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Keeping It Old School, with Ed Brodow, Ep #110  

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Negotiation has been happening since the beginning of time and every one of us negotiates with others all day, every day. Those who are masters at negotiation have learned from all those years of experience, they apply the old school techniques to their current situation. Ed Brodow, the guest on this episode, has been negotiating and teaching negotiation skills for over 32 years. His old school approach to negotiation is refreshing and powerful. He’s authored a number of books that are “must-have” resources. Listen to this episode to hear Ed’s powerful but simple approach to becoming the best negotiator you can be.

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Outline of This Episode

  • [0:36] Why Ed Brodow is on the show to talk about walking away from a deal
  • [1:39] Ed’s experience in negotiating and education over a 32-year career
  • [4:05] The reason optimism in negotiation has to be at the forefront of every negotiation
  • [9:06] What is the confidence mystique and why is it important?
  • [19:01] How to use the “Columbo” method in negotiations
  • [23:27] Traits of successful negotiators
  • [26:45] Why you must be willing to walk away from a negotiation

Optimism in negotiation is the most important aspect

Ed Brodow is one of the most self-assured individuals you will ever meet. You only need to hear him speak once to know it’s true. He says that his confidence comes from the fact that he’s always optimistic. He believes the future is going to be better than the present or the past, and he approaches every situation with that belief. 

Ed says that optimism in negotiation is essential for every successful negotiator. That’s because every negotiation you enter Involves two simultaneous negotiations: the obvious one you’ve been engaged to conduct, and the one you have with yourself. That’s the battle to be optimistic. Ed says that a huge percentage of what happens in the primary negotiation will be determined by the results of the one going on inside.

Are you willing to challenge what you are told? 

Negotiators are the people who won’t blindly accept the things they are told. They ask questions. They challenge assertions. They push back. It’s not that they are rude, they are just assertive people who are not afraid to challenge the things others insist are true or must be done. In this conversation, Ed shares a hilarious but powerful story from his own experience that illustrates the kind of things that can happen when you don’t take “no” for an answer and continue to seek for a solution. When you’re willing to challenge what you’re told, you can discover opportunities and possibilities nobody else has been willing to pursue. That makes for some amazing negotiation outcomes.

The best way to negotiate is to listen and encourage others to talk a lot

One of the hallmarks of Ed’s approach to negotiation is to practice what he has dubbed, “The Columbo Method.” It’s named after a fictional television character from the 1970s and 1980s, Lt. Columbo. He was a sloppy, unimpressive detective who was willing to allow others to perceive themselves as the most important person in the room. In doing so, he simply asked questions and listened. In an effort to prove themselves superior, the murderer (it was always a murderer) would wind up revealing their secrets and implicating themselves.

Ed says that negotiators need to learn how to ask questions and then listen on a deep level. It gives the other person the floor, allowing them to reveal their deepest needs, which is what the negotiator needs to know. The deepest needs of the situation can only be understood and met if they are spoken. 

Great negotiators take the time to learn the facts they need to know

When asked what characteristics are common among great negotiators, Ed mentioned patience as one of the top traits required. He says that much of the problem in negotiations is because of the urge to get down to business and make progress. But negotiations can’t work that way. It takes time to ask the questions that reveal the facts and deeper desires at the heart of the negotiation. It can’t be shortcut. When you’re able to discover the underlying motivations and needs, it enables you to act on those things and come to agreements that are satisfactory to everyone in the negotiation. Listen to glean insight from Ed’s wealth of experience and to learn more about optimism in negotiation.

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