Getting Past No…book review

A woodsman was once asked, “What would you do if you had just five minutes to chop down a tree?” He answered, “I would spend the first two and a half minutes sharpening my axe.”

A few months ago, I mentioned that I was going to be periodically reading and “rating” books that I thought other business people might find useful.

In addition to the list I published a while ago (The Seven Books That Made Me Millions) I like to read books that I think are going to help me in my career.

One of the most important things we do in commercial real estate sales and leasing is to negotiate.
Whether you realize it or not you negotiate all the time. You negotiate with you kids, spouse, boss, and finally clients and customers.

In “Getting Past NO” William Ury how you can create win-win situations in almost all negotiations. He goes on to explain how you can get far more accomplished in the negotiation process by simply making it a “collaborative” process instead of the old “winner-take-all” strategy of the past.

He talks about the “5 Barriers to Cooperation” and they can derail a negotiation before it even gets started. He also makes suggestions about how to “stage” the negotiation process so that rather that an “us-versus-them” you can create an atmosphere of collaborative problem solving.

Mr. Ury stresses the need to not let your emotions get the better of you and cause you to say or do things in a negotiation that create barriers to a successful conclusion.

In his book Mr. Ury proposes a five step framework to break down barriers in the negotiation process. His first step he calls “go to the balcony”. Going to the balcony gives you the ability to look at the negotiations from a different perspective. He suggests that this simple step can help you suspend the emotions and allow to respond to the negotiations in a more rational fashion by staying focused on your goals.

The second step in to recognize the other sides negative emotions, fears, or negativity and not to get involved in it. Your mission is to try to defuse their negative emotions so that you can sit side-by-side and attack the subject of the negotiations from problem solving prospective.

Step three is to listen and attempt to understand the opposing party’s perspective and more, to understand their concerns in the negotiation. He goes on to say “Tell me more. Help me understand why you want that” He calls this step “Reframing”.

Ury calls the fourth step “Building them a Golden Bridge”. In other words, create a solution that lets them solve the problem, save face, and have a victory. I have often said that in commercial real estate most Buyers and Sellers are more concerned with getting “their pound of flesh” than the about the actual deal itself.

The fifth and final step is to use power to educate rather than punish. Ury explains how using power in a negotiation is a natural reaction to someone using coercive force against you. The problem with using that positional power is that it can backfire and cause the negotiations to grind to a screeching halt.
The use of positional power can also cause bad feelings and ill-will and makes future negotiations that much more difficult. “Use power to educate…not escalate”

In wrapping up, William Ury takes a unique approach to negotiations in this easy to read book. I recommend that you add it to your library and I can’t wait to read his other book “The Power of a Positive No”

Next…I will be reviewing Fanatical Prospecting by Jeb Blount.