Getting Past No: Negotiating in Difficult Situations

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Jan 01, ISBN Apr 17, ISBN Jul 04, Minutes. We all want to get to yes, but what happens when the other person keeps saying no?

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How can you negotiate successfully with a stubborn boss, an irate customer, or a deceitful coworker? It will help you deal with tough times, tough people, and tough negotiations. Instead, you can get what you want! A world-renowned negotiator, mediator, and bestselling author, William Ury directs the Global Negotiation Project at Harvard University. Over the last thirty years he has helped millions of people, hundreds of organizations, and numerous countries at war reach satisfying agreements. Read An Excerpt.

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Getting Past No: Negotiating in Difficult Situations

About Getting Past No We all want to get to yes, but what happens when the other person keeps saying no? One way is to seek third-party recommendations. Ury notes that "a proposal that is unacceptable coming from you may be acceptable if it comes from a third-party. Suggest ways of present the agreement to constituents in the most favorable light.

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Finally, people may resist an agreement if it is too much change, coming too fast. Break the agreement into a progression of smaller agreements. If they resist, reassure them that no commitment is final until all are. Do not rush the final agreement. Allow the opponent to "go to the balcony" before making their decision.

What if the other side refuses to take the golden bridge to an agreement? Step five, complements step four, offering ways to make it hard for the opponent to say no.

Getting Past No: Negotiating in Difficult Situations | Mastery Quadrant

The common reaction at this point is to resort to power tactics and try to force them to agree. This is counter-productive. Ury says, "Instead of using power to bring your opponent to his knees, use it to bring him to his senses.

Ask them reality-testing questions about what will happen if no agreement is reached. Ury offers this rule for any exercise of power in negotiations: "The more power you use, the more you need to defuse your opponents resistance. Seek to neutralize your opponent's attacks, rather than responding with counter-attacks. Seek allies from the larger community. Third-parties can inhibit threats or attacks, and can pressure both sides to resume negotiations. Remind the opponent of the attractiveness of the proposed agreement, and reassure them that your aim is mutual satisfaction.

Because imposed settlements are unstable, it may be better to negotiate an agreement even in cases where you have a decisive advantage.


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In conclusion, Ury reminds us that the goal of negotiations is not to destroy the other side, nor to dominate them. The goal is to win them over, so that they become partners in a shared problem solving process. Our inability to constructively handle intractable conflict is the most serious, and the most neglected, problem facing humanity. Solving today's tough problems depends upon finding better ways of dealing with these conflicts. Educators Consider a low-cost BI-based custom text. Constructive Conflict Initiative.

Join Us in calling for a dramatic expansion of efforts to limit the destructiveness of intractable conflict. Practical things we can all do to limit the destructive conflicts threatening our future. A free, open, online seminar exploring new approaches for addressing difficult and intractable conflicts. Major topic areas include:. Massively Parallel Peacebuilding.

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Getting Past No: Negotiating in Difficult Situations

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