Negotiation skills are essential for entrepreneurs, as they can impact every aspect of a business. Joining us on the latest episode of The Small Business Show to discuss negotiation is Kwame Christian, CEO and Founder of the American Negotiation Institute. Christian is also a Bestselling Author, Business Attorney, and keynote speaker.
From the beginning, Christian knew his journey had a unique path. As a recovering people pleaser, he became the “negotiations guy” because he was profoundly flawed at it. So, when he discovered negotiations in law school, he realized it was a skill he could learn and improve at. Furthermore, the American Negotiation Institute, ANI, was established on the premise of helping others attain the same revelation- negotiation is a teachable skill, not just a tool.
1. At ANI, they believe the best things in life are on the other side of difficult conversations. Christian uses the broad definition of negotiations as “Anytime someone in a conversation wants something.”
2. The key for entrepreneurs is understanding that negotiations are not just about sales. Rather, they originate from discussions with those closest to them, such as coworkers, partners, or kids.
3. The biggest mistake people make in the entrepreneurial space comes down to two things:
- One: Not negotiating
- Two: Not asking questions nor managing emotions.
4. Christian elaborates that when entrepreneurs realize they have a third option besides yes or no in a conversation, it opens them up to more opportunities to add value. Also, “if you want to be an effective negotiator, you need to be able to control the temperature of emotions in the room.”
5. Negotiating requires the right mindset and skillset. “You may know the right things to say and do, but if you do not have the right mindset, you won’t be able to put the skills into action when they matter,” exclaims Christian.
6. Christain discovered two recurring themes in his first book—confidence and conflict. He further explains, “People lack confidence and are reluctant to have difficult conversations. ”
“On the business side, negotiations should come from a place where both parties feel respected because, in reality, negotiation is the art of decision-making, not deal-making.” – Kwame Christian