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Key Takeaways

  • Teaching negotiation significantly improves students’ abilities, emphasizing the deep impact of education on skill development in practical settings.
  • Negotiation skills are crucial professionally and in everyday personal interactions, highlighting their broad relevance.
  • Clear communication is essential in negotiations to avoid misunderstandings and ensure agreements are accurately understood and implemented.
  • Recognizing and managing emotions plays a critical role in negotiations, impacting decision-making and the ability to effectively resolve conflicts.
  • Educators should focus on making negotiation principles accessible through practical, real-life scenarios that resonate with students, facilitating easier understanding and application.
  • Effective negotiation often involves strategic approaches to overcome deadlocks, including understanding the opposing party’s perspective and finding common interests to bridge gaps.

Executive Summary:

Hi everyone! Welcome to another exciting episode of the NEGOTIATEx podcast. Today, we have a special show lined up for you as we’re joined by esteemed guests Beth Bellman and Lon Moeller from the Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa.

Beth is an Associate Professor of Instruction. She specializes in teaching negotiation to undergraduates, emphasizing the importance of communication and an interest-based approach to creating value in both business and personal relationships. 

As for Lon, he is also a Professor of Instruction and has extensive experience in negotiation and conflict resolution, both in academia and through his work as a labor arbitrator and mediator. Additionally, the two professors have co-authored the insightful book, “The Road to Success: Learning How to Become an Effective Negotiator.”

With that said, let’s delve into the insights that they share in this episode.

A Deep Dive Into Career Journeys Of Beth And Lon

Aram sets the tone for the conversation by asking Beth and Lon to share their motivations for entering the field of negotiation and conflict resolution. 

Beth shares that her path was unplanned; her interest sparked during a master’s program where an engaging negotiation course challenged her, subsequently leading to a teaching position.. 

Talking about Lon, his journey began in graduate school, inspired by a professor deeply involved in labor mediation and arbitration. His experiences, combined with the real-world implications of collective bargaining, steered him towards practicing labor and employment law and later mediation and arbitration. 

Both guests emphasize the transformative impact of teaching negotiation, noting the significant progression in students’ skills over the course of their studies.

Navigating Challenges: Lon Reflects On A Complex Health Insurance Negotiation

Next, Nolan requests Lon to share a particularly tough negotiation he has participated in, asking what made it difficult and how he helped the parties involved reach an agreement.

Lon responds by sharing a challenging early negotiation experience that occurred during his tenure as an attorney. He was tasked with renegotiating the terms of health insurance payments for a company’s production employees, where the company had historically covered 100% of the premiums. 

His objective was to have the employees start paying 10% of their monthly health insurance premiums. After multiple bargaining sessions, Lon believed he had secured an agreement. However, he soon discovered a critical oversight: there had been no explicit agreement on when the employee contributions were to begin. 

The company assumed the change would start in the first year of the new contract, while the union believed it would start in the third year. This miscommunication led to further negotiations, ultimately compromising with a start in the second year.

Lon highlights this experience as a significant learning moment, emphasizing the importance of thorough communication and clarification in negotiations. He reflects on the natural urge to conclude negotiations swiftly, which can lead to oversights and misunderstandings. This experience not only taught him valuable professional lessons but also enriched his teaching by providing real-world insights and cautionary tales to share with his students.

The Impactful Role Of A Faculty Ombudsperson In Conflict Resolution

Moving on, Lon sheds light on the role of a faculty ombudsperson in the podcast. He describes the ombudsperson as a neutral, confidential resource within an organization’s conflict management system, typically interacting with faculty, staff, and students. Unlike acting as an attorney, advocate, or mediator, the ombudsperson’s primary role is to listen to complaints, suggest solutions, and guide individuals to appropriate resources. 

Occasionally, he might participate in the problem-solving process if requested. Lon emphasizes a key insight from his experience: not everyone seeks a resolution to their problem; many just need to be heard. 

He stresses the importance of listening in conflict situations, noting that feeling unheard can exacerbate conflicts. This approach, he shares, is not only effective in resolving conflicts but also pivotal in building rapport and understanding within the university community.

The Need For Emotional Intelligence In Negotiation

Beth discusses the influence of her background in decision neuroscience on her approach to teaching negotiation, emphasizing the integral role of emotions and feelings in decision-making processes. 

