Tips for negotiating agreements

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negotiators all over the world failed to

reach agreements or reach suboptimal

agreements because they don't know what

to do when they come up against an

emphatic no I learned to turn it in

Phatak no into a yes by understanding my

own interest and understanding the other

party's interest when I was negotiating

for pumpkins in France now interest is a

term we use in negotiation and it means

the motives the concerns that are

underlying that emphatic no so let me

tell you about negotiating for pumpkins

in France my husband and I were on

sabbatical and we were writing and we

had our daughters in the local school

the teacher there saw a couple of

American parents as an opportunity to

have a Halloween party for the French

children he wanted them to carve

pumpkins into jack-o-lan-- ours for

their party and my job was to find the

pumpkins and I looked everywhere for the

pumpkins I could find these things

called cores they were about this big


they weighed a ton and you need a

machete to get into them in negotiation

terms these courts were my Batna my best

alternative to a negotiated agreement

the course was my fallback but it was

actually terrible so I kept looking

finally I found a farm stand that had

pumpkins a woman Madame patty came out

of the back I told her I was interested

in pumpkins she gave me the price and I

quickly accepted the price because my

Batna those cores was terrible and then

she asked me how many pumpkins I wanted

and I had 32 children I quickly counted

she had slightly more than 32 pumpkins

but a lot of them were little so I told

her I wanted all of them and as soon as

I did that she's turned and starts

walking away going no no no so I had to

think really quickly about what my

strategic options were to try to turn

that emphatic no into a yes one option

was to offer her more money but I didn't

really think money was the interest

underlying her no because she had given


a price and I had already accepted it

another option would have been to ask

her how many pumpkins she'd sell me but

I wanted a pumpkin for each child so I

thought that option wasn't going to

generate a solution that was going to

meet my interests I also thought of

explaining to her what my interests were

that I wanted to do the Halloween party

for the vanassa children but i also

didn't think that was going to get to

her interest just mine

so my last option was to ask her why not

why won't you sell me all your pumpkins

but then i thought

lots of times negotiators don't like to

reveal their interests they're afraid

that doing so makes them vulnerable to

your exploitation so i needed to fall

back if she wouldn't answer my direct

question I knew I could make her an

offer and then maybe if she said no we

could engage in some conversation to

understand what was behind that no a

third option is to ask her well under

what circumstances would you sell me all

your pumpkins so ask her to make me an

offer I decided to start with the first

question and ask her directly why she

explained if she sold me all her

pumpkins she wouldn't have any seeds to

plant the next year I in turn explained

my interest to have pumpkins for the

vanassa children to turn into

jack-o'-lanterns and i offered to bring

all her seats back November 1st if she

would sell me all her pumpkins she

agreed negotiators often think that the

only way to win a negotiation is for the

other party to lose but if you

understand your own interests and you

learn about the interests of the other

party you can often reach an agreement

in which both parties win madame patty

and I did she got her seeds and I got

all the pumpkins