The Negotiator Magazine

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Reader’s Review

John Baker

Let us explore some of Pecquet’s insights that presented almost three centuries ago as central to this very ancient field. It is a well-known path with many a familiar marker that the contemporary reader will recognize immediately. We shall focus upon some of Pecquet’s essential attributes for the successful negotiator rather than his training suggestions based on imitation and broadening social experience.

Readers will recognize almost all of Pecquet’s essential attributes of the successful negotiator. Even the premises upon which they rest are familiar. Pecquet provides a “back to basics” approach. Here is some of his advice:

“Success depends absolutely on the confidence that [the negotiator] inspires” (p. 23). And so, it does. Pecquet tells his readers that the roots of that confidence must be in candor, probity, and truth. “The negotiator,” Pecquet continues, “must avoid nothing with greater care than commissions that compromise integrity” (p.23).

That is the core. The rest is merely elaboration on the theme, but it is skillful work. Consider, for example this maxim: “It is often a failure to keep the secret merely by letting it be known afterwards that one was privy to it” (p.31). Readers might wish evaluate the wisdom of this behavioral statement and, of course, assess the use of it in their experience in negotiation..

It is a book of maxims, wise ones, thoughtful ones and in this reader’s view thought-provoking ones. Let us examine a few others for examples of what the reader might find in this book.

For illustration, Pecquet writes about the idea of a singular language of negotiation (French in his day, English, perhaps in this day for example): “There are no Peoples who are not grateful to a Foreigner who has learned their language” (p.12). Would wisdom cause the negotiator to see it any differently today? I think not.

On ethical responsibility: truth requires “… only not to say anything that is inconsistent with what one believes; and, consequently, never to promote a falsehood as a fact, nor deny the truth” (p. 24).

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July 2005