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Key Takeaways

  • Leaders can convince their teams about the importance of negotiation training by examining the results of prepared and unprepared negotiations, highlighting the value of preparation, and establishing a norm of preparation through sharing materials.
  • Role-playing and red team exercises can be incorporated into the negotiation preparation process to improve skills and mindset, leading to a more optimistic approach to achieving value in negotiations.
  • Video analysis is a powerful tool for negotiation improvement. Watching oneself on video provides an objective perspective on body language, facial expressions, and communication style, helping negotiators gain valuable insights.
  • After-action reviews should be a regular practice, examining the preparation, conduct, and outcomes of negotiations. Learning from both successful and unsuccessful negotiations enhances organizational effectiveness in achieving strategic objectives.
  • Negotiators should be able to walk away from a deal if it doesn’t create good choices. Empowering negotiators with decision-making autonomy strengthens their leverage and helps achieve strategic objectives.
  • In negotiations, considering all stakeholders and involving them early in the process is crucial. Respectful engagement and addressing the real nature of problems lead to more successful outcomes.
  • Personal connections can complicate negotiations. Acknowledging the broader context beyond the transaction and building a positive relationship can change the negotiation dynamic and lead to mutually satisfying outcomes.
  • Different communication modes have limitations and convey different levels of information. Recognizing these limitations and choosing the appropriate mode based on the complexity and importance of the issue is important for effective negotiation.

Executive Summary:

Hey folks, thanks for joining us on another episode of the NEGOTIATEx podcast. We are continuing our conversation with Logan Kessler, the Engagement Leader with Vantage Partners. In Part A, Logan shared his unconventional path to working with Vantage Partners and discussed successfully integrating negotiation concepts into day-to-day business operations. 

He also emphasized the importance of organizations viewing negotiation as a competitive advantage and highlighted the role of leadership in reinforcing negotiation skills. Today, he explores these topics with more intricacy. So, without any further delay, let’s jump right in.

Motivating Teams for Successful Negotiations

To start off, Logan discusses how leaders can convince their teams about the importance of negotiations and prepare them for successful negotiations. He suggests examining the results achieved from both prepared and unprepared negotiations while looking for patterns and trends. 

Leaders can motivate their teams by highlighting the additional value that preparation brings, having an advantageous impact on performance, bonuses, and career progression. 

Another practice is for leaders to ask their teams to share their preparation materials before negotiations. This helps establish a norm of preparation, increases alignment between management and negotiators, clarifies the negotiators’ authority, and encourages brainstorming for additional opportunities.

Enhancing Negotiation Preparation: From Role-Playing to Red Team Exercises

Next, the discussion moves on to the topic of how leaders can incorporate rehearsal into the negotiation preparation process. Logan suggests various techniques for learning and preparation. One simple technique is role-playing, where leaders can spend a few minutes with a colleague, taking turns playing the counterpart and seeking feedback. 

More advanced techniques include red team exercises, where teams engage in full role plays. Logan shares an example of a client who dedicated two full days to preparing for a negotiation with the government, involving extensive role plays, debriefs, and coaching. The result was a shift in the negotiators’ mindset from having a contentious approach to feeling more prepared and optimistic about achieving value in the negotiation.

Unlocking Insights Through Video Analysis: A Powerful Tool for Negotiation Improvement

Moving on, Aram mentions recording his MBA students’ negotiations to help them understand how they present themselves and analyze their performance. He highlights the value of self-reflection and learning from watching oneself negotiate. Aram then asks Logan if he employs similar methods with clients and requests his observations on the matter.

In response, Logan discusses the effectiveness of video analysis for learning and self-reflection in negotiations. He shares a personal experience of using a video in a workshop where he played the role of a poor negotiator, and the clients critiqued his performance. 

Logan acknowledges that watching oneself on video can be uncomfortable but emphasizes its power as a learning technique. It provides an objective perspective on one’s body language, facial expressions, and communication style, all of which may not be fully realized during the actual negotiation. 

