Getting Past No

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Getting Past NO (ISBN 978-0-553-37131-4), first published in September 1991 is a reference book on collaborative negotiation in difficult situations. As a negotiating style, it is neither aggressively competitive nor accommodating and cooperative, but both aggressively cooperative. This book is the sequel to Getting to YES. It is written by William L. Ury and revised in March 2007.

Overview[edit]

The book explains in details how to:

  • Have the joint problem-solving mentality together
  • Break the 5 barriers to cooperation: your reaction, their emotion, their position, their dissatisfaction, their power.
  • Prepare, prepare, prepare yourself by identifying/developing:
    • Interests of each side
    • Options
    • Standards
    • BATNA - Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement
    • What do you aspire to? What would you be content with? What could you live with?

Section summaries[edit]

The book has 5 main sections prescribing how a negotiator should get from the confrontation state to the cooperation state during a negotiation:

Don't react: Go to the balcony[edit]

"Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret"

  • 3 natural dangerous reactions: striking back, giving in, breaking off
  • Name the game: stone walls, attacks, tricks
  • Know your hot buttons
  • Buy time to think: pause, rewind the tape, time out. Don't decide on the spot

This chapter explains how to stop a confrontation based on the way of thinking that it needs 2 people to entangle a discussion and only one to unlock it. HBN

Going to the balcony is a metaphor used to describe the emotional disconnect one should have instead of reacting to the conflict that arises in your negotiation.

Don't argue: Step to their side[edit]

  • Give the other side a hearing: paraphrase and ask for correction
  • Acknowledge their points, their feelings
  • Agree whenever you can without conceding, accumulate "yeses" for yourself and the other party
  • Acknowledge the person: their authority and competence to build a working relationship
  • Express your views without provoking
  • Don't use "but" statements, use "yes…and" statements
  • Make "I" statements not "you" statements - stand for yourself
  • Acknowledge differences with optimism

A wise behavior is described as stepping to the other side and try to look the problem their way to better understand their needs and eventually solve the negotiation efficiently in a win/win manner.

Step to their side is focused on the oppositions feelings and standpoint, whereas go to the balcony is centered on your perspective.

Don't reject: Reframe[edit]

  • To change the game, change the frame
  • Ask problem-solving questions: Why? Why not? What if? What makes that fair?
  • Ask their advice
  • Make questions open-ended
  • Tap the power of silence
  • Go around stone walls: ignore it, test it
  • Deflect attacks: ignore it, recast it against the problem, reframe it as friendly, reframe "you" and "me" to "we"
  • Defuse tricks: ask for clarifying questions, makes a reasonable request, name the trick.
  • Negotiate the rules of the game itself

Based upon psychologic empathic listening technique: rejecting an idea might lead the human who created the idea to feel invalidated himself, Ury recommends then to reframe and build the deal upon the other side's ideas if possible. A deal takes 2 people's point of view to generate 1 solution, it works better if both people are involved and agreed.

Don't push: Build them a golden bridge[edit]

"Build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across"

  • Classic obstacles to an agreement: not their idea, unmet interests, fear of losing face, too much too fast
  • Involve the other side: ask for and build on their ideas, ask for a constructive criticism, offer them a choice
  • Satisfy unmet interests: don't dismiss them as irrational, don't overlook basic human needs, don't assume a fixed pie
  • Help them save face, help write their victory speech
  • Go slow to go fast, don't rush to the line

Ury claimed that a good negotiation is achieved by 2 negotiators meeting their needs- never one more skilled that overpowers the deal. Because if done so the deal itself is weakened as the loser might not recognize his involvement and his interests in the deal.

Don't escalate: Use power to educate[edit]

"The best general is the one who never fights" (Sun Tzu)

  • Warn don't threaten
  • Let them know the consequences, ask reality-testing questions: what do you think I will do? What will you do?
  • Demonstrate your BATNA at a minimum and a legitimate way without provoking
  • Use a third party to promote negotiation, stop attacks, educate the other side
  • Keep sharpening their choice: let them know you have a way out, let them choose, negotiate even if you can win
  • Aim for mutual satisfaction not victory
  • Forge a lasting agreement

Although all the previous chapter was designed to explain the "good behavior" a negotiator might follow to cool himself down or the other negotiator, Ury presents here the authorized more aggressive techniques that a negotiator could draw legitimately in case of closed situation.

See also[edit]