fbpx

Click Here To Listen To The NEGOTIATEx Podcast

Key Takeaways

  • Building deep rapport is essential, extending beyond superficial connections to foster trust and open communication. Repairing rapport in strained relationships can involve acknowledging past conflicts and making amends to foster a constructive dialogue.
  • Recognizing both tangible and intangible interests, such as respect and validation, is crucial in negotiations. This understanding is key to preparing effectively and finding common ground.
  • Introspection is important before negotiations to understand one's goals and facilitate alignment with the opposing party's interests.
  • Negotiating within close relationships can be challenging due to the high stakes of maintaining the relationship, which might compel negotiators to compromise more than usual. It is important to have clear priorities and recognize when accommodations are necessary to preserve the relationship.
  • Curiosity and active listening are vital skills in negotiations, helping to uncover and align the interests of all parties involved. These skills foster a collaborative rather than confrontational approach.
  • Managing emotions and power dynamics effectively involves recognizing when power is used manipulatively and maintaining one's priorities and integrity, even in challenging situations.
  • The integration of technology, such as AI, in negotiation processes, should be approached with caution to avoid an overreliance that could deteriorate essential negotiation skills like articulating interests and effective communication.
  • Practical experience in negotiation is crucial. Using tools like video recordings for reflective learning can enhance awareness of one’s negotiation tactics and improve overall skills.

Executive Summary:

Hey folks! Welcome back to the NEGOTIATEx podcast. We are continuing our conversation with Professors Beth Bellman and Lon Moeller from the Tippie College of Business, specializing in negotiation and conflict resolution.  

In Part A, Beth emphasized the relevance of negotiation skills in personal and professional spheres, while Lon shared a critical learning experience from a complex health insurance negotiation. The discussion also covered their roles in education and mediation, highlighting the significant impact of emotional intelligence and effective communication in negotiation processes. 

Their co-authored book, “The Road to Success: Learning How to Become an Effective Negotiator,” was also discussed, which provided valuable strategies and insights for aspiring negotiators. 

If you haven’t checked out part A yet, be sure to do that before you listen to this one. With that said, let’s jump right in!

Effective Rapport Building And The Importance Of Introspection In Negotiations

Firstly, Lon emphasizes building rapport and identifying interests as key strategies for negotiating effectively. He clarifies that effective rapport building goes beyond superficial connections like shared backgrounds; it involves establishing trust and open communication. 

He also highlights the significance of recognizing tangible and psychological interests in negotiations, such as respect and validation. Additionally, Lon stresses the importance of introspection in preparation for negotiations to understand one’s goals and facilitate finding common ground for agreement.

He also discusses techniques for building rapport in strained relationships during negotiations. He mentions the importance of being prepared, understanding the issues, and acknowledging past conflicts. 

Lon suggests that apologizing or recognizing past misunderstandings can be crucial in setting the stage for a constructive dialogue focused on future outcomes rather than dwelling on past grievances.

Beth adds to the conversation by underscoring the value of rapport in all negotiations, even those with familiar parties. She advises maintaining a personal connection through simple, engaging questions to reinforce the human element in negotiations. 

Beth views negotiations as an opportunity to express a relationship’s importance and attempt repair, advocating for respect and a positive approach even when disagreements persist.

Navigating Close Relationships In Negotiations

Moving on, Beth discusses how negotiations within close relationships can be particularly challenging because the stakes of maintaining the relationship might compel negotiators to compromise more than they might otherwise. She emphasizes the importance of having clear priorities and recognizing when it’s appropriate to accommodate and preserve a relationship.

Additionally, Beth highlights the broader skills crucial for effective negotiation, particularly in today’s context. She stresses the importance of understanding and articulating one’s tangible and intangible interests, such as recognition and acknowledgment. 

She also underscores the significance of curiosity and active listening in negotiations, suggesting that these skills help uncover and align the interests of all parties involved, even if no agreement is reached. Her approach focuses on finding shared interests and directions rather than viewing negotiations as zero-sum or inherently conflictual.

Enhancing Student Engagement In Negotiations

The guests also address challenges students face when they feel unsure about what questions to ask during negotiations. Beth suggests a strategy called “following the thread.” It encourages students to delve deeper into discussions by asking open-ended questions like, “Tell me more about that,” or asking for specifics about why something is important. 

She also recommends setting a quantifiable goal for asking questions, which can help students become more engaged and curious as they see their questioning skills improve throughout the semester.

