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on February 21, 2004
Cohen has created a uniquely constructed book, very much designed in layout to be an easy reference book for managers who are in need of tips and practices for negotiation. The layout allows managers to quickly locate key concepts within the book by boxing those particular points and using a coded indicator as to what type of advice is contained therein. The manager is directed to organize their thoughts and steps, prior to an impending large negotiation, such as a Labor Contract or Pricing On Major Components, etc. Mr. Cohen focuses on the techniques associated with "interest based bargaining." Using interest based bargaining techniques, both sides get some and in certain cases, ALL of what they need out of the bargain, and so does the other side.
Mr. Cohen gives some special tips on how to get ready for negotiations and then discusses "Stakeholders, Constituents and Interests." These factions are the ones that establish the power balances within the negotiation.
The book gives succinct and very understandable advise for managers who need to learn a bit about productive bargaining to assist them in doing their jobs. The book is recommended for all who negotiate, either experienced or novice, as the book serves to reinforce and remind even senior negotiators of tools and techniques and how they can be used.
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on April 22, 2003
Negotiating Skills for Managers is a practical book that doesn't talk down to the reader ­ or bore her with dense language.
... The organization of the book makes it easy to go back and forth to examine how concepts it presents relate to each other.
... The book's examples from real life give someone with real-world negotiating experience Œhooks' for relating their own war stories to a clearly-described philosophy and set of techniques.
... Unlike other negotiation books, this one has an index that makes it easy to review concepts after one's initial reading.
... Until I read the book, I had never understood the concept of BATNA; now this fundamental part of negotiation is much clearer to me.
... Perhaps the most valuable element Negotiating Skills for Managers presents is the Interest Map ­ a preparation tool that has already saved me considerable time in complex negotiations.
While the book contains a lot of deep philosophical ideas, it is useful for someone whose negotiating experience is limited or whose confidence needs boosting. I recommend it highly.
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on February 23, 2003
I'm sure if you take a look at the other reviewers, you'll wonder why I am such the dissenter of opinion, however, my opinion is unwaivering on this read. I am currently an MBA student and therefore read more than my share (I think I'm getting crosseyed from all of the reading!)
Anyway, my point is that there are numerous texts on negotiation skills, creating and relaying value, cross-cultural issues in negotiations and any number of personal and environmental factors involved in any given negotiation.
However, I believe the author does a very poor job in this book in providing [cost of book] worth of substance. Points that are made early on in the book are drudgingly rehashed over and over again, as if the author is trying to fill pages like I admittedly used to do with 7th grade class reports. Except that I used to paraphrase the Encyclopedia...which had some interesting points. This author has a knack for the obvious and fails to point out any valuable case studies. Most of the "grey-window box" cases presented, sparse as they may be, relate parochial stories of how a husband and wife "negotiated" the picking up of clothing on the floor by understanding the underlying wife's concern...not to trip on the pile of clothes. Again, a fairly weak example to use in business dealings. I mean, c'mon, the name of the book is "Negotiating Skills for Managers" I can understand an occasional side-bar on ways to apply these (skills?) to other aspects of your life, but the ratio of little stories to actual examples of business dealings or cross-cultural negotiations is about 100:0. The author NEVER cites a substanial business negotiating example.
One grey-box cites this scenario;
"More recently, my wife and I had dinner (without reservations) at a Japanese restaurant in our town. We patiently waited for a table. Once seated, the food came very slowly; obviously the kitchen was overburdened. Our waitress did not wait for us to ask; she brought us an extra carafe of hot sake on the house." (Page 160)
It's a nice story about a restaurant aware of their poor service and attempt to make up for it with some free sake. Good for that restaurant...that IS smart service. BUT, where was the negotiating? <Who> negotiated <What> in this scenario?
Another grey-box:
"One of the tricks negotiators sometimes try to use is the good cop/bad routine in which one of your counterparts purposefully plays the tough guy while his teammate utilizes charm on you..." It continues, "Be careful not to accuse the other team of bad manners. Instead, say something like, 'I feel as if I am being good cop/bad copped in this negotiation and it is not bringing me any closer to agreement"
What kind of negotiations are we referring to here? Used car sales? You MUST be joking. In all of my professional business dealings either domestic or abroad, I have never run into such juvenile tactics, except for one teenager selling used Ford cars. (if you stretch to call this a professional business dealing)
To be fair, there are some real points in this book, albeit mostly common sense. (for example, keeping emotions in check when negotiating and approaching it from a win/win situation, not a war or competition to see who can come out ahead.) However, these points could be covered in a five-page document, double-spaced, minus the little grey-boxes, and turned in to the 7th-grade teacher, who would probably give it a 'B.'
