INTERVIEW – Busting 3 Business Negotiation Myths

INTERVIEW – Busting 3 Business Negotiation Myths

I came to Friday's interview with Matt Lohmeyer a bit selfishly. Negotiating has often made me nervous and yet he seems to thrive while discussing and doing it.

So, I wanted to learn how he gets great outcomes while actually enjoying the process.

If I am to interpret Matt correctly, the ‘insight' is to explore ‘possibility’ and seek out ‘opportunity’ rather than be driven by the fear of being cornered by a win/lose proposition.

Here are three fear busters that I took away that I hope help you also.

  1. Deal with the hairy beasts first
  2. See popular techniques as tools rather than the main strategy
  3. Avoid saying no

Let me now give you some more detail about these before offering the interview and two powerful free tools from Matt.

1 – Deal with the hairy beasts first. By that, Matt suggests dealing with the most difficult issues of a negotiation first. He recommends agreeing the negotiation strategy at the beginning as a way to build rapport, rather than dealing with small items. An example might help.

At the beginning you might ask the other person (note, I am deliberate in not saying ‘the other side') to identify their biggest concern. You might even suggest that you think item X is going to be the most difficult thing to resolve.

This gives them an opportunity to agree or to indicate that item Y or Z is a bigger deal for them. Taking this approach offers many advantages. You

  1. Enter into a collegiate discussion about the way forward that builds rapport
  2. Gain insight into their situation
  3. Work out quickly whether this negotiation will go far or not, so that you can avoid wasting time and resources if it is unresolvable
  4. Hold onto valuable bargaining chips that could help you address the hairy beast rather than trading them away to solve lower level issues

2 – See popular techniques as tools rather than the primary strategy. Matt suggests that emphasising win-win solutions or splitting the difference results in mediocre outcomes. Why?

Because they leave you thinking small. They lead you to

  1. Being adversarial which can put you back in the fear corner'
  2. Trading items tit for tat around micro elements of the deal
  3. Taking energy away from finding a really great outcome that neither party may have considered at the start of the discussion.

3 – Avoid saying no, and frame your response as a possible alternative. This doesn't mean NEVER saying no as Matt was quick to point out, but rather avoid saying it.

To give an example. Instead of saying ‘No, I can't have coffee with you tomorrow afternoon', say ‘I could have coffee with you at 9am tomorrow at a location near me'.

This then puts the onus back on the other person to decide whether they will make the extra effort to make that time and location work.

This is a simple example, but a powerful principle that empowers me by offering a constructive way out.

These are just some of the gems that Matt shared. You can visit the recording below, as well as download two powerful resources he has for us all.



1. A diagnostic to help you calibrate your personal blend of preferred negotiation strategies with the norm group of over 2,500 other executives. How do you actually negotiate? To unlock this tool, you will need to use the password Mythbusters.

>> Click here to access

2. A generously detailed PDF full of negotiation strategies for you to employ.

>> Download here 


Kind Regards,


Discussion – Building a Winning Career

Bill Cowan rightly pointed out in this week's workshop that most of us are good at our jobs, but not necessarily​ good at marketing ourselves.

I put myself in that category. Marketing is so very much harder and yet Bill's strategy for building a winning career seems highly achievable.​

That might be because at its core, it's a relationship strategy.

To continue the discussion I have here my top three takeaways as well as some next steps for you all.​​​​

First to my top three takeaways from this week's discussion.

#1 – Build a large network of friends and colleagues whom you can call on for advice. Never ask any of them to help you find a job: it is awful for both of you when they say ‘no'. They most likely won't know how to help you find a job and then the conversation gets awkward very quickly.

#2 – Know that connection matters as much, if not more than competence when hunting for a new role. We talked about how a ‘dad joke' bot helped my son get his first grad role in NYC … this was a lovely example of how this played out quite naturally and accidentally. Bill had quite a bit to say on this topic too.

#3 – Have courage to be ambitious about the sort of role you look for and, equally, to leave a bad one. Leave when three things are in play:

  1. ​your boss isn't helping you,
  2. ​you don't feel you are making a difference and
  3. ​the organisation itself is struggling.

​Bill believes courage is more important than confidence too, no matter what level you are at.

There were loads more, and I'd encourage you to go to the recording to listen. I have posted it as video, but you may find it a good one to listen to instead as it's more discussion than presentation.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.​

And to another opportunity to work on your own career
Whether you were there or not, please do prepare for our next Winning Career discussions during the upcoming working sessions. Here's what to do to prepare:

#1 – Log in and register for the session that suits you best on the first Tuesday in February​​

#2 – Get hold of Bill's book Building a Winning Career if you can and also listen to my previous interview with him.

#3 – Regardless of whether you get the book or not, brainstorm out a list of things that you think make you distinctive in your career.

#4 – Bring the list with you to the session so we can work with you to help you clarify what is distinctive about you. This lays the foundations for helping you work out what direction to head in.

​Thanks again for being such active participants in this journey with Bill. He's been very generous with his time and I think well worth listening to.
Have a great week,

PS – Do let me know if there are other communication-related topics that particularly interest you. I would love to have one or two more speakers join us this year.​​

Please excuse the camera wobbles at the start … it gets better a few minutes in.