Preparing to Negotiate

getting-ready-to-negotiate.jpg“Why are negotiators unprepared?

“People assume “just talking” is low risk

“Sometimes we may think that preparation is unimportant. Since we know that we cannot be forced into an agreement, we see little risk in saying, “Let’s hear what the other side has to say.” If we like it, we can accept it. If we don’t, we can walk away. Over the years, however, we have seen that the risks of being unprepared are high. How will we know whether we should agree unless we have some precedents or other benchmark for evaluating the agreement? How will we know whether to walk away unless we have some idea of how well we can expect to do elsewhere?

“Perhaps more important, by being unprepared we surrender initiative to the other side. We lower the possibility that we can come up with some good ideas and arguments that will quickly solve the problem to our mutual satisfaction. We deprive both sides of our creativity.”

–Fisher and Ertel in Getting Ready to Negotiate (1995). This workbook accompanies Fisher and Ury’s famed Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In (1991).

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