One of my main personal take-aways of this seminar is the insight that – if somehow possible – you should always find time to prepare for a negotiation. This helps you to be clear on the goal of the negotiation process and to subsequently really achieve your goals in an efficient way. When it comes to walking out of a negotiation with a satisfying result, it is essential to become clear on and separate between “have tos” and things which are not necessarily a “have to” but would still be beneficial if they were achieved – intents.
Furthermore, it is powerful to think about your own and your opposite’s BATNA and how to strengthen or weaken it. One also should consider that sometimes “no deal” can be the best solution in negotiations. Still with the concept of tradables at hand, there is often much more room for solutions than one would think. I find it interesting to search for potential tradables beforehand and also to actively ask the counterparty for tradables which they could offer at low personal costs. This is another insight that will stick with me from this course, tradables are things which you can offer and are of value to someone else but do not cost you much.
Having talked about the importance of preparation, it is relevant to remember that the amount of time spent on preparing for a negotiation has to be in line with the expected benefit of this negotiation. Another powerful tool that I have come more and more familiar during the course, is the power of having an agenda, especially when it comes to not wasting much time on nothing. Not only having an own agenda but also inviting the counterparty to prepare their agenda in advance and having those agendas compared at an early stage of the negotiation process, can be really powerful – one could see that during the roleplay at the second day.
Many of the key learnings that I have taken away from this course come in at a very early stage of the negotiation process and can have a major impact on how the subsequent negotiation develops. Next, I found it interesting to keep in mind that a good negotiation team should consist of team members with different complementary tasks/skills. So taking a short break at the right time, is something I will very likely apply more often in the future.
To sum it up, I think that this course especially will help me to not only achieve satisfying results, which I feel I have already been quite good in the past, but to achieve them within a reasonable time frame. In other words, I think I can take with me much knowledge and many tools that make me working more goal-directed and efficiently and I think that this course also further enables me to give positive guidance (to others) during negotiations.

Bernhard Mayr, Student WU

I really appreciate this course and my confidence for future negotiations has risen drastically. Before the course I did not really know what one could learn for negotiation. Now, of course, I am still not an expert but I feel that now I basically know all of the crucial things about negotiation and I have the handout to look up the important stuff before my next important negotiation.
The way the content was presented was very well structured, which made it easy for me to memorize it. Whether the sailing course has helped memorizing it even better, I will first be able to judge in a few years. Now the knowledge is still in my short-term memory. In any case, it helped create a very positive atmosphere, many good emotions, and it made everyone happy to attend the class on a Monday morning! So the least I can say is that it was a day everyone of us (participants and lecturer) has spent nicely ☺
We also had a class called “Executive Leadership” this semester, where we read Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. After the first three habits of “private victory”, the next habits to follow for “public victory” were Think Win-Win, Seek First To Understand Then To Be Understood, and Synergize. I felt reminded of that, when hearing that listening should be 80% of the negotiation, or when trying to understand the other better in order to find a solution that will benefit both (win-win).
There are some small things I would suggest to improve. Some arguments were brought forward to dogmatically in my opinion, and – as someone mentioned in the feedback round at the end of the course – sometimes the main argument against criticism was “Harvard says so”. After careful reconsideration some questions remain unclear to me, for instance “what should I do if giving away information would be necessary from a moral perspective but would hurt my position in the negotiation? or “what to do if there is no win-win, but the situation is actually a zero-sum game?
But those are just details and overall as I said, I would give this course 10 out of 10 possible points and I will keep it in mind as one of the best courses I had ☺

Henrik Sulz, Student WU

This short feedback paper has the aim to sum up the most important insights I have gained during the seminar. In general, I perceive both days as extremely valuable for my future life. I expect to directly apply the five steps of the Harvard negotiating method during my upcoming job interviews and I am convinced that it will help me to achieve my desired results. Moreover, I am sure that the seminar will help me also in my private life. I am faced everyday with negotiating situations with my family or friends and the seminar showed principles and methods how to gain satisfying results for both sides. Especially in negotiations in the private level it is important for me that also the negotiation partner does not feel outsmarted afterwards. The first day was important because it equipped the class with the theoretical toolkit that was needed for the second, more practical day. The highlight of the second day was definitely the applied negotiation round. The environment with two teams consisting of three people each was a complete new situation for me and the realistic design of the negotiated case gave everyone a lot of motivation to achieve the goals which were set in the HIT list during the preparation phase. Before, I also negotiated a lot but never in such a structured way. Especially the right use of Tradables is a powerful asset to leverage one’s own position in any negotiation situation in my life. To put it in a nutshell, this very practical seminar will have a strong influence on my future development and the reaching of my private and professional goals. It will help me to do so in a more efficient and less time-consuming way. Last but not least I can highly encourage the seminar facilitator to organize this event next semester again at Alte Donau. It was a great and refreshing alternative compared to the usual class room seminars.

Raffael Speitmann, Student WU

Generally, it was one of the most valuable courses in my opinion throughout the master program. When I compared invested time to return ratio with other courses this one is definitely a leader. At the beginning of the first class everyone stated his/her own expectations from the course. Mine was to get a “birds view” that included integration of the popular concepts from the literature and at the end of the course I got one. However, what I’ve missed is also a critical view on the issue; for instance, a review of Jim Camp’s approach described in his book “Start with no” might be interesting to contrast it to other concepts. Another interesting outcome could be reached through the combination of the course with some of the famous Sun Tzu quotes from his book “The Art of War” to add more drama. My key takeaway is understanding that one has to prepare to negotiate and the amount of time spent on preparation is directly proportional to success. This might be obvious, but I never thought about it in such a structured way where we can use HIT lists, BATNA, 80/20 principle, or Russian front. However, the most important learning for me was that we need to set up our have to’s and when they are not reached even with help of tradable simply “walk away”. I am more than 100% sure that my negotiation techniques are constantly improving because every time I think of them in a structured framework.

