Writer's Block, St. Augustine Record, Sunday February 11, 2018
How-to Book, How to Negotiate Like a Pro, Offers Practical Advice for Resolving Anything, Anytime Anywhere
by Robert Gold, Author of Dead to Rights and Cut of the Cross
What a useful publication! Although initially written for business negotiations, How to Negotiate Like a Pro, How to Resolve Anything, Anytime, Anywhere, now in its third edition, includes negotiations with spouses (both former and present), siblings banks, restaurants, hotels, credit card companies, eBay buyers and sellers and even difficult people.
You know those all too many bullies, liars and narcissists we seem inevitably to encounter these days wherever we go? Mary Greenwood has a special chapter (No. 7) for those people. That chapter was added to the third edition because she noticed the increased amount of "anger and resentment" in our society since the last edition was published five years ago.
How to Negotiate Like a Pro has a total of 15 chapters and 41 rules to follow for success as a negotiator. Although I sincerely found every one of the chapters (and most of the rules) to be pragmatic and reasonable, some stood out as especially useful. The third chapter, Negotiation Strategies, and chapter 11, How to Negotiate and Get Good Customer Service, are among my favorites.
Then there is the funny chapter 4, Extreme Tactics, which includes such rules as "walk away," "create a diversion" and tell them to "take it or leave it." Those rules are extreme, but most of us, at one time or other, have wanted to follow those same directions in disputes.
Rule No. 26 is one we should all study and, if possible, memorize for future use in negotiations or games, such as chess, Monopoly, and poker. It is entitled "Watch the other side's body language" and offers the following good advice, which in some instances I have paraphrased. Poker players speak of watching the other side's body language as looking for "tells," body movement that tells (reveals to them) the strength of the opposing players' cars.
1. Avoiding eye contact may be a sign of lying. 2. Temper tantrums may be effective as a distraction. 3. Placing a hand on one's face may be a sign of frustration. 4. Crossing one's arms or legs may incite resistance to your proposal (You will definitely see resistance if you are playing Monopoly and offer to trade another player Baltic Avenue for Boardwalk.) 5. Clenching one's jaw may indicate anxiety or stress. 6. Standing/sitting straight with good posture may suggest confidence. 7. A raised eyebrow may show surprise.
The conclusion of How to Negotiate Like a Pro provides an excellent summary of the 41 rules, which when put all together appear to be essential to any negotiation we might experience in our lives. Recognizing their significance and utility, the author includes them for the readers' easy access. Greenwood herself still reads them over before her professional work as an arbitrator and mediator.
Appendix B, Traits of a Good Negotiator, at the end of the book is also well worth reading and remembering. In the appendix, the author lists 20 preferred behavioral traits that we as well as negotiators should possess. They are the traits that will improve all of our daily human interactions.
How to Negotiate Like a Pro is a useful how-to book that offers much more than negotiation skills to the reader.
Q and A With Author Mary Greenwood
1. What inspired you to write this book?
I wrote the first edition of How to Negotiate Like a Pro as a result of my experience negotiating union contracts. I have more than 25 years experience as a lawyer, negotiator, editor, arbitrator, law school professor and human resources director. I had an aha! moment when I realized that the rules of negotiating union contracts are the same as negotiating everything else in life, such as negotiating with your boss, your spouse, your bank or your children and when buying a car. I wrote the third edition to add a chapter on negotiating with difficult people including pathological liars, narcissists, and bullies. I also have a new chapter on How to Apologize Like a Pro, with some examples of poor apologies and how they can be revised to be meaningful and heartfelt. I have noticed over the last few years that civility of often lacking and many negotiators are unprepared, unreasonable and unpredictable. I have sense a lot of anger and divisiveness in the public discourse. My theory is that you can negotiate anything with anyone, but with some people, it may take a lot longer. Of course, both sides have to be willing.
2. What type of research was involved?
The book is based solely on my own experience and anecdotes. I purposely have not read any books on negotiations or mediation since deciding to write books on these topics.
3. How would you describe your writing process?
I start with an outline and then start writing Each book percolates in my head for awhile, but when I start writing, I just keep going. I usually have a few false starts and may not use a lot of what I have written, or save it for another book. I spend a lot of time editing and proofreading.
4. What do you hope readers get out of the book?
I hope readers will have the confidence to try to get the best deal, whether asking their boss for a salary increase or deciding where to go to dinner with their spouse. I have scripts after each rule that are a guide to practice what you are going to say before starting any topic in the negotiation.
5. Who is your favorite author?
I have read all of Herman Melville and James Joyce. For fun, I read all of John Grisham's books as they are published.
Visit www.MaryGreenwood.org, Author of How to Negotiate Like a Pro, Winner of 9 book awards; How to Interview Like a Pro, Winner of 12 book awards; and How to Mediate Like a Pro, Winner of 12 book awards.
I am an attorney, mediator and author of three award-winning books: How to Negotiate Like a Pro, Third Edition, winner of nine book awards; How to Interview Like a Pro, winner of 12 book awards, and How To Mediate Like A Pro: 42 Rules for Resolving Disputes, which has won 12 book awards;