Sydney event 2: Getting the Yes

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YSPN Sydney held their second event for 2018, Getting the Yes, hosting a negotiating masterclass with seasoned negotiator and academic Noa Sheer and sponsored by Allen and Overy.

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The YSPN team identified that negotiation was a critical skill underpinning career and commercial success, and a skill that people use multiple times per day. Most interactions with colleagues are a form of negotiation. From a request for a file, a phone call or a simple task – all are examples of negotiations.

Most interactions with colleagues are a form of negotiation

The key insight Noa brought to the table to build on “Getting to Yes” (the negotiating bible) built upon behavioural research and managing or exploiting cognitive biases. The two focus points during the masterclass were Anchoring, and Framing; and understanding how to either mitigate them if used by your negotiating counterpart, or use them to your advantage.

Noa used a cycle of Understand, Predict and Control in order to improve success in negotiations. In order to do that, negotiators need to:

  1. Have a sense of self-awareness
  2. Be able to identify the type of negotiation and select the right approach
  3. Be able to plan strategically for the negotiation that will unfold
  4. Be able to implement strategic rhetoric in the negotiation itself to achieve the sought outcomes

Self Awareness

This is important in identifying interests that underpin and drive the negotiation and resulting behaviours.

Interests are abstract motivations, in contrast to goals or targets which are highly specific, and narrow. For example, an interest is ‘to get warm’ in contrast to ‘to get someone else’s jacket’ or ‘to get someone to turn on a heater’.

Interests are abstract motivations, in contrast to goals or targets which are highly specific, and narrow

A strong self-awareness will enable negotiators to not only identify their own interests, but also enable them to empathise with their counterpart to reveal the interests driving their counterparty. The overlap between these interests—the Zone of Possible Agreement, or ‘ZOPA’—is where any potential deal will happen. Additionally, coming up with a broader set of interests results in a strong best alternative to negotiated agreement or ‘BATNA’, in turn reducing the likelihood of confrontation.


There are various different types of negotiations which are defined by their structural characteristics. For example, wrestling (value capture), gift exchange (value exchange) and mining (value creation) to be successful in each type of negotiation however, we learnt to always use an interest-based approach when you’re expecting an ongoing relationship and require commitment to the negotiated outcome.

Wrestling: Use anchoring through your listing price, and framing through the existing range of prices in addition to supporting evidence to improve your tactical position, capturing the most value.

Gift Exchange: Use bundling to aggregate value for your counterparty but do not cost you anything to provide. Software sales is a good example of where gift exchange is used particularly in the framing of sale options.

Mining: Use questions in order to gather information about what is valuable to your counterparty and create a more valuable position for both parties. The key difference between gift exchange and mining is in the strategic (ongoing) versus tactical (one-off) nature of the negotiation and the relationship.

More information

The information in this event summary is a fraction of what was covered during the event. If you’d like further information or bespoke consulting and training, contact Noa Sheer, our masterclass facilitator at the below details.

Sheer Negotiations - Bespoke training in the art and science of negotiations | 0410632216 |

Alternatively, reach out to to speak with one of our Executive team who participated in the event to hear about their experiences.

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