Speaking, Training and Consulting

Seth Freeman has spoken, trained, coached, and consulted extensively on negotiation and conflict management for major institutions and small groups for over a decade.Read more

The Ready & Able Negotiator

Here is a brief, practical guide to getting ready for any important negotiation using a proven, powerful preparation tool called the ‘I FORESAW IT’ mnemonic. Read more

The Great Courses

Professor Freeman has recorded a 24 session course on The Art of Negotiating the Best Deal for The Great Courses. Read more

Researching The Trust Problem

Professor Freeman has long studied the Trust Problem, which he calls The Most Important Question: “How do I know I can rely on your assurances and that it’s safe to deal with you?” Read more


Book- The Ready & Able Negotiator

It’s How Excellent Negotiators Get Ready

Here is a brief, practical guide to getting ready for any important negotiation using a proven, powerful preparation tool called the ‘I FORESAW IT’ mnemonic. Widely-used by executives, professionals, and other negotiators around the world, the tool helps you plan for talks the way excellent negotiators do. Unlike other books on negotiation, The Ready & Able Negotiator focuses on how to get ready- the most important task any negotiator can do. It complements other books on negotiation, giving you an easy, step-by-step way to gear up for any important negotiation or meeting. In the process, it helps you negotiate with poise and confidence that most think you can only be born with. The first part of the book succinctly and colorfully shows you how to use the tool, why each part matters, and how to apply each idea in advanced situations. The second part shows you how to use the tool to build consensus and coalitions, manage organizational talks, counsel others, analyze and assess hard choices, and more. The book includes case studies of negotiators who have put the I FORESAW IT to use in real life crises, including one who saved a merger, millions of dollars for both sides, and his and his boss’s career using the mnemonic

Seven Ways To Use The Ready & Able Negotiator in a Course on NegotiationThe Ready & Able Negotiator is pithy and complements other books on negotiation, so it’s easy to use it to supplement other reading assignments. Because each two-page section covers one important concept, it also can quickly help students understand a specific session of the course where you’re focusing on a key idea. Best of all, because it teaches a framework that adapts to the complexity of the negotiation problem, you can use it in several ways to help students walk around a simple or a difficult negotiation problem:
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  1. Assign a Couple Of The First Pages For Each Session. One simple way to use the book is to have students review a key concept (such as Interests or BATNA) by having them read a two-page excerpt from the book following the session that covered it (such as pp. 6-7 on Interests or pp. 22-23 on Alternatives to Agreement).

 

  1. Assign The First Half Of The Book, Then One Of The Later Sections Each Subsequent Week. Another powerful approach is to assign the first 38 pages the week before or after you cover the I FORESAW IT in class to help students master the mnemonic, and to help them review basic negotiation principles. Then, each following week, you can assign one or two later sectionsthat begin on page 39 (each typically running two pages) to help them better understand more complex negotiation challenges (such as coalition building or consensus building) and how they can manage the task more efficiently and insightfully with the mnemonic.
  1. Use Specific Sections as Assignments or Challenges. Because I’ve designed the book to encourage readers to take action, it’s easy to turn specific parts into exercises. For example, you can have students read the section, ‘How To Teach Someone to Negotiate with the I FORESAW IT’ on p. 54 and then assign them to go do that and report what happens a few weeks later.
  1. Assign Students to Create a Plan for a Simulation (Or Real Life Matter). You can create an assignment where students, in teams of two or individually, create a full I FORESAW IT plan before they negotiate a rich simulation. You can also assign them to create a plan before a real-life negotiation. In each case, you can assign the first 31 pages as a reference guide to the task. When you grade the plan, give a “+” for each section that’s apt and complete, a “~” for each that’s weak, and a “+/~” for each that’s so-so. Then, tally up the “+” and “~” and use a simple scale to assign a letter or number grade. (For example, if the plan has 2 times as many + as ~, you might assign a 90 or A-; an even number? An 85 or B. Twice as many ~ as +? 83 or B-.) Because it’s a rich summation and has special importance, the last letter, “T” may deserve a separate grade. . You can also ask students in a follow-up assignment after the talks are done to comment on the quality of their preparation, what affect it had on the talks, and what improvements they’d make, if any.
  1. Analyze a Case in Class Using the I FORESAW IT. You can assign the first part of the book and then have students use it as an analytical tool for understanding what a negotiator in a case did well and badly on the eve of her talks. Doing that can give students a richer sense of what’s happening in the case, why, and what improvements the negotiator could make. Challenge students to use this approach in other courses when they are discussing, say, a merger, a financing, or another complex transaction, and report how it goes. Often their insights are the richest and most telling in that class.
  1. “NOW What Do You Do?” Present a Conflict, Ask Students to Discuss in Class How They’d Deal with It, Then Have them Read The Full Story in Ready & Able Negotiator. The book includes several case studies, including one on p. 33 and another on p. 36. Inviting students to ponder the dilemma can heighten their interest in how the I FORESAW IT can save the day.
  1. Use the I FORESAW IT to Help Them Organize and Keep Advanced Lessons. After you debrief a complex negotiation simulation and present key lessons, you can increase students’ confidence they’ll remember and apply these lessons by showing them how many of your points are present in the I FORESAW IT mnemonic. This way, they aren’t learning yet another set of principles but re-discovering new ways to apply a set of ideas they already know well. You can reinforce these connections by assigning the relevant two-page section of the book as follow-up reading.