Lon adds to this by encouraging students to consider the ideal outcomes of their negotiations and think from the other party’s perspective. He suggests role-reversal exercises to help students understand the other side’s motivations and think critically about what makes their proposals appealing. 

Lon also mentions the value of leveraging available information, such as professional profiles on platforms like LinkedIn, to find relevant topics that can help build rapport and foster a more meaningful exchange.

Approaching Challenges With Optimism

The conversation then turns to the concept of reframing negotiations. Beth emphasizes the importance of approaching negotiations with an open and optimistic mindset rather than seeing them as inherently conflict-laden. 

She suggests that students often start dreading negotiations due to a fear of conflict. However, shifting to view negotiations as opportunities can change their entire approach and make the experience more engaging and less daunting.

Further, the discussion addresses managing complex challenges like power dynamics, ethical issues, and emotional aspects in negotiations. Beth identifies power differences as particularly challenging, especially when structural power imbalances (like negotiating with a boss or a parent) are evident. 

She advises that even in these situations, it’s crucial to recognize that each party holds some form of power because they possess something the other party needs. Beth recommends focusing on identifying and articulating one’s interests and understanding the other party’s interests. 

This approach not only helps manage power dynamics but also builds deeper relationships, even if the outcome isn’t ideal. This strategy can lead to more authentic interactions and prevent feelings of regret for not expressing one’s true intentions or needs.

Navigating Power And Emotions In Negotiations

The speakers delve deeper into navigating power dynamics and managing emotions in negotiations. Beth notes the importance of distinguishing when power is being used manipulatively as a negotiation tactic, which she addresses in her book. 

She suggests that recognizing these tactics can help negotiators decide whether to continue engaging with someone who employs such strategies. 

Beth stresses the importance of identifying the difference between strategic difficulties and personal issues and highlights the power of saying “no” in negotiations. This empowering approach allows negotiators to maintain their priorities and integrity, even in challenging situations.

Lon further elaborates on building rapport and managing relationships over time, particularly in situations that may appear as zero-sum games, like car buying. He discusses the importance of reputation and ethical considerations, suggesting that even conflict-averse individuals can find effective ways to negotiate by understanding and addressing the underlying interests and emotions. 

Lon uses personal anecdotes and classroom experiences to illustrate how perceptions and emotions can dramatically influence negotiation outcomes.

Finally, Beth circles back to the topic of emotions in negotiations, teaching that heightened emotions often signal deeply held interests worth exploring. She encourages embracing these emotional moments as opportunities for deeper understanding and connection rather than avoiding them. 

This approach involves active listening and a willingness to engage with the emotional aspects of negotiation to uncover underlying interests and values, thereby facilitating more meaningful and successful negotiations.

Adapting To Global Changes And Technological Shifts

In discussing the future of negotiation and conflict resolution, Lon and Beth highlight how recent global changes, particularly the pandemic and technological advancements like AI, are reshaping the field.

Lon emphasizes the impact of the pandemic on students’ ability to engage in face-to-face interactions. Many of today’s students have missed crucial in-person social interactions during their formative years, and he observes a noticeable lack of confidence in face-to-face and even video-mediated negotiations. 

To address this, Lon has adapted his teaching methods to include more role-playing and practical exercises encouraging students to build rapport and confidence in negotiating in person. He advocates a greater focus on preparing students to negotiate in a hybrid world where remote and in-person interactions are common.

Beth shifts the focus to the integration of AI in negotiation processes. She discusses the potential of AI to serve as a tool for coaching and even participating in negotiations, particularly for low-stakes contracts. 

However, she expresses concern about an overreliance on AI, which could lead to a deterioration in essential negotiation skills such as articulating interests, active listening, and effective communication. Beth sees AI as a beneficial tool if used wisely but warns against allowing it to replace the human elements that are critical in negotiation and conflict resolution.

Both educators emphasize updating negotiation education to address changing social dynamics and technological advances, preparing students for the evolving professional and personal interaction landscape.

Enhancing Negotiation Training With AI: Strategies From Beth And Lon

Moving on, Beth and Lon discuss strategies for integrating AI into negotiation training while avoiding over-reliance on technology. Beth is experimenting with having her students negotiate with AI during a summer session, where AI provides immediate feedback. 

This practice allows students to gain experience and immediate insights into their negotiation strategies. She suggests using AI in the planning and preparation phases to help students explore additional perspectives and strategies they might not have considered. It ensures that AI is used as a supplementary tool for enhancing students’ negotiation skills without replacing the need for direct, human interaction.

