This week, Jean-Claude, partner and collaborator of the artist Christo, died. Both are probably best known for various large scale art works, some would say stunts, such as draping parts of New York’s Central Park in orange cloth in a project called The Gates. But what you may not know is that Jean-Claude was a great negotiator. It turns out it takes a lot of negotiation to be able to legally engage in the art that the couple were known for.

Harvard Business School was so impressed with the couple’s negotiation skills that it bestowed the “Great Negotiator Award” to them. Jean-Claude was apparently the better half at negotiating. For instance, she negotiated 59 separate contracts with land owners to be able to install the Running Fence project. You can read more here, at the Harvard Business Blog http://blogs.harvardbusiness.org/hbr/hbreditors/2009/11/jeanneclaude_the_great_negotia.html

As the article sums up:

“The greatness of Jeanne-Claude’s negotiating was, in the end, not that she and Christo got their way at the bargaining table, but that they got so many millions of people to experience the world, at least a part of it and for a little while, on their terms.”

Tension Relief

Negotiating can become difficult and stressful. Chester L. Karrass says nothing dispels tension as well as a quip or a funny story. In honor of Thanksgiving here’s one:

“A lady was picking through the frozen turkeys at the grocery store, but couldn’t find one big enough for her family. She asked the stock boy, ‘Do these turkeys get any bigger?’
The stock boy answered, ‘No ma’am, they’re dead.”

(From the website: http://www.guy-sports.com/humor/jokes/jokes_thanksgiving.htm)

If you need more funny stories for your next negotiating session, check out Reader’s Digest online, they have hundreds! http://www.rd.com/clean-jokes-and-laughs

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanks for visiting! If you enjoyed this post, you can learn many more useful negotiation tips through our free download of Negotiating Tips.