News & Events

Understanding your interests and those of the person you're negotiating with can help you get past an emphatic "no." Jeanne Brett uses her experience haggling for pumpkins in France to illustrate the importance of knowing your BATNA.

Negotiation: Know Your Interests

Negotiation: Know Your Interests

What French pumpkins can teach you about understanding your BATNA

Sometimes critical business lessons are learned outside of a business environment—and in remarkably simple situations. Such was the case for Prof. Jeanne Brett, Director of Kellogg's Dispute Resolution Research Center, when she found herself applying her considerable negotiation skills far from the office. She was negotiating with a farmer in the French countryside who had a supply of hard-to-find pumpkins, and the stakes couldn't have been higher: if she failed, a class full of kids would miss out on the chance to try their hands at Halloween jack-o'-lantern carving.

The principles are the same, whether one is haggling over merger terms or produce. And when Brett came up against the farmer's emphatic "no," she had to apply those principles in order to avoid letting the chidren down. 

Related Resources

In this video, Prof. Brett describes her negotiation and, in particular, how she went about reconciling her interests with those of the farmer in order to drive away with a full load of holiday fun.