Improvisation And Teaching Negotiation: Developing Three Essential Skills

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Negotiation Journal


The notion of an adaptable negotiator, who can respond to any situation he or she encounters, resonates with every negotiation expert. Unexpected things happen in negotiation, and negotiators must be able to adapt in fleet and effective ways. Dealing with the unexpected, responding "in the moment," and adapting effectively to sudden changes - these are the skills of an improvisational artist, and they are effective skills for negotiators to learn. How can improvisational skills be taught to negotiation students so that they will be able to draw upon these skills in the heat of a negotiation or mediation? By bringing together teachers of improvisation in various disciplines, we explored how improvisation is currently applied and taught in theater, business, and psychotherapy. We then developed some ideas about ways in which teachers of negotiation might begin to incorporate improvisation as part of the negotiation lesson plan.