The Positive No

William Ury is the author of several books on the topic of negotiation and is recognized worldwide for his negotiation and mediation skills. He is currently the director of Harvard’s Global Negotiation Project. His most recent book, The Power of a Positive No: How to Say No and Still Get to Yes, provides a three step process (Yes! No. Yes?) that allows the user to more effectively get what is desired through negotiation.

Step one of a Positive No creates the understanding that saying “No” is actually saying “Yes!” to yourself. The second step of a Positive No conveys the reality that saying “No” states what it is that you do not agree to. The third step of a Positive No bridges to a point of agreement and respect. Ury also explains the process as: the first step expresses your interests, the second step asserts your power, and the third step furthers your relationship.

The effectiveness of a Positive No allows one to stand on ones own two feet, create what is wanted, protect what is valued, and change what does not work. The key to using this technique is respect. Although this may sound like common sense, Ury contends that it is uncommon, as so often the Nos used in negotiation and life do not follow this pattern, and the results are far from productive.

The Power of a Positive No is a fairly quick read and may provide you with an effective life long communication and negation tool. Can you recommend other self-help type books that you have found to be helpful? Posting your thoughts to these blog entries is always appreciated. We invite you to share your thoughts with other blog readers.


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