Despite the discomfort involved, Logan recommends video analysis as a best practice for negotiators who aim to improve and gain valuable insights into their negotiation approach.

Harnessing the Power of After-Action Reviews

Moving on, Aram discusses the importance of reviews in negotiations and the lessons one can learn from them. Logan highlights that many organizations treat after-action reviews as a regular practice, rather than just for exceptional or poor negotiations. 

The review process involves examining the preparation, conduct, and outcomes of negotiations. It considers both the process and the substantive outcome, going beyond financial metrics to include strategic value, operational value, and relationship health. 

Logan also emphasizes the significance of giving negotiators the ability to fail or walk away from a deal. He shares a story about a negotiator who achieved the best outcome by rejecting a deal that would have set a detrimental precedent. Learning from the deals that are walked away from is just as important as learning from successful deals. 

Once negotiators are empowered with decision-making autonomy, it enhances organizational effectiveness in achieving strategic objectives and strengthens negotiators’ leverage.

The Art of Walking Away and Creating Good Choices

Subsequently, the speakers discuss the challenge of walking away from a negotiation. Aram points out that there is a common misconception that the purpose of a negotiation is solely to reach an agreement. Logan adds that the purpose is to create good choices, even if it means walking away. 

Logan points out that in sales contexts, it can be particularly difficult because sales organizations are often motivated to close deals and may find it hard to say no. Instead, they may focus on obtaining internal approval to lower prices or sweeten the deal. 

Involving Stakeholders and the Power of Respectful Engagement

When asked to share a negotiation failure, Logan shares his experience while working on a water aqueduct project during his time in the Peace Corps. Despite securing funding and community support, his team encountered a problem when they realized they needed to build the tank on a piece of land owned by an individual who was not “well-integrated” into the community. 

Their initial approach was met with outright rejection. Logan reflects on the importance of considering all stakeholders and involving them early in the process. Had they included this individual and treated them with respect from the beginning, they could have saved several months of time. 

Eventually, they were able to bring the person around and provide water to the village. Aram relates this experience to the concept of stakeholder mapping and the need to address the real nature of problems and involve all relevant parties. He mentions the book “The Ugly American,” which explores these themes, and recommends it to Logan.

Navigating Complex Connections In Negotiations

Next, Logan Kessler shares his recent negotiation success when purchasing a home. The unique aspect of this negotiation was that the sellers were good friends of a mutual friend, making the situation more complex due to the personal connections involved. The sellers anticipated a contentious and low-ball negotiation, assuming that Logan would try to get the house at a very low price. 

However, during their first call, Logan paused to acknowledge the broader context beyond just the transaction, including mutual friendships and the sellers’ second mortgage. This shift in tone and framing changed the entire conversation and negotiation dynamic. Ultimately, they reached an outcome that left everyone involved feeling happy and satisfied. 

Logan humorously notes that this negotiation was the nearest and dearest to his heart, despite not being a grand professional end-type story.

Choosing the Right Communication Modality: Recognizing Limitations and Maximizing Understanding

Moving on, Aram asks Logan about the appropriate use of different communication modalities in negotiations. Logan mentions the importance of recognizing the limitations of different modes of communication and the information they convey. 

In-person interactions provide a wealth of information through words, facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice. On the other hand, text messages and emails lack these cues, leading to potential misunderstandings and assumptions about the tone. Logan suggests considering the complexity and importance of the issue being discussed. For less complex and non-critical matters, text or email can be efficient. 

However, as the complexity and importance increase, it is advisable to shift to communication modes that allow for more nuanced interaction, such as phone calls, video conferencing, or in-person meetings. Being conscious of the chosen communication mode is part of the preparation process, as getting it wrong can have significant consequences.

Thank you for listening!

Transcript

Nolan Martin : Hey everyone, thanks for joining us in the NEGOTIATEx Podcast. We are continuing our conversation with Logan Kessler, engagement leader with Vantage Partners. If you haven't already checked out part A of this show, be sure to do that first. Let's jump into the conversation with Logan.

