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Getting Ready to Negotiate: The Getting to YES Workbook

This companion volume to the best-seller Getting to YES is an easy-to-use workbook, designed to help beginners as well as seasoned pros use the process described in, Getting to YES: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, to prepare for every type of negotiation. Using case studies, charts, and forms for blueprinting a personalized negotiation strategy, the workbook is a tool that can help individuals design appropriate negotiation strategies for a variety of situations.

Here’s a snippet:

Why Are Negotiators Unprepared?

People assume “just talking” is low risk

Sometimes we may think that preparation is unimportant. Since we know that we cannot be focused into an agreement, we see little risk in saying, “Let’s hear what the other side has to say.” If we like it, we can accept it. If we don’t, we can walk away. Over the years, however, we have seen that the risks of being unprepared are high. How will we know whether we should agree unless we have some precedents or other benchmark for evaluating the agreement? How will we know whether to walk away unless we have some idea of how well we can expect to do elsewhere?

Perhaps more important, by being unprepared we surrender initiative to the other side. We lower the possibility that we can come up with some good ideas and arguments that will quickly solve the problem to our mutual satisfaction. We deprive both sides of our creativity.

“Preparation takes too much time”

Preparation does take time — but it probably saves more time than it takes. A well-prepared negotiator can narrow the issues for agreement, formulate elegant options, or evaluate tentative offers far more quickly and wisely than a negotiator who does not know the terrain. On average, we think that you should spend as much time preparing as you expect to spend in a face-to-face negotiation. Certainly, some matters are trivial, and neither deserve nor require much preparation. Others, however, involve high stakes, multiple issues, and perhaps several parties. In such cases, extensive preparation is a good idea. Whatever the situation, spending time on preparation is likely to save time in the long run. 

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