Getting to Yes abbreviated notes

Fisher and Ury
Chapter 1: Don’t bargain over positions


Most people negotiate by staking out extreme positions in the beginning and then
negotiating towards a middle ground compromise (positional bargaining). This is bad for
several reasons:

If explicit demands are made in the beginning, both sides become personally committed to
their positions and will defend them with unnecessary and counterproductive force. Egos
become intertwined with issues, and people start feeling the need to save face.

Large amounts of time can be wasted during the process of haggling towards a middle

Such negotiating styles can make enemies of people if one side feels it has lost at the expense
of the other party.

There are soft and hard styles of negotiation. Some people try to escape the problems of
positional negotiation by adopting a soft style, which leads them to make more concessions.
Such does not necessarily lead to quality deals.

This book details a new way manner of negotiation: principled negotiation or negotiation
on the merits. It has several components:

Disentangle the negotiators from the problems they are negotiating over so people don’t fight
to protect their egos.

Focus on interests and not positions. The positions are merely a means to realize broader

Take a lot of time to generate mutually beneficial agreements, and be creative in the process.

Insist on using some fair, objective criteria for judging potential agreements.

Divide the negotiating process into three phases:
o Analysis
o Planning
o Discussion (only now do the parties speak face-to-face)

It is important that both sides fully understand the other’s goals, feelings and frustrations
before they even begin speaking to each other.

Make sure both sides are involved in the negotiations at every stage so they will know what is coming in the deal (both good and bad) and so they will feel as if they are making the decision for themselves and not being dictated to. Most people don’t listen well and can’t repeat what someone else has just said to them. you can vent these feelings in private. As a negotiator. Realize that your own perceptions and fears color your impressions of the other side’s actions and motives. especially when they are from different cultures with different values and languages. and might confuse their own perceptions of the world with objective reality. Often. Find ways to construct the agreement so as to save face for all involved parties. Small symbols and tokens of goodwill (a kiss. It helps enormously for negotiators to become friends or to at least offer some gift or friendly gesture to the other side before talks begin. In most cases. etc) can carry a disproportionate amount of significance. It is also frequent to have misunderstandings between people. It helps to frequently stop the other side and ask: “To be clear. tied to their positions thanks to ego. so use them. vengeful. This also greatly speeds and improves future negotiations. which will calm your side somewhat for the negotiations. This will produce goodwill and a feeling of reciprocal obligation. a rose. negotiators have an interest in preserving personal relations with each other because they will often repeatedly deal with each other. tired. different people will focus on different factors and will use those to define the situation—each will have half the picture. A lot of progress can be made through such groups. You must understand what the two sides think. People’s perceptions are very important and can’t be dismissed because they don’t fully concord with all the objective facts. Have both sides discuss their emotions and their causes beforehand.Chapter 2: Separate the people from the problem d Remember that all negotiators are human and can become offended. . are you trying to say…” It helps to create a smaller subgroup of chief negotiators from both sides to meet in private. People gain psychological release from recounting their grievances and complaints. a written apology.

not positions d People’s positions during negotiations are meant to achieve certain interests they hold.  Make sure all sides are aware of the interests of all others. and be willing to change positions. and there is no way to be compensated for apparent losses one is focused upon in the negotiation . put yourself in their shoes and keep asking “Why?” and “Why not?” Construct a chart that shows what they stand to lose or gain. food. Figure out what both sides’ interests are. There are usually four obstacles to come up with mutually beneficial solutions to problems:  Premature judgment  Assumption that there is a single possible solution to the problem  Assumption that the negotiation is zero-sum. but never sacrifice your interests.Chapter 3: Focus on interests. Remember that important factors are the following:  What other people (including peers and constituents) will think of them if they pursue a certain position  Whether a given negotiated outcome will set a precedent  Short. and find new ways to satisfy them with new positions that please both parties.  Commit yourself to your interests and do not sacrifice them for anything. realize that one side’s demands might merely be meant to meet their basic needs (security. Do not get personal during negotiations. self-esteem.  Realize that each side will have multiple goals and interests. or that goal might at least just be ancillary.  Write down both sides’ interests as you learn them. but positions and interests are not the same. etc) and they might not be trying to “screw over” the other side.and long-term consequences  During negotiations. Chapter 4: Invest options for mutual gain d Most negotiations seem at first to revolve around zero-sum issues where both parties can’t walk away happy at the same time—one must win and the other lose. To understand the other side’s positions.

identify the best options and come up with ways to improve upon them. stopgap deals in lieu of a final deal that pleases everyone. Such a strategy might lead to creative and mutually beneficial solutions to the problem. Chapter 5: Insist on using objective criteria Reach agreements based on principles and agree to principles beforehand. which will serve your interests. or agree to conform to legal standards.] Do not give in to pressure or threats from the other side: insist on using the fair criteria. For instance. Have a facilitator to keep things on track.  Do not judge the viability of the proposals during the session—just focus on generating ideas.  Seat everyone facing a blackboard to psychologically reinforce the idea of solving a problem together and not confronting each other. (That is done after the options have been created) Afterward. you can expose poor logic and attempts to take advantage of you. and focus on ways to satisfy those.  Strictly abide by the “no criticism” rule. Look for common ground and common interests between parties. [Might knowledge of past negotiations and how they were resolved be valuable as well?] Consider having the two sides brainstorm together. with each taking turns to offer ideas. agree with a seller of an item to whatever the market price is instead of haggling. d . but be prepared for making second-best. Continually ask the other side what type of objective standard they are using and what their calculations were to arrive at their offer. [These are still open to interpretation. Use the shown Circle Chart Always hope for the best. Through this tactic. View that it’s the responsibility of the other side to solve their own problems Coming up with creative solutions to problems:  Do brainstorming sessions with some skilled people in an informal environment. Come up with ways the opposing side could justify an unpopular deal.

