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New Story, New Power: A Woman’s Guide to Negotiation

In her new book, Dr. Beth Fisher-Yoshida, program director of the M.S. in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution program and professor of practice at the School of Professional Studies, introduces women to a process to help them strengthen their negotiation skills by changing the narratives in their heads—ultimately empowering them to negotiate better outcomes in every aspect of their lives. 

Dr. Beth Fisher-Yoshida is the program director of the M.S. in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution program, a professor of practice, and the vice chair of faculty at the Columbia University School of Professional Studies. Dr. Fisher-Yoshida teaches classes in negotiation, conflict resolution, and conflict analysis. She is co–executive director of the Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict and Complexity (AC4) and director of the Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) program, both housed in the Earth Institute at Columbia University. Dr. Fisher-Yoshida partners with clients to develop customized interventions aimed at improving organizational performance. Her firm, Fisher Yoshida International, focuses on leading organizations through change by improving communication and creating shared goals and practices to align with the organization’s mission and vision. She works globally with clients and speaks conversational Japanese.

She is the author and editor of numerous publications, including a book she wrote on transnational leadership. Her main areas of focus are coordinated management of meaning (CMM), negotiation, intercultural communication, conflict resolution, and transformative learning.

In this post, Dr. Fisher-Yoshida describes some techniques to employ before any discussions even begin. 

Negotiation is both an art and a craft. There are techniques to learn that will help you better prepare for and conduct negotiations that yield you what you want. These techniques include framing the negotiation, determining the bargaining range, identifying what is critical versus what is nice to have, and clarifying the agreements made with next steps in the follow-up. Then there is the art of negotiation, in which you finesse your craft as you practice and hone your skills for more effective interactions with your negotiating partner. The art and the craft work together to make you a consummate negotiator.

In addition to what was previously mentioned, there are many other components to consider when preparing for and conducting negotiations. In the following excerpt from my forthcoming book, New Story, New Power: A Woman’s Guide to Negotiation (Bold Story Press, 2023), I discuss the role of the relationship you have with your negotiating partner. It can be anything from the current negotiation being your first encounter to your having a long-standing relationship. The quality can be that you see eye to eye on important matters to there being covert or overt levels of hostility. The nature of the relationship will influence how you interact and the outcomes that are possible to achieve. 

The Role of Relationship

Negotiation is all about relationships. The quality of your relationship will affect your communication and levels of trust in the negotiation. The more familiar you are with the other party, the more likely you are to accurately interpret their behavior and comments and understand their motivations. The more cooperative the relationship, the more you can trust what is being said and not assume the other person is intentionally trying to mislead you.

The more you know yourself, the other person, the context, and the cultural influences, the better able you will be to develop a relationship. It may or may not be a good relationship, but you will have a clearer understanding of the status of the relationship before you engage in the negotiation. 

One call to action before your next negotiation would be for you to do a deep dive into learning more about what influences your perspectives on negotiation. Part of developing a stronger sense of self-awareness is to identify the root of your beliefs about negotiation and the relationship you have or want to have with your negotiating partner. It is all part of the preparation process and is something you continue to refine as you learn more about yourself through every negotiation you have.

Click here to watch a recording of Dr. Fisher-Yoshida's book launch in February 2023.

Conflict-resolution skills are essential for forging and stewarding successful relationships between people, communities, and organizations. The Columbia University M.S. in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution prepares students to analyze the root causes and dynamics of conflict and to transform disputes through reasoned and resourceful interventions. The program is offered full-time, part-time, and in a hybrid format. Learn more about the program.

Fall 2023 application deadlines for the M.S. in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution program are January 17, 2023, for the priority deadline; March 15 for applicants with international documents; and May 17 for the final deadline. Applications are reviewed and admission decisions released on a rolling basis. Learn more here.