Fearless Negotiating

The Wish, Want, Walk Method to Reaching Agreements That Work

Fearless Negotiating: The Wish, Want, Walk Method to Reaching Agreements That Work

By By Michael C. Donaldson
193pp. New York: McGraw Hill, 2007

Michael C. Donaldson is an entertainment industry attorney who is recognized widely as a leading expert on the United States «fair use doctrine» which permits the limited use of copyrighted material without obtaining the permission of rights holders. Mr. Donaldson is General Counsel to Film Independent and the Writers Guild Foundation, a winner of many awards for his service to the film industry and a well-published author of works on his special interest of rights-related issues and the field of negotiation in general.

Among his writings are Clearance and Copyright, the standard film school reference work; the American Bar Association’s Legal Guide to Filmmaking, co-authored with his partner, Lisa Callif; Negotiating for Dummies; andFearless Negotiating, the subject of this review.

Mr. Donaldson is a graduate of University of California Berkeley Law School and a winner of the 1998 Gold Medal in Gymnastics at the Senior Olympics.

Fearless Negotiating will be a welcome addition to almost every negotiator’s library. Indeed, it is one of those books that covers the basics of how-to negotiate and adds the examples and illustrations that bring negotiation training and practice to life. If you or one of your colleagues recognize the concepts, but aren’t certain what they really mean or how to use them, this is your book.

Negotiation, as is true of every interactive human process, is not an enterprise for the faint of heart. In fact, many persons refuse to engage in it all and others, if drafted, grit their teeth and endure as silent members of negotiating teams. Clearly, fear is a powerful factor in those decisions not to participate in what is an essential social activity. The cost of such a life choice, of course, is enormous.

The ending of negotiating fear, as the title offers, promises a major contribution to successful negotiating. How does it seek to accomplish this result?

The answer, Donaldson argues, is not in the choice of approaches to negotiation. «There is no single style that must be used …,» the author tells his reader (p. 31). The secret to success, we are assured, is in the use of a method that establishes the parameters of a negotiation before it begins and an understanding of the importance of the skills that enable the participant to effectively pursue those core positions. The correct method to accomplish this end, Donaldson asserts, is his ‘Wish, Want, Walk’ method.

It’s strength is in its insistence on the early defining of your negotiating goals (Wish), researching the opposition and the market norms for similar successful agreements (Want), and establishing your bargaining range and carefully planning your alternative possibilities (Walk) that negotiator takes control of their own position. That is the core of the work, supplemented with careful looks at the use of a variety of negotiating techniques which make the process work.

The book is a valuable presentation of the case for careful planning preparation, clear statements and illustrations on the use and limits of many supportive negotiating skills and the provision of a viable means to provide a life-line for strengthening the fearful or uncertain negotiator.

Highly Recommended.

As reviewed by Negotiations Magazine

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