Lon adds to Beth’s strategy by emphasizing the use of AI in planning negotiations. He suggests that AI can be particularly useful in helping students articulate their offers, justify their positions, and create checklists to ensure that no critical elements are overlooked in their proposals. 

AI helps prepare more thorough and effective negotiation strategies, thereby enhancing students’ confidence and competence.

Together, these approaches aim to leverage AI as a beneficial tool in negotiation education. They enhance students’ ability to prepare and reflect on negotiations while maintaining the essential human skills of communication and interpersonal interaction.

Integrating Technology And Practice In Negotiation Education

Similarly, Nolan shares how he uses AI to refine his negotiation preparation, particularly in making his options clearer and more concise. He recognizes the limitations of AI in generating the depth of analysis that human discussions can provide, highlighting the continued importance of group interactions for generating insights.

Beth highlights the importance of practice in becoming an effective negotiator. She likens learning to negotiate to learning how to swim—books and theory can only take you so far without practical experience. 

Beth encourages engaging in negotiations frequently, starting with low-stakes situations to build competence and confidence. Reflection plays a substantial role in her teaching approach, with students writing reflections and participating in debriefs to understand the diverse outcomes that can arise from the same starting conditions.

Lon adds to the discussion by noting the benefits of online negotiation training, such as the ability to record and review negotiation sessions, which enhances learning through self-assessment. 

He advocates for authenticity in negotiation, sharing a personal anecdote about the importance of finding one’s style rather than imitating others. Lon stresses that effective negotiation skills can be developed by anyone, regardless of personality type, through dedicated practice and a commitment to finding a style that feels genuine and comfortable.

They outline a comprehensive approach to negotiation education that integrates technology while focusing on personal interaction, practice, reflection, and authenticity.

Leveraging Video For Reflective Learning In Negotiation Training

Lastly, Beth mentions that she uses video recordings as a teaching tool, similar to Lon. She describes how she has her students watch their negotiation recordings to reflect and respond to specific questions to enhance their awareness of their own behaviors and improve their skills. 

It helps students recognize their progress over time, such as their use of filler words, preparation level, and engagement with the camera. These skills are increasingly vital in a world where many interactions occur virtually.

Beth, Lon, Aram, and Nolan discuss more on this episode of the NEGOTIATEx podcast. Write to us at team@negotiatex.com and share your thoughts on this informational podcast episode. Also, if you enjoyed the episode, we’d be thrilled if you could rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your ratings help us grow and improve.

Thank you for your time!

Transcript

Nolan Martin : Hey everyone, thanks for joining us on the NEGOTIATEx podcast. We are continuing our conversations with Professors Beth Bellman and Lon Moeller from the Tippie College Of Business. If you haven't already checked out part A of the show, be sure to do that first. Let's jump into the conversation with Beth and Lon.

NM : Y'all both referenced a number of skills negotiators need to practice and master to become more effective. Which ones do you personally feel are most important in today's world? I'll kick it over to you, Lon.

Key Strategies In Negotiation: Building Rapport And Identifying Interests [01:11]

Lon Moeller : That's a good question, Nolan. I think there's two fundamentally. One is rapport building, building that meaningful relationship with the other negotiator. And the other is the ability to identify interest. And so in terms of rapport building, oftentimes our students think that's something I call schmoozing. They think if they're in the same major course of study as a classmate, they have rapport.

If they're from the same suburb of the city of Chicago where a lot of our students come from, that's rapport building. But again, rapport building is more about, is this somebody I can trust? Is this somebody I can share information with? And how do I go about building that trusting relationship? And a lot of that comes down to both asking questions, being curious, and then, as Beth mentioned, being an active listener.

And in terms of interest, we try to talk about interest being a broad spectrum of different ideas. It may be tangible interest, such as money, a particular outcome, but then there's a lot of that psychological aspect Beth was talking about that's important to us as negotiators. I want to be respected when I negotiate.

I talked about the first example of what kind of a failed negotiation for me, but one of my interests is making sure that my client and my boss appreciated the work I did. So how did one, how does one go about doing that? A lot of it's just that introspective introspection as you're practicing and preparing to identify what it is you're looking for and look at that in a really broad fashion.

So again, to me, building rapport, learning how to establish that relationship, then understanding the question to ask yourself and the other party. about identifying the interests that are going to allow you to find the common ground you need to reach an agreement.

AD : Beth, before you respond to this question, can we drill a little deeper?

And you're welcome to respond here too. On rapport building, Lon, I'm curious, just given some of the work you've done where I would anticipate the relationships are incredibly strained, in those instances where you're going and you know there's either been prior damage, even if I didn't, wasn't the one who caused it, I created it, but my predecessor did.

