Community & Government

The Fundamentals of Negotiation

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Lesson time 13:53 min

Throughout her career, Hillary has participated in critical dealmaking and many high-stakes negotiations. Here, she shares some of the key fundamentals that have helped her prepare, stay focused, and succeed.

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Topics include: The Fundamentals of Negotiation • The Keys to Better Negotiating • The Biggest Misconceptions About Negotiations • Preparation and Improvisation: 9/11 Health Care Bill •


HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (VOICEOVER): Throughout my career, I've been in many high stakes negotiations. And in this lesson, I want to share with you some of the key fundamentals that have helped me prepare, stay focused, and succeed. [MUSIC PLAYING] We are in negotiations. You are in negotiations every day. If you've ever bargained to buy something, that's a negotiation. If you've ever tried to put a toddler to bed at the right time, and he or she is refusing, that's a negotiation. You negotiate over the salary you're paid, the benefits you get, a community issue at your kid's school, or the parks, or something else that is important to you. So negotiation is how we come to decisions among different people, often with very different points of view and different expected outcomes. I negotiated on the playground all the time. I negotiated in my neighborhood. We had a very active neighborhood and we were always making up the most elaborate games of all kinds. And I often found myself in the role of being the negotiator between different groups of kids. So I kind of grew up trying to bring people together, trying to solve problems. But I started really negotiating when I was a lawyer, when I practiced law with the Children's Defense Fund, when I practiced law at the Rose Law Firm in Arkansas. When I was a legal aid lawyer and ran a legal aid clinic, I was constantly negotiating. When I entered the public arena, and was negotiating first in the '90s over health care or the Children's Health Insurance Program or reforming the foster care and adoption system, and all the other things that I was working on, again, it was trying to figure out what were we looking to accomplish. Who are the allies we could get who would agree with us? Who were other allies we could get who weren't with us 100%, but maybe 90%? So we could get them if we made some tweaks. And then we'd have a united front. And it's trial and error. I mean, you find out what works by doing it. And you have to be clear about what your objectives are. And I always think of it as somewhat tiered, like if I could have everything, I could wave a magic wand, here's what I would want. But it's unlikely I can get everything in this negotiation. So what am I willing to accept? And then, where do I draw the line and end the negotiation? You must also figure out what your other parties-- or in an adverse negotiation, your opponent-- wants, and how important it is. And whether there's some other way of satisfying that particular party by getting to a different outcome. And you need to be prepared. I mean, preparation, what you want, what your opponent wants, what's happening in the larger situation that you're in-- whether it's in business or politics or diplomacy-- no curveballs. You need to be prepared for everything the best you can be. You need to go into the negotiation determined to be as respectful as you can. It's okay to use certain techniques...

About the Instructor

With a lifetime of smashing barriers and achieving at the highest levels of public service, Hillary Rodham Clinton has learned to tap deep wells of resilience to reach her goals. Now the former U.S. senator and secretary of state is teaching the values, lessons, and practical tools that help her rise above, even sharing her never-before-heard 2016 presidential victory speech. Be inspired to own your ambition and make your mark.

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Hillary Rodham Clinton

Barrier-smashing leader Hillary Rodham Clinton teaches you how to overcome setbacks and build a life of principle and purpose.

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