Have You Read This Harvard Negotiator’s Handbook? — Getting More by Stuart Diamond

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About Getting More

Getting More is a summary of the negotiation strategies Pulitzer prize-winning reporter and negotiation teacher Stuart Diamond has honed over the years around the world. In the book, which is based on his negotiation course, Diamond goes in detail through his 4-quadrant, 15-step Getting More system that works in every negotiation — the official and the unofficial ones.

Some of his nuggets of wisdom include: “people who are emotional stop listening,” and “you must negotiate based on your understanding of the pictures in the other person’s head.”

This book is lengthy, but filled with real life examples of students and friends who have used Diamond’s techniques to literally get more — more money, more perks and benefits, more opportunities in their careers and their lives.

Chapter 1. Thinking Differently

Negotiation is at the heart of human interaction…those who are more conscious of the interactions around them get more of what they want in life.

Theere are 6 negotiation techniques:

  1. Be dispassionate. Emotions destroy negotiations.
  2. Prepare, collect your thoughts, even if it’s only a few seconds.
  3. Find the decision maker.
  4. Focus on your goals, not on who’s right
  5. Make human contact
  6. Acknowledge the other party’s position and power

Emotions and perceptions are far more important than power and logic in dealing with others.

This book includes 12 major strategies for negotiation:

  1. Goals are paramount
  2. It’s about them: You can’t persuade people unless you know what’s in their heads.
  3. Make emotional payments: When people are irrational, they’re emotional and they can’t listen or be persuaded. You must use empathy
  4. Every situation is different: There’s no one-size fits all.
  5. Incremental is best: People often fail by asking too much at once.
  6. Trade things you value unequally: Find out what each party cares about and trade things one person cares about but the other doesn’t.
  7. Find their standards: What are their policies, precedents, etc.
  8. Be transparent and constructive, not manipulative: Don’t deceive people. Be yourself.
  9. Always communicate, state the obvious, frame the vision: most bad negotiations come from bad communication.
  10. Find the real problem and make it an opportunity: Few find the real nderlying problem in negotiations. Find out why the other is acting the way they are.
  11. Embrace differences: Different is good, it’s profitable, creative.
  12. Prepare — make a list and practice with it: list the collection of negotiation strategies, tools, models.
  • Tip: common enemiess bring parties closer and make negotiation easier. It’s why people complain about the weather. That’s why you could say “how about this snow?” “how do you feel about the heat?” etc

The field of Negotiation was created by lawyers in 1975, focused on resolving conflicts. But it didn’t focus on upsides of negotiation. In the 1990s, economists developed more strategies, but were still incomplete because it depended on people being rational.

What this book is not

People don’t want relationships with those who try to force them to do things against their will.

A new definition of negotiation

Negotiation, persuasion, communication, selling all have the same process.

Forcing people to do what you want is the least optimal choice becauses it’s not as profitable or effective as other options.

Getting people to think what you want them to think through rational “interest-based negotiation” is better, but in the real world, people are often irrational. The more important the negotiation, the less this works.

Getting people to perceive what you want them to means you look at the world the way they do. Misperception causes communication breakdowns all the time.

Getting people to feel what you want them to means tapping into their irrationality. This is most powerful.


Never take your eyes off the goal. Don’t worry about win-wins or “getting to yes,” etc. Write down your goals sand remind yourself. The more specific your goals, the better.

Think about others’ goals as much as your own.

Mathematician and Nobel prize winner John Nash mathematically proved Rousseau’s 1755 theory that when parties collaborate, the overall size of the pie almost always expands.

You — your attitude, credibility, transparency

When you come to a negotiating expecting something, that’s what you’ll get.

Be yourself better. People appreciate it when people arre straight with you. You can warn them ahead of time if you’re too aggressive or accommodating. If you’re not getting along in a negotiation, might as well say it. Name the gorilla in the room.

Negotiation is not about getting the best of someone, but getting more.

Small steps

Big, bold moves often scare people away. Small steps do more, especially when the two parties arre far apart.

The difference between success and failure is…two millimeters — Jan Carlson

Implementing the strategies and tools

Practice the negotiation tools, even in small cases, because you are using that to practice for the big ones.

Be polite, but firm. When you hear no, ask “why not?”

Chapter 2. People Are (Almost) Everything

A negotiation is about people. And people give things to others who listen to them and value them.

You need to know the picturers in their heads. First, take the person’s emotional and situational temperature.

Less than 10% of the reason people reach agrerement has to do with the substance of the negotiation and more than 50% has to do with people.

Part of the reason why OJ Simpson’s case turned out the way it did was because the jury didn’t like or trust the persecutor. So the persecutor’s arguments fell on deaf ears.

Credibility matters. One thing that helped George W Bush win the election in 2004 was his saying

“Even when we don’t agree at least you know what I believe and where I stand.”

If you’re having issues with another party talking about issues, stop and go back to people and fix those problems first.

The human connection

Even if you don’t know them, or you dislike them, making a human connection will usually get them to help you meet your goals.

Most people complain and think of themselves, not the other. You can be different. Also, focus on the INDIVIDUALS in the group, not the culture, religion, race, etc.

Third parties

Negotiate with people, not companies. There are almost always at least 3 people in a negotiation, even if only 2 are there. The third may be a “ghost of the past,” a spouse, colleagues, friends, boss, etc.

To influence someone, don’t think only about that one person, but who is important to that one person.

Valuing the other party

One of Diamond’s students started a conversastion with a harried salesclerk by apologizing for everyone else’s bad behavior. He was the only one nice to her, so he got a “nice guy discount” of $50 when he asked for it.

A key to getting other people to give you what you want is to value the other party.

Understanding the pictures in the other guy’s head is the single most important thing you can do to persuade them. When you value others, they give you stuff. But you have to mean it.

