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Learn the Best Games to Teach Negotiation Skills

— Learn the Best Games to Teach Negotiation Skills

Is your team lacking the confidence or skills required to successfully close deals? Are you worried that your business is leaving money on the table with every transaction?

It might be time to implement negotiation training and games to teach negotiation skills.

We’ve compiled a few of the most popular negotiation games and explain:

  • How to implement fun negotiation exercises as a part of your training
  • What makes negotiation skills training games effective; and
  • Why hiring a professional is the best way to take your team from good to great.

What Are Negotiation Games?

Games to teach negotiation skills are a common element in any negotiation training program.

Many employers are on the lookout for fun negotiation exercises that will engage their team and deliver effective results. 

Negotiation games are usually done with a purpose in mind. Whether it’s to hone in on reading body language during a sales deal or to improve interpersonal relationships within a sales team, negotiation skills are an important skill that most professionals should practice.

What Is the Purpose of Negotiation Games?

Effective negotiation games offer a fun alternative to boring activities and help employees learn to negotiate successfully through hands-on practice, either one-on-one or as a group.

Negotiation training activities are designed to help negotiators identify, and implement the following stages of negotiation:

  • Preparation
  • Discussion
  • Clarifying goals
  • Reach a win-win outcome
  • Final agreement
  • Implementation


Training negotiators to have the right attitude and interpersonal skills will greatly impact the potential outcome of any negotiation.

How Do Negotiation Training Activities Work?

One-on-one, or in groups, employees are given unique challenges aimed at developing negotiation skills that will improve real-life results in every negotiation.

Effective negotiation games should be highly engaging and expose employees to various negotiation and dispute resolution techniques.

Negotiation training activities work best when implemented by a professional who understands how to…

  • Identify behavioral pitfalls
  • Analyze results; and
  • Deliver learnings effectively.

Are Negotiation Games Effective?

Yes — and no. Organizations spend millions every year on negotiation training for their teams, whether it’s…

  • In-house
  • Led by a consulting team; or
  • Training programs at universities and colleges

…only to have their employees attempt to apply their learnings and fail. Negotiation best practices are quickly abandoned and employees revert to their old habits.

Why You Should Hire Professional Negotiators to Train Your Team

So, what can you do to make sure your employees return from negotiation training with the skills and confidence to carry out what they’ve learned?

Find a seasoned negotiation coach with a proven methodology and a track record of success. 

The Maker Group is a team of experienced commercial negotiators with decades of experience as negotiation consultants.

We’ve been where you are. We understand the challenges you face and we focus on real-world behavioral techniques and negotiation games that take the guesswork out of the planning and preparation stage of negotiation.

Our exclusive Maker Framework combines both the behavioral and strategic aspects of negotiation, always answering the “what” and the “why” behind every negotiation.

We tailor our training and workshops to your business and the unique challenges you face in both your industry and with your employees.

Give your team the confidence to execute any deal — call The Maker Group today.

5 Types of Negotiation Skills Training Games

You’ve gained an understanding of just how important negotiation games can be for enhancing your teams negotiating skills, but now you’re curious, 

“What kinds of negotiation games keep team members engaged and actually work?” 

#1: Icebreakers

You understand the importance of keeping your employees engaged in training, but what kind of games work?

Icebreakers are fun negotiation exercises and a great way to get the room warmed up and ready to interact comfortably with the people around them. 

Often disguised as “get to know you” exercises that have little to do with negotiation at all, icebreakers are essential in identifying the feelings and needs of those around you to be able to reach a mutually acceptable resolution to any problem — or deal.

Depending on the total length of the training, icebreakers can last as little as 30 minutes or take up to half a day. 

They aim to teach participants the importance of relationship building through;

  • Finding common ground
  • Establishing empathy
  • Learning compromise

#2: Team-Building Games

Motivating your team to work together is one of the most common themes behind implementing team-building negotiation games. 

To be a good negotiator one must possess effective communication skills and the ability to identify the feelings and needs of others. 

One-off team-building negotiation exercises are a useful and effective way of addressing specific weaknesses within a team. However, poorly planned events and games can actually do more harm than good by making participants feel uncomfortable or embarrassed.

When well thought out and run by an expert, team-building negotiation activities will:

  • Unite your team
  • Enhance their strengths
  • Address their weaknesses; and
  • Help them work happily and cohesively

Team building exercises are more effective when they encourage collaboration, not competition, and can build a strong foundation of trust and purpose.

#3: Role-Playing Games

Negotiation games that incorporate role-playing are especially useful when preparing your team for negotiation-specific situations, such as:

  • Negotiating over the phone
  • Making deals over email; and
  • Bargaining face to face

These types of games to teach negotiation skills give participants the knowledge and techniques needed to:

  • Use persuasive language
  • Obtain important information from the other party
  • Avoid or neutralize manipulative tactics; and
  • Minimize conflicts

Role-playing exercises give participants the opportunity to practice the skills and techniques they’ve learned within the safety of a training environment.