Please! If you REALLY still want to read this book, save your money and send me an email. I'll be happy to send you my copy for free!
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on May 9, 2002
Negotiating Skills for Managers is a down-to-earth book, written in an engaging and clear way, which brings the complex issues associated with negotiation down to a handful of commonsensical ideas. I highly recommend Negotiating Skills for Managers by Steven P. Cohen for people in all professions, and on all rungs of the corporate ladder, who seek to improve their interactions with others, thus enhancing their effectiveness and efficiency at work, and even at home!
From explaining the difference between positional and interest-based negotiations, to highlighting the benefits and detriments of human emotions in the negotiation process, to advising how to recognize and disarm "bullies" and other unreasonable colleagues, Negotiating Skills for Managers is a thorough book packed with information that is easy to comprehend and entertaining to read.
The book is chock full of antic dotes and experiences gleaned from the author's professional and personal life. This is the best part! Cohen shares situations as explained by his clients and students that helped me understand how and when to apply the clearly detailed tactics he outlines.
Courteous mannerisms, like: "don't hog the credit," "let others present their ideas first," and "best not to eat an onion sandwich before entering the negotiation room" lead into explanations of important negotiation tactics. Among the most significant insights offered in the book is that negotiating parties are not competitors but people who seek to reach an agreed upon solution to their shared problem that will be followed through to completion.
This theme of respecting others for their interests, opinions and professional and/or cultural difference runs throughout Negotiating Skills for Managers, helping readers stay focused on the importance of understanding others' needs and values before engraving their own into stone. "Listen to yourself and to others, searching all the time for seeds that can germinate into ideas that work," Cohen advises. Later in the book, he drives this point home in a more familiar way. "God gave us two ears and one mouth. Use them proportionately."
Within the first pages of Negotiating Skills for Managers I was challenged to seek self-awareness through thoughtful introspection before and during the negotiation process. I got the sense that Eastern philosophy has influenced Cohen's approach to business ethics and thus negotiation, as he urges readers to understand the emotions that drive their desires and think of their own interests in terms of the greater whole.
"Negotiation is not rocket science," Cohen concludes. Husbands and wives, parents and children, and CEOs and secretaries all negotiate with each other everyday, according to Cohen. The key is to remember tactics learned by reading this book in my daily life.
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on March 26, 2002
In Negotiating Skills for Managers Steven P.Cohen provides readers an accessible, practical resourse for business, and personal negotiations. The book is eminently readable, including multiple real life examples of negotiations from Cohen's broad experience as well as what he has learned from clients around the world.
The book provides checklists of it's learning points at the end of each chapter as well as an extensive index. These tools make it quite easy to return again and again to review the ideas it presents. The format makes it not only a learning tool, but also an ever-ready handbook for one of life's most common activities.
Cohen's book provides real-world tools for prepairing for and analyzing negotiations. In some ways it provides its readers an ongoing pep talk, reminding them that while negotiation is not a competitive sport, it is their responsibility to focus their interests, and not run the risk of giving in when it is against their fundamental needs.
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on April 15, 2002
"Negotiating Skills for Managers" is a good guide for understanding the process of negotiation. The book is broken up into parts that can be absorbed individually and then combined for application. Shaded blocks clarify issues and detailed Table of Contents and Index help to review points as the system is put to use. I find that really understanding all my own interests (ie: company,co-workers, etc.) and then spending time to make sure that I understand the interests of the people I am negotiating with is making a big difffernce. I would recommend this book for both personal and work negotiations.
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on May 3, 2002
In his book, Cohen develops negotiation tools that can be applied to both personal and business challenges. Cohen's structured and rigorous approach provides a method for analyzing a partner or opponents positions, and for clarifying your own interests and positions.
The book is easily absorbed, even though many of the best points are counter-intuitive. The author draws on experience from real-life negotiations, and the tone is always engaging. "Negotiating Skills for Managers" is an excellent road map on how to prepare for and execute succesful negotiations.
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