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Getting to Yes

Negotiating an Agreement Without Giving In

By Roger Fisher, William Ury & Bruce Patton
16-minute read
Audio available
Getting to Yes: Negotiating an Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher, William Ury & Bruce Patton

Getting to Yes (1981) is considered the reference for successful negotiations. It presents proven tools and techniques that can help you to resolve any conflict and find win-win solutions.

  • Anyone interested in improving their negotiation skills, whether for use at work, at home, or both.
  • Anyone who wants to learn how to find win-win solutions to almost any conflict

Roger Fisher (1922–2012) was an American professor at Harvard Law School. With his co-authors, he founded the Harvard Negotiation Project.

William Ury is an anthropologist who works as a peace negotiator for corporations and governments worldwide.

Bruce Patton is a Harvard lecturer and co-founder of Vantage Partners, an international consultancy firm that helps companies improve their negotiations.

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Getting to Yes

Negotiating an Agreement Without Giving In

By Roger Fisher, William Ury & Bruce Patton
  • Read in 16 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 10 key ideas
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Getting to Yes: Negotiating an Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher, William Ury & Bruce Patton
Synopsis

Getting to Yes (1981) is considered the reference for successful negotiations. It presents proven tools and techniques that can help you to resolve any conflict and find win-win solutions.

Key idea 1 of 10

Avoid trench warfare. It costs a lot and brings very little in return.

Too often, conflicts turn into trench warfare: both parties take a position, defend it fiercely and only make concessions if they have to. In such a situation, finding a solution is not the result of negotiation; either the more stubborn side wins or a compromise is found that both sides can, more or less, live with.

The problem with these types of conflicts is that both parties have fixated on their initial positions. Instead of searching for a good solution together, they both want to “win” or at least avoid an embarrassing defeat. Such a mindset precludes a win-win solution.

This usually results in an open battle, which costs a lot of time and energy. Even worse, often both sides will take unnecessarily extreme positions because they expect to have to make concessions. In fact, this only results in longer and more painful arguments.

Trench warfare not only makes it more difficult to resolve the conflict at hand, it can also harm the relationships between the two parties: “If that 2% discount is more important to you than our long-term business relationship, maybe you should find a different supplier!”

Trench warfare is bad in many ways: it results in sub-optimal solutions (at best), consumes a lot of time and energy and harms relationships.

Avoid trench warfare. It costs a lot and brings very little in return.

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