The Negotiator Magazine

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Ask the Negotiator

John Baker

Ask the Negotiator is designed to afford our readers with the opportunity to ask questions about any aspect of negotiations and provide them with answers from experienced negotiators in future editions of the magazine. Please direct your questions to John Baker at [email protected] We will only publish your first name or the nom de plume you suggest along with your country when your question is published. Your question will be answered either by John Baker or by a member of The Negotiator Magazine’s growing list of outside negotiation resources.

John Baker has well over thirty years of active negotiating experience in educational, (USA) Fortune 100 corporations and small business companies. He has negotiated collective bargaining agreements both for unions and for management. Dr. Baker’s experience includes agreements across a broad range of negotiation areas, including marketing alliances, purchase and sales contracts, acquisitions, joint ventures, non-profit and government services agreements and even the peaceful conclusion of student protest sit-ins on more than one occasion. He holds a Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University (USA) and welcomes the opportunity to speak on the field or assist you on negotiation issues.

And now, this month’s letter …

“To Walk-out or not to Walk-out?”

Dear Negotiator:

I keep reading “you can always walk out” of negotiations. Do negotiators really do that very often? More information about this please.

Morgan, Ontario Canada

Dear Morgan,

“Walking out” is an unusual and uncommon finale to any negotiating situation, but it does happen on occasion. Let’s look at some potential “walk-out” situations. As in all human interactions, this one is more complex than immediately meets the eye.

With some important exceptions, Bernard Zick whose book I reviewed this month is generally correct when he says “there is no such thing as a negotiation from which you can’t afford to walk away.” The exceptions are not trivial, however, as any crisis negotiator can attest when dealing with desperate people.

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December 2004