Getting Past No – Use Power to Educate

Excerpt from Getting Past No: Negotiating in Difficult Situations by William Ury

The key mistake we make when we feel frustrated is to abandon the problem-solving game and turn to the power game instead.

Overcoming the power paradox means making it easier for the other side to say yes at the same time that you make it harder for them to say no. Making it easy to say yes requires problem-solving negotiation; making it hard to say no requires exercising power. You don’t need to choose between the two. You can do both.

Treat the exercise of power as an integral part of the problem-solving negotiation. Use power to bring the other side to the table. Instead of seeking victory, aim for mutual satisfaction. Use power to bring them to their senses, not to their knees.

If the other side refuses to come to terms despite all your efforts, it is usually because they believe they can win. They believe that their best alternative to negotiation—their BATNA—is superior to your golden bridge. You need to convince them that they are wrong.

Use your power to educate the other side that the only way for them to win is for both of you to win together. Assume the mind-set of a respectful counselor. Act as if they have simply miscalculated how best to achieve their interests.

Focus their attention on their interest in avoiding the negative consequences of no agreement. Don’t try to impose your terms on them. Seek instead to shape their choice so that they make a decision that is in their interest and yours.

Using power to educate the other side works in tandem with building them a golden bridge. The first underscores the costs of no agreement, while the second highlights the benefits of agreement. The other side faces a choice between accepting the consequences of no agreement and crossing the bridge. Your job is to keep sharpening that choice until they recognize that the best way to satisfy their interests is to cross the bridge.

Ury, William (2007-04-17). Getting Past No: Negotiating in Difficult Situations






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