Free «Review of Getting to Yes» Essay Sample

The book, Getting to Yes, by Roger Fisher and William Ury is one of the most acknowledged books on negotiation issues across Africa. Despite various foundation of negotiation, Getting to Yes offers the reader the actual essence of mutual benefits in a negotiation. The authors, Roger Fisher and William Ury try to create a pleasant atmosphere for the readers of the book by arranging their work  in a neat, concise, hence consisting  of little paperback, therefore, fast to read. The authors established the initial Negotiation Program at Harvard Law School. The main concepts of the book are that positional negotiation is worthless, therefore, tries to bring about the argument that negotiations should emphasis on interests instead of positions. Thus, this idea clearly shows that negotiating over positions will scarcely gain the anticipated outcome in any other situation. The negotiation can cause anger in the case of being too lenient and for not insisting what we certainly want, because of the fear of being judged for being too rigid on the opponent, for standing by ones opinion in a given issue at hand. Due to this confusion of whether to be lenient or rigid, Fisher and Ury argue that in order to avoid this situation one should not follow any of the above. Furthermore, when one bargains over the interests, there is no need to make any decision by means of soft or hard position. The advantage of the negotiation based on the interest that it proceeds on a totally different perspective (Roger et al, 2011). The negotiation will no longer be antagonistic, but instead both parties will attempt to reach the exact conclusion.



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The concept that the authors, Fisher and Ury are trying to deliver may seem simple and logical. Nevertheless, the truth is that there is a high evident of doubt since it is difficult for most of the people to come up with a decision what they require, especially in difficult negotiations. However, the authors make an effort of making it easy for the reader to come up with a lot of illustration in the book in the form of examples of day-to-day activities. These activities involve negotiations that mostly are based on interest. Thus, this enables the reader to apply them in their day-to-day negotiation that they come across (Roger et al, 2011).

The main objective of the negotiation is to achieve one’s need. In the life negotiation happens often and the results of it highly impacts on the lives of the involved opponents. Making negotiation agreements are possible because of various principles introduced in the book. These principles should be keenly observed in each phase of the negotiation process in a systematic manner. Furthermore, the process starts with the analysis of the condition, of the opponents’ welfares and perceptions, and of the prevailing opportunities. The succeeding step is to develop methods of responding to the condition of the opponents. Finally, the parties discuss the problem as they try to discover a key point on how to achieve an agreement. In the process of negotiation, these steps are of a major aspect as is presented in the Getting to Yes.

Separating People and Issues

In this principle, Fisher and Ury’s aim is to separate people from their issues. Usually, people tend to be personally tangled with the issues and with their opponents’ positions. This makes them respond to questions and position as personal attacks. This principle aids to maintain the relationship among the involved parties as well as to bring a clear view of the current problem (Roger et al, 2011).

The authors differentiate three elementary categories of people’s problems. The first one is the differences in perception between the parties. The various disagreements are proved to be based on the differences in the interpretation of facts by the involved parties. However, the crucial thing for both parties is to come to an agreement without having any fear about the other’s side opinions; moreover they should put themselves in the other‘s viewpoint in order to understand each other better. This aids both parties to gauge the issue at hand in a logical manner such that no blames are put forward in case of any agreed action. The involvement of both parties helps them to support the outcome of any undertaken decision (Roger et al, 2011).

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Emotions are the other category of people’s problems during negotiations. Thus, this source can be of a great danger as people tend to act aggressively when they feel that their interests are not supported. The important aspect while dealing with emotions is to recognize them, moreover try to understand their origin. Nevertheless, the parties should acknowledge the reality that emotions exist. Therefore, try to give the opportunity to the other party to express their emotions no matter how unreasonable they may be. The parties should try to react not emotionally towards each other. In the case of intense emotional reaction, it is advisable to use symbolic gestures as they reduce the tense atmosphere (Roger et al, 2011).

The third category of people’s problems is communication. Communication is a vital aspect during negotiations. In a situation where the negotiators are not speaking it is very difficult to understand each other since no information is passed across. In such a case a third part who is mainly the speaker should be involved into the act as a mediator between the parties. The speaker receives information from the active listeners, later summarizes the points to them; thus, listeners should be very attentive during that time. Also, the speaker delivers the information to the parties in order to help them understand the issue. The best way of dealing with people problems is to avoid their occurrence. However, people should try to possess a good relationship that causes a good negotiation (Roger et al, 2011). 

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Focus on Interests

Successful negotiation is based on the opponents’ interest rather than their position. Fisher and Ury put this fact forward by means of clearly statements in the book, "Your position is something you have decided upon. Your interests are what caused you to so decide "(p. 42). Handling a dispute in relations to positions eventually means that one party will lose. On the other hand, handling a dispute in terms of interest helps to come with a logical solution which suit parties as they are both involved in the decision. Furthermore, there are various aspects, which the parties should consider when basing their arguments in terms of interest. They include: identify the parties' interests concerning the subject at hand, discuss interest of the both parties, and finally to make a decision by coming up with a desirable solution. The crucial aspect of the whole issue is for both parties to hold focus on their interest as well as to be open to new diverse ideas and positions (Roger et al, 2011).

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Fisher and Ury distinguish hindrances to achieving a comprehensive solution to an issue. Sometimes in a negotiation parties make prematurely decision without considering the other alternatives at hand. Mostly, this happens due to the obstacles. In the book, Fisher and Ury suggest techniques in order to avoid these obstacles. The most important is to separate the invention process from the evaluation stage. Here, the parties should gather and brainstorm for all solutions available for the situation at hand. It is only after the various proposals when the group is allowed to evaluate the ideas. The promising proposal during evaluation should be given priority. The participants should try to create a friendly environment that enables them to come to an agreement of the best proposal easily (Roger et al, 2011). 

Use of the Objective Criteria

In some situations, interest of participants are directly opposed. In such a situation, the parties are advised to opt for objective criteria to clear up their differences. This makes them be able to make wise and standard decision as the parties are able to communicate in a good manner. Firstly, the parties should come up with objective criteria by agreeing to use according to their situation. Rather than just agree with a given criteria, the parties may organize a fair method to get a solution to their dispute. However, there are three main points which the parties should consider when using objective criteria. They include correct approach of an issue as a shared search, keeping an open mind among the parties, and finally, the participants should be reasonable. The book Getting to Yes proves that the best negotiation should be based on interest since it is based on harmony and reasonable terms.


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