Wednesday, February 07, 2007

"Getting Past No" with Joint Problem-Solving

As part of my ongoing education as a mediator and also as someone who is interested in communication and negotiation issues in general, I am always reading books and articles to further enhance my own negotiation skills and knowledge. This ongoing education benefits my work as a mediator and as an attorney.

I am currently reading William Ury's book "Getting Past No" which was the follow up book to "Getting to Yes" written by William Ury and Roger Fisher in the 1980s. "Getting Past No" was written in the early 1990s but is still referenced by many mediators and negotiators as one of the must-reads for a professional mediator. And it remains highly relevant for anyone interested in improving their negotiation skills in business or in personal matters.

Here is short excerpt regarding joint problem-solving : "We may all be negotiators, yet many of us don't like to negotiate. We see negotiation as stressful confrontation. We see ourselves faced with an unpleasant choice. If we are "soft" in order to preserve the relationship, we end up giving up our position. If we are "hard" in order to win our position, we strain the relationship or perhaps lose it altogether.

"There is an alternative: joint problem-solving. It is neither exclusively soft nor hard, but a combination of each. It is soft on the people, hard on the problem. Instead of attacking each other, you jointly attack the problem. Instead of glowering across the table, you sit next to each other facing your common problem. In short, you turn face-to-face confrontation into side-by-side problem-solving."

I recommend this book for everyone. Not a difficult read, but definitely worth the effort.

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