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Negotiation: Ten Skills You Need to Know For Solicitations and Business

The Sword and The SpiritI just finished reading The Sword and the Spirit by Andre Bello. It is a must read.

Stories have tremendous power in learning and influence. Bello has written a wonderful fable to teach ten critical negotiation skills. For those of us who read Getting to Yes 15 years ago, this is more than a refresher, but you will recognize many of the skills taught. Both books came from faculty or students of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School. Most importantly, the story is told so well that the examples given in the text will stay with you much longer.

I have an important negotiation coming up in the next few weeks, so I was keen to read the book as soon as my sister offered it. I couldn’t put it down. It is a quick read with the fable taking 150 pages and the summation of the 10 skills another 50.

Some of the greatest books in history convey important lessons through stories. Og Mandino was famous for writing them. Important and timeless stories include: Acres of Diamonds; A Message to Garcia; and The Richest Man in Babylon. I’m not sure it will become a bestseller like the others, but for my money, it should.

Too many people don’t think they are in sales. This affliction is particularly deep in the fundraising community. After all, we are doing noble work, not just sales, right? Wrong.

We are all in sales and we all negotiate. We have been doing since we were babies and we continue to do it in the marketplace, with our kids, and in our jobs. it doesn’t matter what you do for a living, you will be better at it if you learn how to be a better negotiator.

And this is doubly true for fundraisers. Not only are we in sales, we are the consummate salesmen. We not only ply our wares, we make our sale, secure the funds, and all we give in return is satisfaction. What better salesman can there be than one who gets payment and has his donor say thank you for helping him make the right decision, a decision that is the consummate expression of his values.

Many good fundraisers already know many of the skills in the Sword and the Spirit. If you are good at fund raising, you probably already are a good listener and are focused on your donor’s needs and values. Nevertheless, you can learn from this book. It’s fun, a quick read, and you will walk away with important skills seared into your memory.