Business Negotiation September 11, 2013

Marathon Sessions

Marathon sessions lead to agreement. All night meetings between labor and management are common in industrial bargaining history. Many of the great mergers and billion dollar deals we read about result from close-quarter talks that go on uninterrupted for days. Marathon negotiations have always played a critical role in diplomacy and international trade talks.

When people spend long hours together-when they sweat and strive, play and laugh, drink and relax together-there is a good chance they will get to know each other. By working together and sharing a common emotional experience, they become partners in a sense. They may reveal to each other the constraints they face at home and risks they are subjected to. What a marathon session can do is reduce the abstractions and stereotypes of conflict and turn the talks into a person-to-person give and take.

There is a hidden ingredient in every negotiation-how people feel toward each other as individuals. This is the “attitudinal” dimension of negotiation. An agreement is hard to reach if the chemistry between the parties is not right. What is required is a commitment to mutual satisfaction,a feeling of trust that they will do as they say and if trouble arises help each other over the rough spots.

The marathon works for another reason. When two parties negotiate they are isolated, at least to an extent, from those they represent. It becomes “us” (those in the conference room) against “them” (those in both organizations outside the room). A long uninterrupted session increases the likelihood that such feelings of solidarity against outside forces will develop. Both parties have a chance to talk off the record.

I am in favor of all night uninterrupted sessions under these conditions:

  • When the impetus toward agreement already exists and a long session can help guarantee that outside influences will not raise new questions or otherwise deflect a settlement.
  • When the parties have repeated the same arguments to the point that they are themselves tired and ready for compromise.
  • When the negotiators respect each other.
  • Both parties have the stamina to handle the stress of long sessions without suffering physically or mentally.
  • When the discussions have progressed to the point where divergent issues and positions have a reasonable likelihood of being moved toward agreement.

On balance, a negotiator is better served by short sessions with long breaks than vice-versa. Marathon sessions lasting to early hours of morning are dangerous to those who lack stamina and whose goals are not clear. That’s when big mistakes are made.

THE PROGRAM WAS GREAT! MY SEMINAR LEADER AND THE STRUCTURE OF THE COURSE KEPT ME CONSTANTLY STIMULATED. I NOW AM BETTER PREPARED TO GO INTO AN IMPORTANT NEGOTIATION MEETING AND STAY IN CONTROL, WHILE FINISHING THE MEETING SATISFIED.

Deanna D.
CASE MANAGER at THE JACKSON LABORATORY

IF YOU HAVE THE TRAINING BUDGET AND TWO DAYS TO SPARE, YOU'LL STRUGGLE TO FIND A PROGRAM MORE FAR-REACHING, ON-POINT, AND INSTANTLY IMPLEMENTABLE.

Jeff G.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER at THE M.K. MORSE COMPANY

EXCELLENT COURSE, BRINGS MORE CONFIDENCE IN MY ABILITY TO NEGOTIATE. I THINK THIS COURSE IS A MUST FOR ALL EMPLOYEES WHO DEAL WITH CUSTOMERS.

John S.
CHIEF ENGINEERING MANAGER at EXXONMOBIL

THIS WAS VERY EFFECTIVE WITH A STRONG FOCUS ON BOTH-WIN NEGOTIATING.

Kathleen L.
SENIOR ANALYST at BLUE CROSS/BLUE SHIELD OF MICHIGAN

THE KARRASS CLASS WAS THE SINGLE BEST TRAINING CLASS/SEMINAR I HAVE EVER ATTENDED. EVERY TIME WE DID AN EXERCISE IT TAUGHT YOU WHAT TO DO DIFFERENTLY NEXT TIME. THANKS.

Kim C.
PROCUREMENT at AMERICAN EXPRESS

THIS PROGRAM HAS GREATLY INCREASED MY CONFIDENCE AND ABILITY TO NEGOTIATE FOR MYSELF AS WELL AS MY COMPANY.

LaDonna E.
SENIOR STRATEGIC BUYER at HALLMARK

THE NEGOTIATING CLASS WAS VERY INFORMATIVE. THE INSTRUCTOR PROVIDED AN INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGE THAT CAN BE APPLIED TO EVERYDAY LIFE.

Mary S.
INTERNATIONAL SOURCING at FMC TECHNOLOGIES

WE NEGOTIATE EVERY DAY OF OUR LIVES, BOTH PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY. THIS COURSE DEFINES THE PROCESS AND PROVIDES TECHNIQUES TO ACHIEVE SUCCESSFUL RESULTS.

Phillip H.
VICE PRESIDENT at GE

PRIOR TO THIS CLASS I FELT AS THOUGH I WAS GETTING EATEN ALIVE BY INTERNAL NEGOTIATIONS WITH SALES REPS. NOW I FEEL PREPARED TO CHALLENGE WHAT THEY ARE SAYING AND BET TO THEIR REAL NEEDS.

Steve Q.
PLANNER at HONEYWELL

MANY PEOPLE FAIL TO ACHIEVE THEIR POTENTIAL BECAUSE THEY DON’T SEE THE OPPORTUNITIES TO NEGOTIATE A WIN/WIN AGREEMENT WITH THEIR COLLEAGUES. THIS CLASS IS AN EYE OPENER TO THIS DYNAMIC..

Stuart B.
CONTRACTS MANAGER at HEWLETT-PACKARD
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