Skills development at an International Negotiation Festival

Students, managers and professors from several parts of the world developed and discussed their negotiation skills. It was a truly global event: Europeans (from the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Scotland, and Eastern Europe) collaborated in virtual teams with Asians (Indonesian, Japanese) and Americans. Results of research concerning negotiation performance was presented on e.g. whether people can predict their negotiation performance, and what the influence is of personality and culture upon negotiation performance in distributive (“win-lose”) and integrative (“win-win”) negotia­tions.



  • extracurricular 1-day (8 hours workload) workshop
  • 72 Bachelor & Master students
  • 8 academic partners (8 staff)
  • business partners (6 staff)


Main elements

  • Global collaboration - different time zones
  • Presentation of negotiation research
  • Testimonials of cross-cultural negotiation experiences
  • HR-manager tips of do’s & don’ts regarding job interviews
  • Tool kit of partner assessment
  • Practicing the selection process of foreign alliance partners: strategizing, speed dating, negotiating, selection & choice


What‘s new?

  • global student / business collaboration in green venturing
  • digital tools (mentimeter)
  • international staff (business and academia) provided videos, advise and served as role players during the practical simulation of partner selection



  • overall rating: 7.3 (scales 0-10)
  • commitment: 8.0
  • interesting:     7.5
  • complex:         4.8


Main outcomes

  • improvement of negotiation skills in international business setting
  • increased understanding of the dynamics of negotiations task & relationship related issues
  • more awareness and skills concerning distributive (“zero sum”) and integrative (“win-win”) contexts
  • insights in drivers & blockers of international partnerships
  • Representatives from various nationalities played roles as potential partners:


Lessons learned

  • content relevant and appreciated
  • organizational changes required
  • program 9:00-17:00 CEST too long -> impossible in different time zones
  • cultural / religious aspects deserve more attention (prayer time etc.)


Future plans

The Negotiation festival will be repeated in a different form: alliance game, cross-cultural negotiation exercises etc.



Negotiation Tips

  1. Know yourself and your counterpart
  2. Establish trust and relationships
  3. task conflicts ≠ relationship conflict
  4. Power = f{importance x alternative}
  5. Identify BATNA of both (Best Alternative to Negotiated Agreement =No-Deal Option)
  6. Be aware of non-verbal communicational aspects: WHAT and HOW
  7. Ethics: short term vs long term (distributive/integrative negotiations)
  8. be aware of cross-cultural aspects - PDI, UAI, IND, MAS, etc.
  9. Be prepared and flexible - modify perceptions, provide alternatives, be creative.
  10. Consider the other’s view point increases your own benefit!

These tips are discussed during our negotiation games and the negotiation festival



Alliance game

During an alliance game, the participants exercised the selection process of international business partners. In speed dates, they negotiated crucial collaboration aspects with potential foreign partners based in Scandinavia and Hong Kong.

Using an alliance scan, the teams selected and pitched their choice for a business partner. Ultimately, we discussed success & failure factors of starting a business alliance. In the two videoclips below, you can find some conclusions of the business partners.

The alliance game consists of the following steps: (1) game instruction (2) forming teams based on personal preferences (3) speed ​​dates with potential partners (4) integrated partner analysis per team (5) team choose a partner (6) pitching of teams to partners (7) conclusions and lessons learned.

It has the following learning aims:

  1. Understand the impact of alliances. Examine the role alliances play in international business and society and the challenges they face. Learn to understand the process of business partner search in which task and relationship related issues are intertwined and should be compatible between partners. Learn to understand and improve your role in the alliance team.
  2. Develop sustainable alliance skills. Become aware of organizational and relationship dynamics in different networks. Build alliance teams with a collective mission. Compare and contrast yourself with a variety of entrepreneurs. How do you understand and manage the hidden dynamics affecting your alliance team’s behavior?
  3. Learn new tools. Apply new alliance tools in order to start and maintain fruitful network cooperation for sustainable and social impact. Practice strategic, operational, cultural, personal and network compatibility between business partners. What does it take to use and build networks effectively?  You will acquire new alliance skills, to be put to use immediately upon your return.

In serious games, the participants identified the BATNAs (Best Alternative to Negotiated Agreement =No-Deal Option) of negotiators, and became more aware of non- verbal communication aspects, ethical, and cross-cultural aspects. Although preparation is important, one should be flexible at the same time to modify perceptions, provide alternatives, and be creative.


More information at Dr. Frans Stel: