When I hold my training events or go to associations, organizations or corporations and do training events, sometimes people are surprised that I have an element of personal development inserted into the training. Negotiation is simply discussions to agree on a deal, but it’s not always a business deal. It can be employee to employee, parent to child, spouse to spouse etc. Everything is Negotiable.
The number one thing you need in order to be a good negotiator is confidence, confidence in yourself and your negotiation position. The self confidence comes from doing the inner work. The power is in the work. So how do you get to that level of confidence. You have to work on that person within and find peace within yourself. That means relaxing in grace, remember what matters most, get to know your higher power better, review where you need to grow, forget what can’t be changed and focus on the future.
Too many times in my past, I lived in the past. I worried, I wanted to do something to change the past. Thinking about how silly that sounds now makes me laugh. Really? I spent time on thinking about how I could change the past? The “what if’s” and the “if only’s.” I lived with regrets, I held unforgiveness, I was stuck in the tradition of “it’s always been done that way.” Enlightenment comes from doing the work to let go of all that mess. I did the work, I let it go. That doesn’t mean that life will never give me a punch to my gut. It happens, that’s part of life. I may regret poor choices I’ve made at some point but if I did something to make those choices or wrongs right and keep moving forward, that’s all I can do. I have to forget what can’t be changed and focus on the future.
Many things have happened to me over the last year. Some good, some bad. Some that made me very happy and others that made me very sad. If I chose to stay in yesterday and regret some of the things I’ve done, choices I’ve made or experiences I’ve had, then I will be stuck in those events and day to day life will pass me by. It’s challenging sometimes to move on after a loss or when life’s challenges knock on your door. How you negotiate through those challenges and where you come out on the other side is the true test of courage and faith.
Inner peace is the thing in life we should strive for the most and is priceless beyond any possession or level of success we can possibly achieve. It doesn’t mean we will never be rocked to our core by life but going down that path with peace as our foundation gives us a better place to deal with life’s challenges from.
As you become a better negotiator in professional life, remember also the personal side of your life is also an area to achieve negotiation mastery in.
Note: Some of the concepts were adapted from the message from Saddleback church/Pastor Rick Warren’s message on Five Daily Habits for Happiness
I was chatting on the phone this morning with my friend Cat Hammes known as the “One Legged Blonde.” She has been riding motorcycles for 31 years long before women riding became popular. In fact it was odd for a woman to be on a bike back then. I’ve been riding for 18 years myself. We still didn’t have a lot of women’s riding gear when I started riding.
In our conversation, she reminded me that I was in the military long before it was popular for women to be in the military. I enlisted in 1980. The military was only about 8% women at that time. There was starting to be a push to get more women into the military and into nontraditional jobs. I actually scored high in the mechanical area on the aptitude test and I was being pushed to get into a mechanical career field. Although I am a bit mechanical, can fix stuff if I need to, change my oil if I have to etc, I wanted to work with computers. Computer programming was nothing like it is today. It was considered an administrative career field back then. I really wanted to work with computers so I enlisted in the “open administrative” career field which meant I would chose my job when I got to Basic Training. When I went to choose my job, computer jobs were nowhere to be found on the list. I ended up picking a job I knew nothing about or even what it was. The job was called “Contracts Specialist.” I only picked it because it had the highest required score to get into it. I figured you had to be smarter to do that job than the rest of the others so I chose Contracting not know what the job was about.
I basically stumbled into the Contracting career field by accident and 30 years later I am teaching and helping people be better negotiators and ensuring they have the tools to never be taken advantage of again. If you want to be a better negotiator, my Think Like A Negotiator course 11-13 October is guaranteed to help you do just that. Check out the online store for more details.
I never thought of myself as a trail blazer. You hear about a lot of women that flew planes, helicopters, drove tanks etc. I flew a desk. Not very interesting compared to some of the others. I am proud of my service and don’t discount it. That’s not what I’m saying. In fact, I have inserted a rifle drill routine into my speaking presentation in order to stand out from the herd so to speak.
I realize from talking to Cat that I am a trailblazer and I achieved a lot more than I realize at times. Sometimes it takes someone on the outside looking in to remind you of just what you’ve accomplished. I retired as a Master Sergeant, not an easy rank to get to, especially when I had to prove myself in a man’s world with sexual harassment and assault as part of the journey. It was the extreme harassment I received in the Middle East the made me decide to retire after 23 years of service. I wanted to be a Chief Master Sergeant but couldn’t handle it anymore after that deployment. I had had enough.
What does one of your friends need to do to remind you of all you’ve accomplished? You may not have been in the military but don’t discount what you’ve done to get to where you are today. Call up one of your friends and ask them what they see in your journey. The reminder will brighten your day.
Today I am excited about the release of my upcoming book and my upcoming event. The military gave me the training to persevere in the face of adversity, the discipline to stick with it when I wanted to quit and the strength to carry on. Thanks Cat for the reminder! You totally rock!
Check out Cat at http://www.oneleggedblonde.com/
Ask. It’s simple right? Ask for what you want? Many times we simply don’t ask and if you don’t ask you don’t get. Wayne Gretzky said “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” If you are not going to take the shot, the opportunity or whatever is before you, you will miss out on many things in your life. Many times we don’t ask out of fear. The fear of rejection or the fear of hearing the word “no. “ Rejection is never personal. When I was a Mary Kay® consultant I was petrified to ask for fear of getting rejected. I got into Mary Kay® to get over my fear of speaking in front of people, but I had a bigger fear that I had to overcome, the fear of hearing “no.”
