With Lawrence Susskind, Professor at MIT, Author of 20 books on negotiation skills and techniques including his latest, Good for You, Great for Me: Finding the Trading Zone and Winning at Win-Win Negotiations
Acknowledging that we all negotiate in many aspects of our daily lives— with our spouses, our friends, our children—Professor Susskind defines how to negotiate, as it applies to his online course, as the proper interaction between investors and entrepreneurs, so that each party presents and protects their respective interests in a manner that leads to positive results all the way around.
As opposed to the “old school” way of selling, where the presenter or sales person goes into the room with a product or an idea and simply puts it on the table, Susskind teaches the value of advance preparation, the importance of building relationships, studying all the angles, and anticipating resistance, all important components of how to negotiate successfully. He stresses the value of trust within these relationships. The venture capitalist, for instance, needs to keep connected to the inventor down the road, after the sale, in order to sustain and grow that business. Without trust between partners, there can be little chance of that happening.
Professor Susskind’s online entrepreneurial negotiation course teaches these skills by matching each student with a partner and putting them into an interactive situation where they go through all the steps of an actual negotiation. After that, they watch a video of Susskind in a kind of debriefing, where he confronts the same situation, utilizing all the points of his program and his philosophy. For example, if there is an adversarial point in the negotiations, he illustrates how to handle resistance and bring the negotiating back to neutral ground.
He concludes by saying that you don’t have to be the smartest person in the room to be a successful negotiator. Instead,you need to be the best prepared, the best listener, and the most creative problem solver.