Win Win by Derek Arden; published in 2015 by Pearson; 278 pages paperback £12.99

By John O'Hanlon

I normally approach a new business book with a degree of scepticism, so it’s a pleasure to come across one that is well written, well researched and relevant to other circumstances of life than the purely commercial.

It’s not only in business that people negotiate. We are all negotiators, whether with our children, our partner, our colleagues our clients or even with ourselves. Every transaction in life, from the playground onward involves negotiation – and money need not be involved. In business, though, it usually is; either in the form of cash or ‘value’. Derek Arden’s recently published book. All executives are negotiators, and it is their job to get the best deal for their employer. An honest deal, a fair deal certainly, but this book shows that there is a lot of fun to be had in the process or arriving there.

Some people are by nature uncomfortable with the process – they may feel they are being asked to sail too close to the wind. But that is an exhilarating thing to do as any sailor knows. Arden’s psychology is sound and relevant, and the practical tips he gives – for example about how to listen, how to spot a liar, how to deal with a bully and the like – are spot-on. I particularly like the ‘Columbo tactic’ which involves pretending to be dumb or distracted so the other party has to explain their position over again, in which process they will often let slip extra information!

On seeing the title my first reaction was that it’s a bit of a cliché. In this context it’s not though. A successful negotiation is one that leaves both parties feeling they have a good deal. You may be able to land a deal that’s very much in your favour but if you don’t as Arden puts it ‘ leave enough meat on the bone for the other side’ there may not be another chance to negotiate with that particular client.

About the author:  An international keynote conference speaker, business coach and facilitator, Derek Arden has worked in 27 countries, with 5 business schools and has been a visiting lecturer at the Henley Management College for 12 years.

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