Improve Your Negotiation Satisfaction


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According to research[1], our satisfaction with the outcome of a negotiation doesn’t depend solely on how much we objectively gained or lost, but rather on four factors:  our measurable gains and losses, how the negotiation made us feel about ourselves, whether the negotiation process was collegial and fair, and whether we developed a productive working relationship with our counterparts.[2]

Therefore, in order to maximize satisfaction and build a strong working relationship, we want to control what we can in a negotiation.  This may include the negotiation process.  Take the time beforehand to discuss with the other party how you will negotiate before talking about the issues to be negotiated.

One question you might ask yourself is:

Where will we negotiate? Don’t assume that the other side plans to meet at your location or vice versa.  As good negotiators know, assumptions may be erroneous and, consequently, detrimental. Your counterpart may have a different idea about where you should negotiate.

Negotiating on your home court can be advantageous, because it allows you to control the environment and feel at ease. But traveling to the other party’s turf can send a message that you are serious about making a deal. It also gives you opportunities to observe your counterpart in his surroundings. If you’ve not visited your counterpart before, you may learn more about his/her interests and have the opportunity to meet others who are indirectly involved in or affected by the negotiations. You might also consider negotiating on neutral territory, such as a hotel or restaurant conference room.[3]

Here’s a true story that demonstrates the impact that choice of site can have on the outcome and satisfaction in a negotiation.

A former student, Ted, was the new Executive Director of a not-for-profit organization.  As is often the case when someone new takes the helm, there was resistance on the part of some employees.  With one employee, Donna, this resistance escalated to the point of insubordination, breach of confidentiality and disloyalty to the organization.  Ted was finally forced to call her on it.  In response, Donna, who had worked for the organization for many years, complained to the Board President about Ted’s reprimand.  Feeling that he had to mediate, the Board President scheduled a meeting between Ted, Donna and himself.  He assured Ted that he would support Ted’s authority to manage the organization and its employees.  Ted assumed the meeting would take place in a casual setting, such as a coffeehouse.  Imagine his surprise when he was informed, thirty minutes before the meeting, that it was to be held in the conference room of a large law firm!  This choice of venue and setting sent a loud message to Donna that her complaint was valid and worthy of serious consideration, rather than a reprimand for her inappropriate behavior; the meeting appeared to be more of a reprimand to Ted for his management style.  The discussion was so overshadowed by the implications of the location that Donna left feeling vindicated, and Ted left feeling that his authority to lead the organization had been severely compromised. Ted left the organization after only three months.

The important thing is to talk about the negotiation location in advance so you will be aware of and prepared for it.   If you have a preference of place for your negotiation, frame your preference in terms of the benefits for the other party.  On the other hand, if the other party’s location preference won’t negatively impact you, keep in mind that conceding to your counterpart on relatively minor process issues, builds trust and goodwill.  This may pay off to you when it’s time to discuss issues of substance.

[1] research by Jared Curhan and Hen Xu of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Hillary Anger Elfenbein of the University of California at Berkeley,

[2] Adapted from“Start Your Talks Off On the Right Foot,” first published in the Harvard Negotiation newsletter, September 2009.

[3] Adapted from“Start Your Talks Off On the Right Foot,” first published in the Harvard Negotiation newsletter, September 2009.


Valuing Your Work


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As artists grapple with the task of pricing their works, their first – and toughest – negotiation may be with themselves. Since artwork has no Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP), Book Value or systematically quantifiable price, how much is it worth?

Conventional wisdom says that something is worth whatever a buyer is willing to pay for it.  This means the artist should price the work within a realm that will attract an offer from a buyer in order to establish a negotiating range within which the two parties can attempt to reach agreement.  However, in trying to establish that price, other issues, such as emotional attachment, may cloud the artist’s ability to think rationally about the value of the item to a prospective buyer.  For example, perhaps this is the first work in a new series, or perhaps the work was inspired by a dream trip to Italy.

Research conducted by Daniel Kahneman, Jack Knetsch  and Richard Thaler, found that we value things higher once we own them – a phenomenon they call the Endowment Effect – and that giving these things up represents a loss to us.  For example, they found that people valued a specific coffee mug at a median price of $2.88 – $7.12, depending on whether they were buying or selling the mug.

In dealing with the emotional sense of loss that may accompany selling their work, artists must consider whether a work is truly sacred, in which case perhaps s/he does not really want to sell it, or whether it is, as Professor Max Bazerman (Harvard Business School) refers to it, only quasi-sacred, in which case the artist needs to take a more objective approach to valuing it.

After surveying the market for comps, reviewing recent selling prices and other due diligence, artists must set a price – sans emotional attachment – that will bring in offers.   Those offers are a starting point for negotiation.

Copyright © 2012 by Nancy J. Fox

A Negotiation Myth


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“He who speaks first, loses”, is a widely heard statement about negotiation that implies that it’s best to let the other person make the first offer.  However, there is a plethora of empirical data to show that this is a myth.  Most times, you’ll do better in a negotiation if you make the first offer.  Why?  Because, if you’re a savvy negotiator and have done your homework, you’ll set that offer high (or low, depending upon whether you’re the seller or the buyer).  There are times, however, when you’ll want the other party to speak first.

