Ji Eun (Jamie) Lee

Professional Speaker & Negotiation Trainer

Category: Strategic Conversations

Battlestar Galactica: Lessons on Confronting a Powerful Bully

Yours truly speaking at Essence Digital. Photo by Jackie Harshman.

Yours truly speaking at Essence Digital. Photo by Jackie Harshman.

I love watching TV because it allows me to see various, sometimes outrageous negotiation situations play out, all from the comforts of my couch.

I began to watch TV shows with a deeper appreciation for this after a conversation with Julie and Casey of Vital Voice Training. (Go check them out!)

They told me how, in every scene, characters with opposing viewpoints engage in dialogue, each vying to achieve their own goals. Often that dialogue is a negotiation (and you know how I love a good negotiation).

Recently, my life partner Charlie has been re-watching cult-favorite science fiction show Battlestar Galactica on Hulu. Last week I joined him on the couch for episode 7, titled “You Can’t Go Home Again.”

Near the end of this episode, there is a pivotal scene in which one of the heroes, President Roslin, speaks truth to power and negotiates with difficult people to affect positive change. I really enjoyed this and wanted to share the nugget of negotiation wisdom in this scene with you.

First, let me set the scene.

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How to Negotiate Like a Pop Star

The crowd of 65,000 that went on forever, as far as I could see in each direction… Hyde Park.

A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on

  • Make your position clear on a problem.
  • Be mindful of the relationship.
  • Be firm but respectful of the other side.
  • Frame the conversation for big picture thinking.
  • Flex your BATNA (Best Alternative to Negotiated Agreement). Be prepared to walk away if the deal isn’t right.
  • Disagree respectfully. Generate new options kindly.
  • Accept concessions gracefully.
  • THEN STRIKE A POSE (see above for example)
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    Best of Negotiation Advice 2014

    spacetobreathe

    Space to breathe, by the talented Melissa Maples.

    As the year draws to a close, things are getting more hectic. Deadlines loom. The pressure grows. Shopping lists and to-do lists grow, the days shorter.

    Earlier this evening, I walked behind a petite woman holding four shopping bags, clomping down on NYC street as she talked on the phone. She said, “yeah, so now I just need to go pick up another gift, go home, shower, change, write a few emails, then head out again.”

    Busy.
    Overwhelmed.
    Stressed out.
    Sound familiar?

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    DailyWorth covers Hands-On Negotiation Workshop

    Love this recap article by Koa Beck, Senior Editor at DailyWorth. DailyWorth is a leading online publication focusing on women’s financial health.

    When you negotiate, remember that it’s a discussion.

    Jamie Lee reminded us that when negotiating anything, both parties have their objectives. While it’s imperative to prepare for negotiations, the point is not necessarily to blurt out a rehearsed script and then clam up and wait anxiously for your prize. Negotiation is about listening as much as it is about being clear on what you came for — but pivot appropriately based on the response.

    Remembering that negotiating is a conversation is also helpful if you stumble into some pushback. “No” doesn’t necessarily mean no until the end of time. “No” is not a rejection of you, Jamie says. Sometimes it simply means “not right now.”

    Read more on DailyWorth

    Steal This Negotiation Role-Play Exercise for Your Own Benefit

    Lining up for negotiation role play at Bullish Conference in Miami

    Lining up for negotiation role play at Bullish Conference in Miami

    Nothing speaks louder than action. So take some time during this season of frenzied feasting and shopping to plan and practice your big scary ask. Take action on building your negotiation prowess. Your future self will thank you.

    The role-play is designed to be applicable to a wide range of situations, so you can use it regardless of whether you’re asking for a raise at work or negotiating a saner holiday plan with your loved ones.

    Maybe you’re wondering, should you even bother practicing through role-play?

    Totally up to you.

    But does it work?

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    What if you accepted the first offer without negotiating?

    How does abundance look like, for you? Photo by Melissa Maples.

    What does abundance look like for you? Photo by Melissa Maples.

