William Ury: Negotiation Skills and The Walk from “No” to “Yes”

Posted by: on Mar 21, 2014 | No Comments

In an earlier post I wholeheartedly recommend “Getting To Yes” by Fisher and Ury, when it comes to resolving disputes. Members of the Harvard Negotiation Team, they have created a four stage approach to “principled negotation” that Wikipedia summarises as follows:

“Getting to Yes describes a method called principled negotiation to reach an agreement whose success is judged by three criteria:

1.It should produce a wise agreement if agreement is possible. 
2.It should be efficient. 
3.It should improve or at least not damage the relationship between the parties.

The authors argue that their method can be used in virtually any negotiation. Issues are decided upon by their merits and the goal is a win-win situation for both sides. Below is a summary of some of the key concepts from the book. The four steps of a principled negotiation are:

1.Separate the people from the problem 
2.Focus on interests, not positions 
3.Invent options for mutual gain 
4.Insist on using objective criteria 

In principled negotiations, negotiators are encouraged to take the view that all the participants are problem solvers rather than adversaries. The authors recommend that the goal should be to reach an outcome “efficiently and amicably.”

The video above is a TED talk from William Ury where he talks about principled negotiation in a much more important context: that of world peace. Much of the skill of negotiating effectively (in sales as well as in dispute resolution) is being able to see things from the perspective of the “other side”, to remain focussed on the future and on solutions rather than on past hurts.

William’s inspiring talk shows how these skills might well be useful in your business, their wider application could change their world.

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