Playing with icebergs: where negotiation meets improvization

  • President
    Young, Dr Mark A
    Rational Games, INc., Germany


The need to play is primeval in human beings, at last as strong as the urge to fight.

Negotiators and those teaching negotiation have long realized that creativity is a critical factor for success. Practitioners who are able to think on their feet, generate multiple creative solution options and deal skillfully and tactfully with surprises and unexpected proposals are much more likely to achieve solutions that create value, meet all parties’ interests and maintain good relationships. But how to learn these skills?

Improvizational actors and trainers have long been working and playing along exactly these lines. . using creativity techniques but also games, play and sometimes nonsensical physical exercises, they help us to go deeper in discovering and experiencing what delights human beings and makes them inventive and productive. And so they entertain and inspire us.

This article seeks to find the place where these two worlds might fruitfully meet. Specifically, it explores two iceberg models, one from each discipline, to tease out the remarkable similarities between them and the insights they can offer the other. It ends by suggesting some particular training exercises and next steps for deepening this perhaps unusually collaboration between worlds


negotiation, improvization, theater, rhetoric

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