Roleplays

One of the best ways to develop negotiation skills is to practice them in a roleplay with someone else—and then reflect on the experience. Below, you’ll find materials for a series of roleplays, allowing people to prepare for, enact, and reflect on mock negotiations. These roleplays range from simple (a single-issue negotiation) to complex (involving analyzing payoffs in advance of a multi-issue negotiation). They can be combined into a sequence or used individually. Some of our roleplays focus on job negotiations (shown further down the page) whereas others focus on other situations. Negotiable’s roleplays are designed for use with two people but you are welcome to involve additional people as observers or extra players.

Understandably, people wonder if the roleplays we feature apply to them. If you want, say, to improve your ability to negotiate terms with a client, or to bargain with colleagues about how to handle a project, can doing a fictional roleplay about rent with a landlord be helpful?

Our answer, based on a lot of experience, is: YES. In fact, it can often be useful to step outside of the details of the usual situations you face, allowing you to focus more clearly on some of the universal challenges of negotiation. In each of our roleplays are some basic underlying dynamics—how to begin, what information to share or hold back, how to grow and slice the pie, and so on—that apply to almost any situation.

So our recommendation is to set your own looming negotiations aside, for a moment. Team up with someone else and throw yourselves into one or more of these roleplays. See where your instincts and choices take you and then reflect on what happened. After that, look to apply what you’ve learned to the particular situations you’ll be facing in the future. Most people find this process extremely worthwhile.


General (non-job) negotiation roleplays

Single-issue negotiation (Initial rent at The Workshop)

A roleplay for two or more people featuring Mosaic Events (an event planning business) bargaining with The Workshop (a landlord leasing coworking space that Mosaic Events might occupy) over initial rent.

Preparation typically takes about 5 minutes. The roleplay itself typically lasts 5 to 20 minutes, followed by a debriefing which could last 15 to 30 minutes or more.

Recommended timing:
after our episode “We are all Michael”

Multi-issue negotiation (A new lease at The Workshop)

A roleplay for two or more people featuring Mosaic Events (an event planning business) bargaining with The Workshop (a landlord leasing coworking space) over a new lease featuring multiple issues, not just rent. This negotiation roleplay is set six months after the events in the “Initial rent at The Workshop” roleplay. It is recommended, but not necessary, to have done that roleplay before doing this one.

Preparation typically takes 10 to 15 minutes. The roleplay itself typically lasts 15 to 45 minutes, followed by a debriefing which could last 30 to 45 minutes or more.

Recommended timing:
after our episode “The Drama of Dealmaking”

Multi-issue negotiation with payoff preparation (Opening night for Workshop West)

A roleplay for two or more people featuring Mosaic Events (an event planning business) bargaining with The Workshop (a coworking space landlord) over an event that Mosaic may manage for The Workshop as the landlord opens a new location. This negotiation roleplay is set six months after the events in the “A new lease at The Workshop” roleplay. It is recommended, but not necessary, to have done that roleplay before doing this one.

This roleplay features multiple issues and asks users to prepare their own scores for possible outcomes in advance of negotiating.

Preparation generally requires 20 to 30 minutes or more. The roleplay itself typically lasts 30 to 45 minutes, followed by a debriefing that could last 30 to 45 minutes or more.

Recommended timing:
after our episode “Preferences, Priorities, and Plan B”

Positional bargaining negotiation (Perfect Slice)

A roleplay for two or more people featuring a seller of a used food truck (Perfect Slice) bargaining with a potential buyer (Out of the Box).

Preparation typically takes about 10 minutes. The roleplay itself typically lasts 20 to 30 minutes, followed by a debriefing which could last 20 to 45 minutes or more.


Job negotiation roleplays

Negotiable offers a range of job negotiation roleplays, including BASIC, INTERMEDIATE, and ADVANCED negotiations (which vary in terms of the number of issues and amount of complexity involved). We have roleplays set in for-profit and non-profit contexts. See our Guide to Job Negotiation Roleplays for additional details and suggestions, including how to pick a single roleplay or a sequence of them. The guide also provides suggestions on how you could roleplay your own upcoming situation.

For information on all of our materials on job negotiations, including our workbook and phrasebook, browse to our Job Negotiations page.

For-profit (consulting) context

BASIC for-profit job negotiation (Simplex Consulting)

A roleplay featuring a job candidate and a manager at Simplex Consulting. A great initial roleplay, focused on compensation. Preparation typically takes about 5-10 minutes. The roleplay itself typically lasts 5-15 minutes, following by a debriefing which could last 10 minutes or more.

INTERMEDIATE for-profit job negotiation (Meso Consulting)

A roleplay featuring a job candidate and a manager at Meso Consulting, dealing with multiple issues. Preparation typically takes about 10-15 minutes. The roleplay itself typically lasts 10-20 minutes, following by a debriefing which could last 10-20 minutes or more.

ADVANCED for-profit job negotiation (Universal Consulting)

A roleplay featuring a job candidate and a manager at Universal Consulting, dealing with several moving parts. Preparation typically takes about 15 minutes. The roleplay itself typically lasts 15-25 minutes, following by a debriefing which could last 15-25 minutes or more.

Non-profit context

BASIC non-profit job negotiation (Elemental)

A roleplay featuring a job candidate and a manager at Elemental. A great initial roleplay, focused on compensation. Preparation typically takes about 5-10 minutes. The roleplay itself typically lasts 5-15 minutes, following by a debriefing which could last 10 minutes or more.

INTERMEDIATE non-profit job negotiation (Artique)

A roleplay featuring a job candidate and a manager at Artique, dealing with multiple issues. Preparation typically takes about 10-15 minutes. The roleplay itself typically lasts 10-20 minutes, following by a debriefing which could last 10-20 minutes or more.

ADVANCED non-profit job negotiation (Fischer Foundation)

A roleplay featuring a job candidate and a manager at the Fischer Foundation, dealing with several moving parts. Preparation typically takes about 15 minutes. The roleplay itself typically lasts 15-25 minutes, following by a debriefing which could last 15-25 minutes or more.

Log in to your account

Forgot/reset password?


If you're logging in with a temporary password, enter it
above and you'll be prompted to set your own password

If you're creating an account with a registration code,
please click below to Sign Up

SIGN UP

If you’re not a current subscriber, but want to learn
more about subscription options, click below

SUBSCRIBE