The book, GETTING TO YES, by Roger Fisher and William Ury is perhaps the most important book on negotiation I have ever read. I have personally benefitted from this book simply because I am even more aware of the importance of preparation and identifying shared interests and taking advantage of them. Respect, always respect, the other person's interests. More importantly, know them well.
The book is on principled negotiation, which is essentially negotiation on merits. The aim is to reach a wise agreement, defined as meeting the legitimate interests of all parties to the extent possible, resolving conflicting interests fairly, and ensuring the agreement is durable and takes community interests in account.
The factors of principled negotiation include:
PEOPLE: separting people from the issues/problems.
INTERESTS: focus on them, particularly mutual interests, and not on "positions." E.g., the expression of "you are in no position to negotiation" is absolutely absurd. One, it is an assumption unless the person stating that carefully prepared. Two, it can generally only hurt the person stating that, generating hostility and conflict. A principled negotiator probes interests, raises questions. The question, then, is "what are your interests in this deal?" and "Why do you suppose that is a fair proposal?"
PLANNING: a skilled negotiator will gather, organize, and weigh all information carefully relating to a negotiation. If there is one concept I could share with you, it is "prepare."
CRITERIA: prior to reaching an agreement, the parties should agree to using objective criteria to measure an agreement; these include market value, precedent, and so forth.
OPTIONS: generate a variety of options to reach an agreement. Envision what a successful outcome would be from the negotiation prior to negotiation, then generate several possibilities of satisfying everyone's interests to obtain the goal.
Specific Questions I had that were answered:
a) When personally attacked, what to do?
Control yourself, let the other side vent, then remain silent. Do not embarrass them, do not attack back.
b) More on this concept of "interests?"
First, find shared interests. Two, acknolwedge the other side's interests as a part of the whole system of negotiation. Share what your interests are pointedly, then provide your reasoning for reaching your proposal.
c) If the other side is way more powerful?
One must know her/his BATNA well. It is your Best Alternative to Negotiated Agreement (I think that is the correct acroynm). The better your BATNA is, the more power you have. If you have a very bad BATNA, you must realize that "how" you negotiate is extremely important. Your BATNA should be your measure against any proposal made by the other side. If your BATNA is better, then you obviously reject the proposal.
d) What if the other side is choleric, tricky, and applies pressures to force me into agreement?
You should first recognize the tactics being used. "Oh, this is the old good and bad cop routine." Then, expose it. Say, "excuse me, unless I am mistaken, you two are playing good cop and bad cop with me. Now, let's just focus on interests and reach a mutually satisfying agreement." If they put sun in your eyes, request to move. If your enviroment is hostile or discomforting, you have a right to request a change in setting. Most importantly, recognize them... do not be phased by them.
e) I am powerful, they are weak. How should/can I exploit them?
Resources do not make you a powerful negotiator. All the king's soldiers and all the king's men cannot make you a powerful negotiator, particularly if your socalled "power" will not impact the other side. It is best to focus on mutual interests and attempt to reach an agreement to satisfying them. Threating a person, mentioning your power will most-likely undermine your ability to reach agreement.
In conclusion, this book can be a benefit for all people. Why? It shows you how to take into account other people's interests to satisfy your own. It is crucial for individuals to terminate the concept that to "win" in negotiations is to take advantage of other people. To succeed in negotiation, it is not about exploiting people but getting what you want. Essentially, satisfying your interests; this book can show you how.
I hope the above was helpful,