Have you ever thought about how decisions were made just a few decades ago? It's crazy to imagine, but back then, decisions were usually made by one person - whoever was in charge. But now, things have changed! Today, more people are involved in decision making, which is why it's crucial to know how to negotiate effectively with others. Whether you're picking a movie with friends, negotiating a contract with a supplier, or even trying to get a raise at work, all negotiations have similar elements. And the good news is, you can improve the outcomes of your negotiations by learning the right tools and knowledge. That's where "Getting to Yes" by Roger Fisher comes in! This book provides practical tips and techniques for handling tricky negotiations and gives a framework for making negotiations more successful and productive. Negotiating is a part of everyday life, so it's worth investing in improving your negotiation skills. In this summary, I’ll share with you three key lessons that I learned from the book.
Key Lesson #1: Avoid trench warfare. It costs a lot and brings very little in return
You know how sometimes negotiations can turn into a real battle, where both sides just stick to their own positions and defend them no matter what? That's what we call trench warfare. And it's not a pretty sight. This type of situation can lead to suboptimal solutions at best, waste a ton of time and energy, and even hurt the relationship between the parties. The problem with this approach is that both parties become so focused on their initial positions that finding a solution becomes almost impossible. They're too busy trying to "win" or at least avoid losing that they forget about finding a solution that works for everyone. So, it's best to avoid trench warfare in negotiations if you can. Imagine saying to a business partner, "If that 2% discount is more important to you than our long-term business relationship, maybe you should find a different supplier!" That's not a healthy or productive way to approach a negotiation. So, what's the solution? Avoid trench warfare at all costs. It's a waste of time and energy, and it rarely results in a satisfactory outcome. Instead, let's focus on finding solutions that work for everyone involved.
Key Lesson #2: Fight the problem, not the person you’re negotiating with
When negotiating, it's important to focus on the problem, not the person you're negotiating with. Negotiating isn't about "winning" against someone else, it's about finding a solution together. It's important to separate the factual level of an argument from the emotions. Stick to the facts, avoid making personal attacks, and try to approach the problem from a neutral perspective. For example, instead of arguing about who's to blame for a failed marriage, a separated couple should focus on what's best for their children. By keeping the focus on the problem and avoiding personal attacks, you increase the chances of a successful negotiation. So, remember to fight the problem, not the person you're negotiating with!
Key Lesson #3: Outline options before you search for solutions
When negotiating, it's important to remember that a one-sided solution is likely to fail. Instead of bringing a draft contract to the table, be open to discussing all potential solutions and finding one that both parties happily agree with. Think of the negotiation process in two phases: first, outline all potential options and only then move on to making a final decision. To do this, start by discussing the most extreme positions and consider different scenarios and details. Be creative, brainstorm, and gather input from experts if needed. Think of it like trying to predict who will win the Nobel Prize in Literature – you wouldn't just come up with one name, you'd make a list of candidates first. By outlining all the options, you'll end up with a better understanding of what could work for both parties and can move forward to finding the right solution. So, when negotiating, fight the urge to focus on just one solution and instead, outline all the options before finding a solution that works for everyone.
So, in summary, not every conflict has to end in a zero-sum game. To get the best results in negotiations, avoid trench warfare and try to get to the root of everyone's needs and desires. Don't make it personal and attack the person you're negotiating with, instead focus on solving the issue at hand. And before you start finding solutions, make sure to come up with as many options as possible.