Negotiation Skills Company, Inc.
Negotiation Skills Company, Inc.

The Negotiation Skills Company -- Newsletter March 1998

Return to Newsletter Archives


Three weeks ago, at the end of my course at a business school in France, one of my students came forward to comment on the program. The course had included students from a great variety of countries: Algeria, Canada, Norway, Tunisia, Lebanon, France, China and others. It was the young woman from Beijing who approached. She and I had disagreed earlier about China's Cultural Revolution, so I wondered how she would respond to the seminar.

"This was my first exposure to an American commercial training program." she said. "The packaging was . . ." and she searched for the right word, "perfect. In fact this was as good as Mcdonalds!"

To an American, Mcdonalds is something we take for granted. In other parts of the world it is viewed in entirely different ways. So this was an important negotiation lesson for me: Don't allow your own image of an idea to dominate your understanding of what is being said. Try to hear what another person is saying, understand their meaning before falling into the trap of only hearing the meaning you are accustomed to assigning to a given thought.


We often make the incorrect assumption of figuring that everyone is interested in money; that if we can just get each party to agree on the amount of money, all the interests can be met. Last November, a participant in a TNSC workshop for the Polaroid Corporationg named Bill Kennedy reminded us all that money means different things to different people. For some it may relate to life's necessities such as food, clothing, and shelter. Others may be concerned with how the financial agreement will impact on the likelihood of a bonus or promotion. Some folks may want to make a large amount of money right now to pay a tuition bill, join a country club, or impress a future in-law.

The point is, our interests in money are not always coming from the same place. In fact, Bill's point reminded me that the only 'person' I know who loves money for its own sake is Scrooge McDuck -- Donald Duck's rich uncle. Uncle Scrooge loves money so much he swims in a pool filled with hundred dollar bills.

The Scrooge McDuck Theorem© says that the money a party wants is her/his position. Finding the interest behind that position, why they want that money, gives us the chance to exercise the creativity that leads to elegant and satisfactory solutions.


We continue to present our two-day workshop, Fighting Fires Without Burning Bridges(sm) to corporations and participants from all over. We have also begun offering two additional training programs:

Fire Drill is a one-day 'booster shot' for graduates of 'Fighting Fires'. Generally participants attend a Fire Drill session about six months after 'Fighting Fires'. They bring questions that have arisen after they have had time to attempt to utilize their newly-enhanced negotiation skills. Initial comments have been favorable:
  "The 'booster shot' gave good focus on the work carried out in the
  original course and refreshed the learning/understanding cycle."

  "I have found that bringing 'real life' experiences to the follow-up
  programme brought even deeper insights to the negotiation process."

TNSC has also begun offering an intensive Advanced Negotiation Workshop with enrollment in each program limited to nine graduates of 'Fighting Fires'. The Advanced workshop is highly focused on the personal negotiation styles of its participants, both as they see themselves and as people with whom they negotiate see them.


We hope you'll visit TNSC's website soon to see what is new. Remember our address is In an average week the website is visited about 3000 times by people from 15 to 25 countries from every continent.

We have been asked many new questions in our advice column, 'TNSC Helpline'. Perhaps some of those questions or answers are of interest to you.

Keep in touch -- with us of course -- but with your interests and the interests of people with whom you negotiate.

As John F. Kennedy said, "Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate."

Good luck and good negotiating,

Return to Newsletter Archives

The Negotiation Skills Company, Inc.   P O Box 172   Pride's Crossing, MA 01965, USA   
Voice: +1 978-927-6775     FAX: +1 978-921-4447
WEB:   E-mail:
Designed by: Online Marketing Strategies