Beyond Reason book cover
"Valuable, clearly written book."
- USA Today


Free resources to help you teach the ideas in Beyond Reason.

Want to teach about emotions? You're not alone. There is a huge change in the way that people teach negotiation. From Harvard to the University of Missouri, MIT Sloan to Northwestern, negotiation and conflict management courses now include full sections on how to deal with emotions. In fact, a number of universities and corporate training programs now dedicate full programs to the ideas in Beyond Reason .

Free resources

We've received dozens of emails from faculty, trainers, and coaches who now incorporate Beyond Reason's framework into their teaching. Here are some of the key resources we've developed, along with some ideas we've learned from others:

  • NEW! Leonard Riskin, Professor of Law at Missouri-Columbia, has developed an easy-to-use Core Concerns Preparation Form.. View it here. (20-30 minutes)
  • A fabulous way to learn is through personal application. Here's one approach for students:
    • Have students read Beyond Reason.
    • Discuss with them the five core concerns, perhaps offering them a current-day negotiation in the news and having them analyze the emotional dimension using the core concerns. ("Whose autonomy probably felt impinged? Why? What advice might you give them?" etc.)
    • Have students identify an upcoming conflict or negotiation in their own lives, preferably one that is personal and important - and that they wouldn't mind sharing with one classmate.
    • Have them independently complete the Emotions Prep Sheet , focusing on their own particular situation. (This will take about 45 minutes. They might do it in-class or as homework.)
    • They can review their situation with a classmate, who can offer new perspective and additional ideas about the situation.
    • Review the exercise as a whole class, asking all: "What did you learn about yourself? About negotiation? About the role of emotions?" Set the groundrule that students can only talk about their own conflict, not that of their partner.
  • Read Shapiro's new article in the Negotiation Journal, which offers ideas on how to teach emotions to negotiation students. Here's the link: Teaching Students to Use Emotions as They Negotiate.
  • Show a video clip and have students analyze it. Rent a movie and show an emotionally charged clip from the movie. (Virtually any movie will do. The more students can relate to the movie, however, the better.) Ask them to analyze the video clip using the core concerns. Which core concerns are going unmet? By whom? Why? What advice might the students give to each party to enlist positive emotions (or to reduce negative ones)? As they consider advice for each party, encourage the students to use the core concerns as a guiding framework.

  • Use students analyze a conflict in the media. Assign students to find a conflict or negotiation in the news and to analyze the emotional dimension using the core concerns. Here's what to tell them:
    • Choose a conflict or negotiation to analyze. It could be an international conflict presently in the news, or it could be a conflict that happens on a sitcom. Any conflict or negotiation will do.
    • Choose one of the characters in the conflict. You will focus your analysis on that person (or government).
    • First, use the core concerns as a lens: Which core concerns are going unaddressed in this person? Why? Which core concerns are going unaddressed in the other negotiating party? Why?
    • Second, think about 3 pieces of advice to offer to the focal person. What advice will you give that person to help improve their situation? How can they better appreciate the other party? How might they build affiliation with the other party? Etc. (Students might be asked to re-read Chapter 10 of Beyond Reason, in which Jamil Mahuad, former President of Ecuador, illustrates how he used the advice in Beyond Reason to resolve a long-standing border conflict.)
  • Have students observe and address the core concerns in their own lives. Spend two weeks on each core concern. During the first week, have students OBSERVE for a specific concern in their own lives outside of class (e.g., for affiliation). They can write up their experience in a journal. During the second week, have them proactively ADDRESS that same concern in an interaction outside of class. They might, for example, try to build affiliation as they discuss a difficult issue with a roommate or colleague. They then write up that experience in the second week's journal.
  • Have participants apply the "core concerns framework" to their own negotiation or conflict . Start by having students read Beyond Reason . Then review the key concepts in class with them. Make sure they understand that the core concerns can be both a lens to understand the emotional dimension of a negotiation and a lever to stimulate positive emotions. Ask them to use the core concerns as a framework for analyzing a recent negotiation or conflict they've experienced. How did the core concerns affect the interaction? In similar situations in the future how might they better affect the core concerns?
  • Review a case simulation using the core concerns framework. After participants conceptually understand the core concerns, have them negotiate a case simulation. Virtually any case simulation can work. (See the Clearinghouse website at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School for possible cases.) After they negotiate the case, review with them how the core concerns impacted their negotiation. Did they respect the other person's autonomy? Status? Etc. Did they feel respected for their core concerns? What could each party have done to improve the emotional tenor of the negotiation? What might they have said to the other party to further appreciate the other's core concerns?

    Make sure that students understand that even as they enlist positive emotions, they need not give in to the demands of another party. Substantive issues should be decided upon on the merits, not based upon the presence or absence of good feelings. (In any case, it's often a lot easier to deal with the substantive issues if there is rapport between the negotiators.)

SHARE YOUR OWN TEACHING IDEAS WITH OTHERS. We'd love to hear from you about other, creative ways in which you use the core concerns in your teaching. Feel free to email us.. We may put some of the ideas on this website so others can learn from you. Thus, we will assume that if you send us a teaching idea, you are giving us permission to post it on this website.

IF YOU LIKED BEYOND REASON... The PON Clearinghouse offers a large selection of teaching materials, including resources related to Beyond Reason.