Practice focusing on the other party quickly — their needs and perceptions. Curiosity about others leads to business.

How to find out about others: make small talk. Be interested in them. It’s a way of life.

People who work in service industries are often treated like servants. If you treat them with dignity, they’ll be grateful.

Finding and acknowledging their power

Value people’s position, capability, or perception. When they have little power, give them more by acknowledging what they have. It makes them want to help you.

If someone lashes out at you, assume it’s because they had a bad day, and say you’re sorry they’re having a bad day.

Also, find the DECISION-MAKER. Don’t waste time negotiating with someone with no power. Ask what the process looks like, who makes decisions?

Also: give them the problem: use empathy or ask for help. Involving people in your problems makes them feel empowered.


Trust is the feeling of security that the other person will protect you.

Trust requires honesty, being straight with people. This emotional commitment to each other based on mutual respect, ethics, good feelings, develops slowly over time.

Trust is good, but you don’t always need trust for successful negotiations. You can use a mechanical substitute to give them an incentive not to cheat. You need COMMITMENT. But you need the commitment in the way THEY make it — a contract? A handshake?

Make sure you collect lots of info (due diligence) on them, ask for rdetails, test everything, use trusted third parties.

If it’s more profitable for them to cheat than be honest, change incentives.

Remember, even the PERCEPTION of cheating can destroy negotiations and relationships. If you lose trust, you can gain it back with hard work, but you must frame it in terms of a “second chance” and use an incremental process.

You can move even the most difficult people a long distance by figuring out who they are, valuing them, and giving them even a little more control.

Chapter 3. The Biggest Cause of Negotiation Failure: Misperception and Miscommunication

The single biggest cause of communication failure is misperception. Two people see the same picture, but each sees a different part.

We all have different values, emotional make ups, and are influenced by different people.

The perception gap

Diamond talked about a client who realized he and his colleagues defined the word “marketing” differently. One leaned closer to “sales,” the other thought “strategy.”

Even the most ordinary words are open to interpretation.

Fundamental attribution error: you assume everyone else reacts to things the way you do.

Others’ perceptions are more important than your proposals, if you want to persuade them.

Closing the perrception gap

“Where are you going? I’m going to NYC” will be heard more often than “I’m going to NYC. Where are you going?”

When you ask someone for their perceptions first, you value them, so they are then much more interested in listening to what you have to say.

It’s useless to interrupt someone because when you do, the tapes of what they were saying are still playing in their minds and they won’t hear you.

What you must do first in a negotiation is get them READY to listen to you.

Don’t start with facts. Facts are <10% of reaching an agreement. Rationality doesn’t speak to most people in the world. Start with “is the person ready to listen to me?” Understand the pictures in their heads, their perceptions and feelings, how they see you adn the rest of the world.

Learn THEIR perceptions, don’t explain yours. Do this by asking questions.

In a negotiation, questions are far more powerful than statements.

Ex: “This isn’t fair” → “Do you think this is fair?”

Note: You can use the Columbo tactic: “Help me out here, I’m confused…”

Remember also: negotiations are very sensitive to exact wording. Diamond is “forever asking people to tell him where he’s wrong.” God, not the devil, is in the details. Precision matters.

The communications gap and how to fix it

Basic components of effective communication

  1. Always communicate
  2. Listen and ask questions
  3. Value, don’t blame people
  4. Summarize often
  5. Do role reversal
  6. Be dispassionate
  7. Articulate goals
  8. Be firm without damaging the relationship
  9. Look for small signals
  10. Discuss perceptual differences
  11. Find out how they make commitments
  12. Consult before deciding
  13. Focus on what you can control
  14. Avoid debating who’s right

First things first: you MUST communicate

Not talking is weakness. Talking is strength. This goes against conventional wisdom, but it’s true.

Unless I have some form of a relationship with you, I am not going to willingly give you anything.

Their words and perceptions are more important than yours

What they say > what you say.

Most people persuade themselves by talking.

If someone insults/threatens you, correct response: “Tell me more.”

Value them, don’t blame them

Blame reduces motivation/performance. Praise increases both.

Summarize what you are hearing

Sum up what you think you hear frequently, play it back to the other side in your words. Don’t assume they understand you the same way you understand yourself.

Summarizing also allows you to frame info and give perspective. Framing paints a picture.

Ex: Lori wanted a lower APR on her card (17.9%) and said another company was offering (11.6%). Whehn the service rep refused, she said “So you’re telling me I should transfer my balance from your card with 17.9% to the other company offering me 11.6%?” She got the reduction.

Role reversal

Putting yourself in the other’s shoes is one of the most important ideas. Think about what they need and how you can help them.

One of Diamond’s student, an MBA, wanted to get a higher salary and asked for help. Diamond asked him what his goals were. He mentioned wanting to differentiate himself from others and be mentored by the VP so he could rise faster in the company.

“Then how doesasking for more money differentiate you?” Diamond pointed out. The student saw his point, put himself in the VP’s shoes, then offered to help the VP with a major task. He got a raise and a fast track to the top of the company.

It’s always a good idea to see if your actions are meeting your goals.

People are often unable to express their feelings, you have to find out what’s really behind what they say. Find out more about them, put yourself in their shoes.

Even when you’re wrong, people appreciate the effort you make to try understanding them. Practice being the other side.

Be dispassionate

When someone insults you “You’re an idiot!” the answer is “Why do you think I’m an idiot?”

This gets you information, which everyone needs in a negotiation.

State and restate your goals

Goal setting isn’t just done at the beginning, but must be checked frequently.

Are you all on the same page? Are your actions consistent with your goals? Is thehre new info to consider?

Tone and emails

Email is a terrible communication form because it has no tone, like tofu it takes on the flavor of whatever the recipient feels at the moment.

