Negotiating With Outrageous Confidence: The Diplomacy Issue