Book Revew

Negotiate without Negotiating – an introvert’s guide to getting more and stressing less

Negotiate-without-negotiating

Negotiate without Negotiating – An Introvert’s Guide to Getting More and Stressing less by Aaron Leyshon –  reviewed by Celine –  KINDLE EDITION (e-book)

Sold by:  Amazon Digital Services Inc.

Date of publication:  2018   File size 2504 KB   No. of pages  136

REVIEW

In my opinion, this e-book is written in a light breezy blunt chatty style.  If I finish reading a book with a happy smile or a look of satisfaction on my face, that means that I enjoyed reading the book.  I liked this book and as a self-proclaimed introvert, I can recommend it to others to get what they can from it.

As I began reading the book, it was like a transcript or as though the words were from a talk or spoken words that may have been given to a group by a motivational speaker.   The author of this book refers to a difficult unfeeling person as an asshole, and this word is used more than 60 times in the book, and by the time I finished reading the book, I was under the impression that an “asshole” is a person who goes about trying to get what they want by focusing on their own wants and not caring about the other person’s wants or feelings, because of a sense of privilege or right.

The point is, once I got used to the litany of “asshole” references, and progressed with reading the book, the realisation that anyone can be an asshole was well and truly made.  By showing what doesn’t work (by being an asshole) Aaron actually makes one think more carefully about one’s own personal choices.

If there are any teachers or parents reading this review, I think that this book is a good resource for young adults, due to its “Gen Z language and style.”  First of all, to understand the theme of the book, we must ask “What is negotiation?” Well, to me, it is a decision making process where people agree upon something.

Personally speaking for myself of course, I really got a lot from Part 1 of this book, where the author looks at what it means to be an “introvert.”  From what an introvert isn’t (misconceptions) to looking at where one might fit, using devices like the Myers-Briggs Personality test, Part 1 sheds light on the “hard wired” traits of classic introverts, illuminating the fact that these traits are already helping them to navigate throughout life successfully, although some introverts may not give themselves credit for this.

This navigation includes negotiating with others, and this Part of the book points out how introverts don’t like to be competitive or over-bearing with others, so need to hone in on their natural abilities and practice other skills in order to get the best out of “negotiating”.  There are said to be different tendencies of people, such as the traits which are measured by the Myers-Briggs Personality Test.  The book provides links to resources such as how to work out what type of introvert you are.  Of course, this is not designed to “box up” a person into a finite category, but is a guideline to certain personality traits or characteristics, that if one is familiar with, can be used in beneficial ways.

I have done the Myers-Briggs test twice professionally, and both times came up with –

ISTJ or     Introvert / Sensate / Thinking / Judging

The opposite would be –

E N F P or Extrovert / Intuitive / Feeling / Perceiving

To find out what these delimiters mean, you will have to read Aaron’s book.

A sneak glimpse into the ISTJ type is that this sort of person likes to feel secure, and I can say that this certainly applies to me. I have worked hard on feeling secure in new situations, and can use this trait by embedding myself into a new organisation (or situation) where not only I feel comfortable (and safe), but where I make those around me feel so.  I do this by building rapport, and by trying to gain people’s trust by being helpful, yet honest, and by showing my appreciation of others, and showing that I can keep information they give me, or things that they do, confidential.

I did the second test in Aaron’s book (Take the “Introverted Which TV Character am I” test) and was pleased to get the result that I am a “thinking social introvert like Sherlock Holmes or Dr House“.  The awesome (and amazing thing) is that the write-up with this type of introvert, on the Quiz page that Aaron’s book links to, gives 5 points about how I best “negotiate” (or collaborate) with others, e.g. (it states)  I stand up for what I believe in, and talk passionately about my interests.

I was “pretty chuffed” to use a young person’s expression, at many of the character traits that Aaron pointed out about introverts, all of which I think describes me, such as:

We don’t want attention or lime-light

Note here:  this is not the same as we don’t want appreciation or respect or acknowledgement, but we don’t like to be up-front with many eyes upon us, not because we are denying others the chance to venerate us if they want to, but simply because we are energised (or get our energy for life) from ourselves!  Extroverts tend to draw a lot of “energy” from those around them, to keep them going.

The author also talks about the trait of introverts to perform over analysis, as –

It’s more the fact that analysis can become a form of active procrastination.

Note here:  I’m also a quadruple Virgo (4 out of 7 “planets” in Virgo with a Leo Moon and Scorpio rising) and I know all about this one (active procrastination), and if you know something about Western Astrology this will tell you that I pay attention to detail and love information etc. (according to the “labels” of course) and what’s more I can further procrastinate finishing off this Review by saying that I was born in the Year of the Water Rabbit, so you can run off and look up Chinese Astrology if you want to know what that means. 

Another truth about introverts.

We are not shy. We’re not afraid of people. We just prefer to actually listen, take our time with things and feel comfortable before we get heavily involved

Note here:  hooray I thought when I read this, I agree with this 100 percent.  I feel this is a VERY important thing for extroverts to note about introverts.  I also agree with Aaron saying that introverts naturally and quickly build rapport, because they are conscientious.  Generally speaking, introverts don’t like drama or negative emotions, and these can quickly appear if a “negotiation” is not handled well.