To minimize problems with email:

  • Add tone: “Please hear this email as [emotion: friendly, sad, frustrated, etc]
  • Read the email as the other person would in their worst mood. Most emails seem more aggressive than intended.
  • Never send an email bassed on first reactions.
  • Do a role reversal. Mention something relevant to them first (Hope you recovered from your cold. Heard you had a lot of snow)
  • Keep it short! Anything longer, enclose as an attachment with a time frame (at your convenience…next few days)
  • If you HAVE to send an email while in a bad mood, say so “I’m in a bad mood, so please forgive the tone”
  • Use humor if you have the same sense of humor.

Approximate the other person’s communication style as closely as possible. You’re not mimicking, you’re translating for them.

Pay attention to signals

Most people give you the means to perrsuade them if you watch and listen carefully. Too often, we don’t notice enough about others. Noticing signals of all sorts — verbal and nonverbal — provides much information that can be used for persuasion.

Ex: If someone says “I can’t do it for you now,” ask “When can you do it?” or “Who else can?”

If someone says, “this is our standard contract,” ask “Have you ever made an exception?”

If they say “we never negotiate on price,” ask “What DO you negotiate on?”

Japanese companies often bring teams to meetings to watch and listen to the other side. Afterwards, the team gets together to compare notes.

Find out how they make commitments

Different people and cultures use different methods to commit. Contracts, handshakes, verbal agreements, etc. Know which one you’re dealing with.

Consult before deciding

If you make a decision without consulting everyone it affects, you alienate people, and you’ll miss out on good ideas.

Yesterday is gone

Fighting over what happened yesterday won’t get you anywhere in a negotiation.

It’s no use assigning blame. Don’t argueover who’s right.

One cannot tell anyone anything unless they are ready to hear it. — A Passage to India

Chapter 4. Hard Bargainers and Standards

Using other people’s standards is a highly persuasive way to achieve your goals.

These aren’t objective standards, they are the criteria the other party thinks is fair, promises they have made.

Invoking others’ standards usuallyl works magically.

The power of standards

Standard: practice, policy, reference point that gives a decision legitimacy. Ex: a previous promise, guarantee, statement, such as company policy.

Ex: Diamond once had a student who needed to hear about his law school acceptance earlier. He advised the student to find all of the school’s standards then write the dean of admissions a letter saying “here’s your standard — here’s how I met it,” and end with “Tell me where I’m wrong here?” The student got his admittance early.

Using standards

Point out the person or group’s standards or policies, then ask “how does that compare to this situation?”

Using standards is transparent, not manipulative.

They can sometimes be used to hurt people, as Chinese officers in North Korea brainwashed US POWs to break their morale and criticize their own country (by getting them to admit “the US isn’t perfect” and building on that).

Compromise is often an ineffective, lazy way to negotiate. Standards are more effective.

If the other person doesn’t want to answer your standards question, ask them if there’s something wrong with the question (makes answering questions a standards issue).

Being incremental

Break a negotiation into multiple steps so the other doesn’t have to make a big jump which is too risky. You need to build a foundation to persuade people to go to the next step.

You need to go far back enough in a negotiation, starting with what’s familiar and proceeding from there:

“Do you want to reach an agreement…make a profit…make customers happy?”

How to negotiate incrementally: Five Easy Pieces (1970) movie:

A customer asks for a side of toast with dinner. The waitress says they don’t serve toast, so he orders a chicken salad sandwich on toast, then asks her successively to hold the mayo, butter, lettuce, and chicken.


Framing is the key to standards and successful negotiation.

Framing: packaging or presenting info using specific words that gives the other party insight about what’s actually going on, persuading them to act differently.

Negotiation is sensitive to exact words used.

Ex: OJ Simpson’s trial used the motto “if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”

You can frame an issue by asking questions like “does this business stand by its word?” “Is it your goal to make customers happy?”

The key is to ask yourself “What’s really going on here.”

Great negotiators have a firm grasp of the obvious.

Story example: Lina was invited to sign up for an American Express card that offered 5K free miles. But she was told she didn’t qualify because she was already a customer.

She then asked who to talk to about Amex’s worldwide advertising, because their motto was: “membership has its privileges,” but her experience showed that being a NON member had more privileges.

She had reframed the situation and she got her miles.

Setting standards

It helps to have a genenral rule at the start of the process. If you try to set standards later to benefit you, you look manipulative.

Even simple meetings need an agenda.

Start with easy things. Even if it’s just logistical, it’s not trivial.

If you don’t know what the other’s standards are, ASK. Ask the criteria they use to decide raises/bonuses. If they won’t say, tell them you can’t meet their needs unless you know what they want from you.

Asking standards respectfully shows that you value people.

Diamond once had to ask an Amex rep for a favor, and when he was tempted to yell at the rep, he stopped himself and said “I bet people scream at you all day long…and threaten to cancel their cards.”

When she confirmed, he asked: “What do you do in such a case?” And “Have you ever [made an exception in a case like mine?”

When she said yes, he asked “When?” and she said, “When they apologize, thank me, promise never to do it again, and are nice to me.”

He then ssaid: “I apologize for being late, would thank you if you’d help out, and promise never to do it again. And I think you’re a nice person.” She laughed and restored his miles.

With well-placed questions, you can control the meeting: “What are our goals here?” “What’s the problem?” If you offer to write these on the board, you can eventually control the meeting.

Naming bad behavior

It’s one step from naming standards to naming bad behavior. Someone who behaves badly violates the standards of his society/company/organization.

You can name bad behavior directly, with humor, or in many other ways.

One woman who worked in a male-dominated company was repeatedly interrupted by another male VP. Then he walked out in the middle of her sentence as she was talking to the CEO.

She later caught up to him and said: “Let me ask you a question.” When he said, “Yes,” she asked: “What were you thinking when you walked away in the middle of a sentence when I was talking to the CEO? What were your goals? What kind of relationship did you want to have with me? Would you have done that if I were a man?”

