Negotiation Skills Online Course

Building knowledge, skills and confidence in digital resource negotiation

Course purpose

  • A fully-facilitated online course enabling librarians, contract managers and other professionals to negotiate with vendors of digital products and services with greater confidence, skill, ease and impact.

  • The course is highly practical, sharing knowledge, skills and tools which you can apply immediately to on-going and future negotiations, both new contracts and those you are renewing.

  • Working in a small group, we will explore the process, the possibilities and the pitfalls of negotiations in a safe, supportive and courageous environment.

Key course goals

  • Strengthen your negotiation knowledge and skills to optimize negotiation outcomes

  • Provide practical tools and models designed to grow your negotiation confidence and competence

  • Share:

    • The 4 Cornerstones of successful negotiations

    • The 7 Habits of highly effective negotiations

    • Tips and practices for more confident negotiations

  • Explore:

    • Common negotiation styles and common negotiation challenges

    • The power of a positive mindset and managing our emotions

    • A clear and simple model for building rapport and influence

  • Practice and develop what you learn in a safe and supportive environment

  • Benefit from learning in a friendly and encouraging group of your peers

  • Share practical handouts which support you at the key stages of negotiation

Why this course now?

  • New technologies, new products and services, tailored deals, new rights and responsibilities, new users, and new ways of delivering, using and sharing digital content mean the process of acquiring digital products and services is highly complex and continually evolving.

  • At the same time, important fundamental dynamics remain the same: vendors still seek to maximize usage, reach and revenues, whilst those purchasing seek to best serve their users, often within the constraints of rising costs and pressured budgets.

  • In order to navigate these challenges - and make the most of the many opportunities - it follows that librarians, contract managers and other procurement professionals need to be knowledgeable, confident and competent negotiators.

  • Since 2007 this unique and widely-respected course has been informing and empowering resource and acquisitions librarians and other procurement professionals, growing their confidence and skills, and enabling them to gain the best from every negotiation.

Of the 500+ librarians and other procurement professionals
who have taken this training either online or in person,

all have rated their overall learning experience
as either 'very good' or ‘excellent’.
100% would recommend this training to colleagues.

What's on offer?

  • Live weekly interactive webinars exploring key negotiation themes* with group discussion and coaching

  • Optional structured weekly ‘Buddy Sessions’ designed to help you embed key learning and explore topics of particular interest with your peers

  • Practical handouts and other materials designed to support you in your workplace

  • A series of ‘expert interviews’ in which leading information professionals share their knowledge and insights on key topics covered by the course

  • Recommended books, articles and other resources to deepen your learning

*Webinars are recorded and made available to any participants unable to attend the live session, typically within 24 hours


Participants from this online course (and the in-person workshop on which it is based) report many practical benefits including:

  • greater confidence when dealing with vendors

  • saving money immediately and/or over time [1]

  • achieving more affordable, sustainable agreements

  • greater understanding of which areas can - and should - be negotiated

  • securing better terms

  • more options when negotiating with larger and/or 'monopoly' vendors

  • clearer sense of the areas they want to influence

  • greater confidence about the negotiation process as whole

  • serving their customers more effectively

  • enhancing the value and impact of their department/library

  [1] For example, a US-based librarian saved $35,000 in two separate negotiations with information product vendors whilst colleagues in Eire reported a saving of €5,000 on a single negotiation shortly after taking the course. Whilst such results cannot be guaranteed, this course is expressly designed to build the knowledge, skills and confidence necessary for negotiating more equitable and sustainable deals.

Course Content

Week 1: Introduction & Overview
Welcome and introduction; course overview and goals; your learning goals; brief context; common negotiation challenges; common negotiation styles; Buddy Session details

Week 2: Negotiation Strategy
Introduce Four Cornerstones - four fundamental principles key to negotiation success; explore how each supports us before and during negotiations. Contains a surprise 5th cornerstone.

Week 3: Negotiation Tactics (double webinar)
Share seven tactics or ‘habits’ proven to support successful negotiations by strengthening your negotiating position and building your confidence. Identify which habits will support you best where you are right now.

Week 4: The Inner Game
Methods for managing our emotions; growth mindset: building resilience for greater self-confidence; the 3 Cs of confident negotiations; revisit course goals; review your key learning; consider what’s next for your learning and development.

Lead From Within reserves the right to update content from time to time to optimise the learning outcomes of this course.

Bonus content! Expert interviews

  • You will also have access to exclusive 'expert Interviews' - a collection of one-to-one conversations with leading librarians and other specialists sharing their negotiating knowledge, wisdom and expertise recorded specifically to support your learning and development. Stream or download to listen to later. This collection will be updated and the recording quality improved.

Is this course for you?

  • Negotiation Skills has been written for information professionals, contract managers and others who negotiate for digital products and services within academic institutions/consortia. It will also benefit those with a similar role working within public or corporate settings.

  • Written at an introductory level, the course is aimed at those who are new to negotiations or who have some negotiations experience and are seeking greater confidence, practical additional tips, skills and knowledge. It will also benefit those being trained to undertake purchasing roles in the future.**

  • The course focuses on digital resources, for example journals and other serially published content. It is also relevant for those negotiating for eBooks, databases, and other information products and services.

**Although the course is designed primarily for those new or relatively new to negotiations, more experienced negotiators have found great value in taking part.

Dates of the Winter 2020 Course

  • The next public course* will take place in March 2020.

  • Dates for the live webinars are as follows:

Week 1: Wed March 4th 15:00-16:30 UK time
Week 2: Wed March 11th 15:00-16:30 UK time
Week 3: Wed March 18th 15:00-17:00 UK time [double webinar]
Week 4: Wed March 25th 15:00-16:30 UK time

  • Please note that places tend to book quickly for this course. If you are interested, please book early to avoid disappointment.

