock your negotiation potential and register for The Negotiation Challenge today! Embrace the opportunity to excel, grow, and become an extraordinary negotiator.

Differences between habitual and novice entrepreneurs in funding negotiations

Happy to announce that our paper “Differences between habitual and novice entrepreneurs in funding negotiations” has just been published in the International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research!

Serial entrepreneurs are generally able to secure more venture capital funding and on better deal terms than novices. Our study investigates the disparities in negotiation competencies between habitual and novice entrepreneurs during VC funding negotiations. We use a qualitative approach to investigate the variation in negotiation competencies between habitual and novice entrepreneurs, utilizing the negotiation competency model (NCM). Our findings reveal substantial differences between novice and habitual entrepreneurs in VC negotiations. The results indicate three primary dimensions contributing to these differences: expertise, reputation, and negotiation competences. Our study represents one of the earliest empirical investigations into the entrepreneurial negotiation competencies within VC negotiations. The findings narrow the gap between novice and habitual entrepreneurs in VC negotiations by pinpointing the distinct variations between these two groups, which hold significant practical implications.

We are already translating our findings into a negotiation training designed especially for entrepreneuers to prepare them for their most important entrepreneurial negotiations! Please reach out to me if you’re interested in such training!

Many thanks to Christian GladePeter Kesting, and Dominik K. Kanbach for a great collaboration on this project! We also keep on looking at the VC funding negotiations and hope to report further insights soon!

Source: Differences between habitual and novice entrepreneurs in funding negotiations | Emerald Insight

“What is Your Best Price?”—An Experimental Study of an Alternative Negotiation Opening (PDF)

Delighted to share that our paper “What’s your best price? – An Experimental Study of an Alternative Negotiation Opening” is available on the website of Harvard’s Negotiation Journal.

Our study investigates the impact of an negotiation opening frequently encountered in negotiations, especially after posting ads on classified services on economic and relational outcomes. Our results show that inducing the first offer seems to lead to better outcome than making a counteroffer and not to damage the relationship between the negotiating parties.

Many thanks to my co-authors Wolfram Lipp and Peter Kesting for an excellent collaboration!

Source: (PDF) “What is Your Best Price?”-An Experimental Study of an Alternative Negotiation Opening