She highlights that decisions are not solely based on rationality but are significantly influenced by emotional factors. In her teaching, she encourages students to recognize and articulate their own emotional needs and those of others in negotiation contexts. This approach allows for a more holistic understanding of negotiation, blending intellectual goals with emotional needs.

Furthermore, Beth elaborates on the importance of effective communication, linking it to negotiation success and relationship building. She underscores the value of active listening, clarifying that it does not necessarily imply agreement but is crucial for acknowledging others’ perspectives, especially in emotionally charged situations. 

This skill is foundational for personal and professional interactions, helping to foster understanding and cooperation even without consensus. Beth views communication as a core negotiation skill essential for relationship building and team effectiveness within organizations.

Crafting “The Road to Success” For Aspiring Negotiators

Moving on, the guests discuss the inspiration behind their book, “The Road to Success: Learning How to Become an Effective Negotiator,” aimed primarily at undergraduate students. Lon highlights that the existing negotiation textbooks and case studies were often too complex, tailored more towards MBA students. 

This gap led them and their colleague Terry Boles to create a more approachable textbook that tackles negotiation scenarios undergraduates are more likely to encounter. It includes issues such as negotiating apartment leases or first-job salaries.

Lon uses a driving analogy to explain the learning process in negotiation, inspired by his experience teaching his daughter to drive. He likens the initial confidence students feel after reading about negotiation to a new driver who has only read the manual; both groups find the actual practice more challenging than anticipated. 

The analogy extends to the various skills and adaptabilities required in driving, such as situational awareness and planning, which parallel the skills needed in effective negotiation.

Beth adds that their textbook is designed to be engaging and accessible for undergraduates. It has shorter lengths, colorful images, and clear organization that encourages students to read through and engage with the material fully. 

This user-friendly approach, she notes, has been effective in getting students involved with the material, marking a significant success in their educational approach.

Beth And Lon Highlight Essential Negotiation Strategies

On a similar note, Beth and Lon discuss their favorite sections of their book on negotiation, “The Road to Success: Learning How to Become an Effective Negotiator.”

Beth selects a chapter focused on reference points in negotiations, specifically distributive bargaining. She underscores the significance of this concept for students, linking it to strategic planning, understanding alternatives (BATNA), setting aspiration levels, and using authoritative standards to support demands.

Beth believes these elements are critical for students to remember long after completing the course, underscoring their practical application in real-world negotiation scenarios.

Lon, on the other hand, prefers a chapter that deals with the use of agents in negotiations, strategies for overcoming impasses, and the role of third parties, such as mediators and arbitrators. He relates this choice to his professional experiences, noting that many students will either act as agents in negotiations post-graduation or engage with agents in significant life events like buying a house. 

Additionally, he stresses the importance of understanding these aspects, including the procedural and strategic implications of mediation and arbitration in commercial contracts. This knowledge is crucial not only for potential law students but also for any professional navigating complex negotiations.

Lon’s Guide To Navigating Impasses In Negotiation

Lon also elaborates on strategies for overcoming negotiation impasses, drawing from William Ury’s techniques in his book “Getting Past No.” He outlines a multi-step process designed to help negotiators effectively navigate deadlocks:

#1 Going To The Balcony 

This step involves taking a mental step back to assess the situation from a more objective standpoint. It allows negotiators to understand the dynamics and why the impasse occurred.

#2 Putting Yourself In The Other Person’s Shoes 

This involves understanding the other party’s perspective, which can help frame the discussion toward mutual interests rather than conflicting positions.

#3 Building The Golden Bridge 

It focuses on identifying and emphasizing common interests to find a middle ground to reach an agreement.

#4 Using Power To Educate 

The final step involves considering the consequences of not reaching an agreement and using this understanding to inform negotiation tactics. This ties back to the concept of BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement), originally introduced by Roger Fisher and William Ury in “Getting to Yes.” The idea is to ensure that any agreement reached is better than the alternative of not agreeing.

Lon highlights the importance of these steps in teaching students and negotiators not to simply settle for any agreement but to strive for one superior to other available options. It resolves the immediate impasse and enhances the negotiators’ understanding of their own needs and those of the opposing party, leading to more effective and satisfactory outcomes.