NM : What advice do you have, Logan? So, some organizations may not be completely bought in, but listeners of this podcast could be bought in on the importance of negotiations. How do those leaders convince their team or what metrics, what should they do to make sure their team are preparing to enter the negotiations that they may have day in, day out?  So, how can we get the leader to get involved in that process?

Best Practices In Negotiation Management: Fostering Alignment And Empowering Negotiators [01:42]

Logan Kessler : Yeah. I think one powerful thing, so a couple thoughts. One powerful thing is taking a look at results you achieve from the negotiations you prepare for and the negotiations you don't, and it's not going to be a perfect apple to apple comparison, but I would be willing to bet a pretty good amount of money that you'll start to see patterns and trends over the negotiations you prepare for and the outcome you achieve.

And by the way, when I'm talking about outcome, I don't mean just financial metrics, right? I mean, both measuring on a strategic level, on a relationship level, on an operational level, there are many different metrics to measure success in negotiation. But when you look across those outcomes, you're going to see differences. And I think highlighting the additional value that you are able to achieve by preparing is a really good way to sell that idea and practice into the organization.

It's a really good way to motivate your team to say, look, if you take an hour or two hours to prepare, you're going to be able to achieve this much more, and that's going to have this X, Y, Z impact on your performance, on your bonus, on your career progression, whatever it may be. I think the other thing to think about is leaders asking their teams to show them their preparation materials before going into a negotiation, right?

I would describe that as a best practice from a management perspective. If you create the expectation that your teams must submit to you whatever the preparation process is, right? There's different templates and processes, whatever works for organization, but set that up as an expectation, as a role and responsibility for someone on the team. That's a really good way, A: to drive that practice into a normal habit for your teams. It's a really good way to increase alignment between management and negotiators on kind of what they expect. What is their leeway as a negotiator, what authority do they have to decide? And it's a really good way to creatively brainstorm what additional opportunities may be possible here.

NM : And then how can someone, like, how can a leader, you know, another thing that obviously Aram and I have used in our military experience and then have also used during some of our training or consulting engagements, but interested to get your take on it, is how can a leader set up the rehearsal process as part of the preparation process? How can they make sure that they're actually thinking about the other person again into the other person's shoes? Can you elaborate on any of that?

Enhancing Negotiation Skills through Learning and Preparation Techniques [4:03]

LK : Yeah, I mean, you know, there's, there's a bunch of different techniques from a learning perspective and preparation process, right? There's just simple role-playing, right? Just take five, ten minutes and, you know, with a colleague say, okay, you sit in the, the external counterpart side, I'm going to run a couple lines by you, get some feedback. Obviously, there's more robust techniques around red team-type exercises where you actually engage in it. You can actually do like full team role plays. I was just with a client, internationally a couple months ago where I went down and we took two full days to help them prepare their negotiation with the government over some market access issues.

And we took two full days to like run through the preparation process, do full role plays, get debriefs and coaching. And it totally changed not only the mindset that these negotiators were bringing into what they were previously described it as a very contentious, you know, knockdown fight type negotiation into feeling much more prepared and optimistic about the value that they might be able to achieve.

Aram Donigian : So many great examples there. In terms of getting prepared. I wanted to ask, have you been involved with either helping clients prepare playbooks? Do you see much out there in playbooks? Where are those sort of things helpful for negotiation preparation as well as execution? Obviously, any thoughts on the kind of the playbook building?

Customizable Strategies: Empowering Negotiators To Think On Their Feet [05:24]

LK : Yeah, definitely. So we do a lot of playbooks. Playbooks, toolkits, right? They go by many different names in many different versions, but I think the biggest thing with a playbook is that it needs to be robust enough to be helpful, but not so prescriptive that it takes the ability of the negotiator to think on their feet and be agile in a negotiation. And so as you're thinking about playbooks and the different tactics or strategies, right? A couple things that we find really helpful.