Are there things I can do to improve rapport, demonstrate respect when I'm walking into a situation where relationship is damaged?

Navigating Conflict In Negotiations: Preparation, Acknowledgment, And Repair [03:24]

LM : That's a great question. And I think part of it is to be prepared. And again, knowing more than just what you want. And that's what you sit back and say, why is the other side upset with me?

And a lot of times in negotiations I'd add to your point was, I'd come in as that third party. And so I had no relationship at all with the parties themselves. So, I had to really understand what the relationship was. I had to let them know that I'm somebody they could work with. Being prepared, understanding what the issues are critical.

But oftentimes, you need to acknowledge what's happened in the past. And that's why the use of things like apologies or just recognition that things went off the track and we're here to get things back on the track. Focus on what's going on in the future. You don't want to forget the past, but you also don't want to re-litigate it.

So to answer your question, I think part of it is being prepared to understand what the issues are, demonstrating that competency but also acknowledge the fact that you have to take that dispute on head on, acknowledge it in the meeting you have and say, yeah, I messed up. Or things didn't go well. And I understand why that is and I apologize.

AD : Beth, anything you'd add there on the relationship piece?

Beth Bellman : Yeah, I'll start with the relationship piece and then move on to those other skills and you'll hear a theme here. Rapport definitely makes my top five list of something I would hope my undergraduate students come away with every year understanding the importance of, and I'll even tell them, even in negotiations with somebody that you know well, I encourage them to still build rapport. It will look different from getting to know that person, even if it's as simple as how's your day been, what's something you're looking forward to, just to foster, emphasize the human connection there.

And I think to this point about relationships, if the relationship is important enough to attempt to repair, in those contexts, I really see negotiations as an opportunity to voice that, this is an important relationship to me, and I'm sorry that we're having this difference, like Lon said, the use of apologies, and then the opportunity to attempt to repair that and move forward. Whether you agree or you're going to agree to disagree, but it can be done respectfully and in a positive way.

AD : I love that response and I don't want to interrupt your thought, but give you a chance to breathe before we get into other skills. Just what you said, right? The negotiation can be an opportunity to just voice this need that we need to do something in a relationship. What a great response.

And then prior to that, when you were saying, even with people we know well, I find that some of my students talk about the more difficult negotiations are with the people they have a very tight relationships with, it's almost like the relationship becomes held hostage or something like that. Thoughts on that?

Prioritizing Interests And Building Consensus [06:11]

BB : Absolutely. Those are those instances where we might be compelled to be more accommodating and give up more of what's important to us because we value the relationship. And sometimes I think that's completely appropriate. If you have the clarity on what the priorities are, right? Yeah.

AD : Other skills, other things that most important. Yeah. Especially given today's world, we're sitting here in 2024, the context, the world around us. Yeah. Any thoughts there?

BB : I'm going to go back to understanding your own interests. Now we've touched on tangible and intangible interests. I agree a hundred percent with Lon. It's oftentimes those intangibles. What else is important? Recognition, acknowledgement, right? But in the general impression, the general public's impression of negotiations, everybody goes to price. That's the most common place that we go.

So understanding your interests, being able to articulate those, being willing to, practicing that communication, and then being curious, taking the time to ask about, trying to uncover the other party's interests. And they may or may not have done the work to identify those, but you might be able to help draw those out in real time.

This is, of course, linked to active listening. And even if no agreements reached, I think that having clarity about what's important to you and what's important to people that you're in relationship with. Colleagues, co workers, friends, family, whoever it is also important. Active listening, great life skill, we talked earlier, people like to be heard.

And, so I think that goes a long way. And looking for shared underlying interests, not assuming fixed pie or it's an automatic conflict. But where are we in alignment and going the same direction, even if there are a couple of things that we have some differing thoughts on?

AD : I want to ask a little bit more on this interest thing. And it gets to the quality of questions we ask and a desire to be genuinely curious. I occasionally will get a student and I'm curious if you've ever had this happen. Students who say, I just don't know what to ask. I don't know the question and then they start feeling I just guess maybe I'm not a very curious person. How do you help students? Cause you're to listen. I've got to, maybe I've asked something to get to interest. I've probably got to ask, how do you coach students through something like that?

