Sunday, December 23, 2007

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In

If you have been wondering where to start, to develop skills on negotiations, this is a nice book to read.

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:

  1. Principled negotiation is hard on merits and soft on people 
  2. 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.
  3. 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".
  4. 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
  5. Recast an attack on you as an attack on the problem. Resist the temptation to defend yourself or to attack them. 
  6. 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:

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