Sunday, March 16, 2008

Getting Past No

What would you do if you face a big NO during negotiation? This book trains you well to handle such challenges. The techniques are very practical. I felt that this book is lot more better than the hypothetical Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In

Key takeaways from the book are:

  1. The five most common real world barriers that get in the way of cooperation are: your reaction, their emotion, their position, their dissatisfaction and their power
  2. Rather than pressurizing your adversary to change their mind, create an environment in which they can learn. Only they can break through their own resistance. Your job is to just help them.
  3. The secret of effective negotiation is simple - PREPARATION
  4. There are 3 kinds of alternatives in a negotiation - walk-way alternative, interactive alternative and third-party alternative (with a mediation)
  5. Stepping to the adversary’s side means doing 3 things - listen, acknowledge and agree
  6. How you ask something is just as important as what you ask
  7. Ask a question that cannot be answered by a NO
  8. If you observe the practice of successful negotiators, you’ll find that they ask countless questions. 

The author teaches 5 simple negotiation techniques - Get perspective of the situation by 'going to the balcony', step to the adversary's side, re-frame adversary's thoughts and beliefs, build them a golden bridge. If any of the above 4 techniques don't help you - use power to educate your adversaries. The author has cautiously avoided using the word 'adversary'. He recommends everyone to take a 'co-operative' approach and not a 'manipulative' approach.

If there is one thing that is more important than any of the suggested techniques - it is PREPARATION. "The best place to make mistakes is in rehearsing with a friend or colleague, not in negotiating for real". This echoes Jim Champ's "Practice sessions provide you an environment to fail safely" theory.

The importance of having a BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement) is re-enforced in this book. Overall, this is a very good book to read to improve your negotiation skills.

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