Negotiation is undoubtedly one of the most important skills for any entrepreneur. It comes in handy when you are trying to convince an angel investor to fund your business launch, or when you are urging an investor to continue investing in your company after failing to hit certain milestones. When starting out, business owners may be unable to hit the minimum order quantity (MOQ) to be eligible for bulk discounts from suppliers, and this is where the need for negotiation skills will become even more pronounced. In line with that, here are 10 books to read to hone this indispensable life skill.
Roger Fisher and Daniel Shapiro
The Harvard psychologists and directors of the Harvard Negotiation Project got together to pen the book. Expounding on behavioural psychology, this book is especially helpful if you wish to learn how to deal with emotional or temperamental clients.
Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen
Disagreements are bound to happen in an organisation. You may be faced with an underperforming employee or difficult customers that make you dread building your empire. Difficult Conversations provides a step-by-step guide on how to begin a difficult conversation without being defensive. On top of being selective in choosing what to say and not say, the book also proposes methods of regaining balance after painful attacks or accusations.
Many assume that one party has to give in and lose out for the other to benefit. Getting More asserts that the opposite is true, and that the overall value after a negotiation can be increased for both parties. Readers can also debunk myths surrounding negotiation by learning about BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement).
For those who refuse to take no as an answer, the five barriers of cooperation in this book will be a helpful read. The author emphasises on the importance of shifting from the undesirable confrontational stance to a cooperative one to keep the negotiation constructive.
Roger Fisher and William L. Ury
After reading Getting Past No, this book will push you to excel by reaching out for a yes. Universal negotiating principles such as “Don’t bargain over positions” and “Separate the people from the problem” are detailed with real-life scenarios to help you better understand the application of the negotiation framework.
Robert B. Cialdini.
The book talks at length about the six universal principles required to become a skilled persuader and to defend yourself against other skilled negotiators. The psychology behind positioning is explained in detail so that you can be more confident when persuading your next big customer.
Terri Morrison and Wayne A. Conaway
If your company is based overseas, or is intending to expand beyond Singapore, this book will be a great read to have on hand. Being aware of how different cultures perceive interactions and mannerisms is useful.
Negotiating The Impossible illustrates key negotiation lessons using interesting real-life examples, including resolving the Cuban Missile Crisis and drafting the US Constitution. The author also shows how the same principles above can be applied in everyday situations such as resolving business disputes, making corporate deals and even tacking obstacles in personal relationships.
Negotiation Genius: How to Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Brilliant Results at the Bargaining Table and Beyond
Actional and relatable tips on how to negotiate, even when you seem to have no leverage at all, are presented comprehensively throughout the book. Readers can look forward to learning more about the ideal mental habits and strategies to adopt in order to achieve outstanding results after a negotiation. If you are looking to defuse hardball tactics or ultimatums, creating a trusting relationship by negotiating ethically, or simply want to know when to walk away, this is the book for you.
Chris Voss and Tahl Raz
Readers who are keen to understand the psychology of high-pressure negotiation will be thrilled by the author’s counter-intuitive approach to negotiation which he shares through his personal experiences as a former FBI hostage negotiator.
The value of negotiation skills cannot be downplayed. This is especially true for a business owner of a small company since everything is most likely done by yourself. When it comes to clinching sales, how a payment term, product requirement, or territorial right is negotiated can directly impact your bottom line. Within the organisation, you may need to negotiate employees’ request for pay increments or promotions as well. Ultimately, knowing how to negotiate well to create a win-win situation can give you a competitive edge as a business owner.
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