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Negotiation Exercise: Compete and Collaborate Simultaneously

Negotiation Exercise: Compete and Collaborate Simultaneously
Leadership, Exercises, Team Building, Communication Skills, Negotiation, Resource Management

Article Rating:::: 414 Ratings :::: Monday, August 22, 2011


This exercise is ideal for team building and negotiation where delegates learn to share their resources and also negotiate with each other in a competitive environment. They will learn that cooperation can be much more effective than direct competition or being difficult.


Complete a specific task using your own group’s resources or negotiate to obtain resources from others.

What You Need

  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Sellotape
  • Magnets
  • White sheets
  • Blue sheets
  • Yellow sheets
  • Green sheets


  • Divide the delegates to 4 groups.
  • Distribute the resources as follows:
    • Group 1. Scissors, White sheets,
    • Group 2. Glue, Blue sheets,
    • Group 3. Sellotape, Yellow sheets
    • Group 4. Magnets, Green sheets
  • Explain that each group must complete a task. They can use their own resources and can also negotiate to borrow or exchange resources with other groups.
  • Print the following task on separate papers and distribute one task to each group at random.
  • Tasks:
    • Make a model of a TV with an antenna. You can use any material as long as the model resembles a TV.
    • Make a paper chain. Each chain must have a different colour to its adjacent chain.
    • Make a cube. Each side must have a different colour in relation with the sides adjacent to it.
    • Make a bridge with two bases one meter apart.
  • Allocate 15 minutes for this part.
  • Time all groups when they finish their task. Once they declare that they have finished, they can no longer participate on the tasks or share their current resources.
  • At the end of the allocated time, stop everyone from working on their task and examine their achievements. The group who has completed the task successfully and was the first to do so wins.
  • Follow with a discussion.


Explaining the Exercise: 5 minutes

Activity: 15 minutes

Group Feedback: 10 minutes


How hard was it to get something from the other teams? Did you cooperate with them easily? Was the atmosphere too competitive? Did you nominate a leader for your team to coordinate your activities? What was the secret to the success of the winning team? Why did the losers lose? When a group finished and took resources of the market, what happened to other groups and their designs? Could they adapt easily with the lack of certain resources (Example: tearing a sheet rather using a scissor as a compromise or using glue and paper as a replacement to sellotape)?


You can adjust the difficulty or the theme of this exercise by changing the supplies and the tasks to suit your specific needs.

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fusi   By fusi @ Monday, July 30, 2012 11:54 AM
It is amazing how your material can turn a person into a proffessional presenter. I look at this daily to improve some of my team building exercises. Please keep on providing more they very important for both pactitioners as well as professionals

Chelsea Elm   By Chelsea Elm @ Tuesday, July 31, 2012 10:44 AM
Fusi, thanks for your kind comments. Your warm words will encourage us to provide more content for the community. All the best.

Guy   By Guy @ Thursday, October 17, 2013 2:27 AM
I'm thinking of trying this activity, but was wondering about the quantity of each resource - should there be enough glue sticks (for example) for each group, i.e. 4, which one group controls or should there be only 1 glue stick which passes from 1 group to another according to the negotiations?
I'm sure it could be done both ways, but was wondering how it was initially conceived and if anyone has feedback from having done it.
Thanks in advance

Ehsan Honary   By Ehsan Honary @ Friday, October 18, 2013 9:20 PM
Hi Guy. The purpose of the activity is to highlight negotiations in a competitive environment and also simulate resource limitation and resource hugging experienced in real world situations. So it is better if there is only one glue and one scissor so groups need to negotiate with the provider and also compete against other groups so they can win the resource. The groups can then time-limit the sharing of resources. Other groups might cheat (i.e. delay giving back the glue) which would then influence their position in the next round of negotiations either with the same group or other groups.

As you stated though, the exercise can be done in different ways depending on what you want to teach.

Guy   By Guy @ Tuesday, October 22, 2013 12:07 AM
Thanks for your answer, I'll try it out tomorrow!

Len Turvey   By Len Turvey @ Thursday, November 28, 2013 2:42 PM
I am trialling this one tomorrow with a group of trainers, so will let you know how it went

Guy   By Guy @ Thursday, November 28, 2013 10:45 PM
I've done it twice now and overall it's gone really well. On both occasions the team building the tv won - making a flat screen TV of any colour was too easy - I'd change that challenge to another. The other challenges were fine.
Regarding the materials, the magnets are difficult to trade - nobody wants them, so give them to the group making the TV!
But good fun, lots of communication thoughout and positive feedback from the trainees! Thanks!

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Rate = 1.95 out of 5 :::: 414 Ratings.


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