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Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Entrepreneurial Negotiations

Massachusetts Institute of Technology via edX

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Negotiations in the entrepreneurial world are unique and complex. From economic uncertainty to the need to protect intellectual property and dealing with investors, entrepreneurs and small business owners must master negotiation skills in order to succeed. This online course will guide you through the negotiation techniques behind the MIT entrepreneurial community’s success, which generates over $2 trillion in annual revenues.

At the end of the program you will be able to:
  • Protect and increase the value of your ideas.
  • Deal with ego and the need to build trust in relationships.
  • Navigate the bargaining process when economic uncertainty and technical sophistication are at stake.
  • Master the MIT way of winning at entrepreneurial negotiations.
  • This course brings the "hands-on" approach to learning that makes MIT unique. You’ll take part in interactive activities including practicing negotiation skills online via simulations in MIT’s unhangout platform, role-plays, case studies, and peer-provided feedback. You will also hear from entrepreneurs on their failure stories, and how they negotiated their way to success.

This course is led by MIT renowned negotiation expert, Professor Lawrence Susskind and developed by the inter-university Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School. Participants will emerge with a toolkit of negotiation techniques that will prepare them to join the MIT entrepreneurial success.


Week 1: The 4 key elements of entrepreneurial negotiations:
  • Create value, build trust, deal with emotions and perceptions, protect long-term relationships.
  • Develop a personal theory-of-practice with regard to the elements of entrepreneurial negotiations.
  • Diagnose personal strengths and weaknesses to improve negotiating skills.

Week 2: Interest and creating value:
  • Distinguish between interests and positions.
  • Participate in negotiation simulation to diagnose your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Learn the steps involved in creating value.

Week 3: Use objective standards to build trust:
  • Build trust in entrepreneurial negotiations.
  • Learn how contingent agreements can be used to reduce uncertainty.

Week 4: Recognize the importance of emotions and perceptions:
  • Review the psychological dimensions of entrepreneurial negotiations.
  • Know when to walk away from a deal.
  • Learn to calculate the worth of competing offers.

Week 5: Enhance relationships while winning at win-win negotiation:
  • Learn the essentials of win-win negotiation.
  • Understand the dynamics of venture capital investing.

Week 6: Review important concepts and strategies:
  • BATNA; ZOPA; interests vs positions; aspirations etc.
  • Reflect on your own experience to keep improving negotiating capabilities.

Taught by

Lawrence Susskind


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