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George Mitchell: Lessons from the master negotiator

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Dispatched from the UK in 2 business days When will my order arrive? Home Contact us Help Free delivery worldwide. Free delivery worldwide. Bestselling Series. Harry Potter. Popular Features. New Releases. The Negotiator : A Memoir. Description Compelling, poignant, enlightening stories from former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell about growing up in Maine, his years in the Senate, working to bring peace to Northern Ireland and the Middle East, and what he's learned about the art of negotiation during every stage of his life.

It was at a low point just a few months before it ended.

George J. Mitchell: "The Negotiator"

And it was then that I decided to take a risk and establish a firm, unbreakable deadline by which we would either succeed or fail. That was a very risky thing to do.

Ex-Senator George Mitchell speaks at Albany Law School

We finally did succeed, although it could easily have resulted in failure and renewed conflict. I was asked often by reporters and writers and historians. Well, you set a deadline and you got an agreement after two years. It was timing, circumstance, the attitudes of the parties, and so forth. All of this, of course, is what we call judgment.


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How do you start a dialogue? And that requires effort and discipline. Trying to get people to actually listen to the other side and consider what they have to say and try as best one can to view it from their perspective.

He agreed and I walked over to his office and I told him that I had only been in the Senate a relatively short time. He had been there for many years and he knew much more about it than I did.

The Negotiator : A Memoir

But in my short time there, I had reached the conclusion that the positions of majority leader and minority leader were very difficult. Managing the Senate was difficult. I thought it would be impossible without some level of trust between the two leaders. And I then set out just the most simple and basic standards of fairness. I told him that I would never surprise him. I would give them as much notice as possible of every action I intended to take so that he could consider his response.

I told him that I would never criticize him personally or try to embarrass him, that I would always be available to him if he had a concern or a question or an issue he wanted to raise. And that I would, to the extent humanly possible, I would always keep my word to him. And I could tell he was delighted. We shook hands. And to this very moment, as you and I are speaking, never once since then has a harsh word ever passed between Bob Dole and me, in public or in private.

We disagreed on much legislation.

The Negotiator : George J. Mitchell :

We negotiated vigorously over procedural agreements that keep the Senate functioning. As majority leader, I was in charge of all of the operations of the Senate. And at the same time, I was the elected leader of the Senate Democratic caucus. That is, all of the Senate Democrats. Senator Done was the leader of the Republican senators. So I had two distinct but overlapping and sometimes conflicting duties. An obligation to the full Senate and an obligation to the Senate Democratic caucus.