Three Ways of Teaching Negotiation Skills to High School Students

Three Ways of Teaching Negotiation Skills to High School Students

Want to know more about teaching negotiation skills to high school students? Find out how to teach negotiation skills more effectively here!

Three Ways of Teaching Negotiation Skills to High School Students

Teaching negotiation skills to high school students is essential for preparing them for life after graduation.

It’s also a great way to emphasize the importance of cooperation, innovation, open-mindedness, and inclusiveness both inside and outside of the classroom.

In this article, we will highlight the importance of developing negotiation skills early in a child’s education, as well as share three exercises for teaching negotiation skills to high school students.


Why Should High School Students Develop Negotiation Skills?

Negotiation is a process by which compromise or agreement is reached while avoiding argument or dispute.

Negotiation is an essential element of peaceful conflict resolution.

However, contrary to popular belief, having great negotiation skills is not just about one’s ability to win an argument.

In fact, successful negotiation helps students build stronger relationships with others. 

Negotiation fosters goodwill despite a difference in interests and teaches students to respect the concerns of all sides in a conflict.

It also helps avoid future conflicts by leaving both parties equally satisfied, with no barriers to communication.

Furthermore, teaching negotiation skills gives students the ability to think quickly on their feet, while responding to difficult situations in a peaceful, constructive manner.


How to Support the Development of Negotiation Skills in High School Students

Encourage them to join a debate club

Debate and negotiation clubs offer an excellent environment for students to practice the fundamental elements of negotiation, such as active listening.

Students can also get feedback from coaches (and one another) to continue improving their negotiation skills.

Apply negotiation methods to practical situations

In order to become more successful negotiators, students must learn to apply negotiation frameworks to everyday situations.

If you notice a conflict between your students, use it as a teaching opportunity to encourage them to use the principles of negotiation to find a solution that benefits both parties.

Try negotiation exercises

Negotiation exercises can help students develop the skills and knowledge required to use persuasive language in an attempt to gain essential information from the other party.

If you want to incorporate a few negotiation techniques into your classroom (or try them at home), check out the list below.

Three Ways of Teaching Negotiation Skills to High School Students

1. The Orange Exercise.

Adapted from George Mason University Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, the Orange Exercise involves dividing the class into pairs—each pair starts with one orange. 

Tell the pairs that they are arguing over possession of the orange, and ask them to come up with as many ways as possible to resolve the conflict.

This exercise encourages creativity and helps students think of negotiation as a search for a win-win scenario. 

2. The Listening Exercise.

Divide the class into groups. Within each group, assign the roles of speakers and listeners.

In each group, Student A is given time to speak without interruption for three minutes.

Student B listens for facts that Student A mentions while Student C listens for the feelings that Student A expresses as she speaks.

Once Student A’s three minutes are up, the other students get two minutes each to summarize what they heard before the roles are switched.

The Listening exercise helps students practice active listening, as well as experience different ways of listening and being heard.

3. The Four Words Exercise.

Divide the class into groups. Ask each group to come up with four words describing a particular topic.

Then, combine the groups and ask them to reach an agreement on which four words to use.

This exercise will help students see that, although a common view is not usually present at the beginning of a negotiation, it can be created if all parties work together.

Why Are Negotiation Skills Important for Girls?


Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook and founder of explains women’s reluctance to negotiate in her bestselling book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.

This reluctance is often based on intuition (confirmed by research), that women who ask for more tend to suffer a backlash because they are perceived to be intimidating, too aggressive, or bossy.

For example, Sandberg suggests that women who ask for a raise are more than twice as likely to get one as women who don’t. 

Teaching excellent negotiation skills to girls early on is one of the best ways to give them the confidence they need to stand up for themselves.


Why Choose Marlborough?

Marlborough is exclusively devoted to the education of young women. 

Weaving together engineering, digital arts, robotics, media, academic research, and entrepreneurship, the Shari and Ed Glazer Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Marlborough delivers a superior college preparatory education in an environment imbued with high ethical values.

Here at Marlborough, we don’t just teach girls to keep pace with the changing future.

Instead, we teach them to boldly pursue ideas which set the pace for the future.


Your Next Steps

Here at Marlborough, we place a large emphasis on teaching girls negotiation skills that will serve them well for years to come.

Want to learn more about the Marlborough experience?

Contact us today

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