Denis Dragunov, Student WU

The subject of negotiation is a controversial topic. It is thus quite inspiring to be able to discuss it with peers as well as experienced professionals, and the untypical WU course of Negotiations presented me interesting topics which stimulated personal reflections. First of all I would like to thank you for offering us the possibility to learn about and practice negotiations in an outstanding environment, which without doubt enhanced the learning outcome of this course significantly.
I always considered myself a steady negotiator who knows what he wants. However in the proceeding of this course, I realized that my approach to negotiation was lacking some important structure and tools. The introduced “Harvard Method” was an eye opener for me; I realized that a well-structured approach would improve my negotiation skills in every situation in order to get the best results out of it. Furthermore, I spent insufficient time on the preparation of a negotiation and persuaded a little bit of the typical Austrian “schaun ma mal” attitude when it came to negotiations. In addition, the creation of a HIT list to clarify which goals are essential to me and which are just nice to have will help me improve my standing in negotiations. Furthermore, the concept of tradeables that can be traded at very low cost is an excellent tool that can be used for bargaining. One thing I will always keep in mind is the fact that there is no need to come to an agreement, therefore it is crucial to always have a BATNA at hand. Besides, I’m right now working on integrating a more question based negotiation style and use summarization as a negotiation technique. Finally the most important key learning for me is the fact that we ALWAYS have to prepare for the negation not just from our own point of view but also for the other party in order to get a better understanding and therefore come to a mutually beneficial result.
In particular, I am currently trying to structure all negotiations in my private as well as in my professional life according to the 5 phases. These are fundamentally my key take-away from this course and I believe that an intensive practice of the learned techniques will lead to a certain mastery of negotiation in the future.

Peter Hackl, Student WU

Feedback from participants of the negotiation seminar on the Old Danube

I personally liked the event very much, the topic speaks to our everyday life and was very interesting and very well explained by you. I am quite sure that I will enter the negotiations prepared in the next job interviews. With the Harvard method and the five-phase model I have a baggage of tools with me, which I can use alternately and in different situations. At the course I enjoyed the interactive transmission of information and I will never forget the topic with camel, and I will always have the 18th camel in my pocket and never give it away for free.

Mr. Nekham is, along with my EBC and labour law professors, certainly one of the best teaching staff of this university. His descriptions of the practice have confirmed the image of a very experienced and competent man of practice. He often involved the students in the lessons in a humorous way without losing sight of the topic. Unfortunately I was not able to visit the last unit at the old Danube, but the offer to go sailing together after the lecture is probably unique at this university.
Thank you very much for this interesting seminar!

The course offered a relaxed atmosphere and the contents were taught in a playful way with the help of short stories and homework, where you had to summarize contents and present them later in the unit. I see this as a very effective way of conveying the material, because it makes more sense to look at presentations, summarize them and then reproduce them again. What I also found very positive was that the course was moved outside in the last unit and the opportunity was offered to get a taste of sailing afterwards.
I also liked giving small tasks to colleagues and addressing everyone by name, so everyone was involved and especially people who otherwise might not have been paying much attention felt addressed. I liked the fact that after 50 minutes break was taken, so you could stay concentrated and the course remained entertaining.

The lecturer was very eloquent, you can see that he has a lot of practical experience and the course has been held many times before. A positive aspect is the use of more everyday language, which makes the lecturer seem more approachable. The lecturer was always able to attract attention and made the lecture interesting. What I also found remarkable was that the lecturer, probably to attract attention, walked around the audience from time to time and that music was played during the breaks and at the beginning of the course.

First of all, I would like to say that I thought it was a very good idea to offer such a practice-oriented part in the Supply and Procurement Management course. In addition to many illustrated examples, we also had the opportunity to experience many a “negotiation technique” first hand and to feel the difference. I only think of the music in the lecture hall when the students arrived.

The structure of the 3 units was also very well thought out, structured and very understandable for me. The experience of entering the first unit with a self-assessment (diagram) of our own negotiating skills was very interesting.
The combination of the different methods (Harvard method, 5 phase model, …) was very well chosen, as it allowed us to get to know the wholeness of a process from preparation to completion. The models were worked through throughout the three units.
I would also like to make special mention of the many practical examples that brought us closer to the theory and its facts in a playful way.

In my eyes, I think it’s great how much you were able to teach us in the three half days. I also find the presence in this course very useful and am pleased that I was able to take a lot out of this seminar, both privately and professionally. Personally, I particularly liked the fact that you made the presentation very free, interactive and open. With no other PI I had the freedom to just get up and walk around.
I find it particularly interesting and valuable that this seminar has completely changed my view of negotiation and my approach to it. This fact may not sound very impressive, but it is a great added value to understand negotiation correctly and above all to be able to understand interest-based negotiation very well.

It all made sense to me what she tells us, which leads me to the desired feedback about her: I was always told to be critical of what I was told, but with you I never felt the need to question anything and I believed everything you said right away! I haven’t met many people who radiate such a thing!
Final conclusion: 11 out of a possible 10 stars!!