Great negotiators have a firm grasp of the obvious, and they say it.

So be direct about naming bad behavior. “Is it necessary for you to shout at me?” “I promise to try hard never to interrupt you. May I have the same consideration?”

Being nice doesn’t work in all negotiatioins. If you’re swimming with sharks, you need to name the bad behavior and NEVER make yourself the issue, or else you are also being unreasonable. (Eg, don’t say “Don’t call me a jerk, you jerk!”)

The meaner they get, the calmer you must become. This is one of the few tools against which there is no defense.

Put all the (negative) focus on them. They’ll drive themselves off a cliff. This was Gandhi’s and MLK Jr’s method.

It may take tact to confront people. If someone tries to take credit for your idea in a meeting, for instance, you can start with a compliment: “That’s excellent! When I brought up this idea I was hoping someone else would endorse it, glad we agree!”

Practice framing questions with embedded standards: “What’s fair here?” “How do we decide?” “Is it your goal to make customers happy?”

Don’t get upset when people violate their own standards. Just celebrate because when you call them out, they owe you a concession. Train yourself to do thihs, you’ll get more. Focus on your goals.

Ex: Ben once tried to buy a battery for his camcorder. The salesman quoted him a price 4x the usual and he sweetly asked “Why is the price four times normal?” when the salesman dropped it to $100, Ben asked, “Why did you drop the price so much? You must be trying to gouge me.”

When the price went down to $55, Ben asked for the manager and said: “Is it your policy to quote 4x the price to a customer?” The manager reduced the price to $50 and threw in a free case for his hassles.

If YOU do something wrong and people try to exact a big penalty from you, you can use framing: “So how much do you want to hurt me for this?”

Wrap-up: Your competitive attitude

When you’re competing in sports, you’re not suspposed to think of winning. You should be focused on the ball, the stroke, the “minutest details of your craft.”

It’s the same with competitive negotiation.

Focus on this:

  • What are my goals?
  • What standards should I use?
  • What are their needs?
  • Can I invoke any common enemies?
  • Can I form a vision of a relationship?
  • Who is their decision maker?

Before negotiating, strategize and perpare. Then focus and execute your strategy dispassionately.

In competitive life, there are two kinds of people: those who are qualified, and those who try to steal from those who are qualified.

Don’t take cheating personally. Lower your expectations of others trustworthiness and you’ll never be disappointed, only pleasantly susrprised.

Chapter 5. Trading Items of Unequal Value

Trading items of unequal value causes the overall pie to increase.

How it works

The thing you trade can be small in return for a big benefit.

Increase the value of the other person’s life even marginally, and that’s all is needed to succeed in a competitive world.

You aren’t constrained by the negotiation subject itself. The entire world is at your disposal to get an agreement.


Intangibles: things besides money that are valuable to others. Kids trade intangibles often — toys, food, etc.

Don’t just think out of the box. There is no box. Think broadly about goals, and the pictures in nthe heads of others.


The world is full of irrational people. You need to know their emotional and irrational needs. The more you find out about the other party, the more persuasive you’ll become in a negotiation.

Intangibles are more important than most people think.

Getting the information

If the other side won’t tell you what they want, GUESS. If you guess wrong, they will often correct you.

In every meeting, find out as much as you can about the individuals at the meeting.

Expanding the pie

With hard bargainers, offer to show third parties how to expand the pie.

Address needs and intangibles first, and make proposals later.

Focus on this question:

What costs you nothing that gives me what I want, and what costs me nothing that gives you what you want?

Good negotiators aren’t smart. They’re good at seeing the future, because they prepare.

Ex: Brad Oberwager of Sundia, which produces fruit cups, offered 10 of the top watermelon growers a part of his business if they’d let him put Sundia stickers on their melons.

Store owners saw the stickers for 2 years. Then Brad started making sales calls to the stores to sell his fruit cups. Overnight, they took a third of the market.


Link things that are not necesssarily related by issues, time, or other parameters: “if you do this for me now, I”ll do something for you later.”

If you thtink broadly about what you can trade, you make your relationship better.

Even in a hostile situation, you can try to expand the pie. If someone says “I’m gonna wreck your business,” your answer should be: “okay, but can we make more money in some other way?”

Too many people are defensive, accusatory, or argumentative rather than focusing on how to get more. “Why fight when we can profit together?”

A change in attitude

Think more about the upside than the downside when you look at problems. Always think what kind of opportunity you can make out of each problem?

Don’t worry about leverage or advantage unless it’s a hard-bargaining situation.

Frame otherr’s sneeds in a way that meets your goals.

The more things are on the table at a negotiation, the easier the negotiation is because you have more items of unequal value to trade.

People assume that others play their hand close to the vest, but if you try to figure out the other party’s needs and let them know you’re trying to meet their needs, they will talk nonstop.

This isn’t rocket science — just asking people about their needs and goals, finding out the intangibles that they care about, and focusing on the upside.

Diamond once needed a heart surgery and he picked out his ideal surgeon. The man was busy and didn’t know him, so he started researching the surgeon, then emailed him with the point of connection he found. He made the surgeon understand that he didn’t just “dash off a letter” but had studied and tried to understand his life work.

Then he and his family looked for connections to the doctor’s colleagues, and eventually got him to do the surgery. The doctor later said he was willing to cut short his vacation to work on Diamond because he was one of the few patients willing to make a personal connection by asking about his research.

No product or service is ever just a “commodity” as long as you make sure that you key on the personal connection.

Chapter 6. Emotion

Emotional payments: directly addressing the person’s emotional issues and showing that they are understood.

Emotional people stop listening, are unpredictable, and can’t focus on their goals.

Empathy: when one is focused on the feelings of the other.

Never falsify emotions to manipulate others. If someone does it to you, never deal with them again.

