Karrass On Contracts: Evaluation Of A Class On How To Make Deals

by drjim on July 8, 2008

Dr. Chester L. Karrass

Dr. Chester L. Karrass

Whew! So I have just completed a two day class on negotiating offered by the Karrass corporation. The course ended up costing me about $958 and it occupied two full days — about 16 hours of instructions. For those of you doing the math, this works out to be about $63 / hour. Would you like to know how it went?

First off, let me say that the instructor that I had, an older gentleman by the name of Jack Wagner (not the actor) was very good. As well he should be — he told us that he’s been teaching this class for the past 20 years. My class had about 50 people in it so it was reasonably well attended. It goes without saying that spending two full days in a negotiating class can leave you feeling like you’ve been run through the wringer and everyone was worn out by the end of the second day.

Independent of the course, we did receive a lot of take away material. Specifically, we used a workbook called “Effective Negotiating” during the class which we got to keep. We were also handed the following take home materials: the books “The Negotiating Game” and “In Business As In Life – You Don’t Get What You Deserve, You Get What You Negotiate”. Finally, a 6 disc CD set was handed out on “Effective Negotiating”. Just carrying all that material home made everyone feel as though the course was worth the entry price.

The course itself was divided into two days of material. The first day focused on negotiation itself: different modes of negotiation, how people in other cultures negotiate, and in what situations you can use them. The second day focused on sources of power and how those sources can be turned to your advantage.

The highlight of the course from my perspective was the opportunity to conduct in-class negotiations with other classmates. Each side would be given a sheet of paper that described their situation and then they’d go at it. This gave everyone a chance to use the information that they had just been taught.

In the end, I came away from the class feeling that I had learned a lot; but that there is so much more to learn. My greatest insight was that when I’m negotiating, the other side has as many limitations on them (or more) then I do! The one thing that I didn’t like about the class was that it was just a bit like drinking from a fire hose: so much info was shared in such a short amount of time, that you couldn’t hope to remember it all. It was time well spent, but there has to be a better way to get this critical info to “stick” better!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Stew Bolno March 30, 2009 at 10:06 pm

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Often seminar designers and leaders forget one of the primary rules of training. Don’t try to stuff 20 pounds of potatos in a 5 pound bag.
After all, learning is about application, not just theory.

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Dr. Jim Anderson March 31, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Stew: No problem. You bring up a good point – there is an awful lot to learn about negotiating that couldn’t be covered. I found the actual practice negotiating sessions to be quite helpful. Now it’s just a matter of making sure that I don’t forget what I’ve learned!

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JACK H GILBERT April 2, 2009 at 4:01 pm

When I took the karass class, seemed to me the instructors made sure that the instructors got all of their breaks, meals, on time, starting back was kinda of a joke, the structors waited till EVERYBODY came back from break,

so out of an 8 hour, we probably got 5 1/2 hours of instruction, at 5, also seemed like the instructors were near the head of the class to get

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Dr. Jim Anderson April 3, 2009 at 5:59 pm

Jack: You are correct, I seem to recall that we hit all of our breaks also. However, you bring up a good point – the quality of the class really depends a great deal on the instructor. The one that I had kept referring to his relationship with Dr. Karrass and that he’d known him forever. In the end he did a good job, but I hear you on how each class can be different.

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