Free To Choose Network | Turmoil & Triumph: The George Shultz Years
Turmoil & Triumph: The George Shultz Years
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Shultz on Negotiation
The following is an interview excerpt by the filmmakers. It has been lightly edited for readability.

Shultz: Here is a first principal for negotiations: The toughest negotiations are usually the negotiations within the constituencies.

What people see are the two people at a bargaining table. But behind those people are constituencies. And in order for that negotiation, at the bargaining table, to be of any significance, these constituencies have to be supportive of what’s going on. Or put it another way:  When you sit down opposite somebody to negotiate with that person about X, the first question you ask yourself is: Is he able to deliver on any deal we might make? (And if not, I’m not going to go very far.) There’s no point making concessions to somebody who is really not representing his constituency. So you always have that on your mind.

I think one of the aspects of negotiation, or human interaction in general - that is vastly underrated - is the capacity to listen. And by listening I don’t just mean that you have your mouth shut and somebody else is talking. You’re listening. You’re trying to understand what that person is saying in its nuance and you’ll interject questions mainly because you want to find out what is on the other person’s mind.

More on negotiation…