Oxford Programme on Negotiation

Oxford Programme on Negotiation


Negotiation is an activity that is fundamental to every aspect of our business and personal lives. It underpins decision making, conflict resolution, management and leadership, as well as the more obvious sales and bargaining activities. Too often, though, it is seen as adversarial and competitive – a game in which there can be only one winner. Join us to explore the psychology and practice of negotiation, and develop the skills and knowledge to conduct truly successful negotiations from which all parties emerge as winners.

The Oxford Programme on Negotiation (OPN) is carefully structured, with a strong faculty and group of tutors who act as coaches, accompanying participants on their journey through the week and ensuring that they are able to personalise and apply their learning. It is really important to us that people can take away all the key negotiation tools and start using them from day one, whether in international diplomacy, big commercial mergers and acquisitions, or simply in their day-to-day leadership. The programme teaches the principles of negotiation but – importantly – it goes deeper into the psychology of human behaviours and biases that lie beneath these interactions as well as focusing on the crucial skills behind effective persuasion. You learn about your own biases, how different cultures influence communication styles and assumptions about interpersonal relationships, and how to improve your questioning and listening skills. This gives you the flexibility to use and adapt your negotiation skills in different contexts and in a changing business environment as well as how to communicate and secure the buy-in of stakeholders away from the negotiation table. In addition we bring in expert speakers to talk about their recent experiences, so you hear some of the most up-to-date real-life negotiation cases possible, and get to question the people who actually took part in them. All of this adds up to a stimulating and highly practical week that will yield benefits for years to come. 


  • Increase your self-awareness: recognise how we can all be subject to biases and cognitive errors, and develop ways of neutralising them
  • Learn how to research and plan to achieve a successful negotiation, even when you have no control over the other party or parties
  • Understand the importance of preparation, the need to consider other people’s and your own motivations, and how you must be clear about your mandate and goals
  • Develop ways of reframing issues so that everyone can be heard and feel that they have contributed positively to the decision
  • Use listening, questioning and persuasion skills to change situations and create better outcomes
  • Become more adept at reaching consensus and cooperation, and at managing your own emotions
  • Gain practical experience of a wide variety of types of negotiation.

Who is it for:

Senior executives with a minimum of around ten years’ experience, who are responsible for formal negotiations or managing important relationships both inside and outside the organisation.

Course Outline:

Pre-programme work: We ask you to send us a short written piece describing the negotiation challenges you are facing and what you hope to achieve on the programme.

Negotiation fundamentals

  • Preparing for negotiations
  • How do you plan so that you minimise frustrations and maximise problem solving?
  • Negotiation principles and tools
  • What research do you need to do before the negotiation starts? 
  • How do you prevent negotiations becoming competitive and adversarial? 
  • How do you create value rather than just claiming it? 
  • How can you stop yourselves becoming trapped in entrenched positions?

Decision making

  • Which biases and assumptions impede good decision making and how do you neutralise them – or use them? 
  • How can you make sure that all possible options are properly considered and that everyone’s voice is heard? 
  • What is the impact of different personalities on group decision making?

Complex negotiations

  • Stakeholder engagement
  • How can you reach your stakeholders and negotiate effectively in the age of social media, when privacy and confidentiality cannot be guaranteed? 
  • How do you manage communication with media that no longer play by the same rules? 
  • And what impact does that have on your negotiating strategy?

Cross-cultural negotiation

  • How do you avoid the often hidden traps arising from cultural differences? 
  • Do you and the other negotiators even have the same goal? 
  • How do you use questions effectively to clarify meaning and interpretation?

Negotiating in a changing environment

  • How do you cope when the goalposts keep changing?
  • How do you manage your emotions and maintain positive relationships when events are beyond your control?

Multi-party negotiations

  • How do you establish order and manage status and power differences in a multi-party negotiation? 
  • What are the best ways of meeting multiple agendas and dealing with a variety of negotiating tactics? 
  • How can you agree on a common vision or objective?

Multi-issue negotiations

  • What happens when the issues you are negotiating are multifaceted and complex? 
  • When an agreement on one issue then has an impact on many others? 
  • How do you identify and prioritise the issues for discussion?

Connecting all the pieces

  • Which negotiation strategies do you employ when dealing with complex, multi-party, multi-issue, crosscultural negotiations and how do you positively influence stakeholders that can make or break the final agreement?

Skills Learnt:

Business: How do you create value by negotiating better deals.