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When an enemy sits at your conference table

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“Should you bargain with the devil? Not always—but more often than you feel like it.” from Bargaining with the Devil: Strategies and Techniques for Negotiating with Tough Opponents

When Winston Churchill was advised in 1940 to sit down with Benito Mussolini and discuss peace terms with the Axis powers, he staunchly refused to meet. Nelson Mandela, on the other hand, did agree to bargain with his captors two decades into his life sentence in an effort to reform South Africa. These are the two leaders most admired by Robert Mnookin, chairman of the Harvard Program on Negotiation, who believes that taking a hard line against a reviled opponent might have its time and placebut usually, even the devil should be heard.

But how do you come to agreement with a clearly unethical business rival, a spouse demanding an absurd property split in a divorce, or just someone you sense can’t be trusted? These aren’t ordinary confrontations—...(register to read more)

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