Beth Highlights The Role Of Cognitive Awareness In Negotiation Success

Towards the end, Beth explores the importance of reference points in negotiation, especially in distributive bargaining, and clarifies that these concepts are also relevant to integrative bargaining.

She differentiates between BATNA and the bottom line, stressing the need to seek agreements that surpass the BATNA and create added value for all parties rather than just settling.

Beth also shares her enthusiasm for Chapter 9 on Perception, Heuristics, and Biases, highlighting her background in social psychology. She explains that a major focus in teaching negotiation involves raising students’ awareness of their cognitive biases and heuristics. 

During negotiations, it helps them recognize and pause to reconsider their automatic assumptions, stereotypes, or loss aversion tendencies. This pause allows them to gather more information and make more informed decisions, improving their negotiation outcomes.

The discussion underscores the importance of psychological understanding in negotiations and how awareness of one’s mental models and biases can enhance negotiation skills and effectiveness.

Thank you for your time!

Transcript

Nolan Martin : Hello, and welcome to the NEGOTIATEx podcast. I am your co-host, co-founder, Nolan Martin. With me, good friend, co-host, co-founder. Aram, how are you doing today, sir?

Aram Donigian : Great Nolan. Good to see you.

NM : Yep, absolutely. Let's get this one started.

AD : Sure. Folks, this is a pleasure for me to introduce our guests today. Beth Bellman is an Associate Professor of Instruction in the Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa in the department of Management and Entrepreneurship. She earned her PhD in interdisciplinary studies, decision neuroscience from the University of Iowa.

Beth has been teaching negotiation primarily to undergraduate students for the past 12 years in person and online in both synchronous and asynchronous formats. Professor Bellman believes that teaching students about negotiations can improve both their business and personal relationships as they learn to become better communicators and to take an interest-based approach to creating value.

Lon Moeller is a Professor of Instruction at the Tippie College of Business, University of Iowa, and has held senior administrative positions in higher education. He received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Iowa. Lon worked in private law practice, served as faculty ombudsperson, and has conducted negotiation and conflict resolution training for corporate and non profit clients.

Professor Moeller is a labor arbitrator and mediator and has been involved in extensive business negotiations and labor management, collective bargaining sessions over the years. He has co-authored three other books in the areas of entrepreneurship, business management, and conflict resolution. Beth and Lon are co-authors on the book: The Road to Success: Learning How to Become an Effective Negotiator. Along with their colleague, Terry Boles.

Thank you both for joining us today.

Lon Moeller : Glad to be here.

Beth Bellman : Yeah, thank you. It's exciting to have the opportunity to discuss negotiations with you, specifically other educators. Interested in and committed to teaching this topic.

AD : Thank you Lon and Beth. So I'm curious to get started. What were your motivations for getting into the field of negotiation and conflict resolution? Were there any key moments along the way and Beth, perhaps you could get us started on this question.

The Unplanned Path To Teaching Negotiations [02:47]

BB : Yeah, absolutely. I don't know that I got into it intentionally and it has been a really good fit for me. So I was working on a master's degree many years ago, and I had some flexibility in my course selection, and the course sounded interesting to take as a master's student.

I didn't know what to expect, but it turned out to be a very engaging course that really pushed me out of my comfort zone, while being supportive enough that I could grow and learn about focusing on interests, while simultaneously asking for more. So each week I would go to this class. And it was really my most exciting and simultaneously really scariest class that I attended because I had to practice doing something that felt difficult.

Then I had about a 10-year gap and I was approached and asked to start teaching the class here. One of the things I love about teaching negotiations is that it's something that's very commonplace, right? We're all likely negotiating or have the opportunity to negotiate several or more times each day.

And yet without some training or education, a lot of people might not leverage these opportunities to get more of what they want, out of their lives and in their jobs for their organizations. And I think it also creates the opportunity for deeper connections with important people in their lives by deepening those communication skills.

So, I had some training on the topic at the graduate level and was then asked to teach it and I've loved every moment and opportunity since then.

AD : Thanks, Beth. Lon?

LM : Yeah, I'd say my influence, Aram, was I was in a graduate class during my master's program with a professor who was a labor mediator in arbitration and he'd come to class with these great stories about collective bargaining and negotiations and a space between labor unions and companies, and he brought people into the classroom.