First is just identification of the dynamics, right? What, who are the counterparts? What are the challenges? What does this negotiation look like? What are the factors here by which I can kind of type this negotiation? Then, given that, right, you want to leave enough leeway in for folks to be able to customize, right? We're not creating a script, we're not creating, it's not quite like, you know, a football playbook where there's 200 plays that we just run, you know, 28 blue.

Once you've an idea of the context you're getting into in the negotiation, you want to provide different tips, advice, strategies to approach it. And they have to be customizable because no playbook is ever going to be so robust or so exhaustive that it captures every possible scenario or outcome. You've got to give guardrails advice, helpful strategies and tactics for negotiators to be able to take on board, but then make it their own. They've going to be able to think freely and creatively.

AD : So it's still a start point. and it sounds like to kind of prompt some of the, what we want to see at the negotiation table, the creativity, the investigation, the listening, so forth.

LK : I'd say probably half if not more of the most helpful content you can have in a playbook is provocative questions, right? You want to get the negotiator to think about the different scenarios, challenges, unforeseen obstacles they could arise, and how can we prepare for those eventualities?

NM : Hey Aram, so I got a question for you. I know that…

AD : Oh no. Oh no.

NM : I thought, yeah, I know. Now you're on the hot seat. Hey, so I know for your MBA students that you actually like to record them. I was wondering how effective that is and, and letting them understand how they show up to a negotiation, and if either of you have ever used that with any of your consulting engagements or anything like that, and what the outcomes of that were.

AD : Yeah, I'm going to go real quick because I want to hear Logan's response plus he's our guest. So I wanted to, I will tell you this, is that whenever, whenever we do the recording, we do it every, every term, to do one, I encourage them to do it more. I don't think any of 'em ever take me up on that. There's always a groan of pain, of I've going to record this, and then you want me to go back and watch it and then analyze myself, right?

And there's a screw of pain. I also find that it tends to be the turning point in the course for many students who say, wow, I learned so much through watching myself negotiate for that hour. That's what I sound like. Those are things I say and do and so it becomes incredibly helpful. Logan, do you use that with clients and what are your observations?

Objective Self-Reflection: Harnessing the Learning Potential of Video Analysis [08:38]

LK : All the time. And this is hitting a sore spot for me right now, actually. I'm flying out this afternoon, as I mentioned. I'm doing a day-long workshop tomorrow with a client. In the workshop, we're actually using a video in which I was an actor to analyze negotiation dynamics. So I've got, not only do I have to watch myself on video, I've going to watch myself playing a poor negotiator in front of a room full of clients that are then going to critique and tell me all the things I did wrong. So I feel like you're just going to poke in the verb a little bit, but no, as Aram said, it's video. Watching yourself on video is an incredibly powerful learning technique. You never know fully what you sound like, your body language, your facial expressions, the words you use until you watch it back. You've got this kind of rosy view or maybe overly negative view, honestly.  It can swing both ways of how you are showing up at a negotiation table, but having that kind of objective look back at yourself, as uncomfortable as it may be sometimes, is really powerful.

So, I would recommend it to any, you know, budding, improving, growing experience, negotiators kind of a best practice.

AD : Yeah, I'll give a quick example on this too, and I know we move on, but had a student in the debrief of the case that we negotiated before going back and watching the video. The student was like, it was so frustrated because he said, I kept trying to get to interest. I wanted to understand what they needed, why they needed it. I was trying to get their motivations. And then we went back and I watched my students' videos and every question that that student was asking was, so what is it you want? What is it you really want? Okay, what would you be willing to give up to get what you want? And they were all positional questions, and it was just so eye-opening to say, oh, the reason I wasn't getting more in the responses was because of the nature of the questions I was asking. I was getting answers, I was getting the right answer for the question I was getting. I just was asking the wrong question.

