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REAL-WORLD INSIGHTS

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2021_08_16 Fake news.jpg

Published: Aug 16 , 2021
Author: Brian Buck

“Fake news” has destroyed our ability to talk to each other, and I’m sick of it. Once exploited as a money-making scheme by Macedonian teenagers (I’m not kidding; read this), it was turned into a political weapon and is now laced into the fabric of nearly every conversation that we have. The idea of “fake news” has permeated what we believe and don’t believe, to the point that we’re arguing with family members, dear friends, and even science! We’ve gone insane, and it’s making how we negotiate even more difficult.

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Published: Jul 27 , 2020
Author: Brian Buck

As Mark Twain put it, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Every day we’re bombarded with COVID-19 statistics and oftentimes contradictory statistics. For example, I recently read two different headlines at two different reputable media outlets: “COVID Daily Death Toll Rises” and “COVID Daily Death Toll Declines.” Both were posted on the same day! The confounding part is that both were accurate statements. And this is not an isolated incident. Every day I see commercial deals being negotiated with conflicting statistics seemingly based on the same data sets, and it leads to infuriating debates and time-wasting circular arguments. Knowing how to deal with statistics — or, as Mark Twain put it, those “damned lies” — is a necessity for skilled negotiators.

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Published: Oct 28 , 2019
Author: Brian Buck

Getting the family together for the annual holiday portrait can be a nightmare. It was exactly that for one of my clients, Margaret. However, her family portrait drama had nothing to do with family but, rather, the photographer. Apparently, he wasn’t upfront about all of the fees and options available. What he didn’t know was that Margaret is an experienced procurement professional, and how she went about handling the situation was brilliant! The photographer had no idea what hit him.

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Published: Oct 07 , 2019
Author: Brian Buck

“Should we just risk it?,” asked my daredevil of a client who was growing frustrated over the deal he was trying to close. His frustration was understandable, as the deal was approaching its twelfth month of negotiation and the two parties seemed just as far apart as they were at the outset. They were still wrestling with terms around risk — specifically in areas like indemnification clauses, cancellation notices, and right-to-cancel language. At every turn, my client’s vendor would push more risk onto him, and it was creating tension that was tough to bear. That begged the question: To risk or not to risk?

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Published: Nov 19 , 2018
Author: Brian Buck

I have 24 people coming to my house for Thanksgiving. My family, in-laws, friends, and friends of friends. Everyone is bringing something to contribute to dinner. There is one dish they will all have in common and that’s opinion. Some will have one about the food, others about politics, some about each other, but they will all bring their opinions. I won’t agree with them all but I’ll probably hear them all! Here’s how I’m planning to negotiate Thanksgiving and all those opinions.

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Published: Mar 16 , 2018
Author: Sandy Sbarra

What are you a diehard fan of? I’m a diehard Yankee fan. Every year there’s always someone who wants to contest how well my Yankees are going to do in the upcoming season. Last spring it was my neighbor, a dyed in the wool Orioles fan. The Yankees prognostication was that they were a team rebuilding and the Orioles were expected to at least contend. My neighbor announced not only that the O’s would be division champs but they would crush the Yankees while doing so. That’s when those infamous words were used, “Wanna bet?” What happened next was memorable…

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Be Angry. Then Do This . . .

I can’t wait for the New Year to tell you all about a personal negotiation I was just in that sent my blood boiling! The deal isn’t completely done yet, so I don’t want to jinx it. (In case you’re wondering, no, I’m not superstitious — that would be bad luck.) However, in this deal, something happened that triggered an immediate and angry response. I bring it up because even as a highly trained and experienced negotiator, my emotion was getting the better of me. That is, until I did the following . . .

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