Getting to Yes - Roger Fisher, William Ury and Bruce Patton

Getting to Yes - Roger Fisher, William Ury and Bruce Patton

Learn the 4 effective principles that will help you win any dispute and discover the 3 most common obstacles when trying to close a deal.

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Did you know that we are all negociators? Roger Fisher, William Ury and Bruce Patton, authors of "Getting to Yes", demonstrates how to achieve success in the different scenarios of our lives.

A good business is adequate, efficient and strengthens the relationship between the two parties as it is usually long lasting. That is why developing trading techniques is so important, even if you do not just work on it.

The authors list 4 principles of effective negotiation that can be used in any type of dispute.

In this summary, we will briefly explain each of the principles as well as show you how to overcome the three most common obstacles in a negotiation.

About the book "Getting to Yes"

Getting to Yes (1981) is considered a reference for successful negotiations.

Authors have proven tools and techniques that can help you solve problems and find out solutions that both parties to a negotiation are satisfied.

About the authors Roger Fisher, William Ury and Bruce Patton

Roger Fisher (1922-2012) was a professor at Harvard Law School and one of the founders of the Harvard Negotiations Project.

William Ury is an anthropologist and works as a peace negotiator for corporations and governments around the world.

Bruce Patton is Harvard professor and co-founder of Vantage Partners, an international consulting firm that teaches people to improve their negotiating skills.

To whom is this book indicated?

The content of this book is recommended for people who have an interest in improving their negotiation skills, for personal, professional, or both.

In addition, "Getting to Yes" is suggested for anyone who wants to learn how to find win-win solutions in all their conflicts.

Main ideas of the book "Getting to Yes"

The highlights of the book are:

  • You need to know how to control the emotions in a negotiation (yours and your counterpart);
  • Demonstration of admiration can help you resolve a deadlock;
  • Always be positive in your message;
  • Escape the cycle of action and reaction, especially in cases of emotional outbreaks.

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[Book Summary] Getting to Yes - Roger Fisher, William Ury, Bruce Patton

Overview: Separate people from the problem

In this first part, the author identifies the main sources of problem at the time of negotiation, knowing how to separate the person from the problem. The author identifies three sources of problem that make negotiation difficult:

1. Perception

As most conflicts are based on the difference in data interpretation, it is crucial that the two sides understand and recognize the point of view and the emotions, both yours and others.

The more you engage the other part in the process, the more likely it will be to help you and support your solution.

2. Emotion

A negotiation can be a frustrating process. Often, people react in an angrily way when they feel that their interests are threatened.

You must allow the other party to let go and not react with emotional outbursts. Symbolic gestures, such as apologies or small gifts, can disarm strong emotions.

3. Communication

Often, while one person talks, the other seems to be listening, but in fact is only thinking about the answer that will give for that. This can lead to serious misunderstandings between them.

So in a negotiation, it is important to give full attention to whom is speaking, listen actively and demonstrate that you have understood what was said.

Overview: Focus on interests, not positions

A well-conducted agreement focuses on the interests of the parties, not their positions. When a problem is solved for people's interests, a solution that satisfies everyone involved is more likely to be found.

The first step should be to identify what those interests are. This can be done by questioning why they hold their positions that way and not consider other possible solutions.

Although each person has their own desires and needs, some basic priorities are likely to be shared, such as security and financial well-being. This can help in negotiating a solution.

Once interests have been identified, they need to be discussed. To have your desires considered by the other part, it is important that you explain them clearly and functionally. Also, pay attention to the needs of the other person, as this attitude may motivate you to be more reasonable with your own.

The discussions should be directed towards finding new solutions, instead of getting analyzing past events. In short, the two sides should keep a focus defined on their interests, but always remain open to different proposals and solutions.

Overview: Invent Mutual Gain Options

As a third step from the book "Getting to Yes", William Ury and the other authors define four types of problems for generating solution options:

  1. Decide on a premature solution and not consider other options;
  2. Narrow the range of options to find a single solution;
  3. Understand that the only possible solutions are those that are positive only on one side and negative on the other;
  4. One side decide that it is the other party's role to find a solution to the problem.

To overcome these obstacles, the two sides must meet and brainstorm to find all possible answers to the issues involved.

After the full range of solutions (partial or non-partial) are presented, begins the evaluation and improvement phase, starting with the most promising ideas.

Participants can avoid the "one-sided win" mentality by focusing on the interests that are shared. The key to reconciling distinct desires is to look for elements that do not cost much to you, yet offer great value to the other side.

