Alexandra Carter

How to Negotiate Anything with Alexandra Carter, World-renowned Negotiation Trainer for the United Nations and Best-Selling Author| Leave Your Mark with Aliza Licht

Check out the LEAVE YOUR MARK Podcast Page

Key Takeaways

  • “Your relationships are what are going to get you to the next level and beyond” – Alexandra Carter
    • People get too focused on their goals and forget about human connections
      • If you focus on what you can give, rather than what you can get, you’re going to get more
  • Instead of asking people to do something for you, encourage them to join you in what you’re doing
    • When you recruit, you create people who are as invested in the success of your project as you are
  • “Internal self-awareness is the secret sauce that makes leaders and great negotiators” Alexandra Carter
    • “When you know who you are, you know how to speak about yourself in a way that invites people to join you as a partner, whether personally or professionally” Alexandra Carter
  • Fear and guilt often kill negotiations
    • Instead of admitting these emotions, we tend to hide them
      • Eventually, they come out as anger or defensiveness

Key Products Mentioned

Intro

  • Alexandra Carter (@alexbcarter) is a professor of mediation and negotiation at Columbia University, a negotiation trainer for the United Nations, and a best-selling author
  • Host: Aliza Licht (@AlizaLicht)
  • In this chat, Alexandra shares the most useful tips to become more effective negotiators, better leaders, and to build stronger relationships

Developing Relationships

  • Alexandra didn’t previously think of herself as a good negotiator
    • We have this image of negotiators as aggressive and ruthless
      • We are also taught that guys are better at it
  • Later she realized that relationships are the building blocks of negotiation
    • Negotiation is any conversation in which you are steering relationships
    • “Your relationships are what are going to get you to the next level and beyond” – Alexandra Carter
  • Once you see this, you don’t wait once a year until the “money conversation”
  • In every interaction, you teach people how to value you
    • The way you describe yourself, the words you use, all contribute to the image that other people have of your worth
  • Many women feel uncomfortable self-promoting
  • People get too focused on their goals and forget about the human connection
    • If you focus on what you can give, rather than what you can get, you’re going to get more

Why Internal Self-Awareness is Key to Negotiation

  • There are two kinds of self-awareness
    • External self-awareness
      • Being aware of how we are perceived by others
        • We focus on this a lot today, especially with social media
    • Internal self-awareness
      • How well you know yourself (weaknesses, strengths, etc…)
      • “Internal self-awareness is the secret sauce that makes leaders and great negotiators” Alexandra Carter
        • “When you know who you are, you know how to speak about yourself in a way that invites people to join you as a partner, whether personally or professionally” Alexandra Carter

Recruit, Don’t Request

  • Instead of asking people to do something for you, encourage them to join you in what you’re doing
    • When you recruit, you create people who are as invested in the success of your project as you are
  • Examples
    • Alexandra helped to run her husband campaign for local office
      • Instead of asking for votes, she recruited people to join her team
        • She valued people’s expertise and encouraged them to make the message better
    • When Alexandra published her book she did the same
      • She asked people for their contribution or advice
      • Doing so, she had many people who all wanted the book to be a success

Negotiations about Money

  • Remember that if the deal goes through, the counterpart is going to be a partner
    • Even if you are negotiating to get more money and they are trying to pay you less
  • Before talking about numbers Alexandra tries to get as much information as possible from the counterpart
    • What they need most
    • Their pressure points
  • After gathering as much information she can, she likes to throw the first number
    • She doesn’t like the idea of picking an arbitrary number and increasing it by an arbitrary percentage
    • Principles to pick a number
      • Optimistic
      • Specific
      • Justifiable
        • Her numbers are benchmarked against what’s on the market
          • Let the other part know the justification behind your offer
        • Having a large, strong network allows her to gather this information
  • I-We Request
    • Here’s what I’m requesting
    • Here’s how we benefit
      • Explain how giving you a raise will save or make more money to the company

Start by Focusing on the Problem, Not the Solution

  • When people are in a crisis they want to act quickly to try to solve it
    • That can often be counter-productive
  • Taking a moment to really understand the problem that we are trying to solve helps us to find more effective solutions

Fear and Guilt

  • Alexandra calls fear and guilt the Big Two unexpressed emotions
    • Fear and guilt often kill negotiations
  • Instead of admitting these emotions, we tend to hide them
    • Eventually, they come out as anger or defensiveness
  • It’s useful to journal and write down what we fear or feel guilty about
    • Writing about it helps to dissolve the emotions and gain clarity
  • Dealing with the fear of making the deal fall through
    • Pair the number request with a message saying that you want to work it out
    • If they reject your offer, gather more information to understand why and what else they could give you
      • When a client couldn’t pay Alexandra the market rate she negotiated to receive
        • Free use of the professional photos taken during the event
        • References for future engagements from the heads of the organization

Mirror and Window Questions

  • Alexandra’s book discusses some powerful questions to ask to become better negotiators
    • Mirror questions are questions you ask yourself (looking in the mirror)
      • Boost internal self-awareness and confidence
    • Window questions are to be asked to anybody (clients, partners, family etc…)

Difficult Negotiations

  • When negotiations get combative or aggressive, Alexandra recommends a technique called “Summarizing”
    • Instead of re-stating your point of view, summarize your counterpart’s
      • Show them that you understand them
      • See if there’s anything that you missed
  • Often people want to be understood and summarizing does that
    • It helps defuse a difficult situation

Negotiating with Kids

  • Instead of taking authoritative action, we can seek to understand them
    • Just like you’d want to gather information for any negotiation
  • Discussing screen time with her kid, Alexandra asked about the purpose of screen time
    • One of the things she answered was to stay in touch with her friends during the quarantine
      • That led to a conversation where her kid shared her feelings and they could develop a plan to help the kid connect with her friends

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Notes By Giorgio Parlato

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