Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In is a renown reference in the negotiation world. It was written over several decades by authors Roger Fischer, William Ury and Bruce Patton. Just about anybody should have read this great piece of work. We all negotiate every day!

In case you would not want to read it or have the time for it, below is a checklist style synthesis of the book written in a somewhat chronological order following the life of a negotiation. Enjoy the read!

Define your objectives
❏ Win the negotiation by keeping the relationship, if there is a
negotiation winner you lost it
❏ Define your BATNA (best alternative), it’s your lifeline to avoid making a mistake
❏ Define what you want. Then keep an open mind

Prepare for what they will want
❏ Consider the other side BATNA. If it’s good they do not have to
negotiate, and you are in a bad shape
❏ Consider individuals and their perceived identity, not an
abstraction like “headquarter”
❏ Write down the point of view of your counterpart. What happens
if they say yes? what if they don’t?

Choose where and how to negotiate
❏ Be careful to the physical environment, e.g., emotions, stress,
3rd party to which someone puts a show
❏ Check that the person in front of you has authority before
negotiating or request equal right to review your position
❏ Insist that the result be based on some objective standard, not a
battle of will

Be soft with the people while hard on the problem
❏ Build a relationship and know the other side personally. If
possible before the negotiation begins
❏ Attack the problem hard and be supportive to the person with
equal strength. They will want to reconcile the two
❏ Don’t blame them for your problem. Use symbolic gesture if
appropriate. A rose, a gift or apology goes a long way

Expose the issue
❏ Put the problem before the answer. Top down storylining
does not work in a negotiation
❏ Make shared interests explicit, there are always some;
make your interests explicit
❏ Describe your case vividly in details in a correct me if i am
wrong tone

❏ Involve the other party in the process, or they will reject the
❏ Discuss each other perception in an explicit way
❏ Understand the other point of view. That does not mean you

❏ Make emotions explicit and acknowledge them as legitimate
❏ Ask why? Ask why not? until you understand interests. Avoid
statements, they may feel like personal attacks
❏ Take time to repeat, use active listening and clarify all
possibilities for misunderstanding

Be creative on options
❏ Look for creative options that increase the pie before
❏ Look for items that are of low costs to you and high benefit
to them
❏ Look forward, looking backward does not help

During the negotiation
❏ Know what you want to communicate and why before making
a statement. Or shut up
❏ Speak about yourself, not about them
❏ Use silence. People will fill it. It may be your best weapon

If they go off track and get aggressive
❏ Allow the other side to let off steam. Listen and ask people to
continue until they have spoken their last word
❏ Ask for the their reasons and assumptions behind attacks
❏ Do not escalate and answer in kind, it worsens the situation

React to tactics
❏ Recognize and name the tactics: good cop bad cop, lock in,
threat, refusal to negotiate
❏ Question the integrity of the tactic, not the people integrity. Or
they will not be able to back down
❏ Negotiate the terms of the tactics being used

Defend your ground
❏ Separate facts from people and check facts, trust does not
exclude control
❏ Never threaten or punish. It moves the negotiation from
should I make that deal to should i give in?
❏ Explain what will happen independently of your acts or what
you will do to safeguard your interests

To convince
❏ Express the world as seen in the eyes and from the shoes
of someone else
❏ Make people feel the decision is coherent with a high
principle. Do not underestimate face saving
❏ Make their decision easy. You want them to make it

When you make decisions
❏ Take time to decide. Never decide on the spot, the
pressure to give in is too great.
❏ Never yield under pressure
❏ Use fair procedures like one decides the lots and the other

Avoid making mistakes
❏ Don’t infer their intentions based on your fears
❏ Don’t focus on truth or reality. Accept that you bargain out of
❏ Don’t do soft bargaining. You would be a prey going for a
sloppy agreement

Finally keep in mind the four sins of negotiation
❏ Premature judgment
❏ Searching for the single answer
❏ Assuming the pie is fixed
❏ Thinking solving their problem is their problem

I hope the above checklist synthesis can be of use in your daily discussions.