Practices of Effective Negotiators

I highly recommend every conflict resolution practitioner read the paper by Elfenbein et al. titled:

Why are Some Negotiators Better than Others? Opening the Black Box of Bargaining Behaviors

Download the paper for free [HERE].

Lead author, Hillary Anger Elfenbein

  • If my word is not convincing enough, here’s some great tidbits from the paper about effective negotiators:
  • Better negotiators typical engaged in greater information sharing & seeking. This allowed claiming and creating value
  • Moved the process along by using words that articulating discrepancies (should, could, would)
  • Controlled the flow of offers by making more offers and reacting to offers being made
  • Are accurate in understanding the interests & priorities of their counterparts
  • Using misleading information predicted greater performances as it was connected to value claiming
  • Displayed greater signs of dominance (talking more, saying “no” more, less nonverbal displays of affiliation)I found this interesting with respect to anchoring:
  • There was no correlation between performance and consistently making the first offer in a negotiationFor those who enjoy nonverbal communication, this was very interesting:

In particular, consistently displaying nonverbal synchrony with one’s counterpart, as measured in terms of the appearance of coordinated physical movement, was associated with lower performance through lower value claiming.

I encourage everyone (yes, again!) to read the paper. It provides a great opportunity to reflect on your approaches to negotiation and discern the information the paper provides.



Jeff Thompson

Jeff Thompson, Ph.D., is a professor at Lipscomb University, researcher, mediator, and trainer. He is also involved in crisis and hostage negotiation as well as a law enforcement detective. His research includes law enforcement crisis and hostage negotiation in terrorist incidents. He received his doctorate from Griffith University Law School… MORE >

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