What’s the aim of this publication?

To help you become a more effective negotiator.

I’m using the word negotiator in the broad sense. Yes, exploring the articles, posts, and occasional videos and exercises here will lower your risk of overpaying for your next car, and amp up your chances for securing a raise and promotion at work. But beyond that, it can also enable you to engage more successfully with colleagues, members of your community, and maybe even with family, too.

Even a modest improvement in skill can spell the difference between reaching a beneficial agreement versus walking away empty handed. And the bigger the jump in your performance, the greater your reward, both materially and in personal satisfaction.

WHY “THE JAZZ OF NEGOTIATION?” Because great negotiators are great improvisers, just like musicians. They’re agile strategically and quick on their feet  moment-to-moment. That’s what drives their success.

Negotiation is a dynamic, back-and-forth process. Adaptability is essential. Other parties will have their own ideas of where to go and how to get there. You must tailor your approach to the situation at hand and who it is you’re dealing with. Rigid one-size-fits-all approaches (whether win-win or hardball) that might work in some cases can badly backfire in others.

But that doesn’t mean making it up as you go along. Far from it. Just as in jazz, medical diagnosis, and even military doctrine, improvising is both an art and discipline that can be learned and polished. The Jazz of Negotiation is dedicated to boosting your ability to close deals creatively and wisely resolve disputes.

WHO IS MIKE WHEELER? I’m one lucky guy. Born into a creative and loving family. Raised in an old New England fishing town where I still live and see friends I’ve known since kindergarten. Best of all, have a wonderful wife, great daughters, and now two dazzling grandkids.

Lucky in work, as well. I stumbled into teaching and discovered I love it. Got into negotiation just as the field was taking off. Began at New England Law, went on to MIT, and joined the Harvard Business School faculty in 1993. Since then I’ve taught thousands of MBA and Executive Program students. My eight-week HBS Online Negotiation Mastery course, launched in 2017, has now been taken by leaders, managers, and students from more than 140 countries around the globe. 

I’ve also written lots of articles and books, including The Art of Negotiation: How to Improvise Agreement in a Chaotic World. Sharing what I’ve learned over the years has been gratifying, but writing is a one-way street. Engagement with readers is limited, at best.

That’s why I’ve created The Jazz of Negotiation. I’m looking forward to lively exchange with subscribers here offering their own ideas and experiences.

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Improvising agreement in a chaotic world


Michael Wheeler