About Us

We're The World's Leader For Results-Driven, Highly Customized Negotiation Training.

 

Common Ground Seminars, Inc. is a consortium of organizations and individuals with an expertise in the fields of negotiation and conflict resolution. We focus on one goal: giving our clients the skills they need to make rewarding and profitable agreements with their customers, employees, vendors, partners, unions, regulators, colleagues, and countless others. Our clients rely on us for practical, no-nonsense, cost-effective solutions.

The Secret of Our Success?
 
Our negotiating programs are popular because they work! Our clients negotiate significantly better immediately after attending our sessions. And, when something works, the word gets around. Our clients are our best salespeople.

Why You Need Us.
 
It's not just your imagination–things really are getting tougher. It's harder than ever to manage a business, make a profit, or run a government. And the tougher things get, the more important good negotiating becomes. Today, the average net after-tax profit margin of the S&P 500 companies is a razor-thin 4 percent. Margins of 10 to 20 percent and more used to be typical; only grocery chains and a few other high-volume businesses had 4 percent margins.
 
Margins have been steadily shrinking for the past half-century, and the global economic landscape has likely changed forever. We all share a future of constrained resources and low profit margins, where ever smaller advantages will determine who succeeds and who doesn't. This is a future where better negotiating makes all the difference.

The Principles That Guide Us
Effectiveness and Practicality
 
While Common Ground has come a long way from its early years, our original mandate "Just tell me what really works!" still guides us today. Every program, product and service we offer passes through the same, simple filter: Does it work, consistently and reliably, under real-world conditions?

Win-Win Profitable Outcomes
 
We believe that everyone's best interest is served by win-win solutions that maximize the gain of all parties. Today's problems are too complex and interconnected to be settled on an adversarial basis. We no longer have the resources or recuperative power for the wasteful and prolonged conflicts of the past.

Affordable Programs That Get Immediate Results
 
Because our instructors have negotiating careers outside of Common Ground, we're able to keep our full-time staff to a minimum. We don't advertise; we don't have to. Referrals provide us an average 50 percent annual growth rate. This allows us to keep our prices low—far lower than our major competitors, and so low that our clients find it's not cost-effective to develop their own negotiation training programs.

Our Guarantee
 
We guarantee you'll recover the cost of a Common Ground In-House Session through more effective negotiating within two weeks of the training or we'll refund your money.

Jim Thomas
 
The World's Negotiating Coach
 
Jim is a negotiator, attorney and stand-up comedian.
A day with Jim is an unforgettable event!
 
 
 
 

From its first day in business, Common Ground has been privileged to be associated with Jim Thomas, "The World's Negotiating Coach." Jim is Director Emeritus of Common Ground, and our advisor, counselor, teacher, mentor and guide. Negotiation has been the focus of Jim's law practice for the past 30 years.
 
Jim is the top choice of U.S. presidents and their staffs for negotiating coaching and advice. When Fortune 100 companies demand their people learn negotiation skills from only the best, they pick Jim. His presentations on negotiating have been enthusiastically received by tens of thousands in the U.S and around the world.
 
Before Jim started Common Ground, he founded The Cooper Management Institute in 1983. Jim's experience includes mergers and acquisitions, domestic and international business transactions, U.S. and international arms control, the environment, trade and diplomacy, real estate, labor relations, and a host of other fields. Jim served the U.S. in the successful Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) negotiations with the former Soviet Union and GATT (now WTO) trade negotiations.
 
In 1977, Jim wrote and presented a pre-negotiation briefing for a client that dramatically improved attendees' negotiating skills. He expanded this material into a workshop, and in 1982 offered it to the general public. The descendants of Jim's original workshop are among the leading negotiation programs in the world and recipients of numerous awards for excellence.
 
Jim's current negotiating projects include some of today's most newsworthy domestic and international issues. His presentation style is frequently described as a combination of negotiator, lawyer, and stand-up comedian.
 
"If I can make people laugh, I can make them learn," says Jim. "While negotiating is an essential skill for success, it's not easy to do. In fact, it's the only skill I know that can be technically and emotionally demanding at the same time."
 
Jim's energy and confidence reaches even the most distant, resistant participant. He provides each attendee a strong, personal sense of calling, responsibility, and empowerment. His success can be seen in the towering marks his attendees give him.
 
"My job is to create a spellbinding event that is so much fun that attendees can't help but learn!"
 
Jim is the author of the best-selling business book NEGOTIATE to WIN and scores of articles about negotiating. He is a frequent guest on national and international television and radio, and is a popular speaker and trainer for corporate, government, trade and professional groups. Jim is a graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles (magna cum laude) and The Georgetown University Law Center. For more information about Jim Thomas, please visit: http://www.jimthomas.info.
 


Unlike Other Negotiation Training Companies Common Ground's Faculty Members Are Experts Who Negotiate For a Living.
 
If one principle defines Common Ground, it's our rule that all programs must be taught by negotiators who happen to be trainers. We owe much of our success to our extraordinary international team of instructors. Each member of Common Ground's global network of program leaders is a distinguished negotiator with an active, full-time negotiating practice.
 
