How to Hustle like a Pro

Yesterday morning Nat and I dragged ourselves out of bed and walked through the dark and blustery streets of Amsterdam to attend the SheSays Amsterdam “How to hustle like a pro” negotiation workshop. Now, I’ve been to my fair share of talks/workshops and a lot of the time they are very hit and miss. Whether that’s because of an uninspiring subject matter, or a lack of vision/intent with the content presented, you can sometimes leave feeling frustrated that the only benefit of attending was an Instagram Story and a free croissant. However, the “How to hustle like a pro” workshop completely exceeded my expectations, they smashed it.

The workshop’s premise was as follows… “Being able to negotiate well impacts many facets of life and can be a deciding factor when it comes to your success. We negotiate for our jobs and salaries, with partners and friends and even when buying a car. Yet asking for what you want can be daunting and not everyone has the innate capability to be persuasive. So how do you go about it?”

The morning was chaired and run by Christ’l Dullaert, Amsterdam native, Lawyer and Director of Le Tableau, and Paige Alexander a fellow expat and Executive director of EUCORD. After just a couple of hours we walked away enthused and motivated to put some of our new found hustling techniques into practice.

Here are our top 5 take aways:

1.     Recognise a negotiation before you can win it

Christ’l Dullaert teaching us the tricks of the trade ...

Christ’l Dullaert teaching us the tricks of the trade ...

Do we always realise we’re in a negotiation? It’s also not as black and white as trying to secure your share of ‘ten pieces of pie’. By taking your time, asking questions and thinking things through you may even be able to increase the size of the pie and end up negotiating things that you didn’t even think were on the table to begin with. Also, between yes and no there are a lot of factors which could help you succeed. It’s been proven that women tend to wait until they are qualified before accepting a promotion/new job. But if additional training, travel expenses or working from home could help you to succeed then address them during the negotiation.  

2.     It doesn’t have to be Empathy Vs Assertiveness

Nat doing her best BATNA aka hiding in the corner and avoiding conflict

Nat doing her best BATNA aka hiding in the corner and avoiding conflict

There is (and especially amongst women) a difficult balance between being empathetic and too assertive (which can inadvertently lean into passive aggressive). Try to consider the other person’s position but also allow yourself the self-confidence to be assertive in what you’re looking to achieve. Using the BATNA (Best alternative to a negotiated agreement) technique is a good way of figuring out the best 'Plan B' if the negotiation just isn't working out. You always have the option to walk away.

3.     Ask more questions

Get to know your opponent!  Poster by Anthony Burrill

Get to know your opponent! Poster by Anthony Burrill

It’s key when entering into a negotiation that you’re prepared and know what you want as an outcome. You don’t need to say yes immediately. But define an amount of time that you need to deliberate (anything from just grabbing a coffee to a few days) and then stick to it. Recognise and apply these three pillars:

·      SubstanceWhat are we negotiating? What do I want out of it?

·      ProcessHow will we discuss this? Do you have an hour? Is now a good time?

·      Relationship What type of person am I negotiating with? Do they want to ‘win’ or are they more focused on relationships?

If you’re going into a situation blind and have never met the person you’re negotiating with, always have at least one question from each pillar that you can use to learn about your negotiating opponent.

To read up on how to get the best results download this paper from Harvard: 7 elements of effective negotiation.

4.     Name the game - How to deal with difficult tactics

We’ve all come across them, especially in the world of business. Either a bully, dictator or someone willing to play dirty to get what they want. Dealing with these kind of people is difficult but also unfortunately inevitable both in life and work. Our advice? Level the playing field by stating your position and calmly calling them out: e.g. ‘let’s name the game here, I understand you’re busy but if we just spend a few minutes talking about this I’ll get out of your hair’. You keep your integrity whilst also getting the best possible outcome.

5.     Opposites attract

The Yin to my Yang. The Ant to my Dec. The Cheese to my Mac.

The Yin to my Yang. The Ant to my Dec. The Cheese to my Mac.

We took part in an exercise that looked at our tendencies when facing a negotiation situation. I came out as a tendency to be “concerned with good relationships” e.g. sensitive to the feelings of others; tends to be support and helpful and very concerned that conflict or differences may disrupt relationships. Nat’s tendency was “concerned with avoiding conflict”. E.g. disliking disputes and has a tendency to withdraw and is uncomfortable with explicit disagreement especially if heated.

The best businesses have been built with individuals with different strengths and skills and ways of looking at the world. Although Nat and I share the same values, we bring very different things to the table, which enables us to produce more effective, creative and well-rounded work.

Thank you to FinchFactor, She Says Amsterdam, Christ’l Dullaert and Paige Alexander for their time, planning, ideas and expertise. Also to the great gaggle of ladies who completely threw themselves in and helped it to be the brilliant morning of negotiation 101 that it was. Now we’re off to HUSTLE. Watch out world…

SheSays Amsterdam Workshop Hosted by FinchFactor @Spaces