I remember one time we had the chief negotiator from American Airlines, and they're one of their large labor unions. And these stories were fantastic and brought to life our discussion about collective bargaining.

And then I served as a research assistant for him and. And then I got a chance to apprentice with him as a, what is labor arbitration practice. But you would see real stories about people in the workplace. And I just found that really interesting. It brought what I was studying to life.

And that led me to practice labor and employment law when I finished law school. And then in law practice, I had a chance to be involved in both courtroom situations and then my own negotiations. And it just dawned on me that I never got the sense that court trials are a good way to resolve any kind of conflict.

They took too much time, they were very formalistic, whereas the negotiations I was doing with unions and employees and other attorneys seemed to be more productive, seemed more sustainable. And then that led me to look into mediation arbitration, and I started doing a little bit better on the side, and then that brought me back to my alma mater to teach.

And like Beth, I love teaching negotiation because it's a skill set our students need. I think they see the value in it. And it's one that is really cool, and you both know this, is you see the evolution of a student's progress from the beginning of a term to the end, how much better they are in terms of negotiation and the best point about communications.

AD : Yeah, I love that point you both made, Beth, going back to just the practice involved, the push out of your comfort zone. And I'm going to assume, I know we're going to get into a little later, some of the design that you both do as you think about teaching this great topic.

And I think that's such an important part along with the, as long as you were mentioning, the stories and the, I agree. I always get excited when I see students progress. I got to teach Nolan when I was teaching at West Point. He was one of my students and he was, he's one of those examples of just seeing somebody excel and progress over the course of a term.

NM : Oh, thanks Aram.

AD : A little love there.

NM : I appreciate it. Lon, you have significant experience in negotiations outside of academia. You already mentioned some with American Airlines. Could you share an example of a particularly challenging negotiation that you've been a part of? And what made it so difficult and how were you able to help the parties involved to move forward to, or reach an agreement?

Learning From Mistakes: A Negotiation Misstep That Taught Lasting Lessons [07:10]

LM : That's a great question, Nolan. And I was thinking about that the other day. I've had a lot of negotiations, both good and bad. But one that really comes to mind is when one of the first ones I did as an attorney. And so I represented a company in collective bargaining with their large labor union and the labor union represented their production employees.

This is a factory setting. And my senior attorney said, you've got to reduce insurance costs. You've got to somehow negotiate a plan that employees pay for their own insurance and the company wanted the same thing. Now, this company for probably 30 years had paid the entire 100 percent of an employee's health insurance premium.

So that was my marching orders to go in negotiations, and I was nervous about it. This is probably my second negotiation, but I worked hard. I was prepared. We had four or five bargaining sessions with the labor union. I've made trades as you have to do in negotiations. I walked away after five sessions getting what I thought was an agreement.

And I thought everybody was on the same page that employees are going to pay 10 percent of their monthly health insurance premium. So I told my boss at the firm, I said, look what I got. I was really proud. I went back to the company. Look what I got. I was very proud. I wrote it up, sent to the union and then discovered a problem.

We had never really talked about when that 10 percent was going to kick in. So we had a three year contract. We negotiated. I thought it was the first year. The labor union thought it was the third year and it dawned on me, I do what a lot of our students do that aren't comfortable with negotiations. I wanted to get through it as fast as I could, and the last thing you want to do is that last session, when you think you have an agreement is to go back and make sure that you don't have any misunderstandings and I failed to do that.

And so I had to go back to the union and we ultimately negotiated the deal where they wanted year three. I wanted year one. Yes, we did year two. But it was such a good experience for me because it explained to me why our students have a hard time with, getting through something quickly and not going back and writing things up and asking for clarification.

Because, if I would have asked the union, I would have said of course, we're agreeing on year one. And then they would have said no. And I'm like, Oh, my gosh, I got to go back and renegotiate this. So it was a really good teacher moment for me. It helped me build trust with the other negotiators. But again, it's one of those situations that I learned a lot from, and I passed those lessons in my class.

NM : Thanks for sharing. Then you've also been a faculty ombudsperson for listeners, not familiar with that role. Could you share what you do?

