What is Reaching a Negotiating Agreement – Without Giving In?
Can you reach a negotiating agreement without giving in to unrealistic demands?
No is perhaps the most important and certainly the most powerful word in the English language. For many people, it is also the hardest to say. Saying no the right way is possibly the single most valuable skill in negotiation. But to reach a negotiating agreement, without giving in to demands that may compromise your goals or principles, it is an essential concept.
Many negotiators feel they have to choose between either waging a strictly competitive, win-lose negotiation battle or caving in to avoid conflict.
Instead, bargainers can and should look for negotiation strategies that can help both sides get more of what they want. By listening closely to each other, treating each other fairly, and jointly exploring options to increase value, negotiators can find ways of attaining a negotiating agreement without giving in to the need to rely on hard-bargaining tactics and unnecessary concessions.
Even so, you may still find yourself in hard-bargaining situations. You may find yourself with a need to say no – to your counterpart or to yourself – while working toward a negotiating agreement without giving in to unproductive reactions.
What does this look like?
Challenging the assumption that you can either use power to get what you want (at the expense of the relationship) or use the relationship (at the expense of the power), a “positive no” calls on you to use both at the same time, engaging the other in a constructive and respectful confrontation.
And for saying no to yourself? Our focus on our own problems and concerns often prevents us from putting ourselves in our counterpart’s shoes. So put yourself in your own shoes first—that is, to listen to yourself first, identify your deepest needs, and think about how they can be met.
Learning great BATNA examples, or estimations of your best alternative to a negotiated agreement as well as that of your negotiating counterpart, are essential to effective negotiation strategies. When preparing to negotiate, always take time to consider these important questions.
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Course Dates: This course is closed
Too many negotiators leave value on the table. They painfully divide a small pie after a costly battle while failing to capture offsetting opportunities for joint gain, or win the battle, but at the cost to relationships and reputation that limit long-term value. Reliably negotiating optimal outcomes requires a keen … Read More
Inexperienced negotiators and even many experienced negotiators tend to assume they have a choice between two main strategies: negotiate in a tough, demanding manner or in a friendly, accommodating manner. In fact, there’s a better, third way of negotiating—one that doesn’t rely on toughness or accommodation, but that will improve your likelihood of meeting your … Read More
Course Dates: This course is closed
When negotiations become difficult, emotions often escalate and talks break down. To overcome barriers and turn negotiations from difficult to collaborative, from breakdown to breakthrough, you must learn to understand the inter- and intra-personal dynamics at play. In this program, you will examine how your own assumptions and behaviors can … Read More
In business negotiations, our actions and reactions often go against creating a win-win situation. Self-examination can help, writes Getting to Yes author William Ury in his book, Getting to Yes with Yourself (and Other Worthy Opponents).
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Many people dread negotiation, not recognizing that they negotiate on a regular, even daily basis. Most of us face formal negotiations throughout our personal and professional lives: discussing the terms of a job offer with a recruiter, haggling over the price of a new car, hammering out a contract with a supplier.
… Read What is Negotiation?
In business negotiation, two polar-opposite errors are common: reaching agreement when it wouldn’t be wise to do so, and walking away from a mutually beneficial outcome. How can you avoid these pitfalls? Through careful preparation that includes an analysis of the zone of possible agreement, or ZOPA in business negotiations.
… Read How to Find the ZOPA in Business Negotiations
Parties can often reach a better agreement through integrative negotiation—that is, by identifying interests where they have different preferences and making tradeoffs among them. If you care more about what movie you see tonight, but your friend cares more about where you have dinner, for example, you can each get your preference on the issue … Read More
When an important negotiation is looming, “winging it” is never the answer. The best negotiators engage in thorough negotiation preparation. That means taking plenty of time to analyze what you want, your bargaining position, and the other side’s likely wants and alternatives.
… Read Negotiation Preparation Strategies
Your BATNA, or the ability to identify a negotiator’s best alternative to a negotiated agreement, is among one of the many pieces of information negotiators seek when formulating dealmaking and negotiation strategies. If your current negotiation reaches an impasse, what’s your best outside option?
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How can you uncover additional value, make useful trades, and put together a package that exceeds your party’s expectations? Here are four integrative negotiation strategies for value creation that all negotiators should add to their toolkit.
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If your current negotiation reaches an impasse, what’s your best outside option? Most seasoned negotiators understand the value of evaluating their BATNA, or best alternative to a negotiated agreement, a concept that Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton introduced in their seminal book, Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In (Penguin, 1991, second … Read Take your BATNA to the Next Level
Negotiation jujitsu means breaking the vicious cycle of escalation by refusing to react. Resistance should be channeled into activities such as “exploring interests, inventing options for mutual gain, and searching for independent standards.”
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How should you decide whether to accept or reject your counterpart’s final offer in negotiation? In their influential book, Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton advise comparing the deal to your BATNA, or best alternative to a negotiated agreement. If the offer is better than the best … Read Learning from BATNA Examples in Negotiation
What can business negotiators learn from current negotiations in the news? Quite a bit, according to the dozens of negotiation experts who contributed to the January 2019 special issue of the Negotiation Journal, entitled “Negotiation and Conflict Resolution in the Age of Trump.”