Mastering Effective Communication in Negotiation: Moving Beyond Words [10:33]

LK : To that point, Aram, it's you know, we teach different models, different language frameworks for negotiation, right? And they have the words, right? The words, interest options, legitimacy, relationship, communication, alternative commitment, whatever the words may be, they connote asserting meaning, behavior or objective, right? But it's not just the words. You can't just say, so tell me what your interests are, right? You've got to adopt it, you've got to make it your own. You've got to adapt it to the context. And you've come off, you know, well, tell me what your interests are. Okay? I think I have your three interests here listed in bullets, and now we're going to move to generating options, you know, in spirit. Yeah, that's great, but you going to make it sound like, you know, a human, not a robot. Otherwise, ChatGPTs coming for all of our jobs.

AD : [Laughs] That's another conversation we could have for another day. Yeah, I think it's absolutely to the point. Well, we, listen, we've spent a lot of time talking about getting well-prepared for negotiation and I know we all, we all know that equally important is the review process, and the lessons that can be gleaned. And, I'm going to assume that those organizations that you work with that are really invested kind of in no negotiation as a corporate capability, competitive advantage, invest in the, the kind of lessons learned process.

What have you seen work for leaders to pull those lessons out and make sure they get reintegrated for future negotiations?

Mastering The Art Of After Action Reviews: Enhancing Organizational Negotiation Practices [11:54]

LK : Yeah, so a couple of thoughts. Definitely the more mature negotiations from a, the more mature organizations from a negotiation- a lot of “tion “ words in there. What they're able to do is implement it after actual reviews as a regular practice, right? Not just after the negotiations that went really well, the negotiations that went really poorly, the ones that, you know, just every fifth or so negotiation because they had time , they're doing it as a regular practice.

And when we talk about an after action review, we're talking about a couple of things here. One is the process; so how did we prepare over time? How did we conduct the negotiation and how did we review it? Did we create a process that enabled us that put us in a situation, in a position to succeed, right? And there are lessons to be learned there, even in the most successful negotiations. That's the process point that you want to take a look at.

The other point is the outcome, right? The substantive outcome. And when we talked about, we talked about just a little bit ago, outcome means more than just how much money did I get, right? It's more than just the financial metrics. It's talking about the strategic value that we were able to achieve. Sometimes your objective is to position yourself into a new market as a new entrant, and you're willing to give on other metrics to get in that position, right? Strategic value, sometimes it's operational value. Do we negotiate and come up with a commitment that we're actually able to live by, commit to, and operationalize, right? What does the handoff look like? What do the actual realistic commitments mean? The next is from a real, relationship perspective, did we come out with, you know, healthier relationships than when we went in? Or did we get the money we wanted, but those guys hate us now and they're never going to want to work for or with us again. And so looking at the outcome from a holistic perspective is really important.

The other thing I'll say about kind of after action reviews and just the ability to continue improving as an organization and how you negotiate is giving your negotiators the ability to fail or say no and walk away from a deal. One client that I work with is, you know, I won't tell his story, but he's got a story about the best deal he ever negotiated was the one he walked away from because the agreement, the yes was there, but after looking at it, it would've, you know, set up terrible precedent for this organization and the market and with this partner, and they would've stood to, you know, risk losing quite a bit of money over time.

And this negotiator had the ability to tell their manager, no, we're not going to say yes to this. I know we've been spending time on it, we've been sending resources, it's something we want, but this deal, this negotiated outcome does not reach, does not match the objectives we are trying to achieve here. And we need to be able to walk away from that. And being able to learn from the deals we walk away from is as important as the deals we say yes to. And reinforcing negotiator's ability to do that only makes the organization more effective and using negotiation as a tool to achieve their strategic imperatives as well as increase the leverage of negotiators because they're able to use and exercise their BATNA right (best alternative to a negotiated agreement) for folks that may have not heard that acronym before.