Overview: Insist on using objective criteria

In this part, Roger Fisher, William Ury and Bruce Patton talk about objective criteria and how to use them.

When desires are directly opposed, the parts must make use of objective criteria to solve their differences. Allowing such disagreements to provoke a war of wills is inefficient and is likely to greatly undermine the relationship.

The criteria must be legitimate and practical, as well as being seen by both parties as best as possible for such a situation. Scientific research, professional standards and legal precedents are good sources for objective methods.

There are three points to consider when using objective criteria. They are:

  • Each problem must be approached as a search shared by objective criteria. Ask the reason behind the other negotiator's suggestions. Making use of the suggestions of others to support your position is a powerful negotiating technique.
  • Keep yourself open. Be reasonable and always willing to reconsider your position when there is reason to do so.
  • Do not bend for pressure, threats or bribes.

Overview: The 3 Obstacles to a Good Negotiation

Here, the authors will show us what are the three obstacles to building good negotiation.

1. When the other party is more powerful

No method of negotiation manages to overcome totally great differences of power between the parties. However, there are some techniques that are able to protect the weaker side of a very uneven agreement.

Many negotiators, in order to protect themselves, establish in advance what they call the "final value", that is, what they consider the worst acceptable outcome. If you are a buyer, your final value is the highest price you would pay. If you are in the role of seller, this index would be the lowest acceptable price.

Roger Fisher, William Ury and Bruce Patton oppose this practice. As it is established before the discussion, it limits your ability to benefit from something you have discovered during the exchange of ideas.

Instead, the weaker side must develop its MAPAN (best alternative to a negotiated agreement). The reason for the negotiation is to produce things better than the results obtained without it. Therefore, the weak party should reject agreements that leave it worse off than its MAPAN would leave.

Your MAPAN is not just a better way of measuring. It also has the advantage of being flexible enough to allow the exploration of imaginative solutions.

Instead of eliminating any solution that does not reach its final value, you can compare the proposal to your MAPAN to see if it best suits your interests.

2. When they do not want to get into the game

Sometimes the other side refuses to back down from their positions, performs personal attacks, seeks only to maximize their own profits, and generally refuses to engage in participatory negotiations.

In this case, the authors created the concept of "jiu-jitsu negotiation". Basically, it consists of deflecting the attack and directing it to the problem. That is, you use the aggression of the other part to help you achieve your interests.

When the other side remains stuck in the positional bargaining game, you may need to consider bringing a third party to the bargain.

A mediator is able to separate people from the problem and focus the discussion on interests and options. In addition, he can usually suggest adopting some unbiased basis for resolving differences.

3. When They Play Dirty

According to the book "Geting to Yes", the other part can use unethical, unpleasant and even illegal tricks to gain trading advantages such as lies, psychological abuse and other forms of pressure.

Usually, people react to these tricky bargains in two ways:

  • You can live with it, hoping things will end up as well as possible;
  • You can respond in the same currency, being malicious as well.

Cunning tactics like these are illegitimate because they do not pass the test of reciprocity. They are designed to be used unilaterally, considering that the other side does not know the practice or tolerates it in a premeditated way.

To counter this, you might say at the beginning of the deal: "Look, I know this may sound out of the ordinary, but I'd like to know the rules of the game we're about to start now."

Whatever you do, be prepared to face cunning bargaining tactics. You can be as firm as them, maybe even more. It is easier to defend principles than illegitimate tactics. Do not be a victim.

What do other authors say about it?

The author of "Digital Business", Alan Pakes, says that sales are the pillars that support any business. Therefore, you must also focus on winning over your customer and show that you have the right solution for them, guiding them towards selling your product.

In the book "How to Sell When Nobody is Buying", author Dave Lakhani advises: if you are not selling, try to improve your approach. In difficult times, bad salespeople give up and open up opportunities for the most creative and efficient salespeople.

Finally, Roger Dawson, in his book "Secrets of Power Negotiating", reveals his tactics to succeed in a negotiation. He points out that most of the negotiation takes place through non-verbal communication.

Okay, but how can I apply this to my life?

There are several ways to use the teachings that we set out in this summary of "Getting to Yes" in our favor, among them, we highlight:

  • Avoid trench warfare. This brings little return and high cost;
  • Keep in mind that you are negotiating with people;
  • Fight the problem, not the person with whom you are negotiating;
  • Before seeking solutions, understand the underlying interests of both parties;
  • Always find objective criteria to substantiate your decision;
  • Negotiation is communication: listen and keep talking about facts!

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