Carnegie Mellon University


The Program for Research and Outreach on Gender Equity in Society

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Negotiation in Your Life

Negotiation in Your Life Part - I

Negotiation in Your Life Part - II

Negotiation Case Study

About: This worksheet is meant to help you explore the ways negotiation matters in your life. This exercise will help you to see opportunities to negotiate and to set negotiation goals

Suggested Time Allotment: 15 minutes

Part 1

For this first section, examine things that are important to you in all areas of your life.  Take into consideration the following questions:

  • What would make your life better right now? What would you love to have in your life that is currently missing?
  • What does your ideal future look like? What do you want to see more of in your future?
  • What would make your life easier or more productive?
  • What would make your life more fulfilling, exciting, or happier?

Asking yourself these questions can help you identify your goals. They should also help you identify elements in your life that you would like to change to be better able to reach your goals, or conflicts and tensions that prevent you from reaching your goals.

Your goal can be in any area of your life, including personal, financial, athletic, hobby, free time, self-improvement, political, or other.

Part 2

Now settle on one of the goals you have in mind, and think about what needs to change for you to accomplish this goal. Pick a change that could potentially occur through negotiation.

Some changes are not realistic. For example, “I would like my advisor to let me graduate this year” is probably not a reasonable goal for a freshman in college. Unrealistic goals are not made achievable by negotiation.

Goals that do not involve other people are also not furthered by negotiation. For example, “I want to exercise every day” involves your personal choice alone, so negotiation likely won’t help you.

However, if there is something your advisor can do to help you graduate on time or early (allow you to take extra credits, help you test out of a class, etc.) this is a great opportunity for negotiation. Likewise, if your current work schedule  only allows you to be free when the gym is closed, this may be an opportunity for negotiation.

ZOPA : Zone of Possible Agreement

BATNA : Best alternative to a negotiated agreement

Aspiration Value : The Aspiration Value is defined as the outcome with the highest value at which a negotiator places some nonneglible likelihood that the value will be accepted by the opponent (White & Neale, 1994)

Reservation Value : The least favorable point at which one will accept a negotiated agreement