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Everyday Negotiation: Navigating the Hidden Agendas in Bargaining by Deborah Kolb & Judith Williams

This book tackles the tough issue of negotiating with colleagues (and bosses) within an organization. Internal negotiations aren't just about dollars and cents. They also define roles, relationships, and power. The authors have great advice for deflecting tough tactics.

3-D Negotiation: Powerful Tools to Change the Game in Your Most Important Deals by David Lax & James Sebenius

Both rigorous and comprehensive, this book integrates three dimensions of negotiation: tactical moves at the table; creative deal structuring; and actions away from the table to strengthen one’s hand.

Bargaining with the Devil by Robert Mnookin

Every time we negotiate, we have to decide what we owe the other party (if anything) and why. This book explores an even deeper issue: when is negotiation immoral. The author uses fascinating case studies to illustrate where lines must be drawn. He concludes that Churchill was right to refuse to negotiate with Hitler, though perhaps for the wrong reason. By contrast, he reasons, it was proper (maybe even imperative) for Nelson Mandela to negotiate with the apartheid regime that imprisoned him.

Built to Win: Creating a World-Class Negotiating Organization by Lawrence Susskind & Hallam Movius

This book nicely complements others on this list. It offers a macro analysis of organizational policies that often inadvertently stifle creative deal making. The authors explain how managers must set goals, align incentives, and support learning so that others negotiating on their behalf perform at their best.

The Power of a Positive No: Save the Relationship and Still Say No by William Ury

Not everything is negotiable. Sometimes we must say no. In prose that is simple yet profound, Ury explains how in closing a door to a proposal (or a demand), you may nevertheless open a door to another possibility.



One of the best ways to persuade others is with your ears. Good negotiators are good listeners. Listening in itself can become a powerful concession because we all want to be heard. Besides, your patient listening will always pay off because it strengthens relationships and trust.

Authentic Listening builds rapport and trust, uncovers the underlying messages, and sets the stage for you to be heard.

  • Have you ever been frustrated because you felt that a point you were trying to make was not getting across? Then finally, the listener understood you. This experience creates a strong alliance with the listener. It also makes it possible for you to hear what the other person is trying to tell you.


We speak at    125 words per minute

We can listen to    600-800 words per minute

We think at    2,000 words per minute


  • Background noise/conversations
  • Sincerity of interest
  • Energy level – time of day; hunger; sugar high
  • Pitch of the voice
  • Accents different than our own
  • Others priorities of the moment
  • Arrogance that we know more
  • Anxiety about what to say next
  • Trustworthiness from our last encounter
  • Credibility on the subject
  • Impatience
  • Listen as an ally. And listen loudly!


Listening filters are internal processes that selectively choose certain information to pay attention to, or modify the information to suppress, minimize, and distort reality. Filters are the barriers we erect when listening to others. These barriers prevent us from accurately hearing what is being said.


  • Ask questions : Ask many open-ended, Probing questions. Then listen to the entire answer. People love to talk. Let them.
  • Value silence , one of the most powerful tools of listening.
  • Active listeners : Nod, paraphrase, reflect, show understanding, summarize.
  • Entice: Draw the other person out with statements such as,
  • "Tell me more about that." "How so?" "Anything else you want to add to that?"
  • Body language: After the other person finishes speaking, continue to maintain eye-contact, keep nodding, lean in, say, "Uh, huh."
  • Paraphrase : "Let me see if I got this right. What you are saying is…"
  • Acknowledge feelings : "Sounds like you are feeling…"
  • Sympathize : Show that you understand when you say, "It makes sense to me that you would feel that way, given what you just went through."
  • Questions without authentic listening are thinly veiled challenges, judgments, and assertions.
  • Challenging questions with authentic listening activates latent power, potential, and collaboration.