In my opinion, having the paperback version of this book would be very good, because it is easy to read, and each chapter starts off with some short sayings or catch-phrases by notable people (which are interesting / inspiring ) and there are plenty of exercises or activities to do, to get one’s brain geared toward how to negotiate without negotiating.

I was very pleased to find practical activities in Aaron’s book for every Chapter, under “Just Do Something” as I believe that part of learning is to move beyond “rote” (or memorised) learning, and doing something creative and unique, to apply what one has learned or to try something out.  To that end, I am sharing 2 of my activities when I “just did something” to show readers that some of us really do the activities (or some of them) in instructional books.

introvert-v-extrovert.jpg

MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT INTROVERTS AND EXTROVERTS !

Above is my list of characteristics of Introverts and Extroverts, as instructed under the “Just do something” for the chapter titled above.  Now if any really extroverted people are reading this, let’s do some negotiating now.  My list was brain-stormed from the point of view that I am an introvert (quintessentially someone who “keeps their own counsel”) AND the labels in my list originate from my school days when we first looked at introverts versus extroverts and what they MEAN to us.  So if you are outraged by some of the character traits of Extroverts that I originally listed, keep in mind that as Aaron, the author of the book I am reviewing, points out, honesty is the best policy.

Know that in my personal life I have been surrounded by those with positional authority and most of them have been extroverts, and half of those have not been all that interested in my feelings or opinions or experiences.   When you add this all up together,  and imagine yourself as an introvert looking out at extroverts, you will understand why I wrote some of the things I wrote in the list of extrovert meanings.  Also this – as Aaron instructed for this Exercise – I then did a flip-flop by recognising that Extroverts sometimes have some or all of the stereotyped character traits of Introverts, and Vice Versa.  This happy conclusion means a Win-Win solution for us all, introverts and extroverts alike.

Introverts do NOT think that all extroverts are loud and un-caring; and hopefully extroverts do not think that all introverts are shy and un-assuming and rude (by not making eye contact).  So there.

Now onto Part 2 which is about POWER.  “When not to negotiate” starts this section off.  The author’s intent with this chapter seems to be only to negotiate for a win-win outcome.  Therefore if you feel that you can’t negotiate without being an ass-hole, meaning without caring for what the other “party” wants at all, then it’s not time to negotiate.

I found the next Chapter “The Role of Power in Negotiating” very interesting and helpful.  Others may already know about the concepts in this Chapter but if you do, that doesn’t mean the book is unhelpful to everyone, because as long as it is of some help to someone, which it is, the book is worthwhile.  As Aaron points out, nobody is perfect, not even you reading this book review.

The Chapter covers actual power, perceived power and relative power, the latter of which is a dynamic which introverts should seek to achieve, where for example, even if you are dealing with an authority figure or your boss, you can show your “power” relative to the actual relationship, through how you deal with others and how you see or treat yourself.

This Chapter is followed by “How to get Respect without Demanding it.”  You may want to read this chapter over.  It offers vocabulary or words that introverts could use when dealing with obnoxious people who don’t want to negotiate, and talks about genuinely helping others, and about reciprocity and listening, amongst other useful things.

It leads onto the next chapter “Win-Win and the Art of Collaborating” which is about collaboration through building rapport, being creative, and using expert and referent power.   “Location, Time and Weather” is about …….. picking the right location and time for a discussion, and if possible, choosing to negotiate under sunny and conducive weather conditions, and if the latter is not available, then creating an inviting atmosphere.

Now, after reading “The Role of Power in Negotiating” (the second chapter of Part 2) I did points 2, 3 and 4 of the “Just do something” activity which covers 7 points or steps.  What all these 7 points or steps are, you will have to find out for yourself, by reading the book!  Here is a sneak glimpse of my output of the practical exercise on approximately page 46 (depending upon what version of the book you have), showing what I did in response to step 2.

justdoit.jpg

Now that I personally have got started on analysing how I myself “negotiate” with others, as an introvert, as guided by Aaron, I declare that I feel a whole lot braver about asking my employer if I can work permanently part-time. I believe that I now have the confidence to negotiate a win-win situation.

You can see how I amended what I first wrote and made it more specific from “I will stay on with the organisation by looking after my health” to “I will be able to stay on with the organisation only by looking after my health.”  Aaron says to get very specific, so I did.  I moved on from a sweeping idea or grand plan about me, myself and I, to something definite and serious for my manager to consider, in other words, if Celine can’t rest enough and look after her health, she won’t be able to stay with us, which would be awful.

I plan to use my expert power and referent power, by dint of my literally being the last of a brigade of 4 staff whom I started with 9 years ago, and consequently my having a wealth of expertise and knowledge about our specialised business activity.  I visualise myself pointing out my strong points, which luckily my manager already is aware of, like I love to read and write, I’m a good researcher, a pleasant and polite person and a good listener, who clearly likes to help others, and does so, and so forth.  This will blend into my referent power claims, which is that I am a good help to her personally and to the team and thus to the organisation overall.  I will point out that I am calm and level-headed, hard-working and supportive of all, etc. as she has already observed.