Insights From A Faculty Ombudsperson [09:46]

LM : An ombudsperson office or a position is usually part of an organizational conflict management system. And an ombudsperson is neutral. They may be employed by the organization, but the conversation they have throughout the university's faculty, staff, and students is confidential. But my job as a faculty ombudsperson, Nolan, was to listen to complaints that faculty, students, or staff may have give them ideas about solutions talk to them about resources, and then periodically I might get involved as part of the problem solving process if they wanted me to.

So I didn't act as an attorney, I didn't act as an advocate, I really didn't even act as a mediator, but as more of somebody who understands conflict, who can, kind of, help people work through their situations.

And I think one of my great takeaways from that, Nolan, was that, not everybody wants you to solve their problem and a lot of people in a conflict situation, nobody's listened to them. And so there's a lot of compelling reasons to sit down and listen to hear somebody's stories. And I was always surprised because, by nature, I'm a problem solver, right?

That's what we do in negotiation. We try to fix things. And I'd hear these stories and I'd get all excited. And then they say, no I'm good. I just wanted somebody to hear me out and listen. And, I teach conflict management too. And I tell students that, there's two parts of it.

One, you've got to build a rapport with somebody, but hearing somebody's story at a point of impasse or conflict is critical because at that point, they think no one listens to you. And in my knowledge or my experience as an ombudsperson, I discovered, sometimes that's really part of the solution in terms of conflict resolution. Have somebody hear your story.

NM : Absolutely, Lon. Thank you for sharing that.

AD : And I'm wondering, so Beth, I wonder how much of this relates to your rich background in decision neuroscience. I'm curious, how does that background impact how you think about negotiating and how you approach teaching the subject to your students?

Emotions In Negotiation: Integrating Feelings With Strategy [11:47]

BB : I think it keeps me thinking about and remembering that our choices and decisions are not based solely on our rational, optimized choices, but that our feelings and emotions play a strong role in behavior. And so acknowledging that role in negotiation and practicing or teaching students to discover what their choices and goals are based on, being able to articulate those underlying interests and uncover what's important to the person they're negotiating with are central to any negotiation or to many negotiations.

Basically continuing to consider and teach that our emotions and our emotional needs impact what we do. So I can't just teach about the mechanics of negotiation, but I encourage students to take a holistic approach when negotiating, to pay attention to their feelings and to work toward integrating what they want in their heads and intellectually with what they want in their hearts and trying to express both of those.

AD : Why is becoming a more effective communicator so relevant both to negotiation as well as success in both our personal and professional lives?

Active Listening In Negotiation: More Than Just Agreement [12:56]

BB : Yeah, great question. My own opinion on that is that communication is really a foundational skill to relationships, like Lon was saying, so often people just want to be heard.

And I will explain to my students that being an active listener, which is a theme throughout the book, and I'm sure we'll return to this in a bit. It doesn't signal agreement, but that people want to be heard. And a lot of times, especially when they're really emotional, either upset or excited. It's that hearing and that it doesn't signal agreement.

So I think being a better communicator and I would include intra communication. Are you aware of what you want and need? Are you then willing and able to attempt to articulate that, share that with others, personally, professionally, even if you don't come to agreement. So I think it's a central core negotiation skill in relationships and business within organizations, to build teams and effectiveness.

AD : Yeah. And we'll definitely talk about how that shows up in your book.

NM : All right. We've mentioned the book twice. So let's go ahead and dig into it then. What inspired both of you to write the road to success, learning how to become an effective negotiator? How does it differ from other texts on the topic? And why the analogy of driving, Lon, perhaps you can kick it off.

Tailoring Negotiation Education: Creating An Approachable Textbook For Undergraduates [14:18]

LM : I'm happy to do that, Nolan. So Terry Boles and Beth and I had taught a lot of undergraduate students. And a lot of the cases we were using and the texts we're using really aimed at an MBA level student. And I remember one time using a case study that involved the sale of a big apartment building that had zoning issues and a lot of things that most of the undergraduates had no idea what we're talking about.

And so [inauble], Beth and Terry and I, that we really need a book that is more directed at undergraduates and some of the issues they have, for example, negotiating apartment lease, working out agreements with the roommates on a cleaning schedule in an apartment, buying a car or getting that first job, doing that first salary negotiation.

So we try to write a book that's really aimed at undergraduates get at their level in terms of the type of negotiation situations they were seeing, and then using a lot of the traditional negotiation rules and principles and applying those to a situation maybe they were more comfortable going to in terms of negotiations.