AD : And I think that's so difficult to do sometimes, right? We fall into a trap, which we believe, and you're countering this, you said it so well, we believe the purpose of a negotiation is to reach an agreement. And we can't go a little step further and say, actually the purpose of a negotiation is create good choices for ourselves. And sometimes that choice means walking away. And if I'm a leader, have I equipped my negotiator, or the team to be able to walk away? And that's really difficult sometimes.

The Power Of Walking Away: Rethinking Sales Strategies In Negotiations [15:40]

LK : Particularly in a sales context, right? Sales organizations have, and you know, this isn’t a criticism, it's just a, you know, a result of the world in which they live and how they're motivated and incented. It's, you know, walking away from a customer, a potential deal is really hard just not only for the individual but for the organization, right? That's just not how sales organizations are motivated. And so that often looks like their alternative is, well, I can't say no, it's just a matter of how much can I get internal approval to drop the price or the services or whatever it is, right? Make it a little sweeter.

And so recognizing the macro BATNA of walking away versus the micro BATNA of hitting pause coming back later, bringing in more players to a negotiation, right? Not all alternatives are created equal.

AD : As you were talking about kind of the metrics and the review process of the outcome, and you talked about kind of that you were talking about the ability to actually commit to something and kind of execute on it. And this idea of the value of implementation. We know there's a lot of deals that get negotiated that the value we thought we were creating never sees the light of day. Can you talk a little bit more about why you advise negotiators to negotiate with this idea, this concept of whether it's an implementation mindset or with what execution is going to look like in mind and that the negotiator's job doesn't really end at the table, but ends when the deal is fulfilled?

Maximizing Value in Negotiations: Embracing Long-Term Vision and Inclusive Decision-Making [16:59]

LK : Yeah, I mean the examples are everywhere, right? I mean, how many mergers and acquisitions fail because, or at least are not able to realize the value they envisioned at the negotiation table because implementation, assimilation, integration of the organizations just didn't happen, right? It's because so often the folks who are negotiating the deal, often people in finance and legal are not thinking about the downstream operations of how to actually make these companies work.

And often it's not, you know, it's certainly not bad intent. More often than not, it's just not including enough or the right people at the table to think through these measures. You know, you see an industry that does this exceptionally well is the oil and gas industry, right? To make these projects viable, they have to look at it over the 20, 30, 40, 50 year timeline. And when you are looking at a negotiated outcome, thinking 50 years in advance, your whole mindset mentality is totally different than if all you're focusing on is getting ink on the contract and then you're off to the next thing and it's someone else's problem. And it shows up in time and time again in how much value organizations are actually able to get out of the negotiation, as you said Aram so well is the purpose of negotiation is not to get an agreement. The purpose of negotiation is to achieve some outcome that you would not be able to achieve on your own or create options for yourself, right? And that's a really important mindset shift if you really want to get true value over time in negotiations.

NM : As a career negotiator, especially given the work you did with the Peace Corps- do you have an example that you can share of a negotiation failure that you learned from?

Lessons from the Field: The Significance of Early Engagement with Stakeholders [18:40]

LK : [Laughs] So, I'll share a failure that comes to mind. So one of the projects I was doing in the Peace Corps actually, and this was years before I was working for Vantage and you know, and then the expert that I am today. So I never make these mistakes now. Never happens. But you know, we were working on bringing a water aqueduct system to the village that I was living in. And, you know, there was like the natural occurring well up in the mountains, you had to pipe that down to a tank, then you had to pipe it and like to each individual home so they had clean drinking water, right? No brainer. This is going to be totally easy.

Well, you know, after getting the funding, after getting, you know, most of the community leaders on board with the project, we start mapping it out. And this is, you know, over acres of space and land. Well, you know, it just so happens that because of the altitude and the direction you needed to do the pipes, we needed to build the tank on one specific part of land. Just so happens that plot of land belonged to someone who was not as well-integrated into the community, shall we say, as some others. And so when we brought this idea to them, right. It was a flat out no, get off my porch, or, you know, what it is, type conversation. And so, you know, we thought we had the slam dunk with the community leaders, different workers. We had the funding to do the project, but we hadn't fully taken to account all of the stakeholders that we needed to get agreement from, and we didn't involve that person early enough for the process.

