Getting to Yes! Book Report

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Getting to YES, Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In is an excellent book that discusses the best methods of negotiation. The book is divided into three sections that include defining the problem, the method to solve it, and possible scenarios that may arise when using these methods. Each section is broken down into a series of chapters that is simple to navigate and outlines each of the ideas in a way that is easy for any reader to comprehend. There are also several real life explanations for each issue that make the concepts easier to apply and understand. These ideas are reflective of a method developed by the Harvard Negotiation Project called “principled negotiation”. This method combines the two ideas of soft and hard negotiation in a way that looks at the negotiation objectively and separates the negotiator from the issue. By looking at the negotiation and separating personally from it, the best outcomes for both parties are likely to occur. To further explain, below is an outline of the principled negotiation method divided in the same manner as the text with real life applications of these methods and how they can benefit my professional life personally.

1: THE PROBLEM – Don’t Bargain Over Positions

Chapter one explains that when negotiating, it is important to maintain positions at all times. A position is where you stand in an argument and defines what you are negotiating for. As you argue your posistion, you are less likely to bend on that position because you continue to defend it, the stronger bond you form with it. The chapter also discusses the two types of negotiation that are usually seen which include either soft or hard negotiation. In hard negotiation, both parties are considered adversaries and holds the negotiation as a competition in which only one party can win. Soft negotiation focuses on maintaining a friendly relationship between the two parties involved and is more likely to promote a loss in order to make a deal. In both scenarios, the well-being of both parties is overlooked. The chapter then introduces the third option of principled negotiation in which the negotiation is not based on positions but rather the merit of the negotiation. This method considers the parties involved as problem solvers trying to reach a deal that is beneficial for all involved. After the problem is outlined and defined without positions, the focus is on the method in which to reach an agreement (covered in the next four chapters) by focusing on the people, interests, options, and criteria brought forth.

This method will be beneficial to me in many ways in my professional life but the one that comes to mind above all others is my company’s attempts at leasing new office space. Currently, the owners have agreed that we cannot rent space that costs more than $17 per square foot. This is a very low price point for the market in our area and many realty companies cannot reach that price point. Instead, they have offered us free rent for a few months while we start the lease or decreased utility costs to try and accommodate us for not reaching our price point. Instead of looking at these ideas and having an open mind, the owners refuse to settle for anything more than $17/sqft and we have exhausted almost all of our options. If we are to make a deal in the future, it will be important to not only stop arguing our own position, but to look at the problem objectively and try to be hard on the issue at hand, not the position we hold.

2: THE METHOD – Separate the People from the Problem

The second chapter focuses on building personal relationships with the other party in the negotiations. As the text states, it is far too often that in a negotiation both parties forget that there are people on the other side of the agreement. Each person has a different set of values and emotions that must be taken into account when trying to reach a deal. It is also important to build relationships as they make...
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