Negotiation Skills. “Getting Past NO”: Summary of what I’ve Learned

“Getting Past No” by William Ury

You need to develop negotiation skills. It is not what you know, but whom you know. It is impossible to build the empire on your own. You will need to work with different people. 

No matter what you decide to do in life,

your success will highly depend on your level of emotional intelligence and the ability to successfully negotiate with others

You will use negotiation skills when starting new businesses. You will have to negotiate when buying properties. They are essential in the real estate business. Negotiation skills are also the key to strong and healthy interpersonal relationships. You absolutely must develop and master strong negotiation skills. You will use them in all areas of your life: business, training camps, buy/sell the car, literally anywhere…

To improve this skill I read the book called “Getting Past No” by William Ury. I’ve heard about this book from the Tim Ferris podcast. He strongly suggested this book for anyone who is looking to improve his or her negotiation skills. I also listened to the audiobook copy of it, which I suggest over the paperback. There are a lot of dialogues, which are nicely curated in the audio version. I took the notes and wrote a little summary, which is in easy access from my phone. Every time, I approach any sort of negotiation, I open my notes and refresh my memory on the art of effective negotiation.

Also, there is no pass or fail to master this skill.

Mastering the skill of negotiation is a life long process, which never ends, so don’t stop learning and striving to get better at it


Don’t react – GO TO THE BALCONY 

Don’t react. Control your emotions. Listen to what other person said, but don’t react. Pause. Take a break. Find the natural excuse to step away for a few minutes. It helps to have a preset plan or preset excuse. Step back from the situation. Don’t react and “Go to the Balcony” – access the situation from the side. Recognize what’s the other person’s tactic. Name the game. Pause to listen to your body and emotions. Recognize what you are feeling. Don’t channel your emotions and feelings into actions. Slow down the negotiation. 

Come up with BATNA – Best alternative to a negotiated agreement. This is the walk-away alternative. While in the balcony, This what you’re going to think of in case if negotiation fails. BATNA should never be better than a negotiated agreement

Negotiations are more productive when broken into chunks. Have a prepared excuse to take a break. (prepared phone call etc.) Remember the following:

* NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO – NEVER MAKE AN IMPORTANT DECISION ON THE SPOT

* WHATEVER THE CASE – DON’T LET YOURSELF TO BE HURRIED

* YOUR WORST ENEMY – YOUR QUICK REACTION

* ONLY YOU CAN MAKE A DECISION, YOU WILL LATER REGRET


DISARM YOUR OPPONENT – STEP TO HIS SIDE

To disarm means to respond in the way that he doesn’t expect you to. Step to his side. Do the opposite of what he expects – put yourself into his shoes. Listen to him. agree with him whenever you can. 

Listen to your opponent. Effective negotiators listen more than they speak. Your opponent needs to know that you heard him. Paraphrase, tell him back what you heard and ask for correction. Paraphrasing means summing up what the other person said and telling it back to him in your own words. Paraphrasing giver the other person a feeling of being understood and the satisfaction of correcting you. 

Acknowledge the other person’s emotions and feelings. Tell him that you understand why he feels this way and if you were in his shoes, you would have the same feelings. 

Replace “But” with “Yes, and…”

Ask your opponent for an advice. Ask him: how would you suggest that I proceed? “what would you do if you were in my position? another solving problem question – what makes this deal fair? asking questions is the powerful technique for changing the game structure the question in a way, which cannot be answered with a no. Use the following: How? Why? What?

After you asked the question, do not break the silence. It will feel uncomfortable, but do you need to make the silence work for you. If one question did not lead anywhere, try another one. Successful negotiators ask countless questions.


Change the game. Don’t reject – reframe. Ask problem solving questions.

Change the game. Take whatever they say and reframe it as an attempt to deal with the problem. Ask problem-solving questions, such as:

  • “Why is it that you want that?”
  • “What would you do if you were in my shoes?”
  • “What if we were to…?”

Rather than trying to teach the other side yourself, let the problem be their teacher. Don’t reject: Reframe.


Make is easy to say yes. Build him a golden bridge. Make the outcome appear as a victory to him. 

You are a mediator whose job is to make it easy for them to say yes. You need to “build the bridge” for the person to come to the “YES”. You must involve them in the process, incorporating their ideas. Identify their underlying motives and unmet interests, particularly their basic human needs. Figure out how to satisfy those needs. Help them save face and make the outcome appear as a victory for them. Don’t push: Build them a golden bridge.


Make it hard to say no

Don’t fight the opponent, it’s never an option. Educate him on the cost of not coming to the agreement. Reassure him that your goal is mutually satisfactory, not the victory. 

If the other side still resists and thinks they can win without negotiating, you need to educate them to the contrary. What will happen if you don’t come to a mutually beneficial solution? Make it hard for them to say no. Speak about the costs of not agreeing. Demonstrate your BATNA, but use it only if necessary. Make sure they know the golden bridge is always open. Don’t escalate, educate.

Five steps to getting Past No

  1. Don’t React. Go to the balcony. 
  2. Disarm your opponent. Step to his side.
  3. Change the game. Don’t reject – reframe. 
  4. Make it easy to say yes. Build him a golden bridge.
  5. Make it hard to say no. Educate.

When somebody’s asking you hey how are you doing? Answer with the following phrase: 

Sounds like you’ve got something on your mind…?

 do they really wanna know caviar? Or do you just waiting to tell you what they want from you? They just test the waters to see are you, bathroom, is it a good time for them to ask for something from you?They just trying to talk to you about something, and they try to figure out in what mood you are feeling.