The Art of Negotiation: How to Improvise Agreement in a Chaotic World (Michael A. Wheeler)

With each proposal, need to consider the pros and cons of negotiating further.
The fog of negotiation makes it hard to know if there is further room to push. Is the risk of possible upside worth the risk of possibly losing?
The time to stop is when the risk of pressing further outweighs possible gains.

It’s time to negotiate when you can learn more at the table than you can in private prep. Time it to your advantage.

Don’t use a simple bargaining range. Too narrow. Allow room for alternate deals.
Don’t focus on what the other side SHOULD value, since they may (and likely) see differently.
Preparations should include considering as many different ways to tweak a deal as possible, allowing you to be quick during negotiations. Many possible results could be satisfactory to both sides.
The less certain you are, the more flexible you need to be.

1.) Set a provisional goal. General sense of direction, but not all-or-nothing or narrow objectives.
2.) Have a plan B. An obstacle doesn’t have to be a showstopper, but could seed an entirely different deal (sometimes better).
3.) Envision the end game. Reason backwards from the goal to discover possible paths.
4.) Learning is a priority. Test and probe to discover the landscape.
5.) Adapt when you have to. Accept the reality that the other party won’t always do what you want or anticipate.
6.) Think like a competitor. Test your strategy for possible exploitations.
7.) Be multilingual. Situations and roadblocks will have different contexts, timings, and needs. Be ready by not pigeon holing yourself into a narrow silo.
8.) Guard your exit option. Know when to walk and when to run, but keep it a secret.
9.) Always be closing. Each step should aim to get closer to agreement.

Never fall in love with your plans. Seduces and causes rigidity. Anticipate and cope with uncertainty and chaos.

People want to be respected as individuals, their ideas respected, and status acknowledged
Low expectations are often self fulfilling
Your entire attention should be on what your counterpart is saying and how it’s said (posture, expression).
Be fully present and monitor how things might look to counterparts
Listen and pay heed by turning off your inner dialog and reducing distractions

Be 80% in comfort zone, reducing fear, but 20% out of it. Reduces complacence and heightens senses
Need to give a firm no to protect core interest and prevent unreasonable demands. But provide a graceful way to move on or an alternative
Don’t fight anxiety or nervousness, but transform it into excitement
Counterpart could be a lot of hot air, but still listen for positive cues to go off of. Don’t write off as irredeemable

Anticipate where things are headed. Much like hunting, aim in front of the flying bird
In a loop, observe orient decide act
Connect dots into clear picture, while ignoring irrelevant noise
Pay attention to how the other side relates and reacts to one another. Can give away which issues are negotiable, especially if they can’t agree themselves
Watch for mismatches between your prepared expectations and what is actually unfolding
Have a bias for action. Don’t let things freeze

Use your counterparts name frequently and use “we” instead of “why”
Opening moments should engage the counterpart, frame the issues, and define the process
Don’t rush. Smalltalk important to reduce tension and build relationships

Be decisive when facing risk
Focus on the end objective, rather than the immediate consequences of each decision
Be consistent
Saying no to something affirms an item that’s important to you. Employ yes no yes. Yes my kids are important, no I won’t work Sat, but yes I can in the future if my week days can be flexible.

Greater weight is given to loss than gain. Use to persuade. We would lose $100k profit without this project vs we’d gain $100k
Successful negotiation is a series of small agreements

Resist blurting out a creative solution until everyone understands the problem it solves
Sometimes, creativity with the process is more important than the substance

Precision and persistence are vital. General questions invite vague answers. Be specific.