Negotiation Skills - beginners primer
January 7, 2005 12:58 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend a good primer on negotiation skills that I can in turn recommend to a 21-year-old with no business background?
posted by socratic to Education (15 answers total)
 
"Getting to Yes" (Fisher, et. al.) and "Start with No" (Cambpell) ... in that order. Getting to Yes is the classic written for purchasing agents on how to do "win-win", Start with No is a very insightful but very pushy description of how to make it look like win-win but keep things slanted towards your side.
posted by SpecialK at 1:03 PM on January 7, 2005


hmmm. not sure if it's exactly what you want, but i found "assertiveness at work - a practical guide to handling awkward situations" by back & back to be useful. although i found in the long run it made more sense to find a job where i didn't need those kinds of skills.
posted by andrew cooke at 1:09 PM on January 7, 2005


I took a negotiations course from someone who said he gave copies of "Getting to Yes" to the negotiators on the other side of all of his negotiations. He was an ass. However, those books do not paint a complete picture. I like "You Can Negotiate Anything" by Herb Cohen.
posted by caddis at 1:18 PM on January 7, 2005


The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli.


Also, I'll second "You Can Negotiate Anything"
posted by icey at 1:32 PM on January 7, 2005


In grad school, we read "Getting To Yes" to learn about negotiation. I haven't read any other books about negotiation so I can't compare it to anything but "Getting to Yes" was interesting.
posted by whatideserve at 2:12 PM on January 7, 2005


Oh, I forgot one: Cialdini, "The Psychology of Influence"

(I also took a negotiation class)
posted by SpecialK at 2:15 PM on January 7, 2005


Tell him his life is a lesson in business. People don't stop being people when they start talking about bids, projects, sales, or issue a purchase order number. Books might help, but for all my reading, I learned it in the trenches and in the fields. Speaking organizational theory might display your MBA, but no one really gives a shit about theory, they want execution.

There are a few rules of thumb:

Never drop your eyes below waist level, it makes you look weak and lost. When you shake hands, shake confidently. Dress for the situation. Speak with poise, which to me is elegance dependent upon time. Always adjust to your speaker, if the VP is a cowboy, tell him cowboy stories as they relate to cost. Stand into the checks. Give, and demand, respect. Buy food for your clients whenever possible. Watch what the masters in your field do. Realize you're never the best. Go home when it's time to go home, people respect individuals with lives. Hold your cards close even when you don't have to. Don't let anyone leave a meeting you ran without an understanding of the goal, how they are to move towards it, and a overall take home message. Understand that everyone there is there to make money.

With that in mind, be honest, kind, and do good.
posted by sled at 2:39 PM on January 7, 2005


"How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie. No kidding.
posted by availablelight at 2:44 PM on January 7, 2005


The missus recommends this book, which she recently read in law school:

Bargaining for Advantage: Negotiation Strategies for Reasonable People by G. Richard Shell
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 3:31 PM on January 7, 2005


sled: Stand into the checks. Clarify, please? I don't think I've ever heard that turn of phrase before.
posted by vignettist at 3:40 PM on January 7, 2005


I really, really liked Poeple Skills by Robert Bolton.

In particular, I love the section on reflective listening, a method of ensuring everyone is on the same page. Also, I really liked a section that described how to be assertive. "When you (behavior X) it makes me feel (Y) because (Affect)".

I got so much out of this book that I tried looking at a look of others. This one was definitely tops for me.
posted by xammerboy at 3:42 PM on January 7, 2005


I second SpecialK's "The Psychology of Influence". It offers some very interesting insights into how people can get someone to comply (unknowingly). The most important thing it will teach a 21-year-old is to spot instances where someone tries to use some influence judo. Click-whirrr, man... click-whirrr.
posted by theFlyingSquirrel at 5:32 PM on January 7, 2005


vignettist: A check is a hockey term, meaning to check another player with physical contact. This is form of coercion by pain and movement. If you do not stand into your checks you are shifted off both the puck and often your game. Therefore you need to keep your wits about you, keep your head up, and look around. View the hockey field holistically as you do the business field, if you see an opponent charging you, attempting to shift you from your stance or your goal then you should stand into them, in effect, challenging them to a body on body blow. A few of these will often determine rank and even if you don't win standing into checks proves more painful to the checker than to someone who didn't. It's a way to stand up for yourself and let others know you aren't going to tolerate obstruction of the goal(s).
posted by sled at 5:46 PM on January 7, 2005


I am not a big fan of books like "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion" by Cialdini. They are not really books about how to negotiate as much as books about how to avoid being had. They describe cheap tricks to which only those with weak minds are susceptible. I agree with flyingsquirrel that knowing these tricks is beneficial as a defense, but do not ever use them in a negotiation, especially a business negotiation. In most business negotiations the person on the other side will see through your trick and you will lose power and influence over them as they see you for the cheap shyster you are for trying such a thing. Honesty and trust are actually your most beneficial tools. Never lie. Certainly, do not reveal valuable information if you don't have to, but do not lie. Carry yourself with honesty and integrity and when you need to make a point the other side will listen. Most business negotiations are best handled through the techniques of "Getting to Yes", that is establishing a relationship and finding mutual advantage. I suggest Cohen's book primarily as it covers a wider variety of negotiating situations. It is also deeper and more detailed. Your 21 year old should probably read both as they are among the most well respected in the field.
posted by caddis at 7:45 PM on January 7, 2005


A good book on the topic (for a woman or a man) is:

Women Don't Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide
By Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever
posted by mlis at 8:48 AM on January 23, 2005


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