And so to the point about preparation and wasting time, if we had just included this one individual earlier on in the conversations, treated them with ultimately just the respect that they wanted. It wasn't, they didn't want money, they didn't want to like deprive the village of water. They just wanted some respect. And if we had just done that by inviting them to two more meetings, we would've saved probably three months in this overall process. Eventually we're able to bring this person around and bring water to the village. But, you know, it's just another example of preparation, thinking about who is at the table, who do you need to involve when and how.

AD : Yeah, I think that's an interesting example of even what we do around stakeholder mapping and the importance of kind of doing some of that work up front of all the different parties to a negotiation. It also reminded me of, because of your role, I don’t know if you've ever read the book, The Ugly American, it's one of my favorites for folks that are going out to do this sort of work. I read it before going to Afghanistan and part of that story there was the difference between coming up with a solution that's workable for the people that we’re trying to help that actually addresses the problem fully, right? You know, versus just a solution that is never going to see, never going to be effective, it's never going to work because, you know, because of this party that needs to be on board isn't integrated into the community and right.

So it's like understanding the real nature of problems and it's easy sometimes to ignore that stuff. It's just, as you talked about it that remind me of that book The Ugly American, it's where the phrase came from, like the people like, oh, ugly American traveling across, you know, other shores. The best negotiator in this was actually, he was physically ugly, he was face was like pockmark or whatever and stuff, but he was actually, the Ugly American's actually the hero of the story. So it's good book. You'll enjoy it. It would take you, you're a pretty smart guy. It'd probably take you a day to read.

NM : We asked you about a failure that you had and appreciate everything that you shared with us there. We can at least give you the opportunity to explain a success that you've had as a negotiator.

Navigating Personal Connections: Negotiating A Home Purchase With Friends [22:12]

LK : I guess I'll just kind of stick on the personal screen here because it's so fresh of mine too. So I just bought a home actually, and it just so happened that I was introduced to the sellers before they listed the home. And so it was an off market deal, which was great, but also complicating, or potentially complicating the negotiation was that the sellers were very good friends of a mutual friend. So this was much more on the line than just, you know, buying something a house. There were friendships, relationships, reputations at risk here.

And so the sellers were expecting a very contentious low ball type negotiation where we tried to low ball them and get the, you know, the house for as low and cheap as we possibly could. But fortunately in kind of the setup, the first call we had with them where we were moving forward, I just kind of paused and I said, Hey, you know, let me just acknowledge that we're not just buying and selling a house here. We've got mutual friends, you've got a second mortgage we're trying to get out of our apartment. There's a lot going on here than just the price we're going to buy and sell, right? There's timing and everything too. So let's just acknowledge that there's a lot of stuff going on here that we need to figure out and try to figure out what is going to work best for everyone here. And it really changed the whole tone of the conversation, negotiation, even from prior emails that we had with these folks. And ultimately we are able to get an outcome that everyone's really happy with. I think that everyone's really happy with it. So you, you might have been hoping for a more, you know, professional, big, unfortunately end type story I have here, but that's the most near and dear negotiation in card. [laugh].

NM : No, that's great.

AD : Hey, listen, anyone who's listening who ever, you know, bought their home can certainly appreciate that. and the complexities and we like to hear how these skills show up, right? It's one thing to be the master trainer in the room. It's another thing when you're trying to practice these in your own life. And before I go into a wrap up question, you mentioned kind of the email piece. You know, we are living in a very diverse world when it comes to modalities of where and how negotiations occur. Do you have any thoughts on, or advice for listeners on, you know, when to shift from email, when's an email appropriate, when to shift from it, when to go to a different modality? Are there any things that you try to practice?

