The Power of a Positive No: Save The Deal Save The Relationship and Still Say No (9780553384260): William Ury: Books
No is perhaps the most important and certainly the most powerful word in the language. Every day we find ourselves in situations where we need to say No–to people at work, at home, and in our communities–because No is the word we must use to protect ourselves and to stand up for everything and everyone that matters to us.
But as we all know, the wrong No can also destroy what we most value by alienating and angering people. That’s why saying No the right way is crucial. The secret to saying No without destroying relationships lies in the art of the Positive No, a proven technique that anyone can learn.
This indispensable book gives you a simple three-step method for saying a Positive No. It will show you how to assert and defend your key interests; how to make your No firm and strong; how to resist the other side’s aggression and manipulation; and how to do all this while still getting to Yes. In the end, the Positive No will help you get not just to any Yes but to the right Yes, the one that truly serves your interests.
Based on William Ury’s celebrated Harvard University course for managers and professionals, The Power of a Positive No offers concrete advice and practical examples for saying No in virtually any situation. Whether you need to say No to your customer or your coworker, your employee or your CEO, your child or your spouse, you will find in this book the secret to saying No clearly, respectfully, and effectively.
In today’s world of high stress and limitless choices, the pressure to give in and say Yes grows greater every day, producing overload and overwork, expanding e-mail and eroding ethics. Never has No been more needed. A Positive No has the power to profoundly transform our lives by enabling us to say Yes to what counts–our own needs, values, and priorities.
Understood this way, No is the new Yes. And the Positive No may be the most valuable life skill you’ll ever learn!
From the Hardcover edition.
- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Bantam (December 26, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0553384260
- ISBN-13: 978-0553384260
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
Root your No in a deeper Yes
William Ury is the co-author of the well-known book Getting to YES. In this book he explains how he has come to realize that getting to yes is only half of the picture. Ury even says that “whether and how we say No determines the very quality of our lives.” The reason is that word No is indispensible whenever you have to stand up for what really matters to you.Certain situations can create tension between an issue which is important to you and a relatinoship that is also important to you. This tension can make us fall into the three-A trap of Accomodation (saying yes when we mean No), Attacking (responding forcefully) and Avoiding (doing nothing at all). Ury presents the positive No as a way out. In short this means:
1. Yes! -> positively and concretely describing your core interests and values
2. No. -> explicitely link your no to this YES!
3. Yes? -> suggest another positive outcome or agreement to the other person
Ury goes into much detail about how to prepare, deliver, and follow through your positive No. His style of wrting is crystal clear and his examples are interesting. Some examples are probably very recognizable to many readers (like: how do you say to someone who wants to borrow money from you when you don’t want to). Other examples are much grander (how to negotiate in an inter-ethnic conflict) and also interesting. The core idea of this book is very simple and very important. I was perhaps most interested to read Chapter 2 which explain the importance of a Plan B, which is your backup for your prefered outcome. I’ll end this review with a quote by the great No-sayer Mahatma Gandhi (which is mentiond on page 7): “A `No’ uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a `Yes’ merely uttered to please or what is worse, to avoid trouble.
Saying no in a positive way
The title isn’t a cute play on words. This book really does reveal how to say “no” in a positive way. Some people think saying no is negative behavior, without recognizing the reality that failing to saying no (when you should) can do immense harm. Some people think that getting your way (“winning”) is what matters, and they render their “no” in a way that diminishes their own position and everyone involved.
The first view is disrespectful to yourself and dishonest toward the other person. The latter is disrespectful to the other person and dishonest toward yourself. Neither view takes into consideration that two parties have their own needs and agendas to meet. When one side loses, both lose.
A third way, which Ury reveals, is honest and respectful to both parties. Consequently, it leads to a positive outcome for both parties. Sometimes, it’s a matter of leaving a door open. You may have worked with someone who quit and came back several times over the course of many years–how did that person manage to say no to your employer and yet leave the door open to being rehired later? A “no” doesn’t need to inflict negative results–it can provide positive results. How that happens is the subject of this book, and Ury provides many examples to show how this works.
In fact, one example from this book was a verbatim suggestion given to me by a business associate just last year. In a pre-sale message, we needed to tell a customer no to some features he wanted. I had sent my associate my planned reply, and she came back with a suggestion–it was a softener to the no, one that left the door open without tying us down. The customer was delighted with my modified reply, and I closed the sale. After the sale, I compared both replies and saw that my original, while not patently offensive, didn’t leave the door open and could easily have left the customer feeling cold.