When peoeple are mad at you, they may do things for spite. Use empathy and consult others to avoid angering them.

Emotional people carre less about getting a deal than about hurting the other.

Even positive emotions which increase creativity can create negotiations at a fever pitch that is risky. You want calm, stable negotiations with warm feelings and solid judgment.

Emotion-producing tactics

Threats are the least effective strategies. Because threats = loss of face = resistance. That’s why “take it or leave it” hurts negotiations.

If you do issue a threat, make it a collaborative threat: Instead of “if you don’t lower your price, I’m going to someone else” try “I like you guys and have been with you for some time but your competitors are offering us more value. We want to stay with you. What shsould we do?”

The threat is inherent, but you are asking for their help with a relationship based frame. You GAVE them the problem and reduced the emotion and improved the result.

Controlling emotion

Sometiimes you can admit emotion and say to the other “I’m feeling emotional now, sos I might not mean everything I say.”

Don’t let others anger y ou and manipulate you into taking the focus off your goals.

Diamond once saw two attorneys outside a courthouse, and one was screaming at the other. When he finished, the attorney just said in a light voice “Good try!” which destsroyed the outburst’s effectiveness.

Use concessions, apologies, and empathy to make emotional payments and create trust. Avoid extreme statements, use third parties.

To persuade people you must increase their ability to listen, calm them down, be their emotional confidante.

When people feel devalued, they get MORE emotional. Empathize with them. “I don’t want you to solve my problems; I just want you to listen to them.” Anything that valuess their emotions is an emotional payment.

It could be a compliment, touch, just listening, depends on the person.

To know what the other would consider an emotional payment, focus on the pictures in their heads. How do they view the world? What are their needs/perceptions? HOw do they like to hear things framed? Do they need concessions?

One way to get people away from emotionalism is to get them talking about themseslves. Guesss at what bothers them.

Ex: Mark was once waiting for a parking spot in a rough neighborhood. When the car pulled out, another car cut him and took the space. The driver looked dangerous, but Mark got out to speak to him, treating him like an acquaintance and said “You probably didn’t see me waiting but would you allow me to have this space? I was hoping not to look bad in front of my wife.”

He gave them an emotional payout in the form of a chance to be magnanimous.

Once a stsudent was held up at gunpoint. He told the robber “I’m not worth wasting your gun on, you’re the boss” and “we all know those SOBs in the bureaucracy gives everyone a hard time over this stuff.” By empathizing with the mugger, he got his driver’s license and ID back and let go.

If you can’t get through to one group, look for third parties you can appeal to.

Make your tone one of tryring to understand the situation, not accusatory. ASK for things, don’t TELL people to do things.

Deadlines and emotional time limits often hurt people emotionally.

Personal style

Ask yourself which person on your team is most likely to get the other party to meet your goals? The more powerful people are less likely to pay attention to the other side’s needs and they won’t expand the pie.

Common negotiators:

  • Assertive: When people sense you don’t care about them, you’ll get less out of a negotiation.
  • Collaborative: These people tend to be more creative at pie expansion. They have to be careful to be incremental with people of uncertain trustworthiness.
  • Compromising: Compromisers settle and get less. They prefer speed over quality and don’t gete more.
  • Avoiding: They meet no one’s goals, and often get nothing. In every day life you generally want to engage others.
  • Accommodating: Tend to be great listeners, but may sacrifice their own goals.


Ethics: a system of behavior where people are supposed to treat each other fairly. It depends on culture and perception.

Ask questions before you assume something is unethical. Diamond once worked with an Israeli economic consul who canceled an investment in a Kazakh factory because the Kazakh inspectors asked for $600 in bribes.

They were offended, until Diamond pointed out that the inspectors only earned $12 a month and wanted an increase in their salary of $8 each because they needed a job and didn’t know how to ask.

This is fundamental attribution error: we assume others have the same experiences, thoughts, and perceptual framework as we.

Bribes are when you pay someone to do something they’re already being paid to do, not when they will do something more.

Don’t lie. If an interviewer asks if you have other offers and you don’t, just say “I have other opportunities I’m actively pursuing.”

Chapter 7. Putting It All Together: The Problem-Solving Model

The Getting More Model/Four Quadrant Model is essential to getting more.

Quadrant I — Problems & Goals

  1. Goals: short and long term
  2. Problems: in reaching goals
  3. Parties: list. decision maker, counterpart, third parties.
  4. What if no deal? Worst case?
  5. Prep: time, relative prep, who has more info?

Quadrant II — Situation Analysis

6. Needs/Intangibles: rational, emotional, shared, conflicting, unequally valued

7. Perceptions: Pictures in the head of each party, role reversal, culture, trust, conflicts, relationships, emotion

8. Communication: style, frequency, method

9. Standards: theirs, norms.

10. Reexamine goals: modify steps 1–9 as needed.

Quadrant III — Options/Risk Reduction

11. Brainstorm: Options to meet goals, needs. What to trade/link?

12. Incremental: Steps to reduce risk

13. Third parties: Common enemies, influencers

14. Framing: To create a vision, develop questions to ask

15. Alternatives: To deal if necessary.

Quadrant IV — Actions

16. Best options: Priorities, dealbreakers, giveaways.

17. Who presents: How and to whom?

18. Process: Agenda, deadlines, time management.

19. Commitments: Incentives, especially for them.

20. Next steps: Who does what?

Getting More Model

Quadrant I sets the stage on which you negotiate.

Steps 1+2 are half of what’s important — figuring out your goals and the real problem in meeting it.

You may think your goal is “I have to go to Chicago for an interview” and the problem is that flights are canceled due to snow. But your REAL underlying goal is you want a job at X company and the real problem is they need more info on you to make a decision.

You need to get to the root problem in each case. You do that by continuing to ask yourself “why” until you run out of answers.