  • Early bird pricing is available to those booking on or before December 31st 2019 (see below).

    * Public courses are open to colleagues from any institution and take place at set dates and times (latest given above). I also offer an alternative, and increasingly popular, option which is a dedicated course: this enables colleagues within one country or members in one or more buying groups/consortia to learn together as a group. For dedicated courses, webinar dates and times are tailored to work for the group. If you are interetsed in this option, please contact me.

  • [I am not planning to offer a course for colleagues in Australia and compatible time-zones for 2020 however if you are based in the southern hemisphere, you are very welcome to join the course detailed above. Since it’s unlikely you would be able to join the live webinars, these are recorded and made available within 24 hours].

Winter 2020 Course Fees & Registration

  • An early-bird rate of GBP 995.00 (approx. $US1,275 / EUR1,1550) is available to colleagues who register on or before December 31st 2019.

  • The full-price course fee for Winter 2020 is GBP 1,095 (approx $US1,400 /EUR1,270). This price will be charged for colleagues who register on or after 1st January 2020.

  • Course registration opens in October 2019. Places will be limited so if you know you would like to participate, please contact me to reserve your place.

Feedback from 2019 participants

You may like to read what three participants who took the course in Jan/Feb 2019 liked most about their learning experience:

”I liked that it provided a framework to plan for negotiations, to actively participate in negotiations, and to evaluate and improve them. I also liked the affirmation that that we cannot know everything about negotiations, and that we will not always get it right. We need to stop beating ourselves up, and reach for the support of colleagues.”

”The live, interactive aspect of the course was good because I felt more connected with the instructor and the students and felt like my contributions mattered.”

”I found the structure well thought-out and engaging. The Deeper Dive sections really resonated with me, especially the section on self-compassion.”

Feedback from previous years

“Within a few weeks of taking the course I negotiated a discount that was double the cost of the course registration, so my Dean was thrilled with this quick and positive result.  I have also since negotiated a 5-figure discount on a couple of end of year purchases.  There were so many useful tools and takeaways but some super-important learnings for me included: being mindful of my attitude and the amount of energy I was bringing to negotiations.  I never enjoyed this process and I can see now that I was trying to avoid it or get it over as quickly as possible and that was really affecting the outcomes.  Now, I am taking time to think about a strategy and next steps with each deal.  I really enjoy having the opportunity to be creative and now I can see that creativity does fit in this process and actually leads to better outcomes, so while I wouldn’t describe it as fun, I start each new negotiation with the idea that it could lead pretty much anywhere and that the possibility exists that I may get even more than what I expected from it and that is kind of exciting.”   Jennifer Carroll, Collection Management Librarian, Dimond Library, University of New Hampshire [May 2017]

“This was my first online class…and I thought it was terrific. I was afraid I might not get to know my classmates very well, but that wasn't the case at all. I think we built a really good class camaraderie! The Ruzuku platform helped with that, but I think the live weekly webinars were the key. Sarah, you did such a good job facilitating those….The content was excellent. [I am seriously going to laminate some of the handouts to keep track of their points easily!] This was exactly the information I needed, at the pace I needed it, and at the time I needed it. I don't think I could have asked the stars to align more perfectly. This course met or exceeded every expectation I had.”
Kim Maxwell, Electronic Resources Management Librarian, Massachusetts Institute of Technology* [Mar 2016]

“I really enjoyed this course, the framework for negotiation and the concepts covered, as well as the opportunity to connect with colleagues and create a network of negotiation ninjas….Thank you so much for such a rich and valuable professional development opportunity!”  A leading North American librarian [Mar 2016].

“Sarah has such empathy and warmth and really set a great tone and provided encouragement. I especially liked the bonus webinar on resilience. I had not thought how my approach to negotiating was tied to my outlook on other things in my life and how building my resilience can help my negotiating abilities. Brilliant!”
Ronda Rowe, Licensing & Content Management Librarian, University of Texas at Austen*

“I loved the conversations, range of experiences from the group, and the depth and breadth of experience that you brought to the discussions Sarah. Your handouts - in particular, the checklists - were outstandingly helpful….I would highly recommend your class to anyone with an interest in the topic of negotiation.”
Serin Anderson, Electronic Services Librarian, Saint Martin’s University, WA*

[*views expressed above are personal and do not reflect endorsement by the affiliate institutions].

“I have used the learning from the day when speaking to publishers on the telephone and have found that I have a great deal more confidence and am able to assert myself better.”
Resources Manager, June 2015

 “Very approachable, friendly, clear and concise delivery. Good course which was paced with good variety of content. I enjoyed it very much and learned a lot. Thank you.”
Acquisitions Librarian, May 2015

“This has been a really useful course with a good mixture of content. The background in terms of Mindset and Resilience was really useful and was built upon with practical negotiating tools…the Checklist is a valuable practical tool which I am sure I will use over and over again. As a new member of staff particularly, the course has been excellent.”  Librarian, June 2014

“Every librarian involved in purchasing/licensing should do this course!”
 Special Collections Librarian, June 2013

“Thank you so much for one of the most informative, practical and useful courses I have attended.”
Serials Librarian, June 2013

About me

  • I am an experienced facilitator with a passion for designing and delivering empowering learning. I have been successfully leading negotiation skills workshops and courses for over 12 years working with an estimated 500+ colleagues from more than 20 countries.

  • I am a certified coach trained with the world’s leading coach training school and bring coaching methods, skills and insights into all aspects of my work.

  • A life-long learner I continue to learn from leaders in the fields of: self-awareness and self-development, mindful self-compassion, resilience-building, assertiveness and well-being.