Negotiation Recipes for Your Students

Many of us have used the teaching tool of having our students write their own recipes for negotiation success.  (link to original article here and to earlier blog post here) I so enjoyed these last week for my students that I wanted to share (and encourage everyone to do this–students really enjoyed and I think it would work at the end of the negotiation or mediation unit as a self-reflection exercise)

Here’s my top five of the semester:

Dessert Anyone? By Lindita Hajdari

Like any recipe, a negotiation should be simple on the ingredients, but exceptionally complicated and frustrating to make. I am of course talking about Negotiation Baklava!

3 packages of “research” a/k/a filo dough — like all good research, do not attempt to make it yourself, go buy it from the store — use your resources!

3 blocks of “patience” a/k/a butter – without this you have nothing to build the layers of negotiation upon – it is what makes the research filo delicious

1lb of “confidence” a/k/a chopped nuts of choice because we should all be a bit crazy in our goals

1 and ½ cups of “compromise” a/k/a granulated sugar because a bit of sweetness goes a long way

2 tbsp of “assertiveness” a/k/a lemon juice because sometimes we need a bit of tartness (also takes the edge off the sweetness and makes it believable)

¾ cup “neutrality” a/k/a water because it dilutes the emotional elements of negotiations

½ cup of “kindness” a/k/a honey because you catch more flies with honey than vinegar

1 tbsp of “humility” a/k/a cinnamon because we should all be realistic about what we bring to the table

Toasted cloves to taste because we should all be just a touch spicy in order to get what we want


Not So Top Secret Recipe for Negotiation Success by Mishkat Torania

1 Cup Active Listening

.5 Cup Empathy

1 Cup Goals

.5 Cup Creativity

.5 Cup Open-mindedness

A couple tablespoons of compassion, grace, and humor (to taste)

A BATNA (in case the measurements are off, the ingredients are missing, etc)

So you want to know how to win a ribbon for your negotiation? Hint: it’s when you end up with something that tastes sour and sweet in equal parts.

1) Double check that you have all the ingredients in your pantry. If you don’t, take the time to write a list and go find them. Trust me, it will be worth it. You don’t want to end up with something too sour or too sweet, it will mess up everyone’s stomach in the long run.

ADD WHENEVER: Add a couple tablespoons compassion, grace, and humor to taste.  This depends on how sweet or sour you want the product to be at each step according to your palette.

2) Start with your cup of Goals. Make sure you have the right amount. You do not want too much because the main flavors will get lost or your final product will be a mess. You do not want too little or the final product may taste too sour.

3) Then mix in 1 cup of Active Listening and .5 Cup Empathy. This will establish a good foundation for the rest of the ingredients. It will, also, help with the overall consistency and texture of the final product.

4) Add in .5 Cup Creativity and .5 Cup Open-Mindedness slowly. If you add it too fast, the taste might get too sweet or sour too fast. Adding it slowly will get you a better balance.

5) Now, just wait patiently for your final product to rise!

6) If the recipe doesn’t work out every once in a while, do not worry about it. There’s a reason we have the BATNA. Sometimes, the same recipe might turn out differently than you expected. It happens!

Hope you try it out! Feel free to personally customize it as you get comfortable with the recipe!

Negotiation Pot Pie by Ali Mahmood


1 Cup of Confidence

5 Cups of patience

1 Cup of empathy

.5 Cups of understanding

1 Teaspoon of assertiveness

3 Teaspoons of legal knowledge

For the filling:

2 Cups of Patience

1 Cup of Creativity

.5 cup of compassion

4 teaspoons of worry/love

Just in Case: 1 Pizza

The crust is almost as important as the filling when it comes to pies. What you see is usually what you get, too soft and its gross too hard and its gonna fall apart. It needs to be baked at the proper temperature and removed to let it rest. You need to remain confident in who you are, your values, and your client’s values from the start. Any deviance from this cool/collected (leather jacket leaning against the wall toothpick in the mouth) vibe and the opposition will view it as a weakness. You need to be assertive, but not to a fault. Your reputation will often precede you and if you are too assertive no one will dare take a bite again, and we want them to. You need to be understanding of the opposite side and be willing to present to them options that are effective for both parties. Only after being understanding and empathetic you can actualize the interests of both sides and not lose any oranges (or whatever the metaphor is). You need to know legal stuff too I guess, maybe just like slightly more than the other side but too much more.

