Australian General Semantics Society Inc.




Seminar Summary - Saturday 24th August 2019


"How to Negotiate to Get What You Want
Based on the books 'Getting to Yes'
and 'Choose to be Happy'

Presented by David Hewson

Our Seminar:
was generously hosted at Gav & Pauline's beautiful Bonnet Bay home - Thank you both!

Catching Up
Sharing of triumphs and tragedies and miscellaneous yarns.

GS Diary
In the spirit of "applying general semantics principles" to our lives, as opposed to dwelling in theory, we considered members' accounts of observations and applications relating to the principles and formulations of our discipline.

Today's Discussion: "How to Negotiate to Get What You Want"

GS principles covered:

Korzybski’s extensional theory of happiness is related to expectations and extensional methods.

Expectations1 =    Intensional maximum expectations based on two valued Aristotelian certainty.  Facts are worse than expected result.  Hence disappointment, frustration, etc.

Expectations2 =    Extensional minimum expectations of maximum probability.  Facts are better than expected results most of the time.  Hence an interest in life, cheerfulness, happiness, etc.

Expectations3 =    Intensional minimum, expectations based on two valued Aristotelian certainty.  Expectations are so low that you don’t try and get nothing.  Therefore, facts become the expected poor result.  A self fulfilling prophecy.  Hence bitter, cynical, etc.

So don’t get too high expectations about what negotiating can do for you.

Managerial grid
.  AK’s idea of conditionality applied to flexible use of negotiating to 9,9 on the grid, some of the time and 9,1 or 1,9 or 5,5, some of the time.

to misunderstand and to be misunderstood.  Relates expectation and communications.

– what, where. Provides conditionality e.g. person1 is not person2  They have different goals and different ideas about how the world works, etc.

– when something happened, e.g. you at 5 years old are not you at 50 years old.

– we can learn from what have others done to solve a problem, like negotiating.

–either you get one thing or its contradictory.  According to Aristotle you can’t have both, i.e.  A cannot be B and not B.

orientation solution to either/or distortion.  Indexing or dating can be solutions to either/or also.

– “to me” reminds us about our abstracting.

Fact – inference
confusion, i.e. identifying orders of abstraction.

– projecting your abstracted evaluation onto the world / territory i.e. “is” of predication.

– remembering that something is left out when we abstract.

Seven ways we distort reality: filtering, either/or, overgeneralising, mind reading, fortune telling, emotional reasoning and personalising.  The ones in bold relate to negotiating.

Overview of Negotiating Method

We looked at the problems of negotiating over positions.

The principled negotiating method is an answer.

The book asked the question “Do we negotiate hard or easy?”  It solved this either/or question by using indexing.  We go easy on the people (context1) and hard on the problem (context2)

The method has 4 steps.

Separate the people from the problem

Separate your interest in the substance from the relationship, i.e. index.

Perceptions.  Apply viewpoints and avoid fact-inference confusion

i.   Make the problem of dealing with emotions explicit,
i.   We practised avoiding positive feedback loops where anger feeds anger,

d. Communication

Reflective listening and expect to misunderstand and to be misunderstood.

Prevention better than cure, relates to Korzybski’s idea of asymmetry.

Work on interests, not positions.

Reconcile interests not positions. 

There are many positions as solutions for each interest problem.  So this gives more flexibility, e.g. there are many way to climb a tree.  Behind conflicting positions are shared interests, compatible interests (e.g. Jack Sprat and wife who licked the plate clean) as well as conflicting interests.

Find interests by Asking “Why?” about positions.  Look for multiple interests.

Be hard on the problem and easy on the people.

Invent options for mutual gain.

Avoid faulty assumptions (P1s) of the fixed pie, the premature judgement e.g. “it’s too expensive”, or thinking that solving their problem is their problem or that there is only a single answer.

Generate many options

Broaden your options, e.g. use the books circle chart to shift between general and specific and between theory and real world problems.

Look for mutual gain.  Dovetail interests.

Make it easy for them to agree.  Viewpoints and demalogics can apply here.

Use objective criteria.

   a.   Devise a process to avoid agruments:
Develop objective criteria: fair standards and fair procedures, e.g. One person cuts the cake and the other chooses.
         Decide on a fair arrangement and then decide on roles in it.  So you make both roles OK.

Other options are to: Take turns.  Random outcomes. Arbitration by some indifferent third party. 
Equal opportunity but not necessarily the same results.

Negotiating with objective criteria, steps include:
Joint search for agreed criteria.
Agree on theory or principles first.
Be open to reason and principle but not pressure.

We also talked about your negotiating BATNA (Best Alternative To A Negotiated Agreement)
What is your bottom line and its advantages and disadvantages?
Making the most of your BATNA.  Sometimes it’s better not to negotiate.

What if they won’t play The book gave three options.
Play the new negotiating game of principled negotiating yourself anyway and it may catch on.
Negotiation jujitsu to get them to change. 
Using the above principles while going along with them rather than reacting against them.

Engage a third party to help and use the one text procedure.



"Getting to Yes"
"Choose to be Happy"

Thank you:
  * To David for his research and thoughtfulness in compiling material for today's event!
  * And to all the others who contributed their wisdom and experience to our deliberations.  :-)


Next Meeting:

Saturday 26th October: "An Introduction to general semantics"
presented by David Hewson.


Disclaimer: This "summary" is a collection of notes derived from our discussion by a number of means.  It is by no means a scholarly dissertation on the subject as presented.  It does not purport to be the "policy of AGS".  Comment and criticism (constructive or otherwise) is welcome.  If anyone has been misquoted, copyrights infringed or confidences betrayed, please Contact us.



Updated by Robert James
24 August 2019

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