Archive for the ‘Negotiation’ Category

Two ‘refusal rules’ to follow when you are stuck or procrastinating

May 4, 2016

If part of the problem is that you are just being lazy, own it, then try following these 2 rules if that is not enough to get unstuck.


I. Refuse to be a alone with the problem

Start conversations with people who are impacted by the same problem  or who are simply people who like to be helpful to you.

Try to reach agreements on how you can address the problem in a more coordinated way. Respect their decision to help you or not. Make sure they really want to help or can, and that they are comfortable saying no to involvement in your plan. If they say no, go to rule 2.

Sometimes just an agreement by them to be emotionally supportive can go a very long way.


2. Refuse to tolerate interference from people who decide not to coordinate efforts with you.

Sometimes people don’t agree with how you are going to address a problem and they want to do it their way. This can create more problems than the original problem! You can’t force them not to keep trying do it their way, but you can ask them to pause while you try it your way. You can also agree to try it their way for a time and if it fails,  ask them to try it your way.

Sometimes these conversations reopen the negotiations that ended when you were initially following rule 1.



People are eager to participate when pain is recognized.

January 18, 2016

….a lot of people will run from you when you are in pain, or dismiss it. This causes people to be susceptible to manipulation by people who have an agenda and feign interest in your pain. So that’s a painful thought, but good people recognize pain too, in fact, it is a requirement for compassion which is generally expected from people we consider good.


The quote in the title comes from material by the late Jim Camp, a very successful negotation coach.

Communication Idolatry

December 31, 2015


Here is what I notice people do instead of converse:













I am sure you can think of more.

Conversation includes –



requests for a yes or no to go in a certain direction


I find that if a conversation does not set up any of the items on the first list via an agreement – then communication goes poorly. It is almost like communication idolatry to so. In an established healthy relationship or friendship, that ‘agreement’ can be a simple nod or gesture know only to the two parties. The main point is that the agreement must be there or you are throwing mud at the wall.

And a lot people enjoy doing that – making mud pies and throwing them. Nothing wrong with that in many contexts.

People often sense the bullshit even if they stay polite during the interaction where the idolatry has taken place, and if they don’t sense it, they are usually very easy to manipulate. The agreement needs to give some predictability to what is going to happen for involved parties. Even insults can work in that context and not disrupt progress.

So what I think what we can offer, and not even under the title of ‘coach’ or ‘therapist’, is an ability to identify what is happening when there is an interaction between two people. If someone shares an exchange they had with some with us, using the system we can know right away what is missing.

Listen in on social media and blog ‘conversations’, or just ordinary in-person ones.    See what you observe.


Remedy to the pain of indecision

June 24, 2015

Before you can decide on something, you must be able to visualize it some detail.  Being indecisive is painful, so we want to get out of that pain. The problem for many of this is that we don’t have the tools or mindset to discover the real details to complete the vision, so we fill them in from our past experience or ‘good judgement’  so we can make a decision and feel better.

Patience is key, as is a willingness to embark on discovery. At some level you need to simply be curious. Nurture your own curiosity, and be steadfast with it even in the presence of the curiosity killer – fear.

Fear is almost inevitable if you are just waiting around in the dark and not doing the work of discovery.

Make the decision to discover.

Ask questions. Observe. Take notes so you don’t forget!

Doing so will soothe your fear, and move you toward your best decisions possible.

Getting it wrong is just another discovery on the way to getting it right.


It seems we can’t always avoid fighting so explicit agreements to avoid throwing knock out punches are essential

September 4, 2014

Many disagreements turn into ugly fights  because people feel pressure to get a decision on a matter.  It happens at work and home.  Each party starts hitting harder and harder, or in reaction,  run further and further away from any interaction at all.  However, if both parties give each other permission to step on each other’s proverbial toes and not worry about the outcome, a lot more is going to get aired, and usually that leads to healthier decisions even in the absence of a full agreement.

It actually is fun in many cases, as long as the rules are clear – though not usually pain free. The point is to avoid injury.

Sometimes the instructions on where someone has permission to “hit” you ought to be pretty specific. A married couple cleaning out their cupboard may agree to take the gloves off when talking about what dishware to throw away but not the silverware.






Work first on getting yourself to see clients’ worlds their way, not getting them to see your widgets or valuable services your way

August 28, 2014

When someone tells you no or rejects something you are offering or saying, or refuses a request you make, all it means is that they have not SEEN something.  They have NOT seen how what you bring will benefit them in the world THEY see themselves in. If you have a way to help them see it benefiting them in the world they see, you will have a chance to reverse their no. 

So your job is to discover how they see their world, not to show them what you have or want.  They may refuse to disclose how they see their world, but generally, if you are genuinely interested, and ask well worded questions, you can learn a lot. Once you have a complete enough vision of their world, you can decide to show your stuff or not. Otherwise, you are rolling the dice. 

So we offer nothing to start. We ask to see. 


Below is a script for a conversation I am planning to have tomorrow. Do you think it will help me see how they see their world? 

