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How to Negotiate Like Your Career Depends On It

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Hi, my name is Monique Betty, affectionately known as Coach Mo, and welcome to the Tuesdays with Coach Mo podcast.

Today on our show, I am joined by Kwame Christian, negotiation and conflict resolution trainer and Director of American Negotiation Institute. In addition, Kwame is a business lawyer and a professor of negotiation and mediation advocacy at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.

As you enjoy my conversation with Kwame, you will hear him offer insights on how to develop your negotiator capabilities, he’ll shed light on the risk of not negotiating, offers us his perspective on how to develop a negotiator's mindset, and so much more. As a high achiever with executive ambitions, you know that advancing your career is so much more than your technical know-how, you have to be able to bring people along, and this heavily depends on your ability to negotiate, and influence others.


02:32 Q:    So, Kwame, what makes a hostage negotiator effective?

A:    What makes a hostage negotiator effective is the fact that they are incredible listeners but at the same time they’re very assertive.  They are incredibly respectful and very empathetic. So, I think they blend it in a way that all of us could learn when we’re using negotiation skills day-to-day.

04:15 Q:     When it comes to assertiveness, help me understand how these techniques relate to someone advancing their career in the workplace.

A:     I think one of the key things to recognize is the way that I look at negotiations. I don’t think about negotiation as a skill, it’s more like a life philosophy. When it comes to being assertive, it’s important to recognize the distinction between being assertive and being aggressive. When you’re assertive, what you’re doing is you’re giving yourself space to express yourself and share your truth and being very clear about what it is you want and need out of the situation while at the same time, being respectful of the other person’s ability and autonomy to do the same in the conversation. Whereas, if you’re being aggressive, it’s not just that you are trying to get what you want. There’s a bit of a disregard for the well-being of the person who kind of stands in your way. That’s the perspective; this person stands in your way.  And that type of approach to negotiation is problematic.

06:12 Q:     What is the challenge in young people or professionals, building their assertiveness tendencies?

A:    I think what we should do in terms of the risk associated with not negotiating.  If you don’t take the opportunity to advocate for yourself and try to get the salary that you deserved, then you’re putting yourself at a deficit. Easily, conservatively, it can cost you half a million to a million dollars over the course of your lifetime if you don’t negotiate for your salary and career advancement. And so, I think that’s really the key thing that people need to remember; that the real risk is in not negotiating. 

09:00 Q:    What are the conditions required to engage in a negotiation? How it is that one knows that they’re there? You’re in it.

A:    If we’re filtering every interaction through the belief that it is a negotiation, thinking of negotiation like a life philosophy, then really, we’re not asking ourselves “Is this a time for negotiation?” We should be asking ourselves “Is this one of those rare occasions where I don’t need to negotiate?” Most likely it’s not going to be a time to not negotiate. That’s the key thing. And that’s what I always tell people, our model at the American negotiation is the truth is the best things in life are on the other side of a difficult conversation. And when we start having these conversations and engaging, then we start living the best version of our life.

12:58 Q:    When thinking about in particular, at work, what are some myths of negotiating in a workplace?

A:    There’s a myth that the risks outweigh the benefits. I think that’s a major myth that people have. When you’re negotiating, you have three main goals – any type of negotiation.

  1. Get more of what you want
  2. Avoid things that you don’t want
  3. Strengthen relationships

15:29 Q:    Terrific! So, if someone today has, let’s say, a victim mindset. What is the quickest way to make the pivot to the negotiator mindset?

A:    This is something I covered extensively in my book “Finding Confidence in Conflicts” and my Ted talk has the same name because for me I am very conflict-averse early on in my life and I had to overcome this. You take advantage of these everyday opportunities to practice, when the big scary negotiation comes in, you’re already ready. You know what to do. You got into this habit of engagement. That’s what we want to do; we want to create a habit of engagement.

26:18 Q:    How will your development of negotiation, your skills, your abilities, and your mindset help being an effective collaborator?

A:    It makes you a great team member because you need to be adept at problem-solving being a good negotiator, allows you to get a better layer of the land.

29:37 Q:    Kwame, what tips and advice have you yet to share? And consider that may be beneficial for introverts?

A:    I think, introverts have a better personality foundation to be great negotiators because like we said at the beginning of the podcast, great negotiators are great listeners. And it’s hard to listen if you are talking. Extroverts are more likely to talk and dominate the conversation so introverts have an advantage in that regard so, being more judicious with the thought process, deeper process, taking the time to make decisions that actually serve you really well as a negotiator.


What are you taking forward as a result of listening to my conversation with Kwame? What low-risk opportunities do you have in the next 24 hours for developing your negotiator muscle? I want to know what you tried! What worked? What will you do differently next time? Send me a message on IG on Tuesdays with Coach Mo!

Coach Mo Knows (A tip, a question, and a bit of inspiration)


Grab a wide range of negotiation guides:

Connect with Kwame: 


What steps will you take to strengthen your negotiator mindset?


He who has learned to disagree without being disagreeable has discovered the most valuable secret of negotiation. ~ Chris Voss

Well, that’s all for today’s episode of Tuesday’s with Coach Mo. Thanks for listening and if you are a first-time listener…welcome! Be sure to subscribe to our biweekly show on your favorite podcast platform of iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, or iHeart radio so you catch each and every episode. 


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