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The Power of Soft

By Hilary Gallo

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How to get what you need and still be nice

Publication date: June 2016
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About the book

The Power of Soft is a different way to approach negotiation – in life and in business. It’s based on experience of solving difficult negotiations in large organisations, mediating small disputes and even working with primary school children. It’s a way of bringing out the power of soft whilst being strong at core.

A central observation is that it’s just too easy to “armour up” in our more challenging dealings in life. The hard front insulates us from the truth. Behind the hard front we tend to be more vulnerable. Sometimes the more vulnerable we are the harder the front we put up. This puts hard and soft the wrong way round. The Power of Soft is there to break through the armour and re-establish the balance.

The Power of Soft is based on answering four key challenges. An imbalance in any one of these areas can undermine our ability to negotiate. These are the 4Ps: Principles, Power, People and Perception.

The book’s first focus is on inner strength. Here we look at Power and Principles to help us draw our strength to our core. It’s about understanding and improving our relative power in the situation. Then it’s about a more honest, principled, way of understanding our needs and the needs of others rather than the positions we tend to take. Effectively, it puts the armour, our boundaries, on the inside. Suddenly, we are significantly more powerful than we think and there are almost always more ways of getting what we need. This is the Strong Core.

Crucially the best bit comes later. Building inner strength is the start. Peeling away external armour also allows for a more open, softer front. This is where the book focuses on People, how we improve our relationships and Perception, making sure we see what is actually there rather than what we assume or judge from the facts. An open, soft front combined with a strong core allows us to handle a complex negotiation or to prepare and respond to a difficult conversation in an open and helpful way whilst preserving our core. The last bit of the book is about how we listen and what can stop us from listening.

The Power of Soft is a guide to explore the art of the possible more openly and curiously whilst remaining true to your needs. This approach works just as well in social relationships as it does in complex corporate negotiations.

'Hilary is a genius. He's added huge value to our business, especially with how to approach key strategic decisions. I've already been using the principles in the book to great effect.' Dan Kieran, CEO of Unbound

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