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The Life and Work of Roger Dawson as told by Gisela Dawson, Ep #401

Nn 401 gisela dawson

Roger Dawson was an amazing negotiation professional, prolific author, the founder of the Power Negotiation Institute, and someone that I thought of very highly. In this special episode of Negotiations Ninja, Roger’s wife, Gisela shares a behind-the-scenes look at a great negotiator and an even better man.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:49] Learn more about Gisela and Roger Dawson
  • [5:54] Roger’s approach to his work and life
  • [11:33] The value Roger saw in simply asking
  • [16:23] Can people learn grace, wit, and charm?
  • [18:41] Roger’s hard work led to his success
  • [20:32] What Roger was most proud of
  • [22:04] What Gisela wants people to remember about Roger

Roger’s approach to his life and work

Gisela emphasizes that Roger was always professional and well-prepared. He spoke at many seminars and spent nearly half the year on the road. When he was home, they’d sit on their porch watching planes fly over, and he’d sigh happily and say, “There’s another plane flying without me.” Gisela was amazed by this brilliant and witty man.

Roger was also shy. She asked him how he could always speak in front of people. It was simply because he chose a profession that forced him to be an extrovert. He wanted to excel, so he put himself out there every day. Successful businessmen often put themselves in difficult situations because it builds character.

Roger’s father was a taxi driver in London. To become a taxi driver, you had to pass an excruciatingly difficult test requiring you to know every part of London. His father failed the test 22 times. He passed the 23rd time. Roger learned how to persevere from his father.

The value Roger saw in simply asking

Roger travelled to 118 different countries during his life. Roger would walk into the hotel everywhere they went and charmingly say, “You are going to upgrade us to a nice suite, aren’t you?” They got the upgrade 75–85% of the time because Roger asked nicely. He always said, “All you have to do is ask.”

It doesn’t have to be complicated. All you have to do is be kind, polite, courteous, and ask. Too many people don’t ask. Why? Gisela believes that most people think it’s rude or that they won’t get what they ask for. When they do ask, they don’t ask the right way. It must be done with grace, charm, and wit.

One of the times Roger asked for an upgrade, they were upgraded to the suite that the King and Queen had stayed in overlooking Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, South Africa.

Can people learn grace, wit, and charm?

Gisela notes that grace, wit, and charm are a gift of both personality and wisdom. Once you’re older, you realize that things that seem annoying or overwhelming aren’t worth getting worked up over.

Gisela points out that people look for opportunities to be offended. Life is nicer when you look at it through the lens of grace and forgiveness for other people. People get so caught up in the offence of something that they forget to enjoy the process of life.

Roger’s hard work led to his success

When Gisela met Roger, he was at the peak of his career. But he spent many years attending Toastmasters to learn how to speak. He went before breakfast every day for years. He learned to avoid being redundant, to have a stage presence, and to work with the audience. Roger didn’t magically make things happen—he worked hard to achieve what he did in his life. Roger’s contributions to the world of negotiation won’t be forgotten.

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