We’ll be discussing this point – and many other great strategies –  at greater length in my workshop on March 15th in Long Beach.  To learn more, REGISTER NOW!

Next Negotiation Skills Workshop


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Benjamin Franklin tells us that, “An investment in knowledge pays the best dividends.”  Negotiation training delivers quantifiable results and will pay back to you for the rest of your life.  Seating is limited, so REGISTER NOW.

Negotiation Essentials Workshop

Thursday, March 15, 8:30 – 12:00 p.m.

Bixby Knolls Expo Art Center, 4321 Atlantic Avenue

Long Beach, CA  90807


Negotiation Fox to be Guest on “The Coaching Show”


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This Wednesday, March 7 at 8:30 a.m., I’ll be sharing some negotiating tips on Christopher McAuliffe’s popular blog-talk radio program, “The Coaching Show”.  The host station,, will archive the program, so you’ll be able to get access to the segment later at your convenience.

Although the negotiation tips I’ll be sharing with McAuliffe’s listeners are targeted to professional coaches, they are useful for anyone, including artists.

Warholian Messsage


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I stumbled upon this site,,  through one of my FB friends. Among the many messages in this picture, lies one that can be related to negotiation.

As I’ve mentioned before, negotiation outcomes are closely tied to our relationship with the other party and to our ability to empathize with them.  If we restrict ourselves to a narrow circle of relationships with people just like ourselves, we deny ourselves the opportunity to broaden our perspectives.  When it comes time to sit down at the negotiating table,  an artist’s tendency to “mix with all classes of society” should provide an advantage in being able to relate to a broad spectrum of people.

GYST-Ink and Negotiation Fox Partner to Benefit Artists


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LONG BEACH, CA, February 1, 2012 – Today, Negotiation Fox and GYST-Ink announced formation of a strategic partnership designed to help artists get the business skills and tools they need to succeed.  By combining their resources, the companies intend to make a broader spectrum of information and services available through their websites.  As an initial step toward this goal, Nancy Fox – a/k/a Negotiation Fox, will become a guest blogger for GYST’s Linked In group, contributing monthly tips and information on handling the business side of being an artist.

Commenting on the benefits of the new relationship, GYST’s founder, Karen Atkinson, explained, “Partnerships are an important part of gathering together a group of voices which can help us expand our support of artists, and we are thrilled to bring on a new GYST Team member, Nancy Fox. Negotiating is such a large part of our lives as artists, and Negotiation Fox will bring some important information to our resources for artists.”

Negotiation Fox referred to the partnership as “an opportunity to collaborate with one of the best resources in the field.  GYST’s work in this area has been truly groundbreaking, and I am excited to join forces with them to take business training for artists to the next level.”

Founded in 2000 by Karen Atkinson, an accomplished artist, curator and professor at California Institute of the Arts, GYST (Getting Your Sh*t Together) provides comprehensive information, resources and products for artists of all kinds in order to level the playing field and keep artists working.  GYST-Ink conducts workshops worldwide, has published a Professional Practices Manual for Artists and has developed computer software programs for artists to manage all aspects of their career and business.

Nancy James Fox learned the value of negotiation in a thirty-year career that included top management positions in the luxury goods industry and in the non-profit arts sector.  Ms. Fox founded Negotiation Fox in 2010 to bring negotiation skills training, most commonly the purview of big corporations, to mainstream businesses and the arts.

For more information about Negotiation Fox or GYS*T, please visit their respective web sites: or  Negotiation Fox also publishes a blog at

 About Negotiation Fox

Negotiation Fox provides the highest quality negotiation training and consulting services based on 30 years experience in both the business and not-for-profit sectors.  We present the most current perspectives on negotiation strategies, gleaned from the foremost authorities in the field.  We specialize in training for small business, not-for-profit organizations, artists and arts organizations.  Our full and half-day workshops include lively exercises and role plays to reinforce the learning.  Negotiation Fox also offers online courses and is available for speaking engagements.   The company’s objective is to help organizations and individuals get what they want by acquiring the confidence and skills to negotiate well in any situation.

About GYST-Ink:
GYST-Ink, an artist-run business that supports artists, has been the leading resource for professional practice, art advice and art business services in Southern California since 2000. Founded by artist Karen Atkinson, GYST-Ink is an artist-run company providing information, technology and solutions created by artists for artists. Our mission is to support artists and arts organizations with an integrated mix of software, services and information in order to keep artists working. GYST–Ink is dedicated to empowering and educating artists so that they can develop sustainable and successful careers on their own terms. GYST’s products and services include professional practices software, a blog, a newsletter, career development workshops, artist resume and statement reviewing, document and artwork documentation and archiving, a skills bank, web development and consulting services.

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Don’t Let These Misconceptions Keep You from Getting More


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Are you sometimes your own worst enemy?  Do you find excuses for why you can’t or won’t do something?    Let’s look at some misconceptions about negotiation that may be keeping you from getting more, because negotiation is the fastest money you will make or lose.

Misconception #1:  Negotiation isn’t relevant for me.