Our internationally recognized experts are frequently seen on news programs and talk shows, and quoted in national news magazines, newspapers, and journals. Our network of instructors have broad experience in mediation, arbitration, and other forms of international dispute resolution.
 
Some of our instructors have participated in GATT, WTO, INF, and MBFR negotiations. Others have represented or assisted the U.S. government in diplomatic, trade, and arms control negotiations. Still others are "area specialists" with particular expertise in specific areas of the economy. All are exceptional teachers with considerable training experience and first-rate platform skills.
 
Because our instructors negotiate for a living, you'll get the answers you need from experts who deal with negotiation issues every day. The instructor for your program will be selected on the basis of your requirements, schedule, and preference. If your selected instructor is unavailable, we'll provide a substitute instructor with comparable skills, experience, and background.

Our Clients
 
When you're good the word gets around!
 
More than 1,000 of the most successful organizations throughout the world enjoy the tangible, benefits of Common Ground programs. Our client partners are a virtual "Who's Who" of business, industry, government and Fortune 500 companies.

 

3M

AAR

Alcatel-Lucent

Alcon

Alere

American Electric Power

American Honda 
Anheuser-Busch

Alcoa
ARCO

Assoc. University Tech Managers

Bank of the West

Bankers Trust

Bell Canada
Bell South 
Bell Textron 
Binney & Smith

Biogen Idec Inc. 
Black & Decker

Boeing

Bridge Bank
Bristol-Myers Squibb 
Canon 
Caterpillar

CCI

Central Pacific Bank
Certainteed

Christensen Farms 
Ciba 
CIGNA 
Citicorp

Coldwell Banker 
Comerica Bank 
Compaq
Computer Sciences Corporation
COMSAT

Crescent Electric
CUNA

DePuy Spine

DIRTT

Dominion Power

DS Brown

Elada International
Eureka 
Exide 
Exxon-Mobil

Fannie Mae 
Federal Express
Ford

Forrester Construction

Foth & Van Dyke

Freeport-McMoRan 
Frigidaire

General Dynamics 


 

General Electric

Gillette

GlaxoSmithKline

Global Entertainment

Group DEKKO

HHS
Hallmark

Hayneedle
Hewlett-Packard 
Hoffman-LaRoche 
Hughes 
Hyatt 
IBM

Idaho Conservation

Innerseats

Inverness Medical

JC Penney 
Johnson & Johnson

JohnsonDiversey 
Johnson Wax

Keebler
Kellogg

Kexxel Inc.
Kraft
Lennox

Lexis Nexus
Lexus

Lifenet

Life Options
Lockheed-Martin

LSU Banking School

Maars
Marriott 
McCormick

Mechanics Bank
Mellon Bank
Merck

Micron Technologies

NSA

Nabisco

Nat. Conservation League

Nat. Railway Labor Conference

National Speakers Bureau

NSA 

Navistar

NC Speaker's

Ngen

Norfolk Southern

Oak Bank

Olamana Marketing

Orkin 
Ortho

OSHA

Pacific Coast Banking School
Parke-Davis

Perkin Elmer




 

Perrigo

PEW Trusts

Pfizer

Phillips Electronics

Phillips Petroleum

Pillsbury

Pirelli Tire

Pizza Hut 
Pratt & Whitney 
Prudential 
Rollins 
Rolls-Royce 
Ryder 
Safeway

San Juan Citizen's Assoc.

Saturn
Scott Paper 
Searle 
Sears

Sephora

Sierra Club 
Southern Company

Speaker's Platform

Sprague Pest Solutions
Sprint 
Teledyne WaterPik

Tenaska Marketing Ventures

The World Bank

Thermo Fisher Scientific

Travelers

TREC-Training Resources for the Environmental Community

Triumph Foods 
True Temper 
Unilever

Union Bank

United Technologies

US Bank

US NAVY 
US West

Utah Bankers Association
Valvoline
Warner-Lambert

Washington Bankers Association

Wells Capital

Wells Fargo Bank

Western Fuels 
Westin 
Westinghouse

Wiburforce Foundation
Xerox

Young President's Organization

--and hundreds more*

 

 

 

We've limited this list out of respect for our clients' wishes about the use of their names in marketing literature. However, if you'd like specific referrals to satisfied clients in virtually any business, professional, trade, or governmental area, please give us a call. The Common Ground team's track record of thousands of successful programs delivered to loyal business, industry, and government clients assures you of an outstanding event.

 

Negotiate to Win - a powerful "how-to" book that concentrates on results!

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World-Famous Negotiating Coach

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Sharpen your negotiation skills, and give your business the edge it needs to profit.

Our negotiation training programs are presented as in-house, client-sponsored programs that are custom-designed from one of our existing courses. Learn More

WE'RE THE WORLD'S LEADER FOR RESULTS-DRIVEN, HIGHLY CUSTOMIZED NEGOTIATION TRAINING

Common Ground Seminars, Inc. is a consortium of organizations and individuals with an expertise in the fields of negotiation and conflict resolutio...

Learn More

The Foremost Negotiation Workshop Today

From the profusion of negotiation theories, traditions, strategies and folklore Common Ground Seminars harvested negotiating techniques that succee...

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