Getting past… No.

c7Getting Past No – Negotiating with difficult people from William Ury, follows his first book Getting to Yes and look at situations where the negotiation is not immediate… the famous case of difficult people.

What are really difficult people? With the NLP approach to communication, we have two cool prepositions, ‘The meaning of communication is the response you get’ and ‘There are no resistant clients, only inflexible communicators’… rephrased… this simply means ‘the result you get is the intent of your communication’… which means a lot when you get a NO.
Of course negotiation is seen in this book as getting to mutually satisfactory agreements to all involved, the famous win-win and the only option to keep long term relationships going. Getting Past No is about getting ‘a reluctant partner to dance’ (pg 1) in that famous dance of negotiation. Starting with an overview that negotiation is actually an everyday thing in our life, William Ury highlights that to past that ‘No’, you need first to know what this ‘No’ is hiding -the famous, or infamous, underlying motivation, always linked to some negative emotions, for instance fear, distrust, anger, frustration, hostility. Let’s be honest, many of us have been built-in with that idea… ‘eat or be-eaten’ which by default prevents negotiation. The author pinpoints five challenges
1)controlling our own behaviour and stay cool (Thanks NLP is so good for that!)
2)defuse negative emotions of the other(s) (And yes NLP there again is so helpful!)
3)exploring options (yes the NLP reframing and chunking up!)
4)assist the other(s) in seeing the possible outcome as victory for them (and yes we are still in the chunking up section)
5) assist them in finding saying no harder than saying yes (which stems from a good chunking up and then chunking down keeping the agreement on).
I particularly like the introduction of the ‘Breakthrough Strategy’, a counter-intuitive strategy which ‘requires you to do the opposite of what you might naturally do in difficult situation’ (pg 9), that is an indirect action to ‘go around the resistance’. Following this introduction the author takes us through five chapters aligning with each challenge listed above:
– Step 1 – Don’t react, though I prefer to rename this ‘Stay Cool’ (yes remember positive sentence get both your conscious and unconscious mind working in the same direction)
– Step 2 – Disarm them, a mix of information on -rapport -active listening to discover the other person model of the world and -anchoring or priming to create a favourable climate. Without forgetting the importance of never using that infamous word… ‘but’.
– Step 3 – Reframe, with that very nice sentence ‘Change the game, change the frame’ (pg 60). This chapter gives tips on reframing, as well as chunking up (without using any of the NLP jargon) in order to lead the other(s) to the problem-solving region.
– Step 4 – Make it easy to say yes, starting with a great example of a failed deal (a failed media merger in 1985), the author insists on the importance to make the outcome you desired a victory for the other(s) by ‘building golden bridges’ (pg 90)
– Step 5 – Make it hard to say no… fortunately if all goes fine, we avoid this step… a tricky one indeed. As the author describes, here we go back to use the ‘power game’ however in a way that keep everybody standing up, using ‘power to educate’ and not to crush (pg 113). In this step, William Ury comes back to the concept of BATNA (introduced earlier on as ‘best alternatives to a negotiated agreement’ (pg 20))

A great little book to understand better the dynamic of negotiation, Getting Past No is enjoyable and informative. As William Ury concludes ‘the breakthrough strategy requires you to resist normal human temptation (…). It requires you to suspend your reaction when you feel like striking back, to listen when you feel talking back’ (pg 145). Does that sound like something you know? simply discovering the other person model of the world and work or negotiate from there! Enjoy the reading!

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