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Hot to Get It & How to Keep It in Any Negotiation


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Archimedes said, "Give me a lever and I can move the world." Learn to use the power of leverage to get what you want.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable


Leverage is a useful way of thinking about how to gain the advantage in a negotiation, but the concept is essentially a crystallization of what good negotiators have been doing for centuries. Author Roger Volkema does an especially fine job in two areas: useful examples and methodical explanation of your options. He classifies common power plays into types that you can identify, practice and counter. He provides examples of each type drawn from real experience and the popular media. The result is easy to read, understand and apply. The book would have been even stronger if he had added more that was new, if he had grappled more directly with situations where the parties lack leverage and if he had gone further on such matters as ethical negotiation. Yet, as noted, getAbstract praises his examples and strategies, and recommends this book to people who want to improve their negotiating skills.


A Lever Moves Objects

You negotiate every day, even if you’re not engaged in a conscious, formal negotiation. A negotiation generally starts well before you reach the negotiating table - often before you realize you’re involved in bargaining - and continues after the contract is signed.

No matter where you are in the process, "leverage" is crucial. The source of the word "leverage" is "lever," a tool people have used for thousands of years to move objects. In negotiation, "leverage" refers to any sort of power or influence you have over another person. "Social leverage" is determined by the "cost" - in money, prestige, energy or the like - of not reaching an agreement. If it would cost you a lot, the other party has the leverage; if it would cost the other party a lot, you have the leverage. To determine who has the leverage, you must understand the costs involved.

What Kind of Leverage Do You Have?

Leverage is not absolute. Instead, it hinges on "perception." It is "dynamic," and changes all the time; for example, new information can shift leverage. You can be powerful in some situations, yet have no leverage in others, because leverage is "situation...

About the Author

Roger Volkema is the author of The Negotiation Toolkit. He teaches management at American University, Washington, D.C.

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