not some arbitrarily set criteria.Chapter 6: What if they are more powerful? d Develop you BATNA—best alternative to a negotiated agreement When negotiations drag out. don’t take up positions in opposition to theirs. Chapter 7: What if they won’t play (Use Negotiation jujuitsu) The other side has a hard bargaining style. If people think they don’t have options (even though they really do). they will be desperate to make a deal. and don’t reject any of their unreasonable positions outright.e. If that fails. be the bigger man and start with principled negotiation. d .”  Don’t take the bait: Ignore personal attacks. Seemingly weak players with good knowledge of BATNA’s and more information than the other side can come away from negotiations with favorable deals. use “negotiation jujitsu. however. First. Continue trying to negotiate this way and hope that the effort becomes contagious. and/or gets personal with you.  Keep questioning them about the interests underlying their positions. Compare all deal offers to your BATNA and reject or accept the former using that comparison. which often produces bad agreements. Again. This.). sticks to positional bargaining. parties often become desperate just to end them and take whatever deal they can. the next best thing to do is to rent it out. Your BATNA should be your bottom line. BATNA’s should be formulated through a process of creative group brainstorming. Also try to guess the other side’s BATNA. This is your BATNA. like a bottom line price for something they’re trying to sell through bidding. Information asymmetry heavily affects negotiation demands and behavior. Before entering into negotiations. People often try to protect themselves from falling into such a trap by setting minimum requirements for a deal. ask yourself what your best option/course of action will be if negotiations fail and you are stuck in the predicament you currently find yourself in (i.—If you can’t get someone to bid market price for your house and buy it. reduces bargaining flexibility and often causes the side to reject lowball offers outright without creatively looking for ways to make the agreement worth it to them in other ways.

“Trust isn’t the issue here. and suddenly raising demands on the eve of an agreement. No one is personally vested in the success of any one draft. the issue is principle. As usual. Neither are very effective for several reasons. and so on. why don’t we take a recess right now to discuss it in private?” “Can I have a more comfortable chair than this?” By simply voicing your awareness and displeasure of the dirty trick. If that also fails. employ principled negotiation and kill them with kindness. allowing more rational negotiation.” A good negotiator should rarely make decisions on the spot. Most people either respond by giving in to the tricks or by responding in kind. but don’t do it in a personally insulting or accusatory manner since this might harden their behavior so as not to appear like they’re backing down. most times it will end. don’t defend yourself. and keep asking questions and listening to understand their motivations. why did you do a credit check on me/make me pay a deposit?” . Always confront the other side about their tactic. the mediator prepares a new draft. personal attacks. Basically. Chapter 8: What if they use dirty tricks? (Taming the hard bargainer) d Dirty tricks include intimidation. but it is understood from the beginning that the first draft will probably be rejected.  The mediator then uses the one-text procedure: He prepares a deal that he thinks will satisfy both parties based on their interests. and based upon these criticisms. call in a mediator  The mediator should be a disinterested third party who speaks with both sides to determine their interests. “If you have a personal problem with me. “Don’t you trust me?” should be met with “Trust is not the issue” or “Don’t you trust me? After all. “Let me get back to you on that. Never trust anybody in a negotiation unless you know them well from past experience. He then presents it to the parties and has the criticize it. kill the other side with kindness. obvious lies.” Compliment the other side to build goodwill.

food.  The opposing negotiator might act like they have full authority to negotiate. The other side will keep demanding compensatory concessions from you for every concession it makes. Don’t lose your temper. comfortable chairs. Tell the other person you are willing to allow them to verify your facts if they give you the same privilege.  The other side could use the good cop/bad cop routine to get you to agree to the seemingly reasonable good cop’s offer even though it doesn’t serve your interests. which you will feel pressured to accept since you already “agreed” to your side of the deal. Build mechanisms into the agreement that allow a third party to penalize any side that violates it. Complain about this to the press and suggest third party arbitration.  Ignore outright threats. The other side will try positional negotiation and will start with a ridiculously unfavorable offer. etc. and always point out the problem for everyone to hear. The deal with then usually come back with changes. call attention to this and insist on principled negotiations. Just be on guard for this and ignore it. good temperature. Continue negotiations if the boss makes changes.  The other side doesn’t really intend to honor their part of the deal. but once you reach a deal. For instance. making you repeat yourself. privacy for conferring with your team. and/or remind the other side that their words might become public and tarnish their own reputation. don’t respond in kind. Make sure beforehand that the atmosphere will be comfortable for everyone (breaks. Confront them about it and switch to principled negotiation. Also try principled negotiation. he will suddenly announce that he must take it to his boss for approval. a used car dealer will claim he somehow knows that the car you like was very wellmaintained even though he doesn’t. Again. . going around and around and returning to issues you thought were settled. This could take the form of ignoring you. Psychological warfare as a dirty trick  The venue of the negotiation meetings might be designed to stress your side out.Deliberate deception as a dirty trick  The other side simply lies to you by presenting false facts that favor their case. Positional pressure tactics structure the negotiations so that only you can make concessions The other side might refuse to negotiate.  The other side might launch direct or indirect personal attacks against you. or engaging in some demonstration that makes you feel or appear inferior or unimportant. which they hope will force you to negotiate to a middle ground that still greatly favors them.).

Don’t succumb to this. Your opposite will keep insisting that they agree with you. . and then try to speak with the hardheaded partner. but that their partner doesn’t. Ask to get principles for negotiation in writing from both of them.The other side will declare from the beginning that they are committed to a certain position and will take steps to ensure they cannot credibly deviate from that position. Less control actually gives them more power.