There are hundreds of books on negotiating... there are as many courses.
That's because, none of us wants to "be taken" by another person. And... many people feel inadequate about their negotiating
skills, though they won't admit it.
In the latter part of the 80's, I was interviewed by MBA grad student.
Part of his course work was to talk with someone who negotiated. As I had / have / and still do, he asked me to be the
subject of his questions. I agreed. His final analysis is exactly as he wrote it... somewhat unflattering by an
academic standard. Judge for yourself.
We all negotiate... every day... for almost anything. And when we
are not negotiating, we are bartering through "rules" which we've previous accepted, i.e., one pays $1.49 for a bag a potato
chips. We call this a "value exchange," which must be re-negotiated through an economic concept of demand elasticity
(would you pay 1.99 for the chips or buy cheesepuffs at $1.29), each time either side of the exhange changes their price,
or their position. But, negotiating goes far beyond economics. Plea bargaining a criminal charge may prevent an
We all have negotiating styles, teperaments and of course limits... Some
elements work better than others: Some are the result of our childhood approaches to getting our way; others are learned
from the tough lessons of life; and still others are as taught in classes, college courses, and/or otherwise.
There is an egalitarian model of "Win - Win," where both parties
obtain what they want. Most authors work off this idea. And, there
are derivatives of this concept. One such book title that I love to hate is "Getting To Yes!" It's a catchy title...
but it is not always real world. As I'm transcribing this article to web post 9-11, and the SECOND war with Saddam looms,
one only needs to reflect that getting to "yes," requires two willing and rational partners. When one side of the process
cannot be coaxed to the table... it takes more than talk. It takes "muscle."
Textbooks and the courses don't like to discuss force, for such action
seems to be a failure of human relations... But the sad reality of human relations is that this is the "human" side of
relations. Intimidation, hammerlocks, and more are often the needed elements that get people to "yes." Euphemistically,
this is called "persuasion!"
A prime example of these intimidations led to the ending of the
cold war: Of course, President Reagan is remembered for his famous "Trust, But Verify" statement regarding
the USSR... But, he was also a keen believer that an extra Pershing Missile, or two, never hurt. And, what
came to be known as "Star Wars," while probably not implementable via the then exisiting technology, was nevertheless
the gambit which made the USSR realize that they could not compete with America's might. Certainly, the history of Soviet's
technical prowess demonstrates that it often rivaled that of America's: Submarines... Space... the MiG
29... And more. Make no mistake... The Soviets were a tough military opponent for the U.S. around which only the
bravest Las Vegas odds-makers would have booked outcomes. Even today, it is the Russians space craft that is the "safety
ride" home off the space station. "Star Wars" was a clever gambit that forced the Soviets into the self-assessment of their
Today, I feel stronger about my answers than I did when I first spouted
them. So, let the arguments begin.