Serving as Middle East envoy and chief peace negotiator for both the Clinton and the Bush senior administrations, Dennis Ross was a central player in efforts to forge peaceful relations in the area. In his latest book, Statecraft—How to Restore America’s Standing in the World (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Ross writes about building relationships and negotiation, emphasizing the importance of understanding how to arrive at a practical and pragmatic negotiation strategy and he provides 12 steps for effective negotiation:
- Know what you want and what you can live with.
- Know everything there is to know about the decision makers on the other side.
- Build a relationship of trust with the key decision makers.
- Keep in mind the other side’s need for an explanation.
- To gain the hardest concessions, prove you understand what is important to the other side.
- Tough love is also required: understanding and empathy is good but only goes so far—make sure they understand also there are consequences.
- Employ the 'good-cop, bad-cop' approach carefully.
- Understand the value and limitations of deadlines.
- Take only calculated risks.
- Never lie, never bluff—you risk too much damage to your credibility.
- Don’t avoid differences: get differences in the open and discussed to eliminate future hard feelings over the resolution.
- Summarize agreements at the end of every meeting.