Now, why the driving analogy? I think at the time that we started kicking this idea of a book around. I was trying to teach one of my kids to drive and my oldest daughter, and she'll deny this. She read the driving manual. She's watched people drive. She thought this is easy. I could do this.

She was prepared. And then you put her in the front seat of the car and you put her on a street to drive. And it's Oh my gosh, this is a lot harder than it looks. And I think I told Terry that story. And we started thinking that's like a lot of our negotiation students, they read the book, they go this is easy.

I've seen people negotiate right until they start doing it in class. Then they realize it's difficult. And we thought in terms of driving, you've got to, like a negotiator, you've got to learn how to drive. There's a lot of different skills you develop. And it's a lot of awareness skills, communicating with passengers in your car, communicating with people on the road, driving a situational, much like negotiations, I'm going to drive differently if the weather changes or road conditions change.

Planning is analogous to what we do in negotiations as well. I'm going to take a short trip across town. I'm planning differently than if I'm taking a cross country drive. Then lastly, sometimes we need people to help us. I've got a flat tire. I need somebody to fix it. Much like in negotiations, if I have an impasse, I might have to use some strategies or I might have to have a third party help me.

AD : I like to say Lon I, my oldest is just learning to drive, but we're hopefully within a couple months of her getting licensed. And I tell folks, I didn't have any gray. There was no gray before, before the, before we started there. So Beth, anything you'd add in terms of the motivation for writing this book?

BB : I agree with what Lon said. Some other things I love about the book is I think it's really easily accessible. It's short in length, it's got some images, a little bit of color to break things up, and I have found that undergraduate students are very likely to read the entire chapter when assigned. So it's accessible, short sections, I think it covers the basics.

The foundations, the mechanics, and some of the major issues that are important to consider in negotiation. A lot of the other textbooks I've looked at, they have great content, they're more traditional style of textbook, and I just find that less inviting for our undergraduate audience to read and really engage with.

But they're not put off or daunted by how accessible this book is. And so it gets them involved with the material pretty seamlessly, at least in my experience.

AD : Yeah. And if you can get your undergrad students to be reading every chapter, that's huge.

BB : Yeah. I count that as a win for sure.

AD : All right. We know a book like this is like a child or like children. You love all of it, right? You love all the chapters. Do you have a particular chapter or maybe a section or kind of concept from the book that was just your favorite to really delve into? To and write about. And why was that? And Beth, I'll give this to you for the first response.

Essential Concepts In Negotiation Education [18:20]

BB : Yes, I appreciate the context of it is difficult to pick, but if I have to pick just one, I'm gonna go with our content on reference points in negotiations in chapter three, distributive bargaining, and the reason for this choice. Is if I had to pick the top five things that I want students to know or remember at the end of a semester length course, reference points and negotiations would make my top five of things I hope they can remember downstream.

Of course, this has to do with planning, identifying what your alternatives are, the BATNA in case you're unable to come to an agreement, what those alternatives are, aspiration level. One of my mantras is aim high, as long as you can justify what you're asking for in that integration of authoritative standards and knowing what your bottom line is.

So that's the choice I'll go with today and the reasoning for it. Great.

NM : What about you, Lon?

LM : I agree with Beth. I have a hard time choosing my favorite chapter, but if I have to, because you've asked me to do that. I would probably pick chapter 12, which gets into the use of agents for negotiation, some impasse type strategies based on the work of William Ury, and then using third parties like mediation arbitration, probably because that's a lot of things I do.

Now, many of our students are going to act as an agent when they get out upon graduation, negotiating on behalf of their employer, for example, and they certainly may use an agent as they progress in our lives, buy house things of that sort. So that kind of foundational knowledge is important.

I think it's important to have some idea what you do at a point of impasse because oftentimes, we even see that in class exercises where students get stuck and have some kind of strategy or game plan you can use. You do reach an impasse is helpful then understanding the [inaudible] mediation and arbitration, a lot of commercial contracts for example have mediation arbitration as a step.

And so our students who may or may not end up going to law school, need to have some knowledge if that is a language in our contract, what does that mean? And then how do I prepare for it?

NM : You discussed what to do at an impasse. I'm just curious, could you dive into a little bit about what you talk about there?

