The Art of Negotiation

Of all people, I could never have imagined Oprah Winfrey as a master negotiator. So when Chris Voss took to the idea in his masterpiece “Never Split the Difference”, I was intrigued.

My notion of Negotiation was wrong.

Negotiation, like Chris puts it, is not a personal battle of arguments but a discovery of information. It uses conversation and rapport to build relationships and get people to talk and think together. Oprah fit the bill? Persuading people to free their dark and deep secrets they’ve held hostage (before a global audience) makes her a good one at that.

The book outlines various techniques – from identifying your Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA) to using the Similarity Effect or finding the Black Swans. But the core idea is that Life is Negotiation. The basis of negotiation is the mindset to embrace regular, thoughtful conflict. The adversary is the situation and not the person you appear to be in conflict with. No matter where you are in life, what you do, negotiation is a skill that will help. Not only yourself but also your counterpart as you push their boundaries of creativity, enabling them to articulate their wants better and pushing them towards a collaborative solution. This is why Negotiation is different from compromise – its a win for all.

And hence we must not fear to negotiate. As its said, ‘In life you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate’

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