The authors bring out the merits of the principled negotiations over the traditional hard/soft negotiation techniques. The book recommends to focus on the people, their interests, available options and the standards in any negotiation. I liked the BATNA (Best Alternative To Negotiated Agreement) concept which can be applied to many real life negotiation situations.
Key takeaways from the book are:
- Principled negotiation is hard on merits and soft on people
- Any method of negotiation may be fairly judged by three criteria - it should produce a wise agreement if agreement is possible. It should improve or at least not damage the relationship between the parties. It should be efficient.
- During negotiations, speak about yourself and not about them. For example "I feel let down" instead of "you broke your word". Use "we feel discriminated against" rather than "you're a racist".
- If you want to buy an item worth thousands of dollars and all that you've is one hundred dollars, you should not expect skillful negotiation
- Recast an attack on you as an attack on the problem. Resist the temptation to defend yourself or to attack them.
- Some of the most effective negotiating that you will ever do is when you are not talking
The content is short & sweet. This book is focussed on principled negotiations and doesn't deal with all the negotiation paradigms. I would consider this as a primer for negotiations. At the end, there are a few techniques suggested to handle people who play dirty tricks.
You cannot learn to swim by reading a book. Similarly, you cannot be a negotiation expert overnight by just reading this book. You should perpetually apply the ideas.
Author's website: http://www.williamury.com/