Do You Know How to Get Past No?

To start preparations for a workshop on conflict resolution and negotiation, the Graduate School Professional Development Team recently read William Ury’s book “Getting Past No: Negotiating in Difficult Situations.”  The book outlines different strategies that are helpful when entering a situation with the potential for negotiations. One excerpt from the book that resonated with the team was a story about the importance of preparation and evaluation. This is a key point that would be helpful for students or anyone in general, to use when dealing with negotiations.

Referring to a diplomat’s experience of learning from his superior, Ury writes, “Just before he entered the village in the morning, he would pull the jeep off to the side of the road and ask, ‘What is it that we want to leave this village tonight having achieved?’ He and I would answer the question, then we would go into the village. When we left that evening, he would again pull the jeep off the road and ask, ‘Now, did we get it? Did we achieve what we set out to do?” This stresses the key point of knowing what your end goal is prior to entering a situation, and asking yourself if you achieved it afterwards.

Other key points from the book and the team’s discussion that may be incorporated into the workshop include:

  • Recognize there are moments of negotiation
  • Be sensitive that there will be negotiations (probably with your mentor)
  • Being prepared for conflict and negotiation – identifying the BATNA (Best Alternative to Negotiated Agreement)
  • Identify your preferred style through self-reflection component • Know how to assess the other person’s style – and knowing this prior to conflict/negotiation
  • Know how to figure out when you are in a conflict
  • Disengage from emotion
  • Know about emotional intelligence
  • Identify your interests, their interests, and how to work together
  • Practice negotiation beforehand/imagined interaction – know how to respond in different scenarios
  • Know how to negotiate with people who are non-receptive
  • Balance respect of authority and advocating for yourself
  • Learn how to ask why, why not, and what if
  • Knowing what your end goal is prior to a situation, and asking yourself if you achieved it afterwards

Interested in reading more about negotiations? Check out the book on Amazon.

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