For almost a decade, he has introduced law students and lawyers to the noble art of negotiation and made the subject popular. Now, Executive Vice President Mikkel Gudsøe has been appointed honorary associate professor at the Department of Law.
He is tirelessly interested in negotiation.
This brief sentence actually summarises Mikkel Gudsøe’s career fairly accurately, and also explains why he was recently appointed honorary associate professor at the Department of Law by Thomas Pallesen, dean at Aarhus University’s business school, Aarhus BSS.
Mikkel Gudsøe, who is currently the executive vice-president at Juhl Bach Holding, has transferred his great passion for legal negotiation to a large number of law students at Aarhus BSS for the past nine years, taken them to international negotiation competitions every year and made the subject area both recognised and popular. He teaches law firms and lawyers both in Denmark and abroad, and is generally a sought-after speaker and expert in the area of negotiation and influence.
The numbers speak for themselves. In 2007, Mikkel Gudsøe started up the elective course legal negotiation at the Department of Law, and this semester, more than 80 students wanted to take the course. Concurrently, he participates in international negotiation competitions along with his students on a regular basis, where his classes have won and received awards several times.
In the evaluations, he is praised for his very direct style of teaching, where he shares his experiences, mistakes and successes with his students, and for his insistence on disseminating his knowledge and turning it into competences which the students can apply for the rest of their career. And at the same time, the students find that the course - and particularly the exam, where they must negotiate with Mikkel Gudsøe - gives them an overview and a sense of calm in stressful situations like e.g. oral exams, speeches and, of course, negotiations.
Mikkel Gudsøe insists that negotiation is about optimising relations and results for both parties and not simply about maximising your own circumstances at the expense of the other party.
“Negotiation is a skill that everyone can learn, and that all of us in principle practice every day. Any form of communication with another person is negotiation. The students feel that a negotiation mindset can benefit them in other situations. For my own part, I love teaching as well as practicing negotiation, and I firmly believe that he who teaches, learns,” says Mikkel Gudsøe, who is happy with and proud of his new title.
And back to being tireless. Because Mikkel Gudsøe does not rest on his laurels or feel like he has mastered his field. Rather, he now wants to use his honorary title to conduct further research in negotiation, and preferably across disciplines.
“It would be interesting to collaborate with e.g. psychologists and neuroscientists on what happens with people’s verbal and nonverbal behaviour when we negotiate. That’s part of what I’d like to look at more closely and explore further in the future,” he says.
At his workplace, they see his teaching, continuous development and effort to perfect his craft as strengths, and therefore they support his passion for business and negotiation.
“My passion for negotiation hasn’t just been a niche hobby, but has always been directly connected to the value creation in my work, and that’s why the two go together superbly. Of course I’m happy that my employer agrees and sees the benefits of this. Because I can’t help but read, teach and practise within the area,” says Mikkel Gudsøe, who also notices an increased focus in the media on the influence of the area in business and the political world.
Mikkel Gudsøe, honorary associate professor
Department of Law, Aarhus BSS – Aarhus University