#4: Body Language Games

Have you ever heard of the 7-38-55 rule in negotiation?

Albert Mehrabian theorized that personal communication is composed of 7% spoken words, 38% tone of voice, and 55% body language. So, it’s no wonder reading non-verbal cues is a required skill of any negotiator.

Body language negotiation games can be as simple as a game of charades, which helps people determine which movements work to convey a particular feeling or thought. 

Or you may have your team study a recorded negotiation and watch for non-verbal cues and share their observations with the group.

The bottom line? 

Body language speaks louder than words and therefore it’s important for negotiators to not only be able to read body language, but to ensure they’re conveying the right body language that will help them make a deal.  

#5: Problem-Solving Games

Conflict resolution and problem-solving are key components of negotiation and should not be overlooked. 

Implementing fun negotiation exercises that incorporate problem-solving skills training will prove invaluable to your organization.

Experiential conflict resolution games allow participants to practice both their reactions to conflict as well as their subsequent reactions. This is particularly important as it gives employees the tools to garner positive results in future negotiation conflicts.

When employees participate in problem-solving games, they…

  • Build trust
  • Improve communication, and
  • Challenge ineffective processes

…which in turn, creates a more effective and productive team.

3 Popular Games to Teach Negotiation Skills

Certain negotiation games seem to pop up on the internet as being the… 

  • most effective
  • most popular, and 
  • most used by professionals

…but it doesn’t mean they’ll be successful for you. 

The game itself, while it matters, isn’t nearly as important as the execution of the game. The game may seem like fun in the moment, but if poorly executed, it won’t be effective and your team will likely fall back into their old habits.

When considering negotiation games for your team, consider calling a professional negotiation consultancy like The Maker Group.

Not only do we utilize games to teach negotiation skills, but we observe, analyze, and will deliver learnings that make sense and will “stick” with your team. 

Let’s face it, you want your team to go back to the workplace with the confidence to apply their new knowledge and skills.

#1: The Orange Negotiation

This game first became popular when it was featured in Roger Fisher’s book called “Getting to Yes”. The idea being that 2 teams must negotiate for the one remaining Mandezine Orange (which is a rare variety) with the help of a facilitator.

Each group will receive a scenario that explains why they must purchase this rare fruit, but that they may only contact the facilitator (or grower) one at a time.

Group A is told that the rind of the orange is all that they require and a reason is made up for this need.

Group B requires the pulp of the orange, again, for a made-up reason.

In most cases, the game ends with each team possessing half of the orange, part of which is useless to each of them.

So, what is the purpose of this game? To understand the “why” in any negotiation. 

Had anyone asked the question, “why is the orange so important to you”, then the problem would have been solved immediately.

#2: Push and Pull

This is a quick but powerful negotiation activity that shows participants that there’s more than one way to get someone to do what we want them to.

  1. Push: Negotiators can push participants, in which case they are likely to experience resistance; or
  2. Pull: Convince participants with reasons explaining why they should take a particular action.

The game is simple with half of the participants exiting the room for two minutes (Group A) while the trainer debriefs the other half (Group B). 

When the first half re-enters the room they are partnered up and asked to reach their arms in front of them with palms facing the other person.

In round one of the game: Group B starts pushing their partners from Group A across the room without explanation, and instinctively Group A resists.

In round two of the game: Group B gently asks their partners to accompany them across the room with an explanation as to why resulting in more willingness from Group A participants.

At the end of the game, participants are able to see that there are two ways to influence people; push, or pull. 

It’s human nature to instinctively push back or resist when feeling forced to do something without understanding the reason for it.

#3: The Pitch Game

Every negotiator knows that the sales pitch is key to successfully closing a deal and that the best pitches are about having a two-way conversation that involves real questions and honest answers.

But, a sales pitch must also offer a value proposition that’s better than what your competitors offer. 

The Pitch Game will prepare your team to not only prepare effective pitches but also give them the skills to modify on the go.

Here’s how the game works:

The trainer or leader will randomly assign roles to the participants, such as:

  • Sales rep
  • Critic
  • Idealist
  • Smart-aleck
  • Etc.

The person assigned as the sales rep must convince the others to buy a product randomly selected by the trainer. The assigned sales rep will then present the product to the other participants while they chime in with any questions or comments, challenging the sales rep with their respective personality types. 

The purpose of this game is for the sales rep to learn how to effectively modify their pitch and persuade the different characters and personalities.

How The Maker Group Uses Effective and Fun Negotiation Exercises to Deliver Real Results

Negotiation games are only as good as the facilitator or trainer. 

It’s important to consider hiring professionals who know how to conduct these games in a way that delivers the best possible results.

The Maker Group is a team of seasoned commercial negotiators and trainers delivering bespoke solutions to help your team maximize their potential in every negotiation.

Our rigorous 8-step negotiation process is backed by proven behavioral frameworks and our combined decades of real-world negotiation experience.

To find out more about our negotiation training, workshops, and negotiation consulting services contact us today.

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