Step 3 is about identifying key partiese in the negotiation. If you leave anyone out, they may be annoyed you didn’t consult them. Consider also hidden third parties.

Step 4 is about the WATNA — worst alternative to a negotiated agreement. It shows the risks of not achieving an agreement.

Step 5, preparation, can’t be strerssed enough. Less preparation leads to over emotionalism, less creativity, etc. Help the other side be prepared too. Getting more is about being transparent, not manipulative.

Quadrant II is about analyzing the situation, the pictures in the head of each party.

Step 6 Needs/Intangibles is sabout rational and irrational long/short term etc. This is about expanding the real value in the negotiation.

Goal: what you want at the end of a negotiation.

Needs: things important to you in reaching the goal or a better one.

Ex: Your need may be to make your family happy and your goal is a family vacation. But maybe making them happy is not the only or even right goal.

Steps 7–9 are for surfacing more info to help you pinpoit issues and solutions. Use role reversal — mentally putting yourself in othehrs’ shoes, to get a better idea about them. Provide info to each other in a style that doesn’t get in the way.

Standards is about the criteria people use for their decisions.

The info collection procecss in steps 6–9 can be fluid.

Step 10 is where you take stock of what you’ve learned in the previous 9 steps. Are your goals still realistic?

Quadrant III is about options and reducing risks. This is where you organize all your info from Q I and II.

Studies show that some of the best, most innovative ideas follow some of the silliest suggestions.

So don’t criticize anyone’s idea until everyone runs out of ideas.

The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas. — Linus Pauling

Bad ideas can prompt ideaes (2006 British study “Why Bad Ideas Are a Good Idea”)

Steps 12–14 help you improve your decision making process in prioritizing your approach and choosing options.

Can you frame the info in a way that’s persuasive to the other person?

Step 15 is walking away (BATNA) you rarely need to use it. You should have known if you need to walk away by step 4 or 10.

Use of power in negotiation is risky. Don’t see negotiation as trying to gain power over others.

Quadrant IV: last steps, actions, helps you pick your best option and turn them into commitments for all.

Sstep 17: Know how to present your proposal. Thihs depends on your audience.

Presentation is a more important part of persuasion than most people realize.

Step 19 is on commitments. You must get a commitment from the other party in the way THEY ake commitments.

Step 20 is follow up. What’s the next step, deadline? Who will do what?

When you use the Getting More model, you learrn

  1. The problem you start with is usually not the real problem. There’s often an underlying problem lurking.
  2. You will likely find more options for solutions than you thought you had.
  3. You’ll have a better idea of the picturers in the heads of everyone, how they differ, and what to do.

A huge advantage is doing a simulated negotiation with the Model beforehand. Practice playing the other side to see what the process will look like.

The owner of the problem MUST play the OTHER side and try to make the best case against himself.

This role reversal makes them really understand the other’s perceptions. Prepare as the other side would prepare. Go throuh the Getting More Model answering each item from the POV of the role you are playing.

Diamond once helped in a difficult Russian government dispute by having the two parties debate in public…the other party’s side.

Diamond knew that they knew each other’s positions, but had no feel for the other’s perceptions. By role playing each other’s position, they were able to perceive it deeply enough to find an agreement.

The Model also reveals the weaknesses in one’s own position.

Chapter 8. Dealing With Cultural Differences

Our collective inability to deal effectively with our differences is the root causes of almost all human conflict since the beginning of time.

What is diversity?

Differences may be less about race, religion, andn other externalities than you think.

People’s psychological affiliation is much more important than the way they look or the house of worship they attend.

Culture: where people think they get their identity.

You need to first understand what culture people BELIEVE they belong to, or else you dont’ know whhere to start persuading them. Don’t just deal with superficial, physical differences. Worldviews, hopes, dreams, fears are mor important.

Don’t rely on externalities. Do the work to find out if there’s a real connection.

The roots of stereotypes

Cultural stereotypes came from ignorance and fear. To remove them, start with:

There is no Them.

There are only people with individual perceptions.

In many cultures, relationship is critical, more than contracts. They need trust.

Steps to improvement

You need to ask people questions and listen to their answers. You have to mean it.

You need to acknowledge differences openly. Then start somewhere by agreeing to something, no matter how trivial, like where people will sit, etc. Acknowledge something you like about the other culture.

Remember: people don’t expect you to be like them, they know you aren’t. They do expect respect.

Cultural fatigue: a sociological AND medical term. When you’ve made dozens of accommodations daily to try to be like those around you in another culture. By 6 months, you’re physically exhausted.

The key is to NOT adjust, and just be yourself. Don’t try to be like them. Being different adds value. You WANT people with different perceptions and solutions.

The 3 most successful cities in the US are NYC, LA, and San Fran, the 3 most diverse. For this to work, the environment must support differencecs. The more differences are embraced, the better the economy.

Diverse are 3x better at producing high quality solutions to problems. Creativity comes from clashing of different perceptions and experiences.

Standards and culture

You cacn use third parties, reframing standards to overcome cultural norms.

Sometimes learning another culture’s language fluently works against you because people incorrectly assume you’re fluent in other cultural matters and are less tolerant of mistakes.

Their real culture

Don’t assume what constitutes another culture.

Diamonnd once met a blind man who affiliated with the mensa society. He didn’t relate to the blind community at all.

Identify noises that mask similarities and insist on evidence to support all views. Be incremental in suggestions. Consult before deciding. Use logical extremes (the party that wins kills everyone on the other side) to get people to see the undesirability of not figuring out a working plan.

Chapter 9. Getting More at Work

A woman once saved her job by volunteeringn to help other departments that had nothing to do with her job description. When the people who hired her were fired, she was next on the chopping block by the new management team. But the people who she helped insisted that she stay, so she did.

