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Author: Thorsten Hofmann, C4 Institute, Quadriga University Berlin

Thorsten Hofmann leads the CfN (Center for Negotiation) at the Quadriga University Berlin’s Institute for Crisis, Change and Conflict Communication C4. He is an internationally certified Negotiation Trainer and advises corporations and organisations in complex negotiation processes.

„Tit for tat“ – Trade dispute between USA, China and the EU

„Tit for tat” – a principle that one would more likely expect to find in the playground than in international trade policy. What the layman might not comprehend, is for the professional a psychological tactic using the heuristics of judgement of the opponent. In the trade dispute between the USA, China and the EU, this very negotiating strategy is used to curb “unfriendly behavior”. Donald Trump began with the increase of punitive tariffs, which triggered a chain of counteractions with other nations. A behavior that is reminiscent of the so-called “tit for tat” strategy. The USA and China in particular have thus maneuvered themselves into a prisoner’s dilemma that was now threatening to escalate. How could this have happened and is there a way out of the dilemma?

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Professional teams vs. amateur teams – Rules for the team constellation

The 2018 FIFA World Cup is finally upon us. The greatest soccer players on the planet have taken the center stage in Russia. All over the world, matches are watched by millions of fans hoping to see their teams winning the popular trophy. In the end, it is not only the fitness and technique of individual players, but the strength and cohesion of the entire team that decides which team is going to win. Learning from the World Cup means learning to win. The star is the team and everyone knows what to do, where and when. A perfectly coordinated team has the quality to beat even teams with one or two superstars, that fail to coordinate their set-up. Everyone knows their tasks and their area of responsibility. But why do many negotiating teams fail to achieve their goals? And what makes some teams succeed, and others fail?

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The last impression is the lasting impression: 4 strategies to Close a Negotiation successfully

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. We have all heard this line before. So,   true indeed. But it is the last impression we remember most. That also applies to negotiation situations. In every negotiation there are two pivotal moments. The beginning and the end of a conversation largely decide the success of the negotiation. Psychologically, the last impression is even more important than the first one. It is the last impression, which has a strong influence on someone’s judgement. Because no matter whether in a budget negotiation or when buying a new car – who cannot hold out until the end, negates his hard negotiating position. But how does one successfully end a negotiation?

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Confidentiality of German grand coalition negotiations. Thorsten Hofmann in the Handelsblatt.

No twitter, no balcony, no media. Nothing of the grand coalition talks between CDU, CSU and SPD was supposed to be leaked to the public. Yet the agreed confidentiality did not last for long. Thorsten Hofmann is not surprised at all. In his interview with Handelsblatt, the negotiation expert explains, why the toughest opponent is always oneself.

Read the full article here (in German).

Too many cooks spoil the broth. Negotiating the Jamaica-coalition

The 24th October is probably a day which is highlighted in a deep red in many calendars of political stakeholders in Berlin. At 11:00 o’clock, Wolfgang Schäuble – designated new presiding officer of the German parliament – is scheduled to open the inaugural meeting for the upcoming 19th legislative period. At least that’s currently the plan. Whether the actual coalition negotiations will have proceeded accordingly or will have started at all by that time remains to be seen.                                              

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You can learn to negotiate – claim and reality in politics

A good politician is a good negotiator – at least you could assume that. After all, negotiating is the daily bread of a politician – especially if s/he operates on relevant interfaces. Legislative decisions, foreign policy aspects, internal security, social benefits or economic support – the list may be continued arbitrarily, whether in dialogue with company representatives, fellow party members, government partners, committee members, EU members or decision-makers in the local constituency. A good outcome of a negotiation can be crucial for a member of parliament and decide whether s/he will be re-elected.

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