About the speaker: William L. Ury isCo-Founder and Senior Fellow of Harvard University’s Program on Negotiation. He is a negotiator and mediator, with 30 years practical experience in conflicts ranging from corporate mergers to ethnic wars in the Middle East; founder of the Abraham Path Initiative. A social anthropologist and teacher, he is the author of award-winning business books, including Getting to Yes, an eight million copy best seller.

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Conflict

“I’ve devoted my life to understanding how we resolve our deepest differences.”

“Think about how much time you spend negotiating–in back and forth communication. We negotiate from the time we get up until we go to bed at night. We may not think of it as negotiation, but that’s what we do.”

The greatest obstacle in success to negotiation?

“When angry you will make the best speech you will ever regret. We are our own obstacles.”

“One of the greatest powers we have in a negotiation is the power to NOT react.”


1. Focus on people, and their underlying needs.

“Separate people from the problem. Then you can be soft on the person and hard on the problem.”

“Giving people basic human respect costs you nothing but means a lot to the other person in the negotiation.”

2. Focus on interests, not positions.

“Always ask the question Why? Understand the why behind the what.”

Think of a position as what you say you want but an interest as what you need. Ury used the story of the sisters arguing over an orange. They each wanted the orange (position) but had different interests: one wanted juice and the other rind for baking. Understanding interests allowed them to both fulfill their desires.

3. Create multiple options.

Go beyond single solutions. The more options you can identify, the greater the chance for a successful outcome.

4. Identify criteria: insist that the result be based on objective criteria.

5. Use BATNA: best alternative to a negotiated agreement.

This is your walk away alternative. No deal is better than a bad deal.

“Often people reach an agreement that is bad for them.”

This is different from a bottom line which is an either/or that means you haven’t considered alternatives for satisfying your interests other than win/lose.



Mark Sanborn
About Mark Sanborn

Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE, is president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea studio dedicated to developing leaders in business and in life. Mark is an international bestselling author and noted expert on leadership, team building, customer service and change. Mark Sanborn graduated cum laude from The Ohio State University. In addition to his work as a business educator and author, Mark continues to be an active leadership practitioner. Most recently he served as the president of the National Speakers Association.

One Response to William Ury at The Global Leadership Conference
  1. Negotiating is something we are never taught in school, along with a whole lot of other key ingredients of success. Getting to a win for both parties takes the kinds of understanding you talk about here. We can get better at negotiating if we study it and understand it better. Thank you for sharing Mark.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share This