The Negotiation Challenge
Rules and Regulations


The participants of The Negotiation Challenge are primarily graduate students majoring in business or law from best universities worldwide.  They compete in teams of three all registered students at the time of the application and competition. Exceptionally, undergraduate students who can demonstrate serous interest in negotiation will also be considered. Participants are expected to possess both a theoretical background and practical experience in negotiation. The participants’ interest in negotiations is expected to be wide and reflect various types of negotiation situations including, but not restricted to distributive and integrative negotiations that may be scorable or non-scorable. Since the competition is conducted exclusively in English participants are expected to have a strong command of the language.

It is preferred, although not compulsory, that the participating teams are selected and endorsed by the university within which the team members belong, ideally following an internal competition by the university designed to select the best qualified applicants in a given year. Often selected teams are coached by university faculty specifically for the competition, which is encouraged since it raises the competition level significantly. Coaches are encouraged to attend the competition, but will have no participating role in it. Teams satisfying these criteria will generally be given priority, although teams that do not are by all means encouraged to apply and demonstrate their knowledge and experience in their application letters.

Application & Selection Criteria

Application should be received strictly within the deadline posted in the TNC site. No late application will be considered unless there is a compelling reason that can be demonstrated, prima facie. You are expected to follow up your application and ensure that it has been received by the organizers in full.

The application consists of one Curriculum Vitae per team member, as well as one motivation letter per team.  The CVs and letter should, inter alia, demonstrate the team members’ interest in, knowledge of, and experience in the field of negotiation, as well as the academic institutions’ overall reputation (as evidenced, for example, by relevant international rankings) and its specialization in the field of negotiations, particularly when the application is endorsed by the institution. If the team is expected to receive specialized coaching in preparation for the competition the coach’s name and position in the institution should be included. Needless to say, the application should clearly demonstrate all the applicants’ fluency in the English language.

In terms of selection criteria the organizers generally take to consideration the following: (a) quality of the team as evidenced by the Application, above; (b) whether or not there has been an internal selection procedure and endorsement of the application by the team’s academic institution; (c) the institution’s international reputation; (d) whether or not the teams have or are expected to receive subsequent coaching by a faculty member; and (e) geographical and cultural diversification. The organizing committee selects the participant teams at its discretion with the best interests of the TNC in mind and its decisions, which will be reached approximately two weeks after the deadline expires and at least one month before the competition takes place, are final.

At present there is no application or participation fee although the organizers reserve the right to introduce them in the future.

Competition Event

The event typically takes place on one or two consecutive days, normally a Friday and a Saturday. It consists of four qualifying rounds normally held in the morning and afternoon of each of the two competition days or remotely prior to the competition. All teams will participate in these four rounds, upon completion of which the two or three teams with the highest cumulative score will enter the final round held in the evening of the second day. The final will be judged by a team of invited negotiation experts and normally a gala dinner will follow, during which the trophy will be awarded to the winner.

In the case of a tie, meaning that more than two teams achieve the same highest scores in the qualifying rounds or in the case that one team achieves the highest score and more than two teams achieve the same second highest score the finalists will be chosen randomly among the tied teams.


During each round the teams will negotiate a role play written exclusively for the competition by the organizers or selected experts in the field. The organizing committee creates the roleplays at its absolute discretion out of a variety of negotiation situations will be simulated, typically: integrative, distributive, mixed-motive, and multi-party, not in any particular order. In some roleplays the teams might be split and the team members might be asked to negotiate individually. Selected examples of the negotiation roleplays from the past competitions can be found in our book:  The Negotiation Challenge: How to Win Negotiation Competitions.

Most of the negotiation rounds will be scorable and the scoring mechanism will be announced and explained in detail directly before the respective round. Integrative negotiation rounds will be judged by invited experienced negotiators.

Each team will be given their confidential instructions approximately between 30 and 60 min prior to negotiation in order to prepare for each role-play. Whenever general information is distributed either in paper or audio-visually it may be assumed that the other party has exactly the same information.  Confidential instructions, on the other hand, model information asymmetry between the negotiating parties. The authors of each role-play or a representative will introduce the role-play prior to each negotiation and explain the related scoring mechanism for that particular role-play.


In scorable negotiation rounds teams playing the same roles will be ranked and the points for this round will be assigned based on this ranking, the highest scoring team being awarded as many points as there are participating teams, the second highest receiving two points less etc. In the case that two or more teams happen to be ranked in the same place, each of them will receive the number of points assigned to that particular place. Integrative negotiations are evaluated by the committee of judges who judge and compare the evaluation of the observed negotiation in closed session, at their discretion. The teams are ranked based on overall negotiation style and effectiveness and then awarded points as above.

All role-plays have zone for possible agreements. If it is not specified otherwise, the teams that end up without an agreement will be ranked based on the score assigned to a non-agreement outcome.

In the three-party role-plays the scores of each team will be the sum of the scores of each team-member as compared to those participants with the same role. The teams will then be ranked as above.


The winner of the The Negotiation Challenge will receive a trophy and a title of The Great Negotiator.


For reasons of expedience, there is no possibility of an appeal against the organizing committee’s decision with respect to selection for the competition or any aspect of the coring and ranking.

Exceptionally, the organizers may hear complaints with regard to foul-play or major regulation violations, but the decision is purely at the organizer’s discretion.

Code of Conduct

Each participant and each participating team undertake not to disclose any aspect of their confidential instructions to anybody throughout the role-play, with the exception of any information it seems fit to share during the negotiation with the other side as part of its negotiation strategy.

Each participant and each participating team are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and follow the organizers directions fully. Each participant and each participating team are expected to behave respectfully to the organizers and to each other; no foul language or inappropriate behavior will be accepted throughout the whole event.

Each participant and each participating team are expected to immerse themselves in the roles they invariably assume during the role-plays. By doing so the make the competition more realistic and rewarding for themselves, the other side, and the audience. Each participant and each participating team are expected to conduct themselves during the competition in accordance to standards of fair play. This includes, but is not limited, to the embellishment of information that is not included in the role-plays, per se. In particular, although participants and participating teams may add (embellish with) neutral information that make their role more realistic, they are expected not concoct evidence that will give them a negotiation advantage over the other side. Since the line may occasionally be thin, participants are encouraged to err on the side of caution.  

Although it is appreciated that during any role play immersion in the role may result in displays of emotions as well as a number of negotiation tactics which may appear confrontational, each participant and each participating team is excepted not to cross the personal line, both psychologically and physically, especially when it would lead to a violation of other participants’ health, integrity, feelings, etc.

The authors of the role-plays used in the competition undertake to keep them private and not to divulge any information pertaining to the role-plays to any applicant and participating teams or their coaches prior to the conclusion of the competition, other than is necessary for conducting the role-plays themselves.

The organizers undertake to ensure that there is no conflict of interest for judges in the integrative role-plays and the final. Judges who may have a conflict of interest with respect to a particular team are expected to recuse themselves as soon as practicable.

The organizers undertake to abide by the highest standards of professional integrity that befits the community of professional negotiators and mediators, as well as those of their respective professions (e.g., academics, lawyers, etc.).

Participation in the competition automatically implies acceptance of these Regulations and of the aforementioned undertakings offered by the organizers and the participants. The organizing committee reserves the right, at its absolute discretion, to expel any team or team member who does not abide to the aforementioned rules and disrupts the competition, at any point during the competition, even without prior warning.