The Art of Negotiation | Michael A. Wheeler

Summary of: The Art of Negotiation: How to Improvise Agreement in a Chaotic World
By: Michael A. Wheeler


Enter the world of ‘The Art of Negotiation: How to Improvise Agreement in a Chaotic World’ by Michael A. Wheeler and discover effective strategies to maneuver through challenging negotiations. This book teaches you the value of having a game plan while also staying flexible and creative, fostering a perfect balance of foresight and adaptability. Like jazz musicians, negotiators must learn to improvise by listening, adapting, and influencing others as they navigate through an unpredictable landscape. This summary will provide you with valuable lessons on how to stay emotionally strong, think like an actor, develop experience and foresight, make a lasting impression, and close deals successfully.

The Power of Mapping Out Negotiation Goals

Successful negotiations require more than just knowing your worth. A map that identifies stretch goals and baselines is key to achieving a favorable outcome. Established baselines create a framework for acceptable outcomes and provide fallback options when negotiations do not go as planned. Confidence in your strategic approach is key to negotiating effectively. The 1930’s tale of a military patrol unit’s successful navigation with an irrelevant map highlights the significance of confidence in a structured plan.

Master the Art of Negotiation

Negotiation is not just about being persuasive; it is also about knowing when and where to negotiate. The key to successful negotiation is thorough preparation and flexibility. To ensure that you are negotiating at the right time, you need to assess whether the time is ripe for the deal you want to make. You should focus your efforts on deals that have a good chance of success. Finally, don’t forget to be creative and flexible during negotiations as there may be opportunities that you did not yet consider.

Mastering Emotional Control in Negotiations

Professional negotiators must be emotionally in control, embodying several dual characteristics such as being calm and alert, patient and proactive, practical, and creative. Identifying triggers that cause negative emotions and avoiding them, not falling into autopilot, and paying attention to verbal and nonverbal cues are some ways to stay emotionally strong. This summary is just the beginning of succeeding in negotiations, and the book delves into more on how to handle unexpected situations.

Become an Improviser

Improvisation is the key to successful negotiations. To become a good improviser, think like an actor or a jazz musician. Improvisers never say no; they work with what they’re given, and stay relaxed under pressure. The same goes for negotiations. Instead of finding the perfect answer, approach negotiations as an improvising actor, listen carefully and influence others by paying close attention to subtle cues.

The Connection between Chess and Negotiation

Success in chess and negotiation requires experience, foresight, and improvisation. A psychological experiment revealed that, for chess, experience and knowledge help in recreating a board from a game experienced before. Similarly, in negotiation, experience helps interpret the other side’s moves. Although, experience can be supplemented by reading books or observing others during negotiations. Chess masters are unable to anticipate all possible moves and thus focus on the most advantageous lines of play. Similarly, in negotiation, one must consider options that offer the most benefits and best odds of agreement. The ability to improvise is crucial in both chess and negotiation as tactical moves can be seen through.

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