Advance your negotiation skills by learning from two scenarios, one wrong and one right.
- To really get a feel for how all the basic skills and strategies of negotiation come together, I want to give you two short scenarios with Joe, a conference manager, and Adriana, an executive director of a nonprofit organization. The first scenario demonstrates the wrong way to negotiate, and the second one demonstrates the right way, so take a look. - But... Okay. I'm going to have to give you a call back.
- Hey, thanks for meeting with me, Adriana. Is this still a good time? - I've been putting out a fire all morning, so don't be surprised if we get interrupted. - I know you're busy, so I'll get right to it. Our research on conference engagement from last year is complete. It points to shifting from the traditional break out structure, and instead making it super interactive by bringing all the presenters into one main room. - I don't know why we would want to do that. Last year's conference was pretty well received. - You know, that's not what the surveys indicated, and besides, it's just a tired format.
Our research shows that attendees don't want talking head lectures, but hands on, project focused learning so they can implement immediately. Not only that, but... - Joe, we are eight months before the conference. It seems a little risky to be making changes at this point, and especially since we have our main presenters already locked in. - Listen, I've taken your speaker lineup and drafted a revised topic flow, made each attendee table into a work group with a facilitator. - Joe, I love the sound of it, but our registration page is scheduled to go live in three months.
- Adriana, this is totally doable. I really think it's now or never. You can't afford to keep losing sponsors and attendees. Listen, why don't I go over the details with your coordinator and we can show you how it'll all map out, 'cause this is... - I am so sorry, I have to run, but to be continued, and for now, let's just leave things as designed. Call me on Friday. - Okay, so not a lot of collaborative problem solving went on in that conversation.
Joe's ideas are excellent, but his first mistake was trying to speed through his proposal, even though Adriana was clearly preoccupied, so Joe wasn't able to unpack the benefit of his proposal to Adriana's organization, and when he encountered resistance, he doubled down and defended his ides, instead of getting curious about Adriana's concerns and finding ways to turn them into solutions. So, let's rewind, slow things down, and watch how Joe uses the skills we've covered to hone in on Adriana's concerns and change the results.
You'll see those skills highlighted as they're applied in this scenario. - Hey, thanks for rescheduling. I'm glad to hear your father's on the mend. - Thank you. He was really touch and go, but he's doing good now. - Good, good. Good. So, is it still a good time to go over the conference research? - Yes. Yes, I'm anxious to hear what you've learned. - Great. So, I know we're eight months away from the event and only three months away from going live with the registration, but, if we really want to boost engagement and sponsorship, what all the research points to is shifting from the traditional break out structure and instead bringing all the presenters and sponsors to one main room.
What are your thoughts on that? - I don't know, Joe. Just making changes, at this stage, just seems to be a little more than risky. - What are your biggest concerns? - [Host] Unlike the wrong way to negotiate example, Joe slowed things down, engaged in a little small talk, and checked in on timing, all good, and when he framed his main idea, he ended by asking a diagnostic question to allow Adriana to voice her concerns. So, let's take a look at how Joe moves things through and past no.
- I think that changing the structure, it's a little late to be changing the structure, especially since we have all of our presenters locked in already, plus we're light on sponsorship. - So, sounds like revenue is a big concern. - Right. Exactly, and going back to each of the presenters to make sure that they're okay with any of our changes, it's going to take time that we don't have. - Right, got it. I really had that same concern. - [Host] So, here, notice how Joe uses labeling to name Adriana's concerns about revenue.
She's feeling heard, and they have a point of agreement. Now, watch how Joe incorporates her concern into a new possibility. - So, with revenue in mind, I interviewed a few conference directors that have been super successful with this format, and they said sponsors are knocking down the doors to participate. - Well, I'd love to see that happen. - Well, listen, if you don't think it's in the cards for this year, we can point to next year for sure, but right now, I just wanted to get you excited about what's possible.
Now, what I'd like to do is go over some of the research with you, and I can show you the revised draft I came up with, so you can make an informed decision. What are your thoughts on that? - Okay, let's have a look. - Okay, so Joe let Adriana have a sense of control about the timing of making changes, and reframed his request from you got to do this now to let's just take a look at how it might work, and he finished with an open ended question to get Adriana engaged and into problem solving mode.
So, I have two big takeaways I want you to get from that scenario. One, change your approach from transactional to relational by slowing things down and getting connected. Two, make space for objections and pushback. In other words, get to no as a matter of habit so you can pave the way to getting to yes.