Rolling in the Deep: Negotiating To Have It All

by | Nov 4, 2016 | 0 comments


We all negotiate every day. Speakers in this session had taken an online class on negotiating skills for librarians and described some of the things they learned there.

Ronda Rowe

Ronda Rowe

Ronda Rowe, System Licensing and Communications Librarian, University of Texas, Austin, discussed profiling the publisher in negotiations. We all negotiate all the time, so these skills will be useful in everyday life. Here are some statements that apply to publisher negotiations (positive in green, negative in brown).

Publisher Negotiations

What we bring to the table at the start is very important, and we should also think about what the other party might bring as well. We all have different skill sets. Preparation is extremely important; here are some things to consider:

Profiling the Publsher

Know who you will be talking and what kind of content you will be negotiating for and what you want.

Aaron Lupton

Aaron Lupton

Aaron Lupton, Electronic Resources Librarian, York University, presented 4 cornerstones of negotiating:

  1. Assemble a team, which will create a greater arena of expertise, and allow development of a more coherent strategy.  Practice and role play the negotiations.
  2. Identify your goals. Goals should be smart. Prioritize them and know where you can compromise. Identify the Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA), and also consider the vendor’s goals.
  3. Set a time frame, which will prevent “mission creep”. You can use a deadline to pressure the publisher if you are in a strong position, but they can use time top pressure if you are in a vulnerable position.
  4. Hold a meeting before the meeting. Make sure the other 3 cornerstones are in place. Use the meeting to assign roles, prioritize goals, identify BATNA, and role play.
Jennifer Carroll

Jennifer Carroll

Jennifer Carroll, Collection Management Librarian, University of New Hampshire, discussed some practical considerations in negotiations. She said that some key negotiation tactics are: be prepared, listen, ask for more, have options, always be trading, and take notes. Remember Einstein’s Theory of Creativity: “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” There are always  things to add to a deal; Ask for them–more of a discount, more content, more service, more time, more rights.  Have options and be partners, not adversaries. You want access and the vendor wants to sell it. You want the same result.

Kristina Alayan, Head, Content, Acquisitions and Management, Georgetown University, joined the session by phone and discussed evaluating success and building resiliency. Know what you have control of and what you can’t control. The more that we can be flexible, the better we are able to cope with challenges. Evaluate your success by discussing challenges, success, etc. with colleagues. Recognize that your skills apply generally personally or professionally.


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