Power is undeniably an important element of every negotiation. Be it operating on the same power-level in a flat hierarchy, or establishing a high-power position to dominate one's counterpart, understanding power and ways to achieve it are key qualities of successful negotiators.
Robert Greene's (1998) "The 48 Laws of Power" is a classic among the books touching on the topic, but it remains hotly debated even today. Sometimes referred to as "the psychopaths' bible" , Greene's book offers advice on establishing power that is really not a good read for the faint-hearted.
Indeed, his suggestions such as to "discover each man's thumbscrew" and use it freely (law 33), or to "pose as a friend, work as a spy" (law 14)  should be taken with a grain of salt. Indeed, some of Greene's suggestions are not only morally questionable, but may prove to be counterproductive in negotiations. Take law 14 again: spying on one's allies is ultimately not going to go unnoticed, and upon discovery will seriously damage the working relationship between the parties involved, rendering future collaboration difficult at best. However, when considering law 14 carefully, we can strip it down to great negotiating advice: transparently gathering "intelligence" on one's allies' interests and positions, and sharing this information with others is vital for mediating in negotiations. Where is the difference between a spy and a mediator? Clearly, the underlying intentions differ widely, and so does the modus operandi.
Our bottom line: each of the 48 laws of power has the capability to offer great advice on modulating the power-flow of a negotiation. Each one should be pondered carefully, both for its moral implications, possibilities of backfiring, and opportunities to be channeled into constructive, inclusive negotiating advice.
Finding an equation to master complex social challenges like successfully persuading an audience seems like a tough job best left for decades of research. Luckily, John Coleman boiled a cook-book-style, non-mathy equation for persuasion down for us. Coleman argues that persuasion is built on a clear structure of the speech, as well as a generous addition of logic, emotion and credibility. To round off the persuasive masterpiece, he suggests to build a strong tie with the audience, and to invite them to join your suggested actions.
Curious about this winning recipe for persuading? Follow this link to the full article.
Do you remember the famous TV show "Let's Make A Deal"? No? But you are certainly familiar with situations, where time is of the essence and you only have a very limited temporal space for making a deal - or walking out empty handedly.
According to Michael Wheeler, Professor at Harvard Business School, there are three critical things to pay attention to in those situations:
Curious, where those rules of thumb come from? Read the full story here.
From counting camels to the third side of conflict as crucial lever to find solutions to conflict: William Ury is a great inspiration for negotiators worldwide and is mediating and advising towards the settlement of large-scale international conflicts. We find that this TED talk captures the very essence of his belief in expanding the pie to reach agreement, rather than to simply dividing it up.
For a deeper dive, consider having a look at his books "Getting to Yes" (with Roger Fisher) and "Getting past no" - or get in touch for workshops and material.
What this is?
On this page, we share what we love: Great content that will help you to be more agile in any situation that requires communication, negotiation and leadership skills - may it be in a MUN or in your personal or professional life.
Just get in touch, and we will make sure to share what you are passionate about!
Looking for regular updates on what is happening here? Subscribe to our Facebook page to get all the news!
How to contribute?
Thank you so much for being willing to contribute! As little as EUR 1 (app. USD 1.15) - or whatever the equivalent in your local currency can make a difference and helps us keep this service up and running.
Of course there are also other ways to contribute:
Of course you can always wire us your donation at eMUN-fellows.net e.V. - Volksbank Kurpfalz - IBAN DE58 6729 0100 0065 0732 00
Your contributions are tax-deductible under German tax-legislation. Please do get in touch for more information.