Embracing Ury's Techniques To Overcome Impasses [20:43]

LM : Yeah, that chapter focuses on William Ury’s book: Getting Past No. And there's a five or six step process that Ury has identified. But the first one is. What he calls going to the balcony where you kind of take a step back and say, okay, what's going on here? What's happened? Why are we at a point of impasse?

And then putting yourself in the other person's shoes and reframing the discussion so that it's more interest-based. To use a phrase that Beth came up with, then think about, he talks about a golden bridge. How do you identify interests you have in common and how can you find a middle point that allow you both to come back and reach some sort of agreement?

Now, the last step, I always think this is helpful, and this kind of relies on the idea of BATNA, which, Fisher & Ury wrote about in Getting to Yes, is, what's going to happen if we can't reach an agreement here? What's that going to look like to us? And that's really what using Power to Educate means, but it gives students in particular an idea, okay, I don't just give up, I don't just start pointing fingers, I got to start looking at myself first.

And I like Beth’s point, a lot of our students, and I think this is true in most negotiations, they really don't know what they want. And in fact, I had a conversation with a student the other day, who was negotiating a job offer, and he was putting his salary ask probably 10 or 15 percent higher than what I would, but he wanted recognition for what he'd done in college.

And so this is more than just that tangible. I want $20,000 more. I want recognition for what I've accomplished. I want recognition that I could hit the ground running for your company. And we started talking about his wants being more than just salary, but he's using salary as a proxy to reflect an interest that was important.

NM : I always find it so interesting when I'm talking to clients of ours, and we bring up the BATNA, but more importantly, the agreement that you may or may not come up with has to be better than your alternative. It, you can't, it's not just, what your BATNA is.

It's that the agreement you reach needs to be better than that alternative. Sometimes they're so happy in exercises just to come up and say, we got an agreement and we're like, outstanding. Is it better than your alternative? I didn't really think about it. I appreciate you sharing that.

AD : I want to go back, Beth, to what you were saying. You surprised me. Given what was in your bio about interest based negotiations that you went to the distributive bargaining chapter, just, I'm curious, so you want to say a little bit more about that and maybe even share with us what the other, the rest of your top five are.

Understanding Reference Points And Cognitive Biases In Negotiation [23:15]

BB : Absolutely. I think that we happen to have reference points in the chapter on distributive bargaining and they are not unique or restricted to only distributive bargaining. That was just a logical place to include them in the book. Of course, we encourage students to identify the reference points in integrative bargaining as well.

So just to clarify that. And I would also comment on the what Nolan was saying, this distinction between BATNA and bottom line, early in the course, I really emphasized the difference between those precisely to avoid that scenario that Nolan's describing of, okay, I can come away with something that's equal to, or is my BATNA.

And we're of course, encouraging them to create more value for both parties. Probably my next favorite topic is chapter 9 on Perception, Heuristics and Biases, because I love social cognition and I'm trained as a social psychologist in part, so that's one of the areas I really enjoy.

NM : We'd love to ask you more about how does that come to life whenever you're training your students or teaching any of your clients or anything like that? With regards to the psychological aspect to negotiations, are there any key focus areas or anything like that that you try and tell students?

BB : Really, we cover a handful of these biases and heuristics, and for me, it's really about awareness. Are we aware that we're automatically, most of the time subconsciously, doing these, relying on our assumptions or categorization via stereotypes, whatever the issue is.

And so once students are aware of these things and that they tend to happen, they've been empirically to happen for most of us in many situations, if they can just interrupt or hit the pause long enough to ask themselves, am I making an assumption here? Am I being, loss averse or am I stereotyping?

Based on some assumption. So really just starting with awareness of these things and trying to get people to notice and then hit the pause and check those assumptions out, move forward, gather more information during the negotiation, and then decide how to move forward. So mostly awareness.

AD : It goes back to, I think what you said at the outset, Beth, which is we are negotiating quite frequently. Sometimes we don't realize we are, so we don't show up as skillfully as we should. That pause. That awareness test our assumptions, challenge our natural mental model can be incredibly helpful.

NM : Hey everyone, Nolan here. I have to jump in and end today's podcast of part A of the show. Be sure to rate, review, and subscribe to NEGOTIATEx podcast if you haven't already, and also join us next week for part B of this awesome interview.

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