Getting to Yes
Like it or not, you are a negotiator. Negotiation is a fact of life. You discuss a raise with
your boss. You try to agree with a stranger on a price for his house. Two lawyers try to settle a
lawsuit arising from a car accident. A group of oil companies plan a joint venture exploring for
offshore oil. A city official meets with union leaders to avert a transit strike. The United States
Secretary of State sits down with his Soviet counterpart to seek an agreement limiting nuclear
arms. All these are negotiations.
Everyone negotiates something every day. Like Moliere’s Monsieur Jourdain, who was
delighted to learn that he had been speaking prose all his life, people negotiate even when they
don’t think of themselves as doing so. A person negotiates with his spouse about where to go for
dinner and with his child about when the lights go out. Negotiation is a basic means of getting
what you want from others. It is back-and-forth communication designed to reach an agreement
when you and the other side have some interests that are shared and others that are opposed.
More and more occasions require negotiation; conflict is a growth industry. Everyone
wants to participate in decisions that affect them; fewer and fewer people will accept decisions…