Often, people associate negotiation with labor union vs. management disputes.  They envision picket lines and angry people shouting across the table at one another. It’s not surprising, therefore, that artists might shudder at the thought of any association with it, believing that nice guys don’t engage in such distasteful practices. But union negotiations are just one of many types of negotiation situations.

In fact, we negotiate daily with nearly everyone we encounter, in business and in our personal lives. Procuring funding from a wealthy patron is a negotiation; so is deciding whose turn it is to walk the dog. Because resources are so precious for artists, it’s critical to acquire good negotiation skills in order to stretch your resources as far as possible.

Misconception #2: Negotiation is not socially acceptable.

Some of our misconceptions about negotiation are cultural.  Most Americans do not grow up learning to negotiate.  Words such as haggling or chiseling add to the negative connotations of negotiation.  But, bargaining is a way of life in 75% of the world!  It’s accepted, it’s expected and it’s respected.

Learning to negotiate provides a double payback.  You will benefit when you are in the role of the seller, e.g., selling an artwork, as well as when you are the buyer, e.g., purchasing things you need for your studio or your personal life.  Both will improve your bottom line.

Simply put, negotiation is seeking agreement.  It need not be a contentious process.  William Ury, co-author of Getting to Yes, defines negotiation as a discussion leading to agreement or to the decision to walk away and pursue other alternatives. Another definition: Negotiation is the art of persuading someone to do something they don’t want to do. My personal favorite: it’s letting other people have it your way. However you define it, you are negotiating every day, whether you recognize it as such or not.

Misconception #3:  Negotiation is a business skill, so I won’t do well.

Historically, negotiation has been considered an art; ergo the “art of negotiation”.  Indeed, negotiation involves interpersonal skills, the ability to convince and be convinced, and to know how and when to employ various negotiation tactics: these activities engage the creative side of the brain.  Yet many artists consider negotiation a business skill, and therefore harbor the misconception that it is something they would not be good at.  Given the context of negotiation as an art, this is simply not true.

More recently, negotiation has also been recognized as a science, in that it involves systematic analysis for problem solving.  In his book, The Art and Science of Negotiation, Professor Howard Raiffa purports that less is known about the scientific side, though research continues in this area.

One thing is certain:  there is no shortage of disputes.  Raiffa (and most other professional negotiators) believes that, “many disputes could be more efficiently reconciled if the negotiators were more skillful.”  So artists, let’s get started.


The first step in becoming a good negotiator is to develop a negotiation mindset. Everything can be negotiated, but you have to ask. The other party isn’t going to willingly give up profits or savings to you if you don’t ask for them.  Would you?

As validation for the above, I turn to research by Professor Deepak Malhotra, who is currently on the faculty at Harvard Business School.

The research stems from a negotiation class that Professor Malhotra was teaching at the Kellogg School of Management, to students who worked during the day and took classes at night. Professor Malhotra asked the students to negotiate something in real life and turn in a written report about the experience. Thirty-five of the forty-five students negotiated something for themselves; the remaining ten negotiated something work-related. The results were impressive: for those who negotiated something for themselves, the median savings was $2200; those who negotiated something for their employer produced a median savings of $390,000. These results are testimony to the power of negotiation training. But even more illuminating is the students’ response to the question of what tactic they used to attain this success. The students reported, “Choosing to negotiate at all.”

If you don’t ask, you won’t get. Negotiation opportunities present themselves on a daily basis, but if you don’t adopt a negotiation mindset, you may not recognize them. You can choose to seize these opportunities or to ignore them and get less.

As with anything, practice makes perfect, so use situations where the stakes are low to practice your negotiation skills for catching bigger fish.  For example, if I want cremini mushrooms for a recipe I’m making, but the grocery store is out of them, I ask for a discount on the white mushrooms I purchase as a substitute.  I’m a regular customer; their job is to have basic ingredients in stock.  They’re happy to accommodate my request.  It’s not about the $2.00 per pound that I save, though that adds up over time.  It’s about practicing my negotiation skills, so that I’ll be ready when I face a $2,000 negotiation.  These small negotiations do not take much time. They require only that you have a negotiation mindset and the confidence to ask.


Because of its universal applicability to work situations, many employers give preference to candidates with negotiation training. If you are an artist who is seeking employment or advancement in your current position, good negotiation skills can help your profile cut through the clutter and give you a competitive edge.

Copyright Nancy J. Fox, January 2012


This article is the first in a series of posts that will appear at the beginning of each month as part of the strategic partnership between Negotiation Fox and GYS*T Ink.

Interview with Nancy Fox Negotiation Fox 01/02 by GYST Radio | Blog Talk Radio


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Interview with Nancy Fox Negotiation Fox 01/02 by GYST Radio | Blog Talk Radio.

It was my pleasure to be a guest on GYST Blog talk radio.  If you would like to access the broadcast, please click on the link above.  i believe the link I posted a few days ago was not functional.  I apologize for any inconvenience.

During the show, we offered a free to seat to my March 15, 2012 workshop, and I’m pleased to announce that the winner of that seat is Joshua Jenkins of Los Angeles.  Congratulations, Joshua!