    What if you accepted the first offer for a new job without even blinking an eye at the lower-than-market salary figure. Worse yet, what if you didn’t even know you lowballed yourself? I’ve made this costly mistake a few times early in my career.

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    Contentious Tactics in the Workplace: Shaming, Threats, Logic and Ingratiation

    contentious_kids

    It was at the tail end of another long, hard day in the office that I received an unexpected call from head office in South Korea.

    I picked up the phone and heard an angry male voice speaking in Korean.

    “I’m fed up with your sloppy work. Why can’t you get your act together! You should be ashamed of yourself!”

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    Lessons from Strategic Conversations: Or what being a latchkey kid taught me about living a life of no regrets

    In June I had the pleasure of taking part in She Negotiates’ Strategic Conversations course led by Lisa Gates, She Negotiates co-founder, negotiation expert and consultant.

    I highly recommend it, especially if you are in a managerial or executive level at your company or if you are an entrepreneur and want to improve your negotiation skills.

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    Negotiation: Is it about getting your slice of the pie?

    Bullish: Hi Jamie, thanks for talking with us today. I recently attended a seminar about negotiating, and I remember hearing a speaker suggest that we keep in mind when negotiating that, after all, we’re only asking for “what’s fair.” I thought, hmmn … no. I think that’s a very stereotypically female way of thinking. While you’re asking for what you think is “fair,” men are asking for three times that. And what is “fair,” anyway? The whole idea of fairness is often used by employers to keep workers (equally) down — the pretense of democracy is used to keep from paying the highest-value employees in line with the value they provide.

    Jamie: You make an excellent point regarding the “fairness” argument in the context of salary negotiation. I’ve been subject to this same argument myself at the negotiation table. Because I know this to be a negotiation tactic, my response was to not respond to it. When used effectively, silence can convey power and the willingness to walk away from the table.

    Bullish: So what role does the idea of “fairness” really play in negotiating?

    Jamie: To me, the idea of fairness reminds me of childhood — particularly the flawed childhood lessons in negotiation that don’t apply in the real world of work. Think of six year old Sally stomping her feet, scowling her face at her parents, and demanding for the same toys and privileges as her older sibling Mary. “That’s not fair!” she cries.

    Or, in my case, growing up with two siblings meant bickering over limited resources on the table, namely food. If we had to share a pie, I would not be happy if my older sibling got the lion’s share of it. To be fair, it would have to be split into even thirds, but that was hardly the case. The bigger or faster sibling got to eat more pie than the smaller or slower one. You had to fight for more, and someone, a slow eater like me, would invariably complain that it wasn’t fair.

    By the way, the field of conflict resolution has a term to describe the scenario of splitting the pie; it’s called distributive bargaining. That’s definitely not the type of negotiation I’d advise, because a professional delivers and grows the value of her company or client. She’s growing the pie, not splitting it.

    Okay, so life isn’t fair. As working women we have to see and act in the world as it actually is and not how we think it should be. It doesn’t serve us to approach the negotiation table with an idealized expectation that our employers or clients will pay us what’s fair, because that’s what we think they should do. For the same reason, it’s never a good idea to ask for more pay based on the argument that you should make just as much as a coworker, or — if you’re a consultant or contractor — someone in your field, who does similar work as you. I’m talking about comparing, which is not to be confused with benchmarking against industry standards. By comparing, you might think you’re just asking for what’s fair, but to the other side, you could come across as whiny and childish, like little Sally.

    Instead, make the argument based on your own merits and the value you bring to the table. How did you help the company or client achieve their business goals? What were the positive outcomes of your services and contributions? If you are delivering great value, and you can make a compelling case for it, you can open a dialogue for getting more for it. The right mindset, with a focus on the value of your work, underlies effective self-advocacy, asking and getting your worth.

    In other words, instead of worrying about how the pie is split, aim your focus on how you are growing the pie.

    Originally published on Get Bullish.

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