This book tells you how to negotiate more effectively. A common negotiating mistake is to use positional negotiation, which is each side picking an arbitrary position (eg: buy the car for $5000), and going back and forth until you’re tired and agree, or you both walk out. Positional negotiation is highly arbitrary, and often leads to no agreement, which is bad for both parties.
Some ways to negotiate in a more principled way:
- Emphasize with the other party, get to know them and their values, treat it as both parties against a common problem rather than you trying to “win” the negotiation.
- Focus on interests, rather than positions. During the negotiation, figure out what each party really wants; sometimes, it’s possible to give them something that’s valuable for them but you don’t really care about. Negotiation is a nonzero sum game, so try to find creative solutions that fulfill everybody’s interests, rather than fight over a one-dimensional figure.
- When creative solutions are not possible (both sides just want money), defer to objective measures like industry standards. This gives you both an anchor to use, rather than negotiating in a vacuum.
- Be aware of your and the other party’s BATNA: best alternative to negotiated agreement. This determines who holds more power in a negotiation, and improving it is a good way to get more leverage.