Strategic Questioning In Negotiation: Fostering Curiosity And Understanding Perspectives [08:40]

BB : Yeah, I've got an open mic, so I'll just jump right in here. Several things, strategies for that. So one is follow the thread, right? There's always the tell me a little more about that, right? If you can't come up with a specific follow up question. Or tell me why that is the most important issue to you, or how that's going to improve your outcomes. So following the thread, some other strategies I'll suggest is maybe for each student, I'm going to ask two more questions.

Quantify the number of questions more. We talked about earlier, negotiation one to the end of the 17 week semester, many of them are asking more questions. So they could come up with a number or account. It could be a context specific question, but just being curious. And I do think they learn over time, like Lon said, that's part of the evolution in their skillset.

AD : Lon, anything you'd add to that? I love that response.

LM : No, just a couple of things. That was a good response to both, Beth. I think one thing I'd ask students of, what's an ideal outcome look like to you? So paint that picture and then ask if the student, if you're on the other side and get role reversal, is always hard for students in general to get themselves in somebody else's shoes.

But why would they say yes to your proposals? What about your proposal is compelling, and then in this day and age, whether it's linked in or other resources, we'll find information about people and there's always something about somebody's background that is curious. And I might ask the student ask about that.

For example, your military experience there, that might be some point of conversation. And then you can create some questions off of that. And then that allows that rapport building we talked about, but I think two things. One is, identify the ideal outcome and then, what's in it for them? Think about if you're on their side, why would you say yes or no to what you're asking?

AD : And I'm going to go back, Beth, something you said, to do what Lon just said, I think I have to have that mindset, which is, this doesn't necessarily need to be zero sum and I may not know everything I need to be able to address, to solve this in the best or most effective way. And so a lot of it goes back to our framing and our own mindset we enter the negotiation with.

Reframing Negotiation: Embracing Opportunities And Managing Power Dynamics [11:01]

BB : Yeah, absolutely. Coming in with an open mind or even an optimistic mind versus that. A lot of the reasons students report they're not excited about negotiation early in the class is they think it's going to be conflict laden and they shy away from that kind of conflict because it's potentially uncomfortable.

So shifting, I think, the mindset about what's the opportunity here and isn't it exciting that we have this opportunity. Yeah.

NM : You discussed many different challenges faced by negotiators. We've heard power dynamics, ethical issues, perceptions, gender and culture, differences, emotions, so on. Which of these do you believe are the most difficult to manage? And what is your advice for someone caught in navigating those situations? I kick it over to you, Beth.

BB : Yeah, I'm going to go with power differences on this one. There are some situations where there's just going to be no way around that there exists some kind of structural, whether that's legitimate, reward power, difference.

Maybe you're negotiating with your boss or a parent. And so there's always going to be some situations where this power difference exists. And this is the area I think I see undergraduates struggle with the most. My advice is to remember that when you're negotiating, by definition, you have something the other negotiator wants or needs.

And so you're not powerless. So to try to remember that and identify the source of power that they bring to the table. And I'm going to go back to then identifying your underlying interests and being willing to communicate those and uncover those of the other negotiator. So even if that outcome is not what you wanted, the upside of this is that you will have clearly shared what's important to you, which I believe is valuable in deepening relationships.

So rather than just accepting, okay, there's a power differential, I'll just do whatever they ask if they're in the position of power and you're not expressing what's important to you and showing up authentically, it might result in some disappointment with the outcome or with yourself for not, saying what was true for you and trying to learn more and further that relationship.

AD : You framed that by talking about when it's a structural thing, when it becomes a manipulative thing and somebody is using the power difference. The other person that I'm negotiating with is using the power difference as a difficult tactic and they're using it to, I don't know, to exploit the relationship or the differences in power. Does your advice change at all in terms of how you would coach a negotiator, manage that more? That more tactical kind of level of abuse of power.

Reframing Negotiation: From Conflict To Opportunity And Relationship Building [13:48]

BB : Yeah, that's a great point. And we talk a little bit about in the book, identifying what is difficult in this situation? Are they being strategically difficult is one of the things that we address there. And I think that's important to identify. And then it's just going to be, is this the kind of person you want to stay in relationship with?

Now you might not be able to leave your job or whatever the cost or risk might be too high. But at least if you identify, it's a strategy, and you can separate the problem from the person, that might open up a little more. But being able to identify the source of that, and then asking yourself, we teach, you shouldn't make every deal. Of course, we want people making deals. Great deals and more deals and knowing when I need to say no.

AD : That's almost as powerful as knowing when to say yes, as knowing when to walk away.

BB : Yes. And I teach no just means next, don't let it derail you so much.

