Everyone should learn how to negotiate as it is one of the most important skills that you can have in life. Learning how to negotiate is not hard, you just have to know where to learn and start practicing. Whether you realize it or not, every day you enter into negotiations with someone. This could be the simple act of choosing which side of the sidewalk each of you is going to walk on, to negotiating the purchase of a new vehicle.
I truly believe that negotiation is a skill that should be taught in schools, but it’s not, so we should be teaching our kids these skills as early as possible. Especially here in the Silicon Valley where we are such a mesh of cultures. Many cultures, such as Israelis and Russians, are often seen as better negotiators than Americans because negotiation is part of their everyday live.
If you want to learn how to negotiate, I’ll give you one simple tip to start with – “You can get anyone to do anything you want, as long as you make it in their best interest to do what you want.”
To learn how to negotiate I recommend three great books. Two are on the subject of negotiating specifically and the one is on posturing yourself.
The first book I recommend is Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher, William L Ury and Bruce Patton. This books is a great starter book on negotiation as it’s fairly short, but provides solid negotiation principles. This book will teach you the basics around negotiating a car purchase, or a lease with your landlord, and other practical methods. While this is one of the best sellers on Amazon.com, it really just scratches the surface of negotiation. The next book I recommend will provide more in depth negotiation strategies which will be very useful, especially if you are negotiating in business, both foreign and domestic.
The second book that I recommend is Negotiate This!: By Caring, But Not T-H-A-T Much by Herb Cohen. This is my favorite negotiating book for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that the personality of Herb Cohen in the book is great. He brings humor and lightheartedness to a serious subject. The other reason that I really like this book is that Herb Cohen has negotiated everything from TVs to terrorism. He gets behind the psychology of negotiating and makes a very important point that one of the hardest people to negotiate for is yourself. If you already have experience in negotiating, then I recommend that you start off with this book. If you only have time for one book, then this is the one that you will want to read. Otherwise I recommend Getting to Yes first, followed by Negotiate This.
The third book the I recommend is To Be or Not to Be Intimidated?: That is the Question by Robert Ringer. While this book isn’t written to be a negotiation book, it is one of the best books I’ve read on posturing. Posturing is very important in negotiation as it can determine if you’re going to be intimidated by the person sitting across the table from you. This book will teach you how to spot when people are posturing and how to make sure you have your own proper posture. Not only is this book an essential book if you want to be a great negotiator, it will also provide some great lessons in life. I’m thankful every day that this was a required reading in my freshman Economics 101 course.