Recognizing these kinds of gems in this book helped reinforce to me the credibility of the author. Yes, he already came with plenty of high-end credentials, as a quick online search on “William Ury” reveals. But what really grabbed me was the substance of the book. Here’s a subject we all have to deal with, on various levels, but we find it so hard and so frustrating to get it right. We find ourselves constantly choosing between saying yes to have harmony and saying no to protect our interests. But we don’t need to be in that position. It’s not an either/or choice.
You can say no to someone’s (offer, demand, viewpoint, preference, plans) in a way that leaves that other person feeling better for the exchange, and thus enhances the relationship. You can refuse a customer’s demands and not lose the sale or watch future sales evaporate. You can tell your spouse no (to that golf outing, new car, cruise) and not start a fight. You can tell your child no to going to (name the place) without getting an argument or temper tantrum in return. You can tell your boss no to yet another (assignment, transfer, trip, seminar) without sinking your career advancement. How you say no allows you to do these things. And that is what Ury addresses from his years of experience in negotiations.
As I read through this book, time and again I found myself nodding, “Yes, that’s exactly right.” Other times, I found myself thinking, “So, that’s how I should have handled (name the circumstance)!” or “I can see how this works better than the way I normally do it.”
Many times, I have said no to someone or disagreed with someone, only to be surprised that the other person is offended. I may have said, “This is wrong,” but the other person heard, “You are wrong.” You can say no to the proposal without saying no to the person. Yury explains how to do this.
It’s a powerful skill, and not just in business. For example, have you fought with a friend or family member over something trivial? Or, flipping that around, have you bought into the “go along to get along” concept, only to fume later?
The process of providing another person with a positive no has three stages: preparation, delivery, and follow-through. The book is divided into three Parts, each of which deal with one of these stages. Each Part contains three chapters, bringing the subtotal to nine chapters. The final (tenth, but unnumbered) chapter concludes the book by explaining the marriage of yes and no.
This book is a winner. If you practice its principles, both you and the recipient of your “no” will feel like–and be–winners, too. I must caution you, this book does not provide some simplistic formula or magic words to utter. It takes time to master the concepts and apply them correctly. Ury provides plenty of examples to show that doing so is well worth the effort.
This book is gift to all of us
I bought this book for twenty dollars, plus tax . . . but it was still a gift. I say this because Ury is clearly a world-class leader in the field of negotiatons, whose expertise has been honed in the most varied and challenging of circumstances. Yet, in this book he shares many of the secrets by which he makes his bread and butter and earns the respect of giants of industry, government, as well as the more proletarian lives he touches. I asked myself, “Why did this very busy and successful man bother to take the time to lay all of this out for us common folk?” Sure, he’ll make a big profit from the endeavor, but still, we will gow rich as well, in other ways, due to his having bothered to share his hard-earned wisdom with us all.
In writing this book, Ury has done us all a service, certainly myself. From the very beginning, he increased my awareness and sense of confidence in social and professional relationships, as when I had to quickly draw the line with a person with a borderline personality who was wreaking relational havoc at my place of work. Ury gives us confidence in our No’s, grounded in a conscious and deep sense of our own “Yesss,” our own non-negotiable principles and values. He also teaches us how to move beyond “No,” to liveable “Yesses,” that is, to solutions which respect and address the needs of all parties.
This book is wise, it is principled, it is thorough. At times it seemed too detailed, but as I continued to read, I was grateful for his patient exploration of every nuance, because even amidst my first reading, I was promising myself a second read . . . and more. This, because the book is a master course in more effective interpersonal relationships whether in the workplace, academia, or the home.
In making things sound so simple, Ury risks being accused of marketing the obvious. However, these matters only seem obvious after he has so articulately pointed them out. This too is a measure of his skill, his generosity, and the value of this big little book.
Buy it. And more than that, use it! It will mature you and put more spring in your step.
Good Life Habit to Learn and Use
The book guides the reader through the three-part process to prepare, deliver and follow through in getting to a positive No. No doesn’t come easy especially when trying to please a client who asks to move up the delivery date. You’re afraid to say No because it means losing future business, respect and perhaps, your job.
_The Power of a Positive No_ not only helps you improve your negotiating skills in such work situations, but it also applies to your personal life. With the tips in the book, you won’t fear the consequences of saying No and you’ll find ways to make the situation work out for everyone.
Have you fallen into one of the three-A trap? Tripping up in one of these traps means the person takes steps Accommodate, Attack or Avoid when encountering a No situation. These traps won’t make anyone in the situation feel good about the solution. Accommodate means saying Yes when we want to say No. Attack means saying no poorly. Avoid means saying nothing at all and not taking care of the problem.
