Normally, when we think of conflict, there’s always two sides. It’s Arabs vs. Isrealis, labor vs. management, husband vs. wife, Republicans vs. Democrats.
But what we don’t often see is that there is always a third side. And the third side of the conflict is us. It’s the surrounding community, the friends, the allies, the family members, the neighbors.
Interestingly, for a talk about getting from "no" to "yes", William Ury's talk is less about persuasion and more about stepping back to get an idea of the shared context of two sides of a debate.
This approach assumes that we're all working toward a greater good, but perhaps the point is that stepping back makes that easier to see, and to come to some sort of compromise as a result.