Getting to Yes


  Ury and Fisher do a superb job of simplifying different negotiation tactics for both professional and personal use. They layout different styles you can use depending on the situation and the person you are dealing with and make it a point to repeat the fact that both sides should always aim to negotiate by principle and therefore alleviating a lot of the tensions that often arise  

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Key Takeaways
  1. Goal is not to eliminate conflict as this often brings much needed change but to transform it from adversarial to side by side solution solving
  2. Negotiations should be wise (not harm either party), efficient and not damage the relationship
  3. Principled negotiation is neither hard not soft and should separate the people from the problem (attack problem not them), focus on interests not positions, invent multiple options for mutual gains, and insist on using objective criteria
  4. Don't deduce a persons intentions based on your fears
  5. Don't blame other side for your problems even if justified as it is unproductive
  6. Look for opportunities to act in opposition to people's preconceived perceptions
  7. Focus on interests, not positions. There are usually several different positions to satisfy all interests
  8. 4 major obstacles in negotiation:
    1. Premature judgment
    2. Searching for a single answer
    3. Assumption of a fixed pie
    4. Thinking that solving your problem is solving their problem
  9. Separate the process of inventing options (brainstorming) and deciding on a final solution
  10. Never yield to pressure, only to principle
  11. Should always know your BATNA - best alternative to a negotiated agreement. If can't reach agreement, what are the actions you will take? The greater your BATNA, the stronger your negotiating power since you have more options in case an agreement is not reached
  12. 3 most common tricky tactics - deception, psychological warfare and positional pressure
  13. Reputation for honesty and fairness may be your most powerful negotiating weapon
What I got out of it
  1. You hear of this book often and for great reason. Ury and Fisher layout simple techniques and real world examples of how these techniques were used. Negotiations often turn "hard" because the focus is on the people and the problem as opposed to the principle. A must read

  • In today's faster world, we have to rely more on others who we have no control over and must negotiate with
  • There are cooperative ways in order to create win win situations
  • Hard, soft and principled negotiation. Principle bases negotiation on merits as opposed to one side being "right" and look for mutual gains
  • Negotiators should strive to put people first and remain hard on the problem
  • Don't argue and get locked into your position as your ego will get involved and you'll be less open to new and possibly better solutions. Also, if stick to position it is not easy to change your mind as this will be seen as losing face or giving in
  • People are not computers but highly emotional beings that are unpredictable. Keep in mind that you're trying to find a mutually beneficial solution and not trying to win or prove the other person wrong (as hard as that may be at times)
  • To deal with these people problems think about perception, emotion and communication
  • Withhold judgment and try to see the other persons point of view
  • Make other side a part of the process or else they will be more resistant to change. In many ways the process is the product
  • Saving face extremely important and should not be underestimated
  • Can be productive to help other side release steam. Let them air their grievances and then will probably be more open to suggestions
  • Communication - negotiators may not be speaking directly with each other or may easily misunderstand each other, other side may not truly be listening, and misunderstanding can happen at any time. Solution - listen actively and acknowledge what is being said
  • Get to know the other side personally before the negotiations begin
  • Appreciate and acknowledge other sides interests and they'll be more open to yours.
  • Describe reasoning first and then proposal
  • Even if can't reach perfect solution even during arbitration, a big step would be to outline on things where you both disagree and agree if that situation arises to call on a mediator
  • The disagreement can sometimes be the solution as the different parties in fact want different things - one wants the Orange and the other the orange peel...
  • Differences in belief (such as movement of a stock) allow a deal to be reached where both parties are satisfied (at least temporarily)
  • Look for a precedent, something the other side said or did in the past. This will help legitimize your argument if it works in your favor
  • Be mindful of what you and the other side really want, don't get weighed down by irrelevant arguments
  • Understand the principles the other side is applying to their position. If can understand that, will see where they're coming from and can also leverage it in order to make them be consistent later on
  • These negotiation techniques meant to help you get the most out of the assets that you do have
  • If you have a good alternative you should let the other side know. If not, keep that fact hidden
  • If other sides BATNA is too good, see what you can do to change it
  • If other side doesn't seem to want to play, show them what you can do to help them, what a third party can do, do not push back when other side attacks (negotiation jui jitsu)
  • If feel other side is being deceptive, ask to set the negotiation rules and explicitly bring up the tactic you feel the other side is using
  • Easier to change negotiation procedures than the people you are dealing with (rules, schedule, etc.)
  • Ask other side how much authority they have and if they have final say in the decision
  • Be aware of environment and where the negotiation is being held. If uncomfortable or stressed, other side might be doing this on purpose
  • The more concrete the offer, the more powerful (written more powerful than oral)
  • Make other side aware of what you will and will not do if they don't accept

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