If I had to pay Nike every time I used their slogan to give myself the courage to accomplish something… well they’d probably be as wealthy as they are now, but I’d be broke.
Yesterday I ran my first solo Insight Training with Saha Global. I’ve been preparing for this training ever since I first decided in August that I would come to Ghana and work with Saha Global. I’ve spent hours practicing the various exercises and lecture pieces of the training. I am constantly talking about negotiating based on interests and do my best to practice what I preach. I have taken multiple courses in negotiation, have read many books on the subject between my graduate degree and this fellowship. I’ve even designed my own shorter version of this training for a couple University programs yet the night before the Saha training when I was reviewing the agenda one last time, I reached into my brain and felt like I knew nothing. Pure panic.
When I woke up the next morning I just had to embrace Nike’s motto and jump in. As I’m sure you can guess, the training went really well. Chalk it up to another reminder to have confidence in yourself and your capabilities.
There were 10 Ghanians at the training and 4 Americans. The combination of education and English levels made for a more challenging training but an extremely rewarding one as well.
My favorite moment of the day was probably in the afternoon during the session on Difficult Tactics. In the training, we spend time identifying the difficult tactics people use in negotiation to get what they want. Common examples are lying, threatening, or using emotion to sway the negotiation in one direction or another. Our advice to people is actually the same throughout the training- move the conversation to “interests”, “options”, and “legitimacy”. After a demonstration, participants are instructed to try it themselves. While I was walking around the room listening, one of the groups called me over. Essentially, they found it very hard to believe that by moving the conversation to interests, options, and legitimacy someone could negotiate well with a liar. So we decided to role play the situation. He was the liar and I played the other negotiator. As I navigated my way through the conversation using the advice, it became clear that what he was demanding didn’t actually match the
reality. I had discovered the lie. The sheer joy in watching his eyes bulge, head nod in laughter as we finished the conversation. The theories and advice of interests-based negotiation had once again proven themselves!
My low for the training, however, was actually within the first 30 minutes. I asked the participants to introduce themselves and to give me a word that described them as negotiators. Typically, this is a pretty easy way to get to know participants, break the ice, show people that its ok to participate, and get some laughs. The question, however, fell flat… like really really flat. Of the 14 people in the room, there were maybe 4 who were able to give me an answer without trouble, 2-3 of them could after a thorough explanation and an example, and the rest just couldn’t answer the question. They looked at me quietly, then squirmed in their chair and I just had to continue on with the introductions. I felt so foolish- it was the introduction for heaven’s sake! My own internal voice was saying something like, “how bad of a trainer are you?!!?” Since I’ve already revealed that my high moment was in the afternoon, you know that however awful the introduction was, I did get through it. To do so was an interesting exercise in managing my own internal voice. And that training is scheduled for next week… how convenient!