I was just re-reading a review of Beyond Reason, and as we are starting to knot and knit together the various pieces of our course I thought I'd share some excerpts with you. The review appeared in the April 2006 edition of Negotiation Journal. The reviewer's name is Erin Ryan and she teaches negotiation at the Marshall-Wythe School of Law.
One of the aspects of the review that I really like is that Professor Ryan's puts the book in its context as a sequel to Getting to Yes. For example:
Where the first book taught us to create value in the face of the emotional roller coaster that is any negotiation, the new book teaches us how to change the roller-coaster ride -- if not into a Sunday drive, then at least into a more predictable commute.Professor Ryan points out something that I hadn't noticed before, and that is the arrangement of the chapters. Referring to Chapter 8 (On Strong Negative Emotions), she says that its positioning toward the end "shows that it is secondary to the main purpose of the book, which is to teach us how to avoid these situations in the first place, by proactively inculcating positive emotions from the very beginning."
Professor Ryan also highlights one the book's self-confessed shortcomings, namely the fact that it doesn't grapple with situations where "negotiators' abilities to collaborate are hindered by their need to 'perform' for their constituents or communities of interest." By way of reference to the text she cites to page 33 where the authors discuss the second element of appreciation, i.e. finding merit in what the other person thinks, feels, or does.
There are barriers to finding merit, and one of the examples Fisher and Shapiro give has to do with constituents. When you (the negotiator) express appreciation for the other side's point, your constituents could misunderstand you: "They might think that your seeing merit demonstrates that you agree with view with which you, in fact, disagree." In other words, your constituents could misinterpret your behavior. They might doubt your loyalty to them, and think that you are betraying them to the other side. This is a danger you will come to grips with during both the Balance of Power exercise and the Fourth of July exercise.
As we ramp up to those exercises, here's my question for you. As an attorney, how would you prevent that kind of constituent/client misunderstanding arising?