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Practical Negotiating: Tools, Tactics & Techniques by Tom Gosselin

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Creative Currencies Exercise

In negotiation workshops, I have often used an exercise involving the creative use of currencies.[2] Participants are paired up and each contributes $5 to the pot. The rules state that the pot has to go to one or the other participant—no splitting, no giving to charity or a third party, and that the agreements have to be real (deliverable within three weeks of the workshop). Once they know the rules and the identity of the other party, participants are given 10 minutes to plan. They consider two questions:

1.If I give the pot, what do I want in return from the other party?
2.If I get the pot, what am I willing to give to the other party?

In planning, they have to think about the other party and make some assumptions about what might be valuable to them. They also have to think through their own wants and needs and consider currencies the other party might offer to meet those needs. Participants make lists covering both contingencies—getting or giving the pot. After planning, they negotiate in pairs for 15 minutes and then declare (1) a “deal” and post the results on the flip chart or (2) a deadlock and the money goes to the instructor. Having done this exercise in many different organizations and in public sessions, I am always amazed at the results. Here are just some of the many settlements:

A:

Got the pot.

B:

Ride to the airport in A’s rental car.

B:

Got the pot.

A:

Day-long sailing trip in San Francisco Bay on B’s boat.

A:

Got the pot.

B:

Job lead in A’s ...

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