In job interviews: this is the nicest potential employers will ever be to you. So watch out!

The most important thing is to understand the other party and whoever influences the other party.

Expanding relationships is essential in virtually all job situations. The more you identify and ally with the people who can help you, the better position you are in.

In any company look for:

  • People who’ve been there forever: They know where everything’s buried.
  • PEople who have left: They’ve seen the company at its worst.
  • IT people: learn to love them. You can’t do your job without them.
  • Librarians: Excellent at research.
  • Cleaning staff: They see and hear a lot.
  • Security guards: They can help you if you lost or forgot your pass or need access help.
  • Admin staff: Execs come and go but these guys are permanent.
  • HR peopole: they have a lot of say in personnel issues.

Build your own coalition. Be incremental. Ask people about their jobs.

Specific successes

One of Diamond’s students got 12 consecutive final round interviews by preparing: he ID’d key decision makes and collected specific info about his interviewers.

He found people who knew or had recently left the firm, he asked about unfilled needs. He tailored his resume to each firm and department and sent it to the specific people with the biggest perceived need (HR, team leaders, department heads), then role played with his wife. He anticipated 2/3 of the questions he faced and showed how he met/exceeded standards and made human connections.

Even in tough times you can get your foot in the door. Yi Zhang wanted a job at a venture capital firm but didn’t have start up experience. He found out the company wanted to know about internet phone tech, so he offered free consulting.

Volunteers often become employees…”Even after the door is closed, try a second and third time…Provide them with a specific solution. It takes time, but it works.”

Be persistent but not pushy.

When you ask people about their fears, you often get the info you need to persuade them.

Key negotiation skill: asking questions. Ask about the other sides’ goals and needed skills first, then match your qualifications later.

Small talk is almost always big talk, even in job situations.


If someone asks you a question, answer it immediately and succinctly. Or let them know what info you need to answer it. People hate it when others don’t answer their questions…It’s a bad politician’s tactic: obfuscating, being evasive. You give the signal that you have something to hide.

Asking job candidates to give examples of their reliability is more telling than asking them about their best/worst experiences.


Standards are the law of an org. Reframing standards is key in the job market.

The real issue is not experience but skills.

Ask for specificities, don’t accept ambiguous answers.

Third parties

Allying with 3rd parties is important, especially if you don’t have enough authority, persuasiveness on your own, credibility, connection to the decision maker, or emotional distance from the situation.

Incremental steps

You can’t get what you want immediately, but you can plot a course to get there eventually.


Termination iss a negotiation opportunity. don’t get emotional or threaten. You can ask to resign, for a nondisclosure agreement when later asked for references, or to be an unpaid consultant for a while, have your phone line forwarded, outplacement services, a letter of reference, severance packages, etc.

If you fit in a special category, invoke it (protected race or gender, women over 40, etc. Don’t be belligerent but bring it up and say you’ll sign a no-suit agreement.”

Chapter 10. Getting More in the Marketplace

Diamond trains his students by making them go out and get a discount. Any discount. In most cases, all you need is minimal preparation and the fortitude to ask.

There is no one way or even 10 ways to buy and sell. There are a million ways, depending on your goals, who the other is, and your chosen process.

Standards and framing

Traditionally, much marketplace negotiation is about prices and policies. Standards is not the only thing you need. But you must master the tool to do well.

In negotiation, NEVER make yourself an issue. If they are a jerk, you should not be a jerk.

Applying standards also means asking for exceptions to stndards. But when you do it, don’t ask in front of lots of people. But if you want them to MEET standards, do it in front of as many witnesses as possible to expose their unfairness.

A big part of standards is asking a question in which a standard is embedded (framing)

Companies often offer new customers better terms than existing customers. You should key in on relationship and ask companies to prove relationship value. Be friendly, mention loyalty, don’t be greedy.

ASK: Questions are more powerful than statements.

If a company messes up something, you can ask “How can [company] restore my confidence in the company?” Research their slogan, and give the problem back to the company. Ask what they’ve done for others in the past.

Most people don’t ask. Asking questions puts more money in your pocket. Keep asking until you find the real decision maker.

Make a s many personal connectionss as you can.

Trading and linkages

Providing things of value can include trading information, career advice, etc.

Companies will give discounts in return for longer term contracts. Pursue this routinely.

Perceptions and risk

If you can reduce the other party’s perceived risk, you’ll usually get a better deal.

To get a good deal on a car, do your research. You can also negotiate down credit card interest. Key in on somethhing the company values.

Chapter 11. Relationships

You need to really WANT to form or hold onto a relationship. Many people in busisness pretend they want a relationship, but their real aim is to use your knowledge/connections to get ahead (confidencce game).

In business relationships: document everything.

Keep notes of important meetings, what you did, what they did and said.

Ronald Reagan: Trust, but verify.

You negotiate in a real world, not an idealized one.

Using emotional payments in relationships

Threats push people apart, creating fear and desire for revenge. Rather, use an emotional payment, something that makes the other feel better: empathy, apology, concession.

Take whatever their moood or irrational words are at face value. People who need emotional payments aren’t listening. They only hear messages that reonate with their emotion. Don’t upset them more.

Looking for incremental solutions is most important in relationships.

Common enemies also put people in relationship against a third party — person, group, thing, or idea. Weatherr, the traffic, etc. In business: loss of profit/time, failure to keep good people, inability to capitalize on opportunities.

The common enemy must not be diverse.

Time is a valuable commodity. Always look for ways to get more time.

Knowing them

Don’t assume you know what the other side is thinking. Ask. You might be surprised.

You may have to help otheers to do the same with these tools. In nemotional situations, they may not be able to help themselves.

You’ll never get a 100% success rate. This book is about Getting More not Everything.

Details matter in negotiations.

Transactional relationships

These have no longer term element and are weaker than those created by feelings/mutual benefits.

