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Announcements: November 30, 2021

Exclusive: Aram’s Must-reads for Negotiators

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Welcome back to the NEGOTIATEx podcast! Aram Donigian has taken time out of his busy professional schedule to list his must-reads. In other words, he’s highlighting the books that you, as a negotiator need most to be successful. Fisher’s Fundamental Landmark Roger Fisher’s venerable classic, Getting to Yes is still essential, despite its age. Nearly everything that’s […]

Welcome back to the NEGOTIATEx podcast! Aram Donigian has taken time out of his busy professional schedule to list his must-reads. In other words, he’s highlighting the books that you, as a negotiator need most to be successful.

Fisher’s Fundamental Landmark

Roger Fisher’s venerable classic, Getting to Yes is still essential, despite its age. Nearly everything that’s been written since has either been to clarify its points or to counter them.

It was fundamental to Nolan’s (and his peers’) studies at West Point. Today, it remains required reading for Aram’s students at Dartmouth and elsewhere.

In fact, if he has to cut any books for time’s sake, Getting to Yes always stays. It’s that important.

The book prescribes 4 major principles that still come into play regularly. The first is separating the people from the problem.

The 2nd is focusing on interests; not positions. Meanwhile, the 3rd is looking for mutual gain before you decide what to do. Lastly, the 4th is insisting that criteria—or the result—be based on an objective standard.

It’s also worth noting that the book inspired much of Harvard Business School’s prototype Negotiation program. Times have changed since then, but many of the modern tenets of negotiating can’t be properly understood without learning these predecessors.

Heen’s Difficult Conversations

Next, we have Difficult Conversations by Sheila Heen, Bruce Patton, and Douglas Stone. This text teaches that difficult communication happens because we see things differently.

The last statement shouldn’t shock anyone. Regardless, we often see things differently, the book goes on to explain because there are 3 different conversations going at once.

We’re not always aware of them. Nevertheless, the trio of conversations involved is Facts; who did what, Feelings; the sometimes-underlying motivators, and Identity; you are and how you perceive yourself.

True buy-in can’t be achieved by ignoring these factors. As a matter of fact, pretending they’re not involved can lead to toxic situations and conversational deadends.

The book was groundbreaking when it was originally published. Now, amid the culture and political landscape of 2021, it almost seems prophetic.

Fisher’s Feelings & Weiss’ Guide

Aram’s next pick is Beyond Reason by Roger Fisher and Daniel Shapiro. This time Fisher teams up with a Harvard psychologist to explain using emotions to turn disagreements into opportunities. Ideally, these opportunities provide mutual gain.

Concerns, Fears, and Interests are all emotion-based. So, there’s a clear potential use for this technique in negotiations.

Something as basic as a deliberate acknowledgment of everyone’s point of view can be pivotal: Hear everyone out, whether you ultimately agree with them or not.

Last but never least, the HBR Guide to Negotiating by Jeff Weiss is a don’t-leave-home-without-it. It’s not going to fit in a watch pocket, but it’s worth keeping handy.

This astute summary of the last 40 years can be used as a negotiator’s field manual: You can basically look up any problem or situation and get helpful insights.

Aram Donigian: Non-Negotiations Books to Read

As helpful as negotiation-specific titles are, they’re not the only worthwhile reading. For example, Dare to Lead by Brené Brown has a lot to offer.

Brown emphasizes the need for leaders to show their vulnerability. This translates into negotiating as the need to be open and transparent; not fake. She has more beneficial books than space permits listing here.

Aram recommends Mark Williams and Danny Penman’s Mindfulness, too. Negotiation isn’t just a skill; it’s a mindset. In fact, taking internal stock beforehand can be extremely advantageous to your external work at the table.

Consider John Medina’s Brain Rules, as well. Medina, a molecular biologist, reviews the human brain’s day-to-day functions. If you’ve ever wondered why you think, react, or respond as you do, this one’s worth your time.

Key Takeaways

  • Negotiate in order to improve your negotiating. Practice really does help you improve. Pair it with reading and good preparation for best results.
  • Stay hungry as a learner. Engage with everything you can—first as a negotiator and then as a human being. Discipline yourself to keep learning proactively.
  • Read both Jeff Weiss’ HBR Guide to Negotiating and Roger Fisher’s Getting to Yes. Almost every episode of the NEGOTIATEx Podcast involves something from these books.

Aram Donigian and Nolan Martin have more to say about these beneficial books in this edition of the NEGOTIATEx podcast. Questions and episode suggestions to team@negotiatex.com are always welcome. Don’t forget to drop by negotiatex.com for more information and our negotiation prep tool, either.

Your time’s important to us. Thanks for listening!

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