Today’s episode features a discussion with Kwame Christian, host of the Negotiate Anything Podcast, with tips for having difficult conversations around racism, inequality, and more. Today is an especially important episode of the podcast, as it was inspired by the current landscape in the United States, which has grown to include global conversations around inequality and racism on all levels.
I’m not sure if you have noticed this, but in general I make a very conscious effort to not be political or inflammatory on the podcast. It is my goal to be impartial whenever possible, and I debated for a long time about whether or not to do an episode on this topic. I didn’t want to say more of the same stuff that was out there, and wanted to make sure that the value was still tied to the intent of the podcast: applying brain and behavioral science into business. I had almost decided to not cover the topic when Brian Ahearn (whom I interviewed on episode 104 of the podcast) sent an email with a guest suggestion – a friend of his named Kwame Christian. Kwame is an attorney, negotiation expert with a background in psychology.
In our conversation today, Kwame will tell you about his three step framework for negotiating anything, from 9-figure business deals to conversations with kids. He will also share how even though his personal and business credo is “The best things in life are on the other side of difficult conversations,” he was reluctant to be a voice in the Black Lives Matter movement, but once he stepped into the role with a virtual town hall, he has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, and USA Today. He is also one of the nicest guys around, and while his kind demeanor may seem counterintuitive in negotiating, I think it is his superpower (and it can be yours too with his great tips!)
- [00:52] Today is an especially important episode of the podcast, as it was inspired by the current landscape in the United States, around inequality and racism on all levels.
- [01:24] It is my goal to be impartial whenever possible, and I debated for a long time about whether or not to do an episode on this topic.
- [02:11] Kwame talks about the importance of compassionate curiosity, has a TED Talk on finding confidence in conflict, and incorporates details about how the brain works in his tips for how to have productive conversations.
- [04:15] In our conversation today, Kwame will tell you about his three step framework for negotiating anything, from 9-figure business deals to conversations with kids.
- [06:14] His motto is, “The best things in life are on the other side of difficult conversations.”
- [07:27] You can empathize without agreeing.
- [09:29] The thing that drew him to negotiating was psychology.
- [11:16] Kwame hosted a virtual town hall and expected a couple dozen attendees…over 1,000 people showed up to discuss having difficult conversations about race.
- [12:19] Race is a difficult conversation, but an important one that we can’t ignore anymore.
- [14:39] There is a fear that often keeps people from saying anything at all.
- [15:56] The majority of people want to get engaged, but don’t know how. His advice is to do something. Anything! One small thing at a time.
- [17:01] We have to control the narrative for ourselves.
- [17:57] There is something you can do. Just find one little thing and do it.
- [19:15]The Compassionate Curiosity Framework is simple and flexible to use in different difficult situations
- [20:20] The compassionate part is important because it helps to moderate your tone.
- [22:01] The IKEA Effect is when we feel much more connected and are willing to overlook the flaws on something we built or created ourselves.
- [24:09] Take the time and prethink difficult conversations as much as possible.
- [26:53] He likes to use the gap theory of persuasion. The gap theory is using a compassionate tone but asking questions that show a gap in their understanding.
- [28:54] Confirmation bias is so powerful, prevalent and has an incredible impact.
- [30:02] We often don’t do the personal research because we want to avoid the emotional discomfort.
- [32:06] With our subconscious brain running the show, it is able to process 11 million bits of information per second that it is constantly filtering what is making it to your conscious brain, that can only take 40 bits of information per second.
- [35:03] You were placed in this system to see what you see from your perspective.
- [36:05] This awakening doesn’t feel good and often people experience that discomfort and pull back, worried it is a sign they are doing something wrong. It is actually a signal of growth.
- [37:36] An example of the focusing illusion and we hate to see ourselves on video. Shifting your focus can help you find the one small thing you want to do each day.
- [39:57] Kwame is often asked how to talk to kids about this sensitive topic. If you are not talking to your kids then other people are.
- [40:36] We can use the Compassionate Curiosity Framework to talk with our kids also.
- [41:46] We don’t need to look at the outcome always in terms of tangible accomplishments.
- [43:27] The entire goal of the first conversation could just be to open the door for more conversations.
- [45:57] Being open to what the other side has to say and knowing that they don’t need to be wrong in order for you to be right can help conversations go so much smoother.
- [46:53] You can make a lot more progress with compassionate curiosity than with a plan to force someone to change their mind.
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