The less feelings in a relationship, the less people are coommitted to the relationship. Feelings are stronger than contracts as levers.

Reember: every rerlationship in your life except in your family began as a transaction. The more you look for relationships, the more likely some of them will turn into long term relationships and you will get more.

Chapter 12. Kids and Parents

Kids are often better at negotiating than adults because they do it by instinct. They notice carefully where adults are coming from and know their hot buttons. “Just a little more, I love you Mommy, I’ll be a good girl” they focus on the other party’s needs.

To negotiate with kids, you have to think and feel as they do.

Kids feel insecure as a rule because they rely on parents for everything. But if you can increase their sense of power/security, they will give up a lot for it. Sadly, many parents do the oppsotie, threatening kids and making them feel less secure.

Kids are willing to trade.

Think about your long term goals. It’s not just clean your room today, but wanting kids to grow up successful and responsible.

If a kid has a fit, use questions. If they say “You’re mean!” Ask “Why?” If they want a cookie: “Why a cookie? Why now?” You can guess, but it’s better to ask them.

Kids may not be able to express themselves as well as adults, but they may notice things more acutely than you do.

Listen to what kids have to say. Many parents do this badly. Pay attention to them, look at them, give feedback. You’d never ignore an adult so why a kid? If your kid doesn’t listen to you, it’s often because you don’t listen to them.

Your kids will grow up too. They won’t forget how you treated them when they were young.

Kids who feel listened to and understood have better self esteem, are able to think independently, have more social competence and decision making ability.

Consult your kids. Giving them choices, and a little control, helps a lot. Kids who make their own decisions end up being more self motivated, creative, healthy with more self esteem.

Showing your kids affection is an ABSOLUTE PRREREQUISITE to criticizing them, so they know they still have your uconditional love.

You can also role play with kids. They think it’s fun and it shows them another perspective.

Giving kids extra responsibility is the key to dealing with them effectively. It’s the cornerstonoe of all human behavior.

Showing kids that their actions don’t match their goals is a powerful tool. Train kids to understannd actions and reactions. Call kids out on unacceptable behavior, but do it calmly.

Talk explicitly about commitments. Parents think it’s hard to get kids to keep commitments, but kids think that about parents.

To improve relationships with kids, ask them to teach you what they know. That values them, and they’ll value you in return.

Chapter 13. Travel

Use a conscious, structured negotiation approach, don’t just shoot from the hip.

Persistence is VERY important in geteting more. Being a jerk gets you less overall because airline and hhotel people write notes about you and it stays forever.

Details provide credibility. The more details you use, the more real your problem seems, the more they wannt to help you.

You mustt be eproactive, not passive in travel snafus. Airlines and other travel companies have all kinds of categories of discounts and perks.

You can also offer to send letters for an employee’s personal file. These can mean a lot. The more you put a positive attitude toward your problem, the more help you get.

Don’t threraten a business with ending the relationship unless they do xyz. Instead, talk about the investment in the relationship.

Marsha was once caught with undeclared merchandise. Marsha rerpeatedly thanked the officer for doing her job, educating her about regulations and keeping her from bigger problems in the future, and got a mere $33 fine. Acknowledging the person’s power helps a lot.

The key is helping people fix their problems rather than blaminig them.

The harder you work, the luckier you get.

Eye contact alone can be nonverbal negotiation.

Chapter 14. Getting More Around Town

Being candid about what you want is a key to success in business and in life in general.

Look for a solution that doesn’t blame anyone.

For many people, you have to paint a picture in their heads. It’s a key negotiation tool. One guy who had mice in hiss apartment researched diseased mice and sent the pictures to the landlord. He got the problem fixed immediately.

Chapter 15. Public Issues

<10% of the reason agreements fail has to do with the substance of the matter. >90% has to do with the people and process.

Talking is important! If something bad happens, that’s when you need to talk more, not go silent.

In too many public processes, there isn’t collaboration but winner takes all.

Instead of sanctions, flooding the market may be a good idea. US hip hop and rap spreads the messages of individuality to teens worldwide. It’s a big foreign policy opportunity. “Hold your friends close and your enemies closer.”

Yesterday versus tomorrow: The right negotiators

Are parties fighting over yesterday or focused on improving tomorrow?

Choosing the right negotiator is key.

When people are hungry, they get angry easily, and this cycle of violence starts young. People support terrorists because terrorists feed them. To counter terrorism, feed hungry people better than terrorists do. That will motivate moderates to turn in extremists.

The human mind is inventive. Human institutions will never be able to cull the constantly changing pieces of information from smart people bent on hiding things

The more important a negotiation is to people, the more emotional it becomes. Violence is expensive and doesn’t work well. Suicide bombers aren’t frightened by death.

Chapter 16. How to Do It

Attitude: morale is important. Brainstorm the worst that can happen. If you can stand it, you’ll be more confident. IF you can’t find someone else to do the negotiation, prepare more, etc. Be mentally ready.

Preparation: is a confidence builder.

Even in short negotiations, knkow SPECIFICALLY What you’re going to talk about.

Start with easy things to give people a sense of progress as they agree on things.

If something surprises you, tkae a break immediately.

Use the right wording. Instead of “We don’t trust you,” ask: “How do we start to trust one another?”

Don’t make the first offer if you don’t know the bargaining range. You’ll negotiate against yourself. Narrow the bargaining range by asking questions.

Extreme offers

Extreme offers kill deals because it either devalues the other (too low) or makes them give up (too high) and risks your credibility.

The power dynamic

Size isn’t always power. MLK Jr inspired millions.

Ask these questions:

  • What are our needs?
  • What criteria should we use to evaluate options?
  • What can we do now, medium term, long term?
  • Who do we need to help us? (3rd party)
  • How can we make a commitment that sticks?
  • Who doess what before our next meeting?

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