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Real-world Negotiation Project – Traveling with Friend

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It’s been an amazing year since I came to the United States. I have many goals to achieve outside of class, and traveling is one of them. There’s nothing better than traveling in the fall, and fall break will be an ideal time window to take a break and travel. In the beginning of September, my friend coincidently mentioned that she had four days of vacation that she planned to use up by the end of year, and I knew from the start that luckily it’s would be a great opportunity to plan out the trip with the other person while practice negotiation skills that I’ve learned from the class since there would be multiple items to be discussed and decided before finalizing the trip, including no. of days to travel, destination, places to stay, local transportation method, and traveling budget. To start the conversation, we went out for a dinner and shared our thoughts. Before we met, I actually spent time thinking about my preference and figuring out the three key pieces of information in negotiation – aspiration, resistance point, and BATNA.

First, I thought about myself. I wanted to visit Boston because I never been there, plus it’s the season for lobster and crab which are famous in Boston, and it’s convenient to travel between the cities by non-stop flights. Public transportation is ideal to me because it’s overall cheaper than rental car and I don’t have to worry about parking. About accommodation, I prefer to stay in Airbnb but staying in hotel is acceptable. Time-wise, I wanted to travel around the end of October before school starts. So, my aspiration is to convince her to go to Boston (destination), stay in Airbnb (accommodation), use public transportation, and by the end of October (traveling time). Then, I found that accommodation and transportation are more flexible and destination and traveling time are two important items to me so these are the least I am willing to accept (my Resistant Point) in the whole plan. Lastly, considering that I was the ideal and the only (or few) travel partner(s) she could choose from all of her friends in Pittsburgh, I knew from the start that I had a stronger BATNA – if I’m not happy with the plan or I can’t make a deal, I can just stay in Texas with my boyfriend. At the beginning of the dinner, we randomly chatted about our life. She talked about her work and her niece’s birthday present. She had a couple of options about the birthday gift so I helped her to make up her mind. Then we moved to the traveling topic. I quickly started the conversation by sharing my thoughts and saying, “Hey, let’s go to Boston to have delicious lobster and crab!” because I learned that first mover has advantages and first offer is 70% correlated to the final outcomes. I thought she would immediately echo back to me; however, she didn’t reject my idea neither accept it. Rather, she said she was more interested in west coast cities like San Francisco or Seattle. This unexpected situation for unknown reason made me hesitant, and we then spent some time chatting around mutual friends. We ended up without reaching to an agreement at the end of dinner, and at that night I knew I needed to come up with a solid strategy for another round negotiation.

I came back and spent time thinking about how I could effectively convince her. I reviewed the planning document and thought more about our positions and interests. In addition, I recalled some important negotiation strategies in the class: negotiation needs to not only focus on interests, but also share information about interests and priorities openly. It’s not just claiming values but also creating values and solutions that meet both parties’ needs. After analyzing the first-round negotiation, I realized that I was focused too much on my interests and ignored to share the reasons why as well as understand her and think from her perspectives. In addition, I was getting hesitant and lost my momentum when I noticed that she was not interested in my proposed plan.

On the next day, I started the conversation again by sending her messages and some online pages with great food and beautiful photos of Boston. I then explained that Boston would be an ideal place for us to travel for a couple of reasons and I strategically incorporated multiple issues: food, transportation, size of the city, days of travel, and values. In the messages, I said “we can eat a lot of delicious food/seafood (especially lobsters!) in the Autumn; there are many flights from Pittsburgh to Boston and we don’t need to spend much time on the airplane. The size of city is perfect for us to spend three days and we can jump around the city just by public transportation (we can also rent a car if you want to!); you know, the MBTA Subway would be a convenient and inexpensive way to move around in the city” I also mentioned that museums and historical places would be valuable to visit, because I guess she loves history. In the second round, I tried to create values for Boston trip by emphasizing things that are beneficial to both of us. Surprisingly, it really worked. I was very happy when she replied that the blogs and photos I sent over are very attractive and she wanted to go with me. Considering the fairness and long-term friendship, I let her decide the place to stay during the trip because I learned from the class that adding her preference into the plan helps enlarge the pie and create more value. We both feel satisfied in the process of planning out the trip. After a three-day discussion (including a face-to-face chat and several messages), we eventually decided to spend 3 days in Boston at the end of October, live in my friend’s favorite (luxury) hotel, and take public transportation. Both of us are pretty happy and look forward very much to the trip to Boston. After reflecting the process, I think I did well on a couple of things that I learned from the class: I tried to share information and photos in the second round of negotiation and these actions effectively gained her like and trust. I also anchored high and designed a package that not only beneficial to us but truly favorable to myself. This was a big progress to me because I used to make many concessions whenever I faced conflicts or rejections. I am proud about myself that I cared about long-term relationship, I made only one concession in this negotiation, and I am willing to include other inputs into the plan and make everyone satisfied in the process.

Even though I made a good progress on negotiation by applying the skills I learned, there are still a couple of areas I want to address and improve in the future. First, I need to spend more time understanding the rationales behind her thoughts and what motivates her to make those decisions. It’s always important to listen to and understand the counterpart. Second, I missed the opportunity to give an explanation of my concession. I realized that, according to Turan, Chow, & Weingart, highlighting the benefits to my counterpart will make them like you better and settle for less, and I will certainly try to emphasize the benefits of my concessions to the other side from next negotiation if any. Third, I found that communicating through e-mail or message than face-to-face talk is easier for me, because I would have some time to step back, design my message and react to the responses. I knew that in reality it is not possible to negotiate through e-mail or message, and in a professional setting communication through e-mail could easily create unnecessary misunderstanding. As a result, practicing face-to-face negotiation is one of my plans in the future.

After many rounds of negotiation practice in the class, I learned from myself that I am weaker in face-to-face than e-mail negotiation since I am afraid of conflicts, leading me to make many concessions in the situation even though I don’t really want to. I found that I am not brave (or assertive) enough to walk away even though I find the intentions of both parties are mismatched. Nevertheless, I found out by learning from myself and comparing to others that I am a good listener, and I am able to analyze information about the counterpart(s) when they are sharing the information. I make reasonable offer based on their needs as well as make concessions when necessary. From moms. com negotiation, I found I am a good team player and am able to collaborate and organize effectively. I care about people not just my team but the counterpart and want to maximize the overall value.

In summary, I am glad to see that I improved my negotiation skills very much compared to the first time I did in the negotiation case. At that time, I had no idea about how to start and what strategy I could implement, and I even disclosed my bottom line at the very beginning of negotiation. Now, I am much more confident in negotiation by learning the preparation of planning document prior to negotiation, a variety of negotiation skills that can be applied in different settings, and the importance of hearing feedback and post-negotiation analysis.

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Real-World Negotiation Project – Traveling With Friend. (2020, Jun 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 24, 2023, from
“Real-World Negotiation Project – Traveling With Friend.” GradesFixer, 14 Jun. 2020,
Real-World Negotiation Project – Traveling With Friend. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 24 Mar. 2023].
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