Negotiation is confrontational to many people I have worked with. They feel like they should not ask or don’t have the confidence to stand up for themselves. The first way to work on this is to develop a better relationship with yourself. If you have a great relationship with yourself, chances are you feel confident and secure in who you are. Oprah Winfrey said “if you to the work you will eventually become what I call a [person] who is in complete possession of [themselves].” When you’ve done the work, the confidence allows you the power to as Debbie Allen says “get your ask on.”
Let’s talk a moment about asking for consideration for poor or substandard service. Recently I was at Craig Duswalt’s 3 day Rockstar Mastermind event at a hotel on “LAX row.” I chose to valet park all 3 days. I chose to pay a little more than the parking lot for the convenience to walk into the hotel and get my car quickly. I needed to be able to get out of there quickly in the evening because I had other events I had to attend.
On the second day I went out to get my car. It took 30 minutes to get my car! I could have walked to the other paid parking lot in half the time. They had only one guy working because they made everyone else go to a staff meeting. Not sure who thought it was a bright idea to have a meeting at the busiest time of the day when everyone was getting out of the events being held at the hotel. I waited at least 10 minutes to pay someone along with several other people.
There were so many driverless valet cars stacked up in the front of the hotel that they couldn’t even bring my car up. The only guy working started moving all the cars around. The airport shuttle couldn’t even get through. I had to go get my car in the valet parking lot so I could get out of there. I could not drive through the hotel so had to back up around the valet parking lot to get out another way. By this time almost 30 minutes had elapsed since I had walked out of the hotel. I ended up being late to get my daughter for an event because of it.
When I came back the third day, I intended to ask for consideration for the substandard service from the day before. I asked when I went to pay on the third day and the guy behind the counter referred me to his manager. I explained the situation to him. He indicated there was a problem because everyone was in a mandatory staff meeting and they left only one guy to handle it all. He indicated they already discounted the rate 50% off the normal rate for the event. I agreed that they did but reminded him that the discount applied to the service I’m expected to get. I should not have to pay that price for substandard service. He agreed to give me a discount, which equated to $2.30 off the price.
Some people ask me why I do that. Why do I say anything at all? It makes some people uncomfortable and feels confrontational to others. The main reason I ask for consideration from substandard service isn’t about getting something free or at a reduced rate. That’s secondary. The reason I do it is because there is a level of complacency in this country that makes me sick to my stomach. If we accept substandard service and say it’s ok by not speaking up, we give them to ok to continue that level of service.
Now I need to interject a word about how you express your dissatisfaction. It is not ok to belittle, defame or rip someone apart. It’s important to be direct and firm. Please ensure it is not insulting. I see too many times when someone rips someone else apart for making a mistake. We are all human, mistakes happen; we just need to let those in business know that their mistake is not ok with us and not only do they need to do something to make sure it doesn’t happen again, they also need to give us some consideration for our having experienced it. Don’t go using social media to tear someone down. Do it in private if you can and do it with respect. Praise in public, correct in private should be the rule to follow in most cases.
The Air Force core values that I still live by today are Integrity First, Service Before Self and Excellence in all we do. Take the last one. Excellence in all we do. That is not the core value of many businesses and even employees today. Many operate in mediocrity. Do the minimal to get by and that’s ok. We owe it to ourselves to totally stand up and let people know when their service is below standards. If we don’t then that makes it ok for them to keep giving mediocre service. Mediocrity and complacency will destroy free enterprise. Take on the core value of “Excellence in all we do” and be sure to ask for exactly what you want
Negotiation is all about how we communicate and it’s one of the areas to consider when preparing for a negotiation. Language is so important. The words we use can often be construed in different ways to have different meanings depending on who is doing to receiving. In negotiation, you must be sure the language you are using conveys the appropriate message to gain the appropriate response. How you say it may ensure you win or lose the deal.
Most of you who have been following me have noticed my shift to showing people how to Think Like A Negotiator. People often ask me why I have made the focus on negotiation vs my Pink Biker Chic brand. I have responded by telling them that it’s negotiation is my genius and I never thought to teach it. I tell them about a good friend of mine who is a business strategist was having some contract challenges with a client; I shared some of my contracts knowledge to help her resolve the issue. Her response was “I get this Pink Biker Chic thing, but where did all that come from and why aren’t you teaching it to others?” I share that I thought why would anybody want to learn that? It’s my genius, I do it in my sleep and take it for granted that everyone has that knowledge.
Well, recently I was at an event and passed someone who said he knew me but couldn’t remember where from. I knew him too from somewhere and told him he probably knew me from my Pink Biker Chic brand and explained the story above. He immediately launched into this idea that I don’t value myself and have issues and need to resolve those issues with him so I value myself and my genius. Then he attempted to hard sell me into doing a session with him to fix my issues within myself so I will be successful, basically implying I am not successful because I don’t value myself. It was much more than that but you get the gist. WOW! Really? Thankfully another friend walked up and started talking to him so that provided a pattern interrupt for me to depart which I did.
What that did for me was enable me to take a look at my language and evaluate whether that was a message I am projecting when I share my story. I certainly don’t have the serious issues that he implied. Of course we all have some kind of doubt about ourselves but he was attempting to tell me I was broken and that I really needed serious help. This is without even taking the time to find out anything about me.
Be careful of the language you use. I’m not talking about being politically correct. Chances are we will offend someone with what we say, but if we evaluate our normal “shtick” to make sure we aren’t projecting negatively onto ourselves or others, we will be better off in day to day communication as well as our significant negotiations. Take the time this week to pay close attention to the things you say. You may need to make an adjustment based on feedback and results. I sure did.