AD : Wow. I can appreciate that. I'm in the midst of some grading assignments right now, and I would say that's one of the things that students have are learning and being comfortable with is just being able to say no. And that's not a reflection on you. It's not a reflection on me. This just was not a deal to be made today.

BB : Absolutely. And saying sometimes when I say no. To a request, for something you can even give context to it and say, it's not, the no is not about you. It's a yes for myself and my other priorities. That's right. That's another way.

AD : That's nicely said.

NM : How about you Lon?

LM : Yeah, I just want to follow up on a point that Beth made about all of our students when they come to class, they can negotiate and say, I think Aram talked about a zero sum game, but, you know, in business, there's very few completely or exclusively transactional based negotiations.

For example, I bought a car from a car dealership in town for 15 years, or I bought cars over the years. Those, on their surface, look to be win-lose distributive negotiations. But I have a relationship with a person at the car dealership that's been built over 15 years that doesn't feel that way.

And it's always interesting, we usually lead off our class with a win-lose distributive exercise. I've always gotten, and I'm sure Beth does too, a student that takes full advantage of somebody else. And maybe lies to them in the context of a win-lose negotiation. Then when we do the debriefs, they gloat about their outcome.

And the trouble is that student's going to have a hard time finding a partner the rest of the semester. So we talk a lot about reputation and ethics in terms of the context of negotiations. And the best point, I think, if we try to convince students that cooperative negotiators can be effective, even people that are conflict averse can find their voice in negotiation.

That gives them the confidence to really evolve their skills in the course in terms of areas of emphasis, Nolan, a lot of these have been head on, but, managing emotions and dealing with difficult negotiators and a lot of it gets back to role reversal, about, why are they upset?

Why are they being difficult? Is it the best point? A strategy? Is it situational? What I need to know about their relationship? If they're a principal, for example, agent relationship that would explain to me or understand, help me understand why things are difficult. The emotion piece is, I think we diminish or dismiss our emotions, right?

How that drives our behavior. Maybe I'm mad because of what happened in the last go around, right? I was disrespected. One of the negotiations I did, I came in and the unions had these large chairs. And I was sitting in these almost like elementary school chairs. It was a game, right, about power imbalance, physical power imbalance.

And that just got me worked up. And then that whole negotiation was a disaster because I was so mad about it. Then sitting back, I'm like, that is probably, I overreacted, that was one of my hot buttons, and a lot of our students going back to difficult negotiators are going to negotiate with people that have far more experience to them or older than they are.

And so we talk a lot about enrollment reversal and I tell students everybody wants to give advice. Now, frequently, I'm the oldest person in the room. Usually, always the oldest person in most rooms I'm in anymore. But I say, what do old people like like me? We like our advice to be asked for. We like to pontificate. We like to share advice.

So if you frame a conversation, not a win lose, but okay, if you're in my situation, what might you do? Given your experience, then that tends to build that connection, that rapport we've been talking about this morning.

AD : Emotions are such interesting things, right? Because they're kind of jagged feelings, a little sharp, how do I deal with them? And it's the tendency is, it feels is to diminish, like I just, what I want to do is just lower the temperature in the room. And sometimes emotions are really indicative of there's an interest that isn't being met or there's a perception of maybe unfairness. Maybe it's a real actuality.

And you mentioned Beth. Emotions earlier too. Any additional thoughts to what Lon just shared that you would add from your own perspective about how to manage emotions well in the negotiation room?

BB : Yeah, to your point, I teach that negotiations, when somebody's emotions are running high, it is a signal to some underlying interest because we wouldn't be emotional, whether positive or negative.

If it wasn't something that was of value to us or a very important issue, and I try to encourage students not to be fearful or to shy away from emotional negotiations, but to see it as an invitation to really now uncover what is so important and going back to the act of listening and just being heard, yeah.

AD : I'm curious, what you both see is, major changes, significant changes coming for the field of negotiation and conflict resolution in the near future, and do the changes that you anticipate on the horizon impact or create any challenges, both for both sides. We're practicing negotiation, but also for how you might teach the subject.

And Lon, we can start with you if you want.

Adapting Negotiation Education For A Hybrid World And The Role Of AI [20:11]

LM : We've had the occasion to teach students that have been impacted directly by the pandemic. And so our graduating seniors this spring were the high school seniors that often didn't have that last year of high school in person. And I find the students that I had, at least in this past year, had a real challenge with face to face negotiations.

So I think as we continue to have hybrid work and remote work we're always going to have those remote negotiations, but they're going to be in person, whether it's face to face or through some kind of video conferencing platform, zoom teams, et cetera, but a lot of our students don't have the experience or the confidence with those, even as we're doing today, the kind of the in person conversation we have.

