The theory and practice
Negotiation is all around us, all the time and at all levels. It makes up an important part of our daily lives, whether business or private. Let's take a simple example: in a marriage partnership, each of the partners needs to bring a willingness to live with both the similarities and the differences of the couple – a situation of constant negotiation. But when we argue with our neighbours about the garden gnome with flashing lights or the cherry tree on the boundary line between the two properties, then there is no negotiation, each wants what he wants and is not willing to make concessions. If one of the parties is intent on having his demands satisfied in full, he puts the other in the position of loser. Often enough, a court has to decide on a matter that could have been easily sorted out over a glass of beer across the garden fence – in a word, with negotiation. I get the cherries, you get the gnome. And business affairs are unthinkable without negotiation: just like before the court, it is less a matter of what we are entitled to, and more of what we can negotiate.
As with so much else, success in negotiation is often not a matter of chance, but the result of good planning and specialized skills. Some of these are inborn, some are learned. This book will show that two-thirds of skilled negotiation is made up of abilities that can be learned – a statement backed up by long years of experience as negotiation trainer and university lecturer. And yet, how few people are specifically trained in