Executive Negotiation


By Keld Jensen & Iwar Unt

Published by JP (Jyllandsposten) in 2005. The book is aimed at senior and mid-level managers’ negotiators and is written in the “Less is more” concept. (100 pages compact information).

“Both writers have published several articles on the subjects Negotiation and cooperation. Keld Jensen teaches international MBA programs and works, just like Iwar Unt, in corporate consultancy, both are members of the Financial Times Group  “Business Minds.”

In a library context, the latest we’ve seen was the “Negotiation Handbook” by Keld Jensen (2005/30), a very thorough textbook on the difficult game of negotiation that takes place at many levels and in many contexts. This latest version on this subject is much easier to grasp and use directly. In this book the emphasis is also placed on strategy and vision, the opening section is called: “Why do we negotiate?” and the next section: “How do we negotiate?”. This brings up some interesting questions: should match meet match? How to avoid negotiations where both parties lose? In the following sections the focus is, particularly, on how to handle stress and emotions, how the situation is thought through and how important it is to provide serious alternatives and to document all agreements.

The book’s easy to read pages count number of real live examples, therefore the substance is easy to grasp and it is an entertaining reading. It is a small book that could easily find a audience outside of the business world; its advice is generally universally applicable and practice relevant.

By Lector Beth Høst, Danish Library Center

“Executive Negotiating” by Keld Jensen & Iwar Unt is a very handy tool! A good, small and instructive book which is extremely useful if you need a little “brush up” on the road, on the plane or on a train before an important negotiation. It’s not the most detailed work on negotiation techniques but it is an effective and accessible tour of the practical “negotiation world.”

Even if you are used to negotiating, it’s actually pretty good sometimes to remind yourself what kind of typical situations you can get into and how to create value for all parties. The examples are extremely practice relevant – indeed, one might recognise their own situations in several of them.

Plenty of knowledge in almost no time. ”

By Søren Kaare-Andersen, CEO BG Bank

“….a book with an eye opener in the fact that negotiation is not a matter of finding a winner and a loser, but a matter of creating as much added value for both parties as possible.

There are many examples of everyday negotiation situations in the book which the reader has probably already found himself in, making this a very relevant book for everyone. The nice thing about this book is that it also provides a solution to the negotiation situation, that’s why this book quickly becomes a practical tool for solving a difficult negotiating situation.

Many solutions to negotiation problems are also described, where the authors show their unique expertise in negotiation, and where there’s some real thinking ”outside the box”.

The book is as commendable, as it is practical in everyday life. Moreover, the book’s most general topic “respect for your opponent” gives finspiration for thought.

Jesper Stampe, HR-Manager, FIH Erhvervsbank A/S

‘Executive negotiation ‘- I regret this trite phrase – it is not less than a concentrated masterpiece. Keld Jensen’s superb command of language makes the book easy to read while it – with its only 100 pages – is manageable for even the most stressed and busy reader. An explosion of tactical information and overview of negotiation situations, tips and instructions leaves the reader completely out of breath while he/she periodically sees his/her own painful mistakes minutely described and exhibited – with instructions on how the situation could have been approached.

After the first reading comes the difficult part: To start improving your negotiation skills. My advice is: Find the – for you and your situation – most obvious ideas and try a few things at a time and then see if they work in practice. Periodically return to the book for further inspiration, as you are able to cope with more techniques and information. The simple and clear layout simply sets the scene, followed by chapters on “10 tips” (of every imaginable and unimaginable circumstance …) makes it a good manual and an accessible reference guide.

As a practitioner, I must say that the book’s ambition according to reader’s comprehensive and meticulous preparation for any negotiation is very high – but that shouldn’t scare you off! Compared to the many totally unprepared negotiations we often march into – wearing both blinkers and blindfolds, just hoping for the best – is just one step up on the book’s first, deliberate steps towards a progress of significant dimensions.

The word “executive” in the book’s title refers, in my view, especially to particularly convoluted or very important negotiations or to especially skilled negotiators. I see the title as referring to the excellence that each user can achieve if he or she wants to work actively with his negotiating skills. With a little smile, I will point out the book’s inherent weakness: it can brilliantly explain to the reader how things work, but it can not understand it for us … It is up to ourselves whether we want to learn, test and modify our behavior in negotiation techniques.

Take a chance – and try!

It works!

By Niels Peter Miller, CEO Icopal AB