Opening students up to negotiation

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alternative dispute resolution

Working It Out is a 27-page handbook designed to introduce high school students to problem-solving, interest-based negotiation. Written by Getting to YES co-author Roger Fisher and Difficult Conversations co-author Douglas Stone, Working It Out presents core concepts from both books in a clear, simple format with plenty of age-appropriate examples from family, school, workplace and social contexts.

Working It Out explains the value of:

  • understanding how different people may see the same situation differently;
  • actively listening, and helping the other person to listen;
  • becoming aware of and dealing with emotions in negotiation;
  • focusing on underlying interests rather than on demands or positions;
  • inventing new options for solving problems;
  • reaching agreements based on what’s fair;
  • knowing when to walk away from a negotiation; and
  • preparing to negotiate.

From the Introduction:

“Why should I read this book?” you may be wondering. “I’m not a negotiator. I’m just a regular high school student.”

You may not be negotiating peace in the Middle East, but every day you negotiate a lot more than you may think. Your mother wants you to take care of your little brother Saturday night. You were planning on seeing a movie. Your boss wants you to come to work a half hour earlier every day. You think you come in too early as it is. Your best friend just went out with someone you’ve been dating. You want to talk to your friend about it, but aren’t sure what to say.

Each of these situations involves people dealing with differences. They all involve an exchange of ideas and a give and take. And in our view, they are all negotiations. The survival of the planet may not depend on the outcome of these negotiations, but to you, they are pretty important.

It’s tough to be a good negotiator. You may have noticed that many times when you negotiate or talk with people about issues that affect both of you, things don’t go as well as you had hoped….

But there’s a better way. It takes some practice to learn it, but if you do, your negotiations are more likely to go smoothly and you are less likely to feel ripped off. It’s called problem solving negotiation, and it’s designed to help you avoid some of the problems you encounter when you use positional bargaining.

To purchase a copy of this handbook, click here

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2 Responses to “Opening students up to negotiation”

  • In corporate life, negotiation is just as vital as it is often neglected. Certainly, such courses should be taught in all MBA programs around the world!

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