Pub. Date:
Better Negotiating: Your Training Book for Business and Private Life

Better Negotiating: Your Training Book for Business and Private Life

by Jutta Portner


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Monday, September 27


Do you still argue or start negotiating with family and friends? With business partners? Nearly every day, we’re called on to solve conflict of interests. Quite often, we do it unconsciously and are surprised when it ends up deadlocked. Real pros know they achieve better results if they have knowledge and experience in negotiating. In Better Negotiating, author Jutta Portner demonstrates, with the help of many real-life case studies, how to negotiate more effectively.

Portner discusses how negotiation plays an integral role in daily life. In this guide, she introduces the Harvard method and shares a process for improving these skills. She tells how to

• prepare a NEGO in short time

• structure the conversation to come to an agreement

• be empathetic to convince your partners to cooperate

• apply body language professionally

• achieve long-lasting results that satisfy the needs of both sides.

Portner, an international expert in teaching negotiation in organization, has more than twenty years of experience. In Better Negotiating, she clearly illustrates general principles that will help you persuade your counterpart. The interactive book starts each chapter with a self-assessment to better understand your abilities and make room for improvement.

Related collections and offers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781532013676
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 03/10/2017
Pages: 222
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.47(d)

Read an Excerpt



What is negotiation really all about?

When was the last time you negotiated? Was it while making weekend plans this morning with your significant other? Was it with your teenage son about some new tech gadget he says he needs? With your boss about a long-overdue salary raise? With a colleague who wants to leave for vacation at the same time as you? With some difficult, demanding client who keeps coming up with even more unreasonable requirements?

Negotiation is a part of our daily lives. It's something we do every single day. But do you usually think through beforehand how you will negotiate? No? That's okay – the same is true for most people. We normally just wing it in our day-to-day negotiations, simply going with our intuition instead of planning things out.

After reading this book,

* you will understand the fundamentals and principles of both cooperative negotiation and competitive negotiation, as well as the differences between them,

* you will have reflected upon – and improved – your own personal negotiating behavior, and

* you will be able to professionally deal with difficult negotiating partners and unfair tactics.

This is a training book – which is what differentiates it from the conventional literature on the topic of negotiation. Most chapters begin with a self-assessment, through which you can evaluate your initial knowledge about the particular chapter's subject matter. The solutions for each self-assessment can be found at the end of the chapter. Case studies have also been included for each of the main topics dealt within this book; these "negotiation simulations" give you a chance to practice what you have learned. Additionally, the deep background information provided throughout the book enables you to acquire a more profound understanding of the subject matter.


Neil Reubens has recently met a girl named Nellie. They have gone out a few times, and he really likes her. He will be taking her to the opera tonight; afterwards, he would like to invite her for a glass of wine at his place. The wine has been bought already, but now Neil needs a docking station for his iPhone. He is at the electronics store, where he has found an interesting, stylish model.

SALESMAN: This is a very elegantly designed system – the S-AIR iPhone docking station with built-in radio and two satellite speakers. You've picked a really nice model there. It'll be $589.

NEIL: That's pretty expensive. What kind of discount is available?

SALESMAN: Actually, the price of this system has already been reduced – it usually costs $70 more. You're really getting a bargain on this model – you're going to love it.

NEIL: I bought a washing machine and a stove from your store a month ago. I think a reasonable discount is in order.

SALESMAN: Unfortunately, I can't help you. As a matter of principle, we don't negotiate our prices. (points to a corresponding sign on the wall)

NEIL: I can't believe it! Listen, you can give me a good deal on this docking station – or would you rather I just go order it online?

SALESMAN: No, no, don't misunderstand me – of course I want to sell you this docking station. It's just that we generally don't offer extra discounts. I'm sorry.


• I would've done exactly the same!

• Persistence usually pays off.

• Neil could have handled this better.

Read the expert opinion at the end of this chapter.

It is always amazing how negotiations tend to be approached so thoughtlessly and unstrategically. Each of the following is common practice among people while negotiating:

* Mistaking traditional marketplace haggling for actual negotiation.

* Thinking only about what they are negotiating for, while ignoring their relationships with their negotiating partners.

* Thinking that the negotiation has failed whenever they reach an impasse.

* Thinking that they are being persistent when they are actually just being stubborn.

* Feeling like they are "giving in" when they are working towards solutions with their counterparts.

* Picking up on other people's faults, while being blind to the flaws in their own negotiating style.

* Not recognizing dirty tricks and manipulation by other parties – and often being helpless even when they do recognize such tactics.

* Seeing moving slowly as a sign of weakness.

* Having no idea about how their facial expressions and body language are affecting the outcome of their negotiation.

