The summary of "Getting Past No"

(0) Introduction

Each of us has to face tough negotiation with an irritable spouse, an ornery boss, a rigid

salesperson, or a tricky customer. Under stress, even kind, reasonable people turn into angry, intractable


In order to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement in an efficient and amicable fashion, this book

introduces us the strategy of breakthrough negotiation. The breakthrough strategy is counterintuitive: it

requires us to do the opposite of what we might naturally do in difficult situations. In addition, the essence

of the breakthrough strategy is indirect action. Rather than trying to break down opponent's resistance, we

make it easier for him to break through it themselves. In short, breakthrough negotiation is the art of letting

the other person have our ways.

(1) STEP ONE: Don't React \ Go To The Balcony

The first step we need to do in dealing with a difficult person is not to control his behavior but to

control our own. Because when we react-act without thinking, we usually neglect our interests.

"Going to the balcony" means distancing ourselves from our natural impulses and emotions. From the

balcony we can calmly evaluate the conflict, think constructively for both sides, and look for a mutually

satisfactory way to resolve the problem.

One the balcony, the first thing we need to do is figure out our interests. We also need to identify our

BATNA- our Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement. The agreement must satisfy our interests better

than our BATNA could. Our BATNA should be our measuring stick for evaluating any potential


Often we do not even realize we are reacting, because we are too enmeshed in the situation. Therefore, we

need to recognize the tactic. Make a mental note when we detect a possible trick or subtle attack. By

naming the game, we are able to neutralize it easily.

Once we have named the game and stop our immediate reaction, the next step is to buy ourselves time to

think-time to go to the balcony. Use the time to keep our eyes on the prize-an agreement that satisfies your

interests, certainly better than our BATNA can. Instead of getting mad or getting even, concentrate on

getting what we want. This is what going to the balcony is all about.

(2) STEP TWO: Disarm Them \ Step To Their Side

Before we can discuss the problem with the opponent, we need to disarm him. The secret of

disarming is surprise. To disarm our opponent, we need to do the opposite of what he expects: step to his

side, listen to him, acknowledge his point, and agree wherever we can.

Listening requires patience and self- discipline. Instead of reacting immediately or plotting our

next step, we have to remain focused on what our counterpart is saying. Listening gives us a chance to

engage him in a cooperative task-that of understanding his problem. It makes him more willing to listen to


After listening to our opponent, the next step is to acknowledge his point. Acknowledging the opponent's

point does not mean that we agree with it. It means that we accept it as one valid point of view among


The next step is to agree wherever we can. It is hard to attack someone who agrees with us.

(3) STEP THREE: Don't Reject \ Reframe

Instead of rejecting our opponent's position, we need to direct his attention to the problem of

meeting each side's interests. Reframing works because every message is subject to interpretation. It means

putting a problem-solving frame around our opponent's positional statements. A problem-solving question

focuses attention on the interests of each side, the options for satisfying them, and the standards of fairness

for resolving differences. Rather than trying to teach him ourselves, let the problem be his teacher.

(4) STEP FOUR: Make It Easy To Say Yes \ Build Them A Golden Bridge

At last we are ready to negotiate; however, our opponent may stall. Instead of pushing our

opponent toward an agreement, we need to do the opposite. Our job is to build a golden bridge across the


Building a golden bridge means making it easier for our opponent to overcome the four common

obstacles to agreement: it means actively involving him in devising a solution so that it becomes his idea,

not just ours; it means satisfying his unmet interests; it means helping him save face; it means making the