Getting to Yes - Deepstash
Getting to Yes

Getting to Yes

Roger Fisher, William L. Ury, Bruce Patton



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Reaching good agreements

Reaching good agreements

A good agreement is wise and efficient and improves the relationship of both parties.

The agreement should satisfy the parties' interests and should be fair and lasting.


497 reads

Negotiation can take two forms

Positional bargaining. Negotiations often take the form of positional bargaining, where each party opens with their position on the issue. Then parties bargain from their opening positions to agree on one of the positions. 

It is inefficient and often neglects the parties’ interests. It tends to harm the parties' relationship.

Principled negotiation provides a better way to reach good agreements. The process of principled negotiation consists of four principles:

  1. Separate the people from the problem
  2. Focus on interests, not positions
  3. Generate options
  4. Use objective criteria


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Separate the people from the problem

Separate the people from the problem

People tend to become attached to the position they take on an issue. They will see any response to those issues as a personal attack. Separating people from the issue allows parties to address the issue without harming their relationship.

There are three basic types of people problems:

  • Perception. Most conflicts arise because of different interpretations of the facts. Both parties need to understand the other's viewpoint.
  • Emotion. Parties should tolerate emotions and not react to them.
  • Communication. Parties should listen attentively and summarise to confirm their understanding.


107 reads

Focus on interests, not positions

You decide upon a position, but your interests caused you to decide.

Defining a problem based on your position will mean one party will "lose". But when a problem is defined on the parties underlying interests, it is often possible to find a solution that satisfies both parties.

  • Identify both parties' interests regarding the issue. Ask why they hold the position and why they don't hold another position. 
  • Then discuss and explain interests clearly while remaining open to other proposals and positions.


90 reads

Generate creative options

Generate creative options

There are four obstacles to creating options:

  1. Parties may decide prematurely on an option and fail to consider alternatives.
  2. Parties may want to narrow their options to find one answer.
  3. The parties may assume one side should win and the other lose.
  4. A party may decide the other side should find a solution.

Techniques to overcome these obstacles.

  • Separate the invention process from the evaluation stage.
  • Brainstorm wild and creative proposals.
  • After a variety of proposals, the groups can turn to evaluation.
  • The parties can refine and improve the proposals.


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Use objective criteria

When interests are directly opposed, the parties should use objective criteria to find a solution.

Develop objective criteria that are legitimate and practical. Objectivity can be tested by asking both sides if they would agree to be bound by those standards.

How to negotiate with objective criteria:

  • Each issue should be framed as a search for objective criteria.
  • Ask for the reasoning behind a position.
  • Agree on principles first.
  • Reason and be willing to reconsider when there is reason to.
  • Don't give in to pressure or threats.


67 reads

When the other party is more powerful

When the other party is more powerful

The weaker party can be protected against a poor agreement by developing a BATNA - the Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement.

The reason you negotiate is to produce something better than what you can obtain without negotiating. Without a BATNA, you will negotiate blindly. The party with the best BATNA is the more powerful party in the negotiation.

Develop your BATNA:

  • Create a list of actions you will take if no agreement is reached.
  • Improve some of the most promising ideas and change them into practical alternatives.
  • Select the one alternative that seems best.


62 reads

When the other party won’t use principled negotiation

The other party may refuse to budge from their position, make personal attacks, and seek only to maximize their own gains.

How to deal with opponents stuck in positional bargaining:

  • One side can continue using the principled approach. This is often contagious.
  • The principled party should use "negotiation jujitsu" by refusing to respond to positional bargaining. When they assert their position, ask for reasons behind that position. If they attack your ideas, take it as constructive criticism. 
  • When the other party remains stuck in positional bargaining, a third party should be brought in.


68 reads

When the other party uses dirty tricks

When the other party uses dirty tricks

Sometimes parties will use tricks to gain an advantage.

  • Parties may engage in deliberate deception about facts, their authority, or their intentions. Protect against this by seeking verification.
  • Psychological warfare. If the tricky party use a stressful environment, the principles should identify the problematic element and suggest a fair change. Personal attacks should be identified. Ignore threats or apply principled negotiations on the use of threats.
  • Positional pressure tactics where negotiations are structured so that only one side can make concessions. Treat it as proposals.


71 reads



Media buyer

A seminal book on negotiating strategy and tactics. It has step-by-step instructions for reaching agreements that benefit both parties.


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