We are often left frustrated by the results of negotiating by intuition alone. Emotions run high and we say or do things for which we will later be sorry. We damage our relationships with our negotiating partners. We get short-changed or ripped off. We end up with unsustainable results – and sooner or later need to negotiate all over again.

The Harvard Method

Thus, it is more effective to negotiate rationally, rather than just intuitively. To think before acting – and to think before reacting. With this in mind, researchers from Harvard University developed a pragmatic method, commonly known as the "Harvard Method", which strives to be a model for rational negotiation. The Harvard Method has been tried and tested many times over the years. It first appeared in the 1981 book Getting to Yes: Negotiating an Agreement Without Giving In, by Roger Fisher, William Ury, and later Bruce Patton, which is now the standard reference work on the topic of sound, rational negotiation. The bestseller has been translated into more than 20 languages around the world and has sold more than two million copies.


The Harvard Negotiation Project is a research project devoted to the study of all aspects of negotiation. It is part of the Program on Negotiation (PON), a consortium affiliated with Harvard Law School, which includes faculty and projects from Harvard, MIT, and Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. It acts in four areas:

Theory building – PON develops theories and models, such as the one now known and trademarked as the Harvard Method.

Education and training – The project offers programs and courses for people (including diplomats, labor leaders, lawyers, and government officials) who work professionally with conflict resolution, negotiation, and mediation.

Publications – The Teaching Negotiation Resource Center, formerly known as the PON Clearinghouse, offers a variety of materials including checklists, case studies, role-play simulations, videos, and books for teaching and training purposes.

Action research – Current crisis hot-spots are professionally monitored, and conflict resolution support is offered to the involved parties as desired.

The philosophy behind the Harvard Method

How can results be reached even in difficult negotiations without either party losing face? Under what conditions can a fair agreement be reached between parties with opposite stances? In 1979, an interdisciplinary research team led by Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton dedicated itself to these key questions. The resulting "Harvard Method" is less a theory and more a practical approach for working towards a proper, mutually beneficial negotiation result. We are all familiar with the idea of striving for a "win-win situation" – in this case, we are speaking of cooperative negotiation.

Why negotiate in accordance with the Harvard Method?

If you successfully work with your counterpart towards a result that satisfies both of you, then you have truly won. And if you successfully use this result to lay a foundation for long-term, trusting cooperation, then you have gained even more. The Harvard Method serves as a tried and tested guide towards this end.

"The Harvard Method sharpens one's awareness of the negotiation process. This 'expansion of consciousness' is an important first step towards strengthening one's negotiation skills. It helps negotiating parties open their eyes… The method's approach to risks and uncertainties shows how anyone, whether a novice or an old hand, can negotiate in a sound, people-oriented manner." (Ulrich Egger, negotiation consultant, in the foreword to the German edition of Getting to Yes)

When can we speak of a "negotiation"?

Before continuing with this book about negotiation, let us first clarify a few basic concepts: What exactly constitutes a "negotiation"? Is every meeting or conversation automatically a negotiation as well? How can negotiating success be measured? What are the worst mistakes that can one can make while negotiating?

In this book, we speak about "negotiation" in the classical sense of the word – when individuals or other parties with divergent interests communicate with each other in order to reach an agreement.

The necessary conditions include:

* Mutually dependent parties

* A conflict of interest

* An approximately equal balance of power

* Agreement considered to be the goal of the negotiation


Carlos Gonzales' reputation precedes him – he is known as a tough negotiator. Carlos is the new purchasing manager for a large automobile company and has scheduled a negotiation meeting with an important, though financially distressed, supplier. The goal of the meeting is to negotiate the terms for a large contract. The supplier has had a close business relationship with the automobile company for many years; Carlos has called the supplier to meet him at his home. After the guests have been waiting for 20 minutes, Se?r Gonzales appears – with a check in his hand. He pulls out his Montblanc pen, writes a number on the check, and places it face-down on the table. He looks directly at his counterpart and says, "You have until tomorrow morning to decide whether or not you are going to accept our offer." He then turns around and leaves the room, quietly and confidently.


Think about whether the situation described involves a negotiation, according to our definition of the word.


Analyzing this situation, you can quickly determine that it clearly does not describe a negotiation in the classical sense of the word.

Regarding the first condition, we lack sufficient information to figure out whether the parties here are mutually dependent. We do not know whether the supplier has other customers, nor whether Se?r Gonzales has other potential suppliers.

As for the question of a conflict of interest, this can be answered with a definite "yes". Both sides clearly have something that the other wants (the products / the order).

However, the balance of power here clearly is not equal. The purchasing manager for a large automobile company is in a much more powerful position than a financially distressed supplier. Carlos Gonzales uses this position of power to his advantage. It's a classic case of "take it or leave it" – there is one party dictating the terms here, rather than a mutual give-and-take for the benefit of both parties.