For example, I just talked to a student last week who's frustrated about not getting any job offers as a senior graduated. But I asked how are you going about looking for work? He's just emailing random general email addresses at companies. I said who's the hiring manager?

Who's the human resources director? I've had students this past year in particular who were fearful of going to the career fair. We have on campus career fairs because they don't like that face to face interaction. So I think those of us who teach negotiations, when we have to do more focusing on the preparation for negotiations getting some of the questions that Beth talked about, but also, how do you build rapport with students that are used to sitting on a computer and being more anonymous.

So this past year, for example, I did several things. I had been spend more time preparing to negotiate, thinking about their game plan. Many of the exercises I use is I said, I don't want any offers for 15 minutes. I want you to build a connection for 15 minutes. And we did a lot more role plays than I had in the past.

And then last thing, and a lot of them hated this, I'd call them up, come to the front of class and negotiate with me. I might have a watch I'm wearing or I brought a coffee mug and I say, let's negotiate this. And they hated it, right? They're in front of their students and their peers, but it gave them more confidence in a situation they haven't had a lot of experience with.

And I think we're going to have to do that because we've got a generation impacted by the pandemic. A lot of work these days is done remotely. We've gotta think about, how do you build rapport in a context other than just the traditional face-to-face context.

AD : Nice. Beth, any thoughts?

BB : Yeah, absolutely. I wanna talk about the growing prevalence of AI in our lives and in the workplace. And I think there's some opportunities here to use AI to augment our negotiations, to help serve as coaches. And even negotiators, there's some growing research now on companies using AI to negotiate.

Some low stakes contracts and things like that. And while I think that the use of AI can be a useful support and an additional tool for additional ideas or additional practice, my concern would be an over reliance on AI to negotiate for us that could diminish these core communication skills we've been talking about, like articulating our interests, communication, active listening.

And that experience Lon's talking about in the face to face interactions and negotiations, which will still constitute a majority of our day to day activities. But if we're not getting the practice because we're over relying on AI, I definitely see it as a tool that can augment that. and enhance our negotiating ability if used wisely.

AD : So let's just stay on this for one second and we'll see where this goes. Because with the challenge to face and level of, or maybe the lack of comfortability doing that, Lon, you offered some approaches that we can take, 15 minutes before you even start discussing substance, just focusing on rapport building, negotiating up the front of the class of the room.

How do we, Beth, with what you were just saying and Lon, jump in too, please. How do we use, how do we get students used to using AI because it's going to be part of their world without becoming over reliant? Are there, how do we create a classroom environment where we can integrate it and still address this cautionary concern about over reliance, and now we're not no longer critically thinking.

Integrating AI Into Negotiation Training: Enhancing Preparation And Practice [24:42]

BB : Yeah, that's a great question, and I'm just at the beginning of the on ramp on this. I'm currently teaching in a summer session and will, for the first time, have my students negotiate with AI to get some kinds of immediate feedback. So they're going to start to get some practice there. With that, and I guess what I would say off the top of my head, zooming out would be maybe let them use AI in their planning and preparation phase for some additional ideas or angles they hadn't considered.

And then we do require them in some instances to negotiate face to face. So use this as the augmenting tool for additional feedback coaching in the planning phase. And it could also even give feedback. We do this as well, on the outcomes, that would be my response.

AD : Like that. Lon, anything else?

LM : I would say the emphasis would be on the planning piece of a two arrow. How do we articulate our offer? How might I better justify? Create checklists to make sure I haven't missed something right. And putting that first offer together.

NM : Yeah, I think for me it's been helpful just to articulate any options that I'm generating and just make it more clear because it may make sense to me, but I don't know if it's going to be well received by the other person.

And so just. Hey, clean this up, please AI and presenting what I was going to say. And then them kicking out the response of just, Oh, that's much more concise, much more clear, especially when it is not face to face and you do have to communicate via something else. I found that's been the most effective.

And then what I'd also say, maybe an approach is. I'm still seeing the best results when groups of people get together and whether it's just someone else that's not related to that topic and just ask some questions and help generate some further thought. I don't think AI has been able to get to that level of detail and I don't think it's going to anytime soon with that regard.

So maybe be able to put it back in groups may be helpful. So as we wrap up, what is one piece of advice you would give to someone just starting out in their career? And looking to become a more effective negotiator and Beth, I'll kick it over to you.

