A President’s View of the Art of Negotiation
It isn’t often that you get a chance to listen to a former president discuss the art of negotiation, and it is rarer still that you learn negotiating secrets from a leader whose peace treaty helped to end an intractable conflict and garnered him a Nobel Peace Prize nomination. Such was the case at the Middle East Investment Conference, where Jamil Mahuad, former president of Ecuador, and co-negotiator of a peace treaty with his nation’s enemy, Peru, shared words of wisdom.
In laying the foundations for negotiation, you must first know what negotiation is. Mahuad stated that negotiation is a process, taking place between two parties, in which both parties agree to a method to search for an agreement. That method is dialogue.
Interestingly, the former president reminded the audience that they must first negotiate with themselves. That is, those interested in negotiating an end to a conflict must first know what they want and for what changes they are negotiating. Otherwise, discussions are likely to fail.
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