I‘d like to talk some with you and if you think that Karen would not have any interest in having a conversation with me, just tell me so and we can just end the phone call. If it sounds like it will interest her, then we can go from there. that sou nd ok> So you’ll tell me no if it just does not seem like anything I am interested in? ok. 

Who would kno

What challenges are you facing in expanding your reach to families? 

How do you promote the book? 

(Small bets.  Steve Jobs. Pixar) 


How much are people willing to spend on their kids to give them the best in life? to save their marraige?

What stops people from seeing that Pat’s approach to family health is the very best? 

What about innovating approaches to getting Pat’s message out there? Who is involved in the creative conversations about how to reach more people who can afford your services? 


I just don’t know. I don’t see how what I can do can help you . I don’t know anything about the challenges you face. 


I am famlly therapist who has gotten sales negotiation training and experience.But it doesn’t really matter if this is not an area yuou want to grow in. 

Leverage is just smoke and mirrors in negotiation

March 6, 2014

I am the coach that is quoted in this article from Forbes Magazine. Not too long and worth reading.

Welcome to a scary unpredictable world…..created by you

March 2, 2014

‘ Prediction’ is another word for ‘assumption’ , ‘expectation’ or ‘guess’. If you don’t predict anything for a negotiation event, you can’t have an ‘unpredictable’ negotation, right? It takes a lot of mental discipline not to give into the ‘prediction habit’. What makes it even harder to resist is that ‘everybody’ else is doing it. Jim Camp comes along and says you should pay attention to the cause-effect nature of emotion – vision – decision because it is scientifcally proven and readily observable by all of us. He even dares to say that you lack a systematic way to discover and build vision in your adversaries, and it will get even worse for you, because assumptions are your only alternative in a negotiation. Welcome to the scary unpredictable world of negotiation, created by you because of your prediction addiction, that either drives you to early compromise or manipulative tactics. Everybody does it, so it must be ok. And there is a whole industry profiting off your fear – you are going to be vulnerable to becoming prey to the legion of expert predictors out there who throw around vague terminology that cannot be operationalized and render you dependent on the props they use to create the illusion that adopting their opinions will make you safe. Terms like relationship – emotional connection – personality – style – wise – win-win – competitive envioronment … the list goes on and on of bait terms that they use to get the hook in your mouth.

Families are not immune to this manipulation, and they are even more vulnerable because they don’t like to refer to their communication as ‘negotiation’ until they are going through a divorce. Who profits from this? Lawyers, for starters, and Dr. Phil and the rest of the relationship/self-help industry.

What is holding you back?

February 28, 2014

There are many reasons why individuals and teams negotiate badly. But one is the lack of insight into the event at hand. What are you delivering to your adversary in this event? What is holding back this event from moving forward? What is emotionally troubling you? And your adversary? What are you going to communicate? How will you communicate it? Ask yourself this simple question: Who must see what, now? Answer it beginning with yourself – and you will start developing the insight you require.

Santhosh Ebroo
Camp Negotiation Coach

“Who must see what, now? Answer it beginning with yourself ….” – fantastic Santhosh! A much bettet question than ‘what should I do” which does not get us into the visual/emotional part of the brain where decisions happen. -Wim

Denying the existence of denial

February 23, 2014

Someone you are dealing with might be in pain. They may feel it. You may see that pain very clearly. But amazingly, they may not see it even though they are the ones going through it. This is often referred to as ‘denial’ by amateur and professional psychotherapists alike. Not seeing their problem and pain makes it hard for many of us to take constructive action. So what is the difference between experiencing pain and seeing it?

Maybe this analogy will help. A baby feels uncomfortable with a messy diaper. This does not stop them from messing in their diaper. They don’t even fuss right away about the discomfort often and let their parent know. But even a week or two after they are toilet trained, they see much more clearly the discomfort/pain of having a messy diaper. How does this change happen?

Take a look at how parents toilet train their kids. We turn toilet training into an instructive game. We sit them down on the toilet. Sometimes something happens, and when it does, we are very happy. They see it, and they are happy. They see us becoming more and more unhappy when they don’t use the toilet since we now know that they can go on their own. But they don’t see the problem with going in thier diaper quite yet. After awhile, going on the toilet becomes a habit. It feels weird not to do it on the toilet after awhile. Eventually, they become toilet trained. Then one day when they have an accident, they see how CRAZY it is to mess in your pants. We have to make a lot of effort to help them get to this point.

If you have someone who is headed for pain, or is even in pain, and you want them to just see what you see and be logical and fix it, then you are about as silly looking as a parent who wants their toddler to spontaneously toilet train.

Invite them to sit on whatever proverbial toilet is in play and see what happens. Make it part of a regular pattern. Have fun with it and them. If they refuse, don’t be angry. They are just being a baby. Just let them know they may have to find someone else to change their proverbial diaper if the won’t play the game with you.

If you ‘can’t’ stop rescuing them from their problem and pain, and you are unhappy with it, then complain. Maybe someone will listen and know how to help you.

Not all kids are easy to toilet train, for sure, but you at least want to make sure the problem is not you.

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