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Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 4 months ago

don't argue over positions. some reasons why:

  • get locked in to stance when could be good outcomes that don't fit stance
  • inefficient - creates incentives to stall, go back and forth
  • endangers ongoing relationships


what to do instead -- principled negotiation:

  • people - separate people from problem
  • interests - focus on interests, not positions
  • options - generate variety of possibilities before deciding what to do (invent options for mutual gain)
  • criteria - insist that the result be based on some objective standard



  • put yourself in their shoes
  • don't deduce their intentions
  • don't blame them for your problem (even if it is their fault). instead discuss how can solve problem together
  • discuss each other's perceptions
  • give a stake in outcome by making sure they participate in process of developing agreement
  • make emotions explicit and acknowledge them as legitimate
  • use symbolic gestures - shaking hands, eating together etc
  • listen actively - show you understand by saying back what they have told you
  • speak to be understood
  • speak about yourself, not them
  • speak for a purpose - what will your comment/question do or let you find out?
  • build a working relationship
  • face problem, not people - view each other side-by-side (may even sit this way)



  • look for shared interests
  • how to identify interests:
    • ask why / why not
    • think through their choices from their pov
    • make a list of possible interests
  • realize that each side has multiple interests (different people can take same position for different reasons)
  • most powerful interests are basic human needs such as security or recognition
  • make your interests come alive with specifics
  • acknowledge their interests
  • put the problem before your answer (why before how)
  • be concrete but flexible



  • obstacles to inventing options:
    • premature judgment
    • searching for a single answer
    • assuming fixed-sum game (one's benefit means other's loss)
    • thinking that solving their problem is their problem
  • separate inventing from deciding
  • see brainstorming tips p61-2
  • consider brainstorming with other side
  • examine problem through eyes of different experts
  • think about ways you could change the strength (e.g. if can't agree on who should pay for damaged shipment, may be able to agree to take issue to arbitrator) or scope (set plan for trial period at first) of proposed solutions
  • use differences in interests (see list of example differences p74)
  • draft agreements as you go as an aid to thinking



  • some objective criterion:
    • market value
    • precedent
    • scientific judgment
    • professional standards
    • efficiency
    • costs
    • what a court would decide (?)
    • moral standards
    • equal treatment
    • tradition
    • reciprocity
  • objective criteria should be independent of each side's will
  • fair procedures, e.g. one side divides and other selects, drawing lots, etc


yes, but...

  • know and develop your batna - best alternative to a negotiated agreement
  • consider the other side's batna
  • don't attack their position, look behind it
  • don't defend your ideas, invite criticism and advice
  • ask questions and pause -- be comfortable with silence
  • consider the one-text procedure - revise until final version where the answer can be just yes or no, probably with help of a third party
  • when the other side seems to be using a tricky tactic:
    • recognize the tactic
    • bring it up explicitly
    • question tactic's legitimacy and desirability -- negotiate over it
  • make sure you know how much authority to compromise the person you are dealing with has
  • can build compliance procedures into agreement
  • if they refuse to negotiate, try to find out why directly or through 3rd parties. suggest options to them
  • dealing with "hardhearted partner" - get person you're talking with's agreement (probably in writing) and then discuss with the partner yourself
  • look for objective ways to set deadlines (e.g. before shareholder's meeting)

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