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Mini Review: The Power of a Positive No

I'm devouring William Ury's The Power of a Positive No (Random House). Ury is the famous author of Getting To Yes which debuted nearly 25 years ago to happy audiences around the globe. A renouned negotiator, Ury has a pleasant writing style and I've been lucky enough to pick up the book on audio which he narrates (always a treat!). This is definitely worth picking up if for no other reason than the following key points:



  • Every no is really a YES, NO, YES formula. First you have to say yes to what you're all about. Then, you say no to what you can't go along with. Finally you say yes to a third option between you and the other party.


  • Be soft on the person but hard on the problem. For example, let's say you have a conflict with a person at work (who doesn't?!)- what do you do? Ury recommends that you speak of the facts, try not to get things personal and use appropriate language so that the other person can buy into what you're talking about.

Just today, I decided to try out Ury's techniques. I wanted to approach a colleague about a recent project that had some negative energy leading up to the event. I wanted to understand this energy better so that, next time around, we could plan better.


I told her (we'll call her Flo) that I valued her position and expertise at school and that I needed her help in understanding what happened the previous week. This led to a great discussion which lasted about 20 minutes. The result: Flo feels heard and I think that I have a better grasp of the situation.


Change in Perspective

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