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Why Attract?

A common strategy to get what we want is to push for it. But what does the other side usually do when you push? They push back. Pressure alone is useless if it drives them into a corner and makes them resist. Instead of seeking to impose a solution, do the opposite and make it as enticing as possible for them to make the decision you’d like them to make. This was the lesson William learned during negotiations of the Camp David Accords. The key is to build an attractive golden bridge for them to walk across.

If reaching an agreement on the whole package seems impossible at first, try breaking the agreement into steps. A step-by-step approach has the merit of making the impossible gradually seem possible. To break the ice at the start of tense negotiation, begin with the issue that is easiest for you to agree on. By moving progressively from the easier to the more difficult issues, you can get the other side into the habit of saying yes and showing them that agreement is possible.

Practice Attract

  1. Build Trust with 4C’s (Caring, Character, Competence, and Consistency). Trust is absolutely essential to attract the parties to an agreement. To build this trust, you need to demonstrate you truly care about them, you’re dependable and reliable, and you keep your promises.

  2. Build on their ideas. People often reject ideas simply because it wasn’t their idea. So instead build on the parties’ ideas and language to draw them in the direction you’d like them to go.

  3. Address perceived fairness. It is a lot easier for the parties to agree to what seems fair than it is to agree to the other’s position. Standards of fairness, efficiency, or scientific merit can help convince the parties that the agreement they reached was wise and fair.

  4. Create an iconic photo. Visualize the victory speech to help people viscerally feel what’s possible and provide a basis for conversation.

Audio Series


In this week’s episode, William shares more of the behind-the-scenes story at the historic Camp David Accords. The core of transforming a seemingly impossible conflict is building a golden bridge. However, it’s a process that allows us to get there. The more we try to push people towards what we think is a good solution, the more they tend to resist. Successful negotiators learn to attract the parties, making it easier for all sides to get to YES.



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