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Front Page - Friday, July 5, 2024

Book review: Know exactly what you want and how to get it

Absolutely not. And that’s the final answer. Nobody’s budging on it, nobody will hear any argument, it’s done, the answer is just plain “no.” Or is it – because isn’t there some wiggle room in nearly any controversy, a toenail’s worth of space to find a middle ground?

Read “Negotiating While Black” by Damali Peterman, and you could find maybe between the N and the O.

You want something, you’re denied and it’s frustrating. Between your ask and the other party’s rejection, what went wrong? Damali Peterman wondered that, too, when she tried to buy a new car before the pandemic and the first dealership all but turned her away.

Was it because she’s Black, a woman – both or neither?

Peterman is the founder and CEO of Breakthrough ADR, and an expert in dispute resolution. “Negotiation is my life,” she says, and she knows there are always two sides to an argument. Finding a happy middle to a dispute or negotiation is usually possible; at the very least, there may be compromise to be found.

First of all, don’t be afraid of negotiation; any time you make a decision or figure something out with someone, you’re negotiating. Also, know that there’s not a “one-size-fits-all” way of give-and-take. You need to find what works best for you.

When you’re asking for something, keep in mind the five elements in every negotiation:

• Know what you want

• What you need

• How to listen closely

• How to communicate

• When to close the deal.

Pay close attention to the other person’s body language and properly validate what they are saying. Always “be your authentic self;” not doing so is why things collapse well after the deal is set. Do your research and “peek inside their bag” so you have “more material... to work with” in negotiating. Always be the first to make the offer, but don’t show your hand too quickly. Know how to overcome bias. Apologize when needed. And know what to do when “high-stakes negotiations” could be a matter of safety.

You’re the sort of person who knows what they want. You’ve thought it through and you want it now. So learn how to get it by reading “Negotiating While Black.”

Ask pretty please? It often doesn’t work that way in real life, so author Damali Peterman shows readers a number of better ways of talking things over and reaching a consensus that works for both parties in nearly any situation, in or outside of the office.

Her methods are gentler but firm, smart but not smug, flexible but not bend-over-backward and kind but not pushover. Yes, some of the advice here is common-sense but it also comes with new perspective, including easy-to-grasp lessons for marginalized readers who want to go beyond the frustration of being abruptly dismissed.

When “please” doesn’t cut it anymore and demanding is not the right move, “Negotiating While Black” is the book you want. It shows you the way to ask with a velvet fist.

Should you miss it?

Absolutely not.

Terri Schlichenmeyer’s reviews of business books are read in more than 260 publications in the U.S. and Canada.