The filling, gooey, warm, and the reason they’re here. You need to be worried, if this fails you may find yourself either in a courtroom or in a position where your/your client’s interests aren’t satisfied. But you also need to love yourself, believe in what you are saying and understand yourself. the worry is used only for color, too much and it starts tasting bad. Remember: don’t pumpfake the money shot – don’t hesitate when you’re at the verge of greatness. Always keep that creative hat on, don’t just think outside of the box, think outside the outside of the box. Where there is a will there can be a way. Stay patient and let the proceedings run their course, it can be scary and you may be worried you’re leaving things on the table but keep your cool.

Pizza – because you can never be too prepared. In the case that negotiations fall apart, like aggressively bad, like you really messed up. It’s okay, having a pizza on standby is a good call. Be prepared if things do not go your way/your client’s way. Sometimes the mediation may go sour, or the parties cannot come to an agreement, that does not mean you haven’t done your job – it just means you may need to try harder, or try a different thing all together. Mediations and negotiations are not the only out of court tool to resolving issues, there is counseling, third parties or the classic: a duel!


Grandma’s Recipe for Success by Angie Feliciano

For this recipe you will need:

2 cups Empathy

1 cup Active Listening

1 cup Flexibility

1/2 cup Fear

1/4 cup Optimism


Before starting to bake a successful negotiation, check to make sure you have all of your ingredients. Okay, now check them again. And now verify that you have the correct amounts. Then, weigh the ingredients just to confirm you have all you need.

Now that you have quadrupled-checked that you have all the things you need to bake a successful negotiation, you can get started. Even though you have confirmed 4 times and are prepared to start, that 1/2 cup of fear will try to stop you from starting. However, you are going to take that 1/4 optimism to cut the tartness of the fear as it simmers on low heat on the stove. This is going to be our glaze.

As that fear and optimism are simmering, mix and knead your 2 cups of empathy with 1 cup of active listening to get a soft, but firm dough. The dough should take shape with client expectations, strategy style and end goals. Be careful that the dough does not become sticky with ego as you are trying to make a smooth dough. If need be, dust the dough lightly with more empathy. Once the dough is just the right texture, let it sit out for 30 minutes to rise as you take a break and evaluate how far you have come and how far you need to go.

You might be thinking at this point, “I forgot to do something.” That something might be verifying client statements or checking the industry standard for the case. Or it might be turning your oven on! However, being in the age of advanced technology, luckily you can call your client on the phone to confirm, google the industry standard and turn on your airfryer to successfully bake your negotiation. So go ahead and turn on your airfryer so it is ready to go when you are.

Once your dough has risen, take a pan and lightly grease it with vegan butter. And then take half of your dough and stretch it across the bottom of the pan so the whole thing is covered. Then, take your cup of flexibility and add it as a middle layer so it adds more substance to your negotiation. Take the other half of your dough and layer on top of your flexibility so you do not lose the flavor. Finally, we are going to top it off with our fear and optimism glaze!

And that is a surefire successful recipe for negotiation.


Recipe for the Best Negotiation Success by Andrew Gawronski

2 C Active Listening

1 C Creativity

1 C Empathy

½ C Flexibility

½ C Protein Powder

½ C Patience

¼ C Humor

¼ Tbsp Quality Notes

¼ Tsp Happiness


Preheat oven by conducting topic, client, and opposing party research. Make note of client’s interests and confirm that you have all ingredients prior to baking. Start by covering the bottom of the pan with active listening because that will be our base. Take your creativity, patience, and humor, and beat them together until you have a smooth mixture for layering on top of your base. Once you have these layers prepared, sprinkle the protein powder on top and now you may begin baking. While the food-like-substance is baking, take the time to take quality notes to ensure all of these steps are completed and no mistakes were made. IMPORTANT: Make sure you have your flexibility prepared in the event that the pan boils over. Once the stuff is golden brown, take it out of the oven and sprinkle happiness on top because everybody loves happiness.

2 thoughts on “Negotiation Recipes for Your Students”

  1. I have lovely and extraordinary recipes from my students (lawyers and people from other professions). They made beverages and meals and great preparations.

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