Mastering Communication Channels: Choosing the Right Mode of Communication for Effective Negotiations [24:24]

LK : Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think just recognizing the issue is so important because, you know, based on the type of interaction we're having, we get more or less information, right? When we are in person, in a room with someone, we have information from the words they're using, facial expression, their body language, their tone of voice, their volume of voice, right? There's just so much we can pick up on when you switch that to like, you know, as basic as like a text message where you've got 40 words, you're losing the tone, you're losing facial expression, body language, all of those things, right? And so in the absence of that direct information that you have, your mind will fill in with all kinds of assumptions, often unhelpful ones about what the other person intended to mean and that, and that message they were trying to send.

And so, you know, the way we like to think about it, right? Like everyone, good consultant, we've got our nice two by two or three by three grid here about where on one access is kind of, you know, complexity of the issue that we're trying to discuss. And on the other axis is like importance, right? And if you're down in this bottom left corner where it's not a particularly complex issue and it's not a particularly critical issue that needs to be resolved, something like text or email is okay, right? That can be more efficient. But as you move up into that kind of northeastern corner where issues get more complex and more critical, you do want to move into modes of communication that allows for more nuanced back and forth, right? So that's when you're getting into phone, is better often than just like text or email. Video like this, is better than phone. In person is better than video. And so you just want to be conscious, and this is part of a preparation honestly. Is, as you're thinking about different interests or different options you're going to generate, right? Communication, one of the elements we talk about so much, this is something you want to be thinking about. What are the ways and modes we're going to be interacting with, because to get it wrong can have really high cost.

AD : Logan, as we get ready to wrap up, any final thoughts or key takeaways you'd like to leave our listeners with? Or if you had one piece of advice in terms of what can they be doing to become more negotiators and influencers, what would you advise them?

Developing a Strategic Mindset and Cultivating Negotiation Skills: Keys to Continuous Improvement [26:36]

LK : Yeah, I think two things come to mind. The first one we already touched on a bit, but I really just want to kind of underscore it here. In that kind of starting with the mindset and assumptions about what negotiation is, right? The purpose of negotiation, as we've said, is not to get an agreement. The purpose of negotiation is to achieve an outcome that you would not have been able to achieve on your own. And when you start to think about negotiation in that manner, it really kind of opens up the world of possibilities about kind of, what negotiation is, how do we use it, and how do we use it well. And just shifting that appreciation in your head brings you from kind of a conflict-oriented event that we kind of call negotiation and what we see in the movies to kind of a strategic process where we use that to achieve our strategic imperatives and objectives. And that's a really important mindset shifts that all of the behaviors and strategies follow from.

The second thing I would say is being able to negotiate is a learned skill, not an inherent capability. By adopting a growth mindset and recognizing that every negotiation, every interaction is a learning opportunity, not a direct kind of evaluation on your inherent capabilities as a negotiator gives you the ability to continuously improve by learning from your mistakes. And you know, you hear from folks like me and folks much more qualified than me that, you know, are experts in negotiation. But we all started somewhere, right? We were not born expert negotiators. We started somewhere, we learned and we continuously learned.

And all of the mistakes that I advise my clients on, I make 'em too, right? I'm human. We all get things wrong from time to time. It's being able to spot the errors, understand the errors within some kind of system or framework so that you can make sense of them and be specific about what it is you did wrong and what you could have done differently, and then applying a different strategy in the future. And that's how we get better every day.

AD : Logan, thanks for those insights so much to take away from today. And before I kick it over to Nolan, I just want to say again, thank you. Thanks for taking the time. Thanks for working through the tech issues, just to talk to us and share your insights with us so much around mindset. Even the thing I'd probably put on is whether it's in preparation or whether it's in ensuring we're aligning incentives, think broadly beyond just fine financial metrics, right? Think broadly about other things of the implementation of it, the relationship, all these other components that tie into what's going to yield a very effective negotiation. Thanks, hope to see you soon

LK : Thanks for having me.

NM : Well, that's it for us on today's podcast. Appreciate you listening. Please rate, review and subscribe if you have it already. And we'll see you in the next episode.

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