Emphasizing Practice And Personal Authenticity In Negotiation Training [27:01]

BB : Yeah. My advice would be practice. Negotiation, I believe is a skill like any other skill that you've achieved, competence at that, we learn with practice. And I like to use a swimming analogy. A person could read every book on the topic of swimming, but until they get in the pool, we don't know if they're going to be able to swim or not. And that's the angle, the approach I teach. I take to teaching negotiation is students could read everything ever written on the subject, but until they're doing it, trying it, failing, not specifying the time frame, whatever the thing is, and gaining that practice, that's really how they're gonna get better.

I would suggest, you know, have fun with it, start small. I share this quote with my students at the end of the semester by Chester Karrass, in business as in life, you don't get what you deserve, but you get what you negotiate. And so just to really encourage people to be out there doing it, trying it both for themselves, their families, their organizations and businesses.

AD : Beth, that was a great response. When you have them practice and fail, do you do any sort of reflection? Is there a reflection piece built in? Can you just talk about that maybe as a learning point?

BB : Yes, actually, probably the two biggest learning opportunities in the way I teach the course are the reflections.

They do written reflections. I've had to cut back to lessen the number of assignments, but on most negotiations, they are doing a written reflection. And then the debrief, I find it a really rich learning opportunity. So we compare results and we ask everybody in the room, how and why did you end up with this result?

Not to make anybody feel bad, but to understand everybody started with the same information. And yet we see these range of outcomes and that's the interesting part that I want to get them to start to think about and be curious about, learn from each other.

AD : Yeah, thank you. Lon?

LM : Yeah, I'll just follow up on that here about the use of technology. Beth and I both teach negotiations online and I think people years past said you could never do this online. But the real value to me is we can record in breakout sessions negotiations. In years past, you'd walk around the classroom and get bits and pieces of a negotiation.

But it's great to have a reflection assembly Beth’s talking about where Nolan and Aram have to go back and watch their performance. And then I watch their performance, give them a little bit of coaching advice. So I think that's a really effective way to build that skill set. But in terms of, what would tell somebody that you've got to be yourself and that sounds really trite. But in the first chapter, we talk about the skills and traits of effective negotiators.

Finding your own negotiation voice is part of it, being genuine. And I use an example of my own case where I was trained by somebody who was everything I'm not: charismatic, bombastic, competitive. And then I started trying to copy that style. And unfortunately for me, I negotiated with some of the parties that knew him.

And so they called me out, made me embarrassed, but it was a good takeaway. I've got, I can't be him, but I could be me. And eventually I found my voice is more about collaborative negotiator. But again, I would just say. You can be an effective negotiator regardless of your personality type. It takes the practice. It takes the training, but a commitment to finding what is comfortable for you.

AD : Now, the piece about recording, it's always amazing to me. And students will say this all the time. They're like, I didn't know I was saying that until I watched the recording of myself. So you both, Beth, record your students as well and do some of the same things Lon was just talking about.

Enhancing Negotiation Skills Through Reflective Practice And Authentic Engagement [30:56]

BB : Yes, absolutely. We have a shared approach there. And like Lon said, I'll have them watch the recording and reflect on, answer some questions I've got. What did you notice? And then they're doing that over time. So what did you notice now at week five? You know that you've improved upon or is different and it might be simple things like I never once looked at the camera to I had a lot of filler words. I wasn't so prepared. So it's it ranges from negotiation as a topic to what are they doing on camera, but again, they're going to be operating in this virtual world. Many of them, going forward.

AD : Listen, thank you both so much for being with us. This has been a real joy. And I just, Lon, going back to what you wrapped up with, which was, we need to be ourselves. And I know that I say the same thing. I don't think it's trite at all. I think it's appropriate that we have power when we show up in a way that is genuine to who we are and negotiate consistently and not treated as some sort of hat or artificial thing I'm doing. We're show up in a genuine way. I think that helps us build that rapport and connection that you both have talked about.

LM : We appreciate the opportunity to talk about our book. We're proud of that. But we enjoy teaching negotiations and I hope that came across today.

AD : Sure did.

BB : Yeah. Thank you both for the opportunity. Really fun to get to discuss the topic of negotiation and how do we encourage undergrads or other people just to be more effective at this.

NM : Well, that is it for us on today's podcast. If you haven't already, please rate, review and subscribe to the NEGOTIATEx podcast and we'll see you in the next episode.

Featured EpisodesWe host some of the smartest minds in business

Join The NEGOTIATEx Team.

It is our promise that we will deliver massive value to your inbox in the form of new content notifications, exclusive content and more. Join the team today.

    Contact Us