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In an episode of the American television show The Office, bumbling manager Michael Scott consults with a manual on conflict resolution while attempting to mediate a dispute between two of his subordinates, Angela and Oscar. After Scott explains that there are five approaches to resolving conflict, beginning with “win-lose,” an annoyed Angela interrupts: “Can we … Read What is a Win-Win Negotiation?
Sometimes our negotiation mistakes are glaring: We accidentally reveal our bottom line, criticize the other party when patience was warranted, or get our numbers mixed up. More often, though, our negotiation mistakes are invisible: We get a perfectly good deal but are unaware that we could have gotten a better one if we hadn’t succumbed … Read More
In their revolutionary book Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In (Penguin, 3rd edition, 2011), Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton introduced the world to the possibilities of mutual-gains negotiation, or integrative negotiation. The authors of Getting to Yes explained that negotiators don’t have to choose between either waging a strictly competitive, win-lose … Read Six Guidelines for “Getting to Yes”
In 1975, Leigh Steinberg launched his career as a sports agent by proving that even a little power can be a dangerous thing. He faced what appeared to be a tough negotiation with the Atlanta Falcons. The team had chosen Steinberg’s client, rookie quarterback Steve Bartkowski, as their first pick in the first round of … Read When a Little Power is a Dangerous Thing
While hammering out an agreement during negotiation, a mid-level manager offered a customer a significant price discount. When the discount failed to materialize, the customer sued. In response, company representatives argued that the manager did not have the authority to offer the discount. Who is right?
… Read In Negotiation, How Much Authority Do They Have?
Q: I lead a team of approximately 50 lawyers in the in-house legal department of a Fortune 500 company. As our team gets larger, reflecting the company’s growth, I’d like to install quality-control measures to ensure that all our attorneys are effectively negotiating settlements when appropriate and taking cases to trial when not. What are … Read More
In negotiation, awareness of your BATNA, or your best alternative to negotiated agreement, is often your greatest source of power. What is a BATNA in negotiation? It can be thought of as the best back-up plan you can reasonably expect to achieve. Think of a solid job offer that you plan to accept if your … Read In BATNA Analysis, Knowledge Is Power
What is your greatest source of power in negotiation? In their landmark negotiation book Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In (Penguin, 1991), Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton write that it is often a strong BATNA, or best alternative to a negotiated agreement. Before and during their negotiations, wise negotiators determine their … Read More
The Harvard Negotiation Project was recently mentioned in the Wall Street Journal by David Feith in his interview with Benny Tai, “China’s New Freedom Fighters.”
Benny Tai, a 49 year old lawyer who has been branded an “enemy of the state,” founded Occupy Central with Love and Peace, a group that promotes civil disobedience in order … Read More
The deal started with an offhand remark at a news conference. In September, as President Barack Obama threatened U.S. military action against Syria, a reporter asked U.S. secretary of state John Kerry if there were any way an attack could be avoided. Syrian president Bashar al-Assad “could turn over every single bit of his chemical … Read Negotiators: Prepare to go with the flow
Roger Fisher, co-founder of the Program on Negotiation and the Harvard Negotiation Project, died on August 25 at age 90. A true pioneer and leader, he helped launch a new way of thinking about negotiation, and he worked tirelessly to help people deal productively with conflict.
“Through his writing and teaching, Roger Fisher’s seminal contributions literally … Read More
Roger Fisher, one of the cofounders of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and Samuel Williston Professor of Law, Emeritus, was honored on the 8th of April with a celebration of his career, research, and contributions to both the HLS community and the field of negotiation.
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The PON Film Series presents
followed by a post-screening discussion with
William Ury, co-author of Getting to YES &
Gary Slutkin, Executive Director of Chicago’s Ceasefire
Date: Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: Ames Courtroom, Austin Hall, Harvard Law School Campus
The Interrupters tells the moving and surprising stories of three Violence Interrupters who try to protect their Chicago … Read PON Film Series presents “The Interrupters”
In a recent article published in the Washington Post, Dr. William Ury, co-founder of the Program on Negotiation, suggests that Republicans and Democrats hammering out a deal on the national debt ceiling could benefit from the experience of negotiators.
Professional negotiators know that certain tactics can backfire in tense situations. Issuing ultimatums, publicly criticizing your counterpart, … Read More
Adapted from “Stubborn or Irrational? How to Cope with a Difficult Negotiating Partner,” by Lawrence Susskind (professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology), first published in the Negotiation newsletter.
Suppose you’re an experienced salesperson entering into negotiations for a contract renewal with a company you’ve successfully done business with for years. Recently, your counterpart at the other company … Read Dealing With a Stubborn Counterpart
Adapted from “When You Mean No, Say So!” first published in the Negotiation newsletter.
Too often, we say yes when we shouldn’t. Wanting to be team players at work, we postpone a family vacation. Or we pitch in on a community project when we have no time for it. In the short term, we please whoever … Read Getting to No
The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School
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