The book digs up situations that you know you could’ve handled better. Applying the concepts from the book to past situations will prepare you for doing better next time without worry of blowback. Self-help books face the challenge of encouraging their readers to change. The idea of a positive no sounds difficult — and it isn’t easy either — will come to readers if they take the time to understand and apply Ury’s advice. Don’t expect bandage style advice that can fix anything with a simple stick-on.
Of course, you could prepare and set up a great response for a positive no, but what if the requestor doesn’t take no for an answer? Ury shows how to prepare Plan B, a backup plan. He also shares a decent amount of real-life examples, large (court case involving a large company and a customer) and small (not having time to help), of how people handled such situations.
Crack the book and it takes no time to become engrossed in Ury’s clear and breezy writing style. The book flows and the length satisfies. Fans of the Ury’s classic best-seller will appreciate this one and won’t feel a sense of déjà vu in having read _Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In_.
great follow on to getting to yes!
I sat on a plane and read this book almost cover to cover. Excellent for those who are looking for the reasons behind the “no” and how to say “no”.
To be read in a learning mode
Brings to you the kind of advice “you already know…”, but in reality do not regularly use, at least in a conscious manner. To make it more than a good plane reading you must be slow at going through it and acquire the trade through practice.
The advantages of being able to say no!
The author of the bestseller Getting to Yes, looks at the advantages of being able to say no!. Ury believes that to be able to say yes to something, you have to be able to say no to competing events in an assertive, yet diplomatic way. He uses historical examples of Rosa Parks, Mahatma Gandhi and others, and he shows how his principles can be used in the home and the workplace. You can see the complete review from the AudioBook News Service at [...]
A most useful guidebook for both your personal and professional ife
William Ury’s classic, GETTING TO YES, has always been
one of my favorite book the subject of negotiations . . . I’m now
going to have to add his latest, THE POWER OF A POSITIVE
NO, to my list.
It is a most useful guidebook that will help you in both your
personal and professional life . . . Ury presents real
examples, drawing upon his lifetime experiences as
a negotiator . . . and while you may not be able to relate
to his being in countries like Chechnya and Venezuela, you’ll
certainly be able to see yourself when he describes such
other situations as his daughter’s illness and his divorce.
The key in all these and more–being able to deliver a positive
No . . . it requires skill and tact, and it involves a deceivingly
simple three-step process:
Begin with the affirmation (Yes!), proceed to establish a
limit (No) and end with a proposal (Yes?).
One example, in particular, struck home because I’ve had to
often face it myself; i.e., how to decline an invitation to speak at
a local community organization . . . his recommendation on how
to handle the request is positively brilliant:
Imagine, for instance, that you are declining an invitation to speak
to a local community organization: “It is good to hear from you and
good to hear of all the valuable work the center is doing. For family
reasons, I am not taking on any additional commitments at this time.
Next year, if you are still interested, I’d be happy to consider it. Thank
you for thinking of me.” After the initial note of acknowledgement and
respect, you begin the Positive No by expressing a Yes! To your
interests (“family”). You proceed to assert your No in a matter-of-fact
way that does not reject (“I am not taking on any additional
commitments at this time”). You follow up by proposing a Yes?,
an alternative solution (“next year, if you are still interested”). You end,
just as you began, on a note of respect (“Thank you for thinking of me”).
I also liked Ury’s use of historical figures, including Abraham
Lincoln, Nelson Mandella and even Hercules . . . in addition, he
cites this other useful bit of advice gleaned from when our
country was founded:
No less a man than Thomas Jefferson invoked this piece of
advice during the hot, sweltering summer of 1789 when delegates
to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia struggled over
the principles and wording that would govern their fledgling
nation. Tempers frequently flared as delegates stood up for
their interests and values and said No. In the midst of this
struggle, Thomas Jefferson had a piece of advice for his
colleagues: “When angry, count to ten. If very angry,
THE POWER OF A POSITIVE NO is a book that I’m going
to recommend to all my fellow members of the negotiations
team at the college where I teach, if for no other reason than
this valuable tidbit:
If you are having trouble persuading the other to accept your
proposal, try putting it through this test. Suppose for a moment
that the other says Yes to your proposal and now needs to
present the prospective agreement to their constituents. Imagine
the other giving a little speech, explaining to their constituents why
this is a good agreement and why they should support it. Write out
an outline of that speech. What is the most persuasive case they
could make for accepting your proposal? Jot down the key talking
A Very Handy and Straight Forward Book
Saying No in several life situations is some time difficult to deal with. This book gave me some tips in how to proceed and how to deliver a usefull No. In fact when we want to say no to something it usually means that you have some other higher priority that may be important to you and may not to others, this book is about that, keep your prioriteis and at the same time deal with other demands.
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