Overall, you get the picture that I will be telling my employer that I really am indispensable.  Yes we introverts are a bit worried sometimes (hesitant to perhaps get embroiled in a drama or a tug-o-war with people getting upset or angry) like my imagining HR and the Executive Services might frown and say something like “it’s not a priority for us to re-classify Celine’s position” (when they really mean there’s too much paper-work to do that, plus re-classifying Celine is on the bottom rung of the lowest ladder for us at the moment).

But hey, thanks Aaron, because I really have got a lot from your book, for example, it’s not so terrifying to “negotiate” – and this is because there are options, logical outcomes which must be accepted, and the possibility of “middle ground”.  At the worse my employer can say yes or no (I’m employed substantively full-time but want to be converted permanently to part-time).  I’ll be no worse off if they say No, even after I point out the advantages to them (no more renewing my reduced hours every 6 months, and scope for channelling the money not spent on my salary quotient for not working full-time, to something or somewhere else.)

I have done my thinking or research, as suggested by Aaron.  In case the response of the “higher ups” is that they are far too busy at the moment to even work out if what I want is what they want, or if they object in other ways, I can preempt this in my discussion with my manager, by saying that my proposal does not have to be implemented immediately, but as soon as it is considered and implemented, it will be a great motivation for me to stay with the organisation, and thus will benefit the business by retaining my expertise and talents.

So this has been a sharing of a real-life application of Aaron’s guidance.

Part 3 of the book titled “Letting Go” is about, not surprisingly, letting go of preconceptions or demands and of zero-win outcomes, and about finding middle ground if that is where the negotiation winds up.

Collaboration is the Key to painless negotiation” is a good chapter, perhaps beneficial to re-read it a second time (based upon my own experience, anyway).  It’s to do with finding a balance which both parties can live with, through being flexible, using language wisely, and tapping into the field of opportunities and potentials, and weighing the outcomes. When there’s no collaboration, walking away, without too much frustration, is the key.

The final chapter “Negotiate without negotiating” is where Aaron describes ways of escaping the “sour grapes syndrome” which is where an introvert (or an extrovert) gets resentful or angry or even bitter if she (or he) doesn’t get exactly what they want (especially if it is from someone in positional power or in a hierarchy with power given to them which is said to be above your power level).  The answer to this is basically to recognise one’s own emotions and to control them, and to read other’s emotions and to respect them.  In this chapter, Aaron reiterates to frame negotiation as collaboration and to use language and flexibility correctly.

Nobody said it is easy to negotiate (whether you are an introvert or not) and it can be harder for introverts to do so, because they have to consciously make an effort to know their own values and strengths, and to pit their own values against those of the other party.

While extroverts may rail-road another into maybe a zero-win situation (with a win just for themselves) OR may use their natural confidence and ebullience to lay their own wants and values on the table, to move quickly through a negotiation or a collaboration (as Aaron calls it), introverts often must think a lot before they go into a “collaboration”, about their boundaries and about their tactics, e.g. to politely and firmly let the other party know if the party is being downright disrespectful (or an asshole, as popularly referred to in the book) or to walk away if the talk is going nowhere, but being ready to bring it up at a more serendipitous time or environment.

The last chapter “Closing the Deal” sums up an overall strategy.  It talks about anchoring a high precise value in your proposal, to demonstrate how valuable you are, framing your position (showing specific and detailed conditions and benefits to the other party), how to deal with a negative reaction, and cementing the deal.

Altogether, it took me a while to digest everything in this book, and I read it twice over, and this is not because I couldn’t understand it the first time around, but because of the unique style in which it was written.  It is written in a sort of “stream of consciousness” style and speaking for myself, I had to adjust mentally to this style.

In my opinion, overall, this book would offer a lot of help to some people, and some help to a lot of people.  The fact that some readers of this book may already know about or apply most or all of the tactics and strategies and concepts in this book, does not mean it is a bad book, but of course, that it is not the right book for those readers.

This book “grows upon you” (in my opinion) and the willingness of the author to genuinely want to help introverts to collaborate (i.e. to negotiate), drawing upon their innate talents and upon defined strategies / tactics, is strongly apparent.  Aaron Leyshon has put together an unusually packaged but memorable treatise on framing negotiations as collaboration, for introverts, based upon his experiences and knowledge.

This book is well worth reading.  It is packed with information, and I’m sure that most if not all people who read it, will benefit from it, if they take the time to understand and to absorb or apply what is being communicated by the author.  This book is successfully about “getting more and stressing less” (and not about always getting exactly what you want), which is what the author intends and is the title of the book.

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OTHER BOOK INFORMATION

Kindle or paperback editions are available from Amazon.  See  here .

The link above also gives you a sneak peek into the Table of Contents and a few pages from the book.

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Copyright notice:  this article may not be used as someone else’s work, or reproduced without credit to the author