Getting to a Yes

William Ury

with William Ury

Co-founder Harvard's Program on Negotiation

Getting to a Yes

Getting to a Yes 878 1200 33Voices

Moe and William Ury talk about step-by-step strategies for coming to mutually acceptable agreements in every sort of conflict.

Go To The Balcony

Learning to become a more effective negotiator is a skill that dramatically increases one’s confidence. After speaking with Harvard Business School’s Dr. William Ury, I was reminded that one of the greatest lessons in negotiation is the ability not to react on the spot.  Instead, “go to the balcony – a place of mental and emotional calm, where you get a sense of the big picture.”  When you’re able to step back from the situation and stay calm, you gain clarity of the big picture and and  bring your desired objective into greater focus.  Here are 3 great maxims from Dr. Ury that will immediately enhance your negotiation ability:

  • Go to the balcony – Never react on the spot, because you’ll regret it later
  • Put the right frame on things – Transform from either/or scenarios to a both/and scenarios
  • Focus on images – Remembering an image will both motivate you and give you a voice in the conflict

As human beings, we’re wired to respond to stories and in tough negotiations; relevant stories could be your best alley.  In a conflict situation, “what you’re doing is creating a joint story of what you can create together.” And in that joint vision, you’re demonstrating that you truly understand their point of view and painting a picture of what’s possible.  In doing so, you naturally move the conversation in a productive direction that yields a better outcome for everyone involved.  

In his remarkable book, “Getting To A Yes”, Dr. Ury and his co-author, Roger Fisher stress that positional negotiation is pointless and ineffective.  Instead, when you focus on interest rather than positions, you quickly begin to “separate people  from the problem” and not lose sight of the relational aspects of the negotiations.  In the end, it’s about people committing towards working together, instead of competing against one another.

And btw, never make an important decision on the spot in the presence of the other party… .