How to win any negotiation: summary of “Getting to Yes” by William Ury

A few months ago I listened to Getting to Yes by William Ury who is probably the most recognized negotiation expert.

If you never heard about William Ury, short TED talk might be the best way to get to know about his impressive career:

And here are the notes that I wrote down while reading it. Probably they will be of some use for you as well:

1. Always set a goal of negotiation form the very beginning: “You want to sell at a higher price and I want to buy at the lower price. Let’s find the fair price that can both agree upon.”
2. Always try to understand the interests behind a position. How did you arrive at that price? Why do you consider it just?
3. Always repeat the position of another side: “Correct me if I’m wrong. Do I understand correctly that you consider this price to be just because…”
4. Always set a principle, external standard to judge the agreement. E.g. fair solution.
5. Separate a person from a problem. “We are very grateful for everything you did for us but it’s very important for us to arrive at the fair solution.”

6. Ignore the irrelevant. “It is irrelevant whether we trust you or not. What relevant is whether our agreement is fair or not.”
7. All other things being equal, the least interested side (the one with a better alternative) wins. Prior to negotiations, one should think about the action plan in case if negotiations fail.
8. Don’t make a decision under emotional pressure. If needed take time to think and postpone a decision. But suggest a reason for this, for example, a need to consult with your partner.
9. When asking questions pause, don’t ask another question right away after another side stopped talking. Pausing might force him or her to elaborate on the issue more.

And a bonus. Very funny video of what can happen if you obsess about negotiating too much…

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