Many seminars on negotiations will either emphasize the Harvard
Process or provide examples not directly focused on the
audience’s near term perceived needs.
Talking about negotiating a roof repair after a chimney pointing
process does not strike students who are graduating and looking
for a job. They don’t pick up the relevance.
Yesterday’s seminar audience felt that negotiations begin
when they are presented an offer of interest. Surprising.
Work and research must be done well in advance of the
position offer to define priorities, leverage points,
cultural influences and even words to indicate “no”.
The seminar also provided tools and how-to-express
things in three practical-to-their-needs stories.
3. Negotiations can happen at different times than a job offer.
Most people realize they will have 5-20 jobs in their career
and some they will need to change when their job is eliminated.
Being able to express and use use Appreciation to influence
the tenor of negotiations can make a difference.
HOW TO EXPRESS “NO”
- “I am flattered that you thought of me, but I am afraid I
do not have the bandwidth…”
- “I would very much like to, but I am over-committed…”
- “no, but”.. another time or situation.
- “let me check my calendar and get back to you…”
- focus on the trade-off: what are we sacrificing if we…
- to seniors or leaders: “I would be glad to, but which of the
other projects should I lower in priority…”
- “you are welcome to….; I am willing to….”
- “I am not able to do it, but so and so can…”
Internships can provide excellent interludes where we experience
what it is like in an organization (conversations, interactions,
, assignments) can perform new and goal oriented work
(goal-setting, application of know how and knowledge),
can meet and work for a short term mentor, and see how
things are done in another setting (culture).
My career had three “internships”– two in a medical school
biochemistry lab and one in am NSF Center of Excellence
program. That was then, now interns need to be more proactive,
especially near the end of their internship experience.
In fact, I suggest doing AfterActionReviews of your
internship program and keep it in your Master resume
portfolio. AARs are recognized as a knowledge transfer
and retention tool for capturing implicit and tacit pieces.
[See Knowledge Management.. Administrative Services link]
For those early in their careers, it might be useful to start with
- outlining all the tasks and assignments, completed and
- communicating in person
- seeking feedback on areas of improvement
- asking for longer term connection with people in
your thank you communication.
People in your junior and senior years [REU programs and
such] and in your graduate career level are advised to display
the maturity of performing AARs, drawing conclusions and
offering reverse mentoring.
Detailed description of AARs: S. Salem-Schatz, D. Ordin,
B. Mittman, “Rapid Post-Project Assessment“
A useful tool to use after you take an interview, after
you give a seminar or presentation or after a planned
event is an After Action Review AAR.
AAR is a retrospective analysis of a goal oriented
action that performs an evaluation and offers improvements.
In this process “lessons learned” can be an output. AARs
are common in military actions, emergency preparation
and actions, knowledge management, exit interviews,
and fire and police actions.
Colin Powell brought to light AARs in a Face the nation interview
several years ago.
CASE 1. On site interview
Shou and I reviewed his recent on-site interview where he
did not feel he performed particularly well So we captured what
he felt he did well and where he did not see how his preparation
was enough to satisfy the interviewers. [AAR step]
He met the night before two professionals for dinner and then
first thing in the morning with the HR manager. His technical
presentation that followed went well and his audience provided positive
He had a short conversation with a friend in the company that
confirmed this impression. After lunch, that is where he had problems.
The interview then become a unique process of one interviewer
listening to him in a conference room where he was asked one question
for one hour. He was asked how he goes about and has demonstrated
innovation. [AAR step 2 identify and break down areas to improve]
It took him 5-10 minutes to offered prepared responses. Then, he
had nothing prepared to offer. [This apparently was the purpose
of this interview strategy: The question asked to demonstrate
communications skills, creativity, curiosity depth of thought in
his graduate education.]
We discussed how he could 1) break down the initial question,
2) how he should perform an audience analysis, and 3) know
some common ground to frame the response and 4) create a dialog,
rather than a monolog. 5) Use room facilities [white board,
pens, paper, draw diagrams, flow charts, PERT charts, etc.].
The next interview was the same format asking the question:
How do you make decisions. He faced a similar dilemma.
CASE 2. Bullying incident in a seminar
In a mock interviewing seminar, an audience member volunteered
to be interviewed face to face with a colleague. The planned
session was completed quite competently and the audience was
asked for positive comments and areas for improvement. Of
the half dozen comments one person articulated a pernicious
attack on the person. While the interviewee saw, smiled and
said thank you, the interviewer turned the comment around
and devised an appropriate strong assertion pointing out how
the interviewee had nicely overcome problems and learned
Everyone in the session observed the disservice and it was clear
this became a “teachable moment” how to deal with adverse
The interviewee and I privately discussed how I was very
impressed with maintenance of composure under the
circumstance. I indicated that the interviewer and the
whole seminar room noticed it and appreciated the very
professional way in which it was dealt.
All three co-presenters shared their concern about the
bullying that we observed. After consultation we thought
we were all surprised, dismayed and thought if we had
direct interactions with the bully we should privately confront
her and communicate this has no place in our scientific
An AAR is a critical tool in our toolkit to continually improve.