The Negotiator Magazine

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From the Persian Gulf scenario, you could draw one of two conclusions. The first (and this is what Ross Perot might say) is that our State Department negotiators are complete, blithering idiots. What's the second possibility? Right. That this was a situation where we wanted to create a deadlock, because it served our purpose. We had absolutely no intention of settling for just the three things that George Bush demanded in his state of the Union address. General Schwarzkopf in his biography It Doesn't Take a Hero said, "The minute we got there, we understood that anything less than a military victory was a defeat for the United States." We couldn't let Saddam Hussein pull 600,000 troops back across the border, leaving us wondering when he would choose to do it again. We had to have a reason to go in and take care of him militarily.

So, that was a situation where it served our purpose to create a deadlock. What concerns me is that when you're involved in a negotiation, you are inadvertently creating deadlocks, because you don't have the courage to ask for more than you expect to get.

A final reason-and it's the reason Power Negotiators say that you should ask for more than you expect to get-is that it's the only way you can create a climate where the other person feels that he or she won. If you go in with your best offer up front, there's no way that you can negotiate with the other side and leave them feeling that they won.

Power Negotiators know the value of asking for more than you expect to get. It's the only way that you can create a climate in which the other side feels that he or she won.

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Copyright © 2003 Roger Dawson