Session Description

Learn the pitfalls and temptations of license negotiation. Based on true stories from a lead library negotiator! We’ll also look at agile win-win negotiating and how to bounce back from your missteps and leverage (mis)cues from vendors.

Type of Library

College Library; University Library


vendor license agreements, negotiation, negotiating skills


May 4th, 1:30 PM May 4th, 2:20 PM

Worst Practices? Surviving the Pitfalls of License Negotiation

Carver Room

Do you negotiate vendor license agreements? Are you interested in doing so? Do you work with someone who does? Attend this session to learn about the “worst practices” of license negotiation. You’ll hear first-hand from a lead university negotiator about the pitfalls and temptations of negotiation and how to elude them or recover when you fall into them. Based on true stories! Emphasis will be on license negotiations that fell short, delivered mixed results, or might have ended badly due to either the vendor or the librarian exhibiting risky, careless, or improper negotiation behavior. We will be constructive. We’ll flip the script to look at agile win-win negotiating—rapprochement, relationship management, and more—and how to bounce back from your missteps and how to leverage (mis)cues from vendors. We will review and understand mistakes common to any level of negotiation experience (contradictory statements, inattention to context, etc.). We will also look at risky tactics and even at borderline or unethical tactics in which negotiators might engage (deception, half-truths, combative zero-sum approaches, taking undue advantage of the other party’s omissions or blunders, etc.). We will also look at actions by libraries that, while effective for one institution at one point in time, may make future negotiations more challenging for one’s successors, other libraries, or consortial partners. By drawing on real-world examples and encouraging audience participation, the presenter will attempt to show how librarians can walk the fine line between engaging in questionable tactics versus leveraging their situations, personas, and know-how to their organizations’ advantage. This session will benefit anyone seeking to improve their negotiation skills in any context.


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