THE BARTER PUZZLE

The ‘Barter Puzzle Activity’ was a great opportunity for us to work “under pressure” as a team and also to practice our negotiating skills. In terms of strategy, we did not have a specific one at first as we mainly focused on trying to finish the puzzle. We soon realized that our puzzle would consist of green pieces and therefore we put the other colors aside and first tried to assemble the questions. After we finished, we focused on the rest of the puzzle. Initially, we just stayed at our table as other teams were already coming to us and we exchanged a piece per piece which was quite a successful strategy. We used cooperation to achieve our purpose like we exchange our normal puzzle with other teams without asking any benefit. As we discovered we did not have any pieces we could exchange, we tried to negotiate as much as possible for the pieces other teams needed since we noticed the same strategy from others. One idea which we found interesting, was exchanging pieces which we did not need but would give us more negotiating power with other teams. We would probably have used this strategy if we had more time to think about our approach and for the actual negotiations.

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The relation between these two activities would be in their aspect of negotiation. In both activities we were made to negotiate what we wanted between people who had different opinions and concerns. In the ‘Now-How-Wow Activity’ we were given a theoretical approach to negotiation as they involved theoretical concerns, in the ‘Barter Puzzle Activity’ however, we were in a simulation whereby practical decisions and negotiations had to be made up close and conversationally between different groups. The main point that is implied in both activities is that when going through an issue and when trying to attain a solution, compromise and negotiation with people is inevitable.

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