Good Essay On Getting To Yes: Negotiation Agreement Without Giving In
Developed negotiation skills are dramatically important for modern people. The level of the negotiation mastery influences literally every sphere of our life since almost every act of the interaction with the outer world is based on communication with other people. Nevertheless, a lot of people take the bargaining process as something negative and unpleasant, preferring to give in and walk away from the discussion. This leads to the negative consequences like the constant feeling of dissatisfaction and seeming disability in finding the place under the sun.
One of the best books that have a goal to help people master the art of negotiation is “Getting to Yes: Negotiation Agreement Without Giving In” by the authors Rogers Fisher and William Ury. The book was originally published in 1981 (reissued in 1991) and became a best-seller. Throughout the years, this book has helped thousands and thousands of people to get through the jungles of incomprehension with others using the excellent negotiation methods and techniques. It has become a handbook for negotiation that implements the social science of interpersonal communication. “Getting to Yes” offers a method of conflict resolution that can be used in almost any imaginable situation. Negotiation approaches described in the book can be useful to attorneys and other professional negotiators as well as to usual people that struggle with their daily problems. Basically, the authors give the reader a tool for resolving conflicts by the common sense skills known to many but rarely presented in such an organized and readable form. The authors’ in-depth analysis of the established methods of negotiation discovers innovative and promising approaches which may be particularly useful as a tool for resolving conflicts on all levels, including interstate negotiation.
In order to master the art of negotiation it is important to understand that the focus in negotiation should not be simply winning but rather coming to an agreement that is wise, fair and – most important – will satisfy the interests of both sides and the larger community (business partners, friends, family) surrounding the two parties. In the book, authors offer us the method called “principled negotiation” that perfectly matches these criteria. This method is contrasted to the traditional negotiation method which is called “positional bargaining”, in which sides take a position, argue for it and make mutual concessions to reach an agreement. Principled negotiation, on the other hand, focuses on the needs or interests of the parties – the reasons why they have taken a particular position rather than their position itself. The reason of focusing on interests is that for every interest there usually exist several possible positions or solutions that could satisfy it. Therefore authors believe and show us that there is always a possibility to find an alternative solution which meets the interests of all parties.
Golden nugget quotes
In the book, Fisher and Ury make their best to provide the comprehensive analysis of the subject of research. The book is rich in excellent quotes that imprint on the readers’ memory and help to understand the explanations more deep and clear. The key quotes of the authors are listed below.
“Any method of negotiation may be fairly judged by three criteria: It should produce a wise agreement if agreement is possible. It should be efficient. And it should improve or at least not damage the relationship between the parties” (Fisher, Ury 4). This quote coincides with the authors’ opinion about the definition of effective negotiation. They believe that wise agreement can be defined as one which meets the legitimate interests of each side to the extent possible, resolves conflicting interests fairly, is stable, and takes community interests into account.
“The more you clarify your position and defend it against attack, the more committed you become to it” (Fisher, Ury 4). This quote is intended to warn the readers against locking themselves into their position rather than focusing on their interests. In other words, authors explain the ineffectiveness of the positioning bargaining. It is really important to avoid it, because arguing over positions produces unwise agreements.
“Separate people from the problem” (Fisher, Ury 17). Authors use this quote as the first and essential demand of the principled negotiation method. They propose the participants of the negotiation process to come to see themselves as working side by side, dealing with the problem, not each other.
“People listen better if they feel that you have understood them. They tend to think that those who understand them are intelligent and sympathetic people whose own opinions may be worth listening to. So if you want the other side to appreciate your interests, begin by demonstrating that you appreciate theirs” (Fisher, Ury 50). Here, Fisher and Ury admonish readers to avoid being too concerned with their own interests and goals as it causes paying too little heed to the interests of others, while it is important to acknowledge these interests as part of the problem. This principle seem to be obvious, however, it’s being neglected quite often.
