Yesterday saw the launch of ‘The Negotiation Book’ by Diadem CEO, Nicole Soames – an inspiring handbook, packed with expert advice, practical tools and easy-to-use exercises to help you harness your EQ so you put negotiation theory into practice and become a master negotiator.
Nicole was delighted to be joined on the night by EQ specialist and Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Martyn Newman, Author of ‘Emotional Capitalists’, who helped celebrate the launch of Nicole’s new book with an engaging and lively Q& A session about her passion for helping people raise their negotiation game.
Martyn: Nicole, in ‘The Negotiation Book’ you take your reader on a journey to become a master negotiator? How would you sum up the characteristics of a Master Negotiator?
Nicole: First and foremost I think you need to have awareness of yourself, the negotiating situation you are in and how you are feeling about it. You then need to be appropriately ambitious – after all if you don’t ask you don’t get. The secret is constantly challenging yourself to move out of your comfort zone by setting stretching goals so you can grow and develop. Adaptability is another key skill that characterises most master negotiators – you need to flex your negotiating style and think live in the moment as the negotiations pan out. This requires drawing on your self-control to help you order your thoughts and manage the negotiation process. Finally, you need to leverage your social skills to understand what really makes the other party tick to help build a relationship with them that makes it easier to find an overlapping position. As you can see EQ lies at the heart of these skills, however, as I regularly remind my clients, these so-called “soft” skills are often the most difficult to master.
Martyn: In the second part of the book, you focus on the importance of developing a winning mindset by stepping outside of your comfort zone. Why do you think this is one of the most challenging aspects of negotiation?
Nicole: I often remind myself of Henry Ford’s wise words, “If you believe, you can or believe you can’t – you’re right” In my experience, people spend more time negotiating with themselves than with anyone else, backing themselves into a corner before they’ve even sat at the negotiating table. I think a great way to counter this is to think about how athletes prepare to reach their peak performance. They don’t sit down before a race or a match, thinking about all the reasons why they won’t win – instead they big themselves up and visualise success – whether it’s crossing the finish line or holding up a trophy. So if we apply this sporting analogy to the business world, we need to boost our self-belief before we negotiate by reminding ourselves what’s good about our skills, our company and our relationship with the other party.
Martyn: A large focus of the book is on how to unlock your inner confidence so you can be appropriately ambitious before, during and after negotiations. Just how important is ambition in negotiations?
Nicole: In negotiation ambition is everything. Most people will be ambitious at the start of the negotiation but the longer the conversation goes on the more their ambition waivers. The goal is to be appropriately ambitious throughout. So constantly challenge yourself to ask for more – and always open ahead of your ideal. You need to use your commercial acumen and IQ to work out what’s the highest believable position to start with – in other words what would be the top end of your happy zone. You’ll be amazed at the results.
Martyn: The aim of the Negotiation Book is to help people put their negotiation skills into practice on a daily basis, whether it’s negotiating with family, friends, colleagues or customers. What are the particular challenges we face when we negotiate with people we know well such as our partner, kids or boss?
Nicole: That’s a great question Martyn, as I have my partner, kids and parents all together in this room. People often find it particularly difficult to negotiate with colleagues or family because of the on-going relationship. This could be because they don’t want to have a tricky conversation that might upset the apple cart or it might be due to complacency as they feel they know the other party well so don’t need to prepare ahead. My advice is to think of yourself as “consciously” negotiating whenever possible. In other words use every opportunity in your week to dial up your EQ and actively hone your negotiating skills. So the next time your kids ask for more pocket money, make sure you ask yourself what you can get in return.
Martyn: Finally Nicole, why should people go out and buy “The Negotiation Book”
Nicole: Well obviously it should be number one on everyone’s Christmas list! No seriously, there are thousands of business books out there but more often than not they are theoretical and hard to apply to real life. As you can tell, I’m a big believer in using negotiation skills on a daily basis, which is why I’ve included practical tools and techniques together with expert advice to help you put negotiation theory into practice. So if you want to keep raising your commercial game – buy it and apply it and see the results!
‘The Negotiation Book’, by Nicole Soames was published on the 19th October 2017. It is WH Smith’s Business Book of The Month. Order your copy now at www.amazon.co.uk or visit www.thenegotiationbook.com