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09 takeaways from this video:

00:07:24 Many attorneys are expanding their core competencies and investing in mediation training because:

  1. It’s another lucrative revenue stream,
  2. They have grown tired of the adversarial negotiation strategy
  3. The soft skills developed through mediation transfer into so many other areas in life

Mediation is about maintaining a productive dialogue. Asking valuable questions, effective listening and understanding the conflict from somebody else’s POV are the most important skills in mediation.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Recall in Stan Christensen’s lecture Negotiation: Common Mistakes, Underhanded Techniques & How to Improve at Stanford University that:

  • Building relationships, even in seemingly one-time negotiations, is a safer bet to your future than violently taking the other side for all they are worth.
  • Short-term underhanded tactics don’t lead to long-term relationships. The more aggressive and hostile you are, the less people want to concede to you and work with you.
  • Effective negotiation really boils down to creative problem solving and effective relationship management.
  • Think of communication as convincing the other person that you can hear them and that they are being heard. The fact that the other person feels like they are being listened to is the most important part of persuasion.

Also, recall in Deepak Malhotra’s lecture 20 Tips to Better Negotiate Your Job Offer & Compensation Package at Harvard University that:

  • Negotiation isn’t only about persuading the other party. First and foremost it’s about understanding the other party.
  • When a person says ‘No’ in a negotiation, what they mean is ‘No, in the way I see the world today.’ Understanding the circumstances around why they said ‘No’ today lets you know how, and when, to get a ‘Yes’ later on.
  • At every stage in a discussion, whenever someone asks you a question, or says something ambiguous or that you weren’t expecting, investigate and ask for clarification so you understand the situation. The better you understand the situation, the more wisely you can respond to it.]

00:17:11 Informational interviewing is contacting – preferably through a mutual-recommendation – people who are doing what you want to do, getting 15 minutes of their time, and leaving the meeting with a list of other people they recommend you should contact. When people feel listened to, they like you; thus increasing the probability they will be willing to help you, even if it means going out of their way to do so.

Informational interviews aren’t so much about marketing yourself as they are about networking and obtaining information to help you understand how you can identify your target demographic and combine your education and experience into a product and/or service that will meet their needs.

IMPORTANT! Follow up every informational interview with a thank you note. Additionally, after you’ve spoken with a contact that that person recommended you to, send another note letting them know you spoke with the person they referred you to. Also, pay it forward: when someone asks you for an informational interview, help them in the very way those you contacted have helped you.

Everybody is already networked; you just have to get into the network. At 3 fifteen minute interviews a week, you’ll have met and built a directory of 72 relevant professionals in your target field within six months.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Recall in Blair Enn’s lecture 10 Proclamations to Win New Clients Without Pitching that as a specialist you want to:

  1. Win without pitching (if possible)
  2. If you can’t win without pitching, try to derail the pitch
  3. If you can’t derail the pitch, try to gain the inside track
  4. If you can’t gain the inside track and be seen as meaningfully different, then it’s probably time to walk away with your integrity, positioning already established as an expert in your space, and preserve your future business opportunities.]

00:27:20 It can be very difficult to move from education to business careers because people have a tendency not to value what you have accomplished in the education industry.

00:30:01 Life is cyclical, and you never know when people will enter, and re-enter into your life. Meaning, never insult anybody behind their back, because odds are it will get back to them. That being said, always keep your converstaions and relationships open-ended, making it a point to casually stay up-to-date with people in your network.

You want all of your conversations to go in a specific, preferrably mutually-beneficial direction, so learn to listen to people’s needs; not to what they are talking about on the surface. Then do what you can to help them meet their needs.

00:38:21 Speak in the other person’s language and keep it positive. If they don’t like the word ‘conflict,’ then don’t speak to them in terms of ‘conflict resolution.’

“I help companies improve their conflict resolution skills” versus “I work with a company’s employees to help them maximize productivity and be the best they can be.” Both sentences mean the same thing; only vocabulary choice is different.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: For a unique perspective on networking, sales, and overall communication in general, read the book The Jelly Effect by Andy Bounds.]

With every introduction, be able to blend your education and experience into such a story that everyone you meet will remember who you are and what you do.

00:44:37 Self-assessment: self-knowledge and self-awareness, are key to getting what you want. Who are you and how can you marry who you are to the opportunities ahead of you? How can you convincingly explain who you are if you yourself don’t even know who you are?

00:55:03 As a specialist confronted with a moral dilemma of using your expertise to further the progress of a company or industry you disagree with – such as helping the tobacco industry create an online viral campaign, or a pharmaceutical company create a sales pitch to entice doctors to prescribe pills to unsuspecting patients, then you must think of yourself as an actor, not as a reactor.

You want to make the world a better place and help raise the standards of living for the less fortunate? Then you must balance your moral and ethical compass while being clever enough to working within or around the rules and laws of the system you choose to operate in. But keep in mind that charging wealthier clients – or clients you don’t particularly prefer to work with – considerably more than you would lower income clients for the same products and services doesn’t undermine your moral or professional expertise; in fact doing so is what enables you to charge less to lower income clients.

Non-profit organisations can be harder to work with than for-profit companies because NPO employees tend to be more emotionally vested in their organisation’s cause than for-profit employees.

01:09:24 You can find plenty of people willing to accept your offer for an informational interview, but in cases where you’re trying to sell (or upsell) yourself to that person, then information gathering before, during, and after the fact is critical.

When people have to pay for you, they want to know you’re worth paying for.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Recall in my lecture 25 Reasons Businesses Fail Within 4 Years that whenever you’re investing time and money into a training for you or for your company, you need to take the following points into consideration:

  1. Do you like the training?
  2. Will you learn something useful?
  3. Will the training change your behavior?
  4. Does the training meet your goals and objectives?
  5. How applicable is the information learned?

Also, recall in Mike Montiero’s talk F*ck You, Pay Me for Creative Mornings that as a professional, you are trying to convince someone that you are the right person to give their money to in exchange for your services. If they ask a question about money, and the first thing out of your mouth is “Umm…,” you just lost $10,000 as well as your respectability.

If you know how much something costs, stand up confidently and tell them. If you don’t know how much something costs, tell them you don’t know but that you will get back to them ASAP with the amount. The important thing is to sound like you know what you’re talking about, even when you don’t, because you can always find out later.]

Learning isn’t the same as doing.

Columbia Univesity

Columbia Discussion Panelists:

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