“Interests define the problem” (Fisher, Ury 41). By this quote authors try to prove the idea that basic problem in a negotiation lies not in conflicting positions, but in the conflict between each side's needs, desires, concerns, and fears. They call this desires and concerns with the term interests, and state that interests often determine the position of the parties. That’s why Fisher and Ury suggest that we stop bargaining over positions and start negotiating over interests. This approach enables us to take all the sides’ needs and desires into consideration, therefore reaching the most effective agreement that satisfies all the parties.
Being one of the longest running best sellers in paperback business books, “Getting to Yes” by Fisher and Ury has made a revolution in the field of negotiations. The authors have confidently challenged the conventional negotiating tactics, backing their words with deep analyses and real-life examples, and laid the foundation for absolutely new approach in this area.
Given tips and thoroughly explained methods of negotiating have been serving students, entrepreneurs, attorneys, CEOs and even diplomats and politicians. Thanks to the authors’ hard work, barbarian bargaining techniques such as outnumbering the other side, arranging meetings on your own turf, and "locking yourself in" (bluff) have all perished.
In addition, it is important to point out that authors didn’t mean their book to be used as some universally applicable handbook that provides readers with instructions for all the possible situations. Fisher and Ury had a goal to help the readers improve their negotiation skills and get them acquainted to the advanced negotiation methods and techniques.
Strengths of the book
As already argued, “Getting to Yes” by Fisher and Ury is one of the best books on negotiation, and it obviously has a lot of strengths. First of all, the book’s language is quite simple and easy to understand, which makes its ideas accessible even to young people and non-specialists. In addition to that, the authors made the book interesting to read by spicing it up with a lot of practical examples that help to go deep into the essence of the matter.
The book introduces the method of principled negotiation that has undisputed advantages over the old method of positional bargaining. Principled negotiation provides more satisfying results for both sides, as it considers their interests and enables them to come to the agreement that is more likely to satisfy the parties. The method is efficient enough to enable the parties to look more creative at the options for dealing with their issue, and reduces the possibility of the stalemate outcome.
“Getting to Yes” uses some common psychological approaches that appear to be logical and sensible. That enables the book to provide wise objective criteria that help the parties to evaluate and accept the settlement options without any unacceptable compromises.
The book by Fisher and Ury was thoroughly analysed and examined by many experts, and in addition to the undisputed strengths there is several points proven to be the weaknesses.
For example, Tidwell points out that it would be more productive to have the parties think critically about their specific situation and design steps more appropriate to their needs than to ask them to stick to the principles described in the book (32). Excessive generalization is a common problem for the books on leadership and communication.
Another weakness regards the utility of Fisher and Ury’s distinction between interests and positions. Provis has criticised this distinction on various levels (305). One aspect of his criticism emphasises the authors' failure to distinguish between objective and subjective interests. These terms are characterised as follows: "objective" refers to what actually promotes an individual's well being, whether or not it is known or preferred by the individual, "subjective" refers to what the individual prefers, whether or not it actually promotes the individual's welfare.
Negotiation is part of the day-to-day of human existence, and being able to take a principled approach can improve negotiation both in terms of the outcomes and the relationships involved. The book is a guide dispensing advice on how to improve one’s negotiation skills. As already mentioned, Fisher and Ury’s methods and tricks can be helpful for people of all ages and occupations. Their innovative and systemized approach is now used on all levels, including international negotiations.
Fisher and Ury’s concepts form a core of negotiating theory that extends far beyond the scope of this book. It teaches the readers principled negotiation, a specific negotiation method that aims for win-win agreements.
Despite the well organized structure of the book, it doesn’t purpose to cover all the possible situations that can arise during the negotiation process. The book aims at giving the readers some food for thought and encourages them to improve their negotiation skills.
Fisher, R., Ury, W. Getting to Yes: negotiating Agreement Without Giving In. New York: Penguin Books, 1981. Print.
Provis, C. “Interests vs. Positions: A Critique of the Distinction.” Negotiation Journal 12 Oct. 1996: 305-323. Print.
Tidwell, A. Conflict Resolved? London: Pinter, 1998. Print.
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