Serena Williams: Tennis Champion & Master Negotiator?

How well does the information shared in negotiation books, blogs, and articles really work in the 'real world'?

We read so much about expanding pies, looking for joint-gains, the value of preparing, reducing the adversarial nature of the interaction, and working towards a (yep, here comes the cliche) win-win.

It's easy to think that in the fictional world of writing, the authors talk about previous real mediation or negotiation settings and tweak a thing here, modify a thing there, and bam- the impression is everything works and they are the masterful conflict resolution professional displaying the tools really work.  
Venus and Serena Williams- tennis and
negotiation champions.

Well, have a look at this snippet from the New York Times (thanks to recent ACRGNY awardee and all-around conflict resolution icon Carol Liebman for sharing it with me) on how Serena Williams brilliantly used her power, planned approach, and understanding of the 'opponent' to succeed.  No, I'm not talking about a win on the tennis court but rather one at the negotiation table.  

Williams praised what she called the progress the tournament had made in player amenities and prize money before asking for a more even distribution of men’s and women’s matches.
“The tone of the conversation wasn’t really, ‘Oh, you didn’t do this and that,’ ” Williams said. “It was: ‘Thank you for all the things you’ve done, and you’ve been so wonderful about listening to the players — both men and women — that we’d like to voice our concern on this arena.’ ”
She added: “I think the situation has to be win-win for everyone. No one likes to be pushed around, whether it’s a group or a person. I think if everyone can find a way that makes sense, then it’s a win-win.”

The negotiation (which included her sister Venus as well) was regarding gender equality with playing time on the main courts at Wimbledon.   

Read the rest here and see how these skills really do work.

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