Go to the Balcony

Some great advise this week from William Ury, negotiation co-author of Getting to Yes, who held a meeting for a local Chamber of Commerce in Satna Monica, USA. He was citing examples from his varied career giving negotiating advice and some of the hardest negotiations to deal with, he suggests, are the internal ones.

Instead of being driven by our emotions and reacting to the situation in a confrontational way, he advices us to “go to the balcony”, and take in the view from a different perspective. “Listen and observe, rather than react and allow your inner critic to dominate.”

This can be hard to do as our emotions are often involved heavily – especially in these internal/personal negotiations. As negotiators, though, we must distance ourselves from this idea of personal. Emotions lead to mistakes. We can get angry, defensive, irritated too easily, which can start the negotiation on a path of destructive debate and deadlock.

Instead, listen to the other party, understand their concerns and search for a joint solution. Taking a step back can cool the situation and give you that chance to see the different perspective.