There does seem to be a desire to reach an agreement – otherwise, the two parties would not have shown up at the meeting.

Based on this case study, we can ultimately conclude that not every conversation between parties with conflicting interests is necessarily a true negotiation.

How can we measure the success of a negotiation?

The factors that determine whether or not a negotiation has been successful will be demonstrated below.


You live in Boston. It's a sunny Saturday in the middle of February, and there are eight inches of fresh powdery snow on the ground. An avid skier, you spontaneously decide to take your girlfriend to spend the day skiing in Vermont. It's a bit late, but half a day will be enough. You reach the ski resort at exactly noon. The chart at the counter says that a day pass is valid from 8am-5pm and costs $36, while a half-day pass is valid from 1-5pm and costs $21. Suddenly, you are approached by another skier, who asks whether you would like to buy his transferable day pass.


Play out the negotiation for the purchase of the day pass, either by yourself or with an actual conversation partner. What is the result of your negotiation? Are you satisfied with this result? Is the other skier also satisfied with the result? What criteria are you using to evaluate the result of your negotiation?


* Do you care about getting an extra hour of skiing from noon to one o'clock?

* Are you concerned with each and every dollar that you can save off the price of the half-day pass?

* Is it important for you to get out on the slopes as soon as possible, thus making it worthwhile for you to pay even more than the price of the half-day pass?

* Are you so charmed by the seller that you end up going to grab a bite with him, the price of the pass being of secondary importance?

* Do you try to calculate the best solution mathematically, based on the cost per hour of skiing?

There is no single correct solution – rather just a perfect result for you.

The quality of a negotiation can be measured by:

* its effectiveness (quality of the result)

* its efficiency (based on the time invested)

* the negotiation climate (quality of the relationship)

A good negotiation result is:

* clear – without ambiguities

* feasible – no building castles in the air

* fair – no one is getting ripped off

* beneficial for both parties – based on the win-win principle

* sustainable – supported by both parties

In one-off negotiations – such as the purchase of the ski pass in the case study – price will be more important than your relationship with your negotiating partner. However, in most professional situations, you will want to be sure not to burn any bridges. If you will be engaging in long or frequent negotiations with someone, then it is worthwhile to adopt a cooperative negotiation style and proceed according to the Harvard Method.

We will examine both the cooperative and competitive negotiation styles in this book. Both are encountered in real life – and a good negotiator will have mastered both.


Nellie Nelson has been invited to the opera. Now she just needs the perfect shoes to match her gorgeous evening gown. At the trendiest shop in the city, she finds exactly what she is seeking – a pair of silver high-heeled sandals. The price is $240. Nellie has already exhausted her budget with the purchase of her evening gown – so now she will have to negotiate!

NELLIE: I really love these shoes. I'm sorry, but might it be possible to get a small discount on the price?


NELLIE: These shoes are great. For $180 I'll take them!


NELLIE: Your prices are completely outrageous. Give me a reasonable price or I'll just go buy from someplace cheaper.


NELLIE: I'm going to need new winter boots next month – how much of a discount can you give me if I buy both pairs now?


Read the expert opinion at the end of the chapter.

The biggest mistakes that can be made while negotiating

Interestingly enough, there are certain familiar elements that commonly lead to the failure of negotiations. You undoubtedly must have experienced failed negotiations at some point in your life. In the following practical exercise, check off the items that you recognize:

* Pressure exerted on the weaker party

When one of the parties is in a stronger position than the others, he will tend to consciously or subconsciously exploit this fact.

* Lack of flexibility

When situations change, negotiating parties often have difficulty adapting.

* Tenacity

The more dependent a negotiating party is upon achieving his objective, the more likely it is that he will respond rashly or aggressively; this only hinders the development of a good game plan between parties who meet on equal terms.

* Escalation

Pressure leads to counterpressure, which results in a spiral of escalation that the negotiating parties are often unable to escape on their own.

* Compliancy

A fear of conflict often makes negotiators too defensive and submissive, and they end up making concessions without getting anything in return.

* Inadequate preparation

The strategic effort exerted is often not commensurate with the value of the goal being pursued.


Excerpted from "Better Negotiating"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Jutta Portner.
Excerpted by permission of iUniverse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Just One Word, ix,
1. Learning How to Better Negotiate, 1,
2. Good Preparation is Half the Battle, 21,
3. Understanding Negotiation as a Process, 56,
4. Basic Negotiation Tactics, 69,
5. The Harvard Method - Getting to Yes, 100,
6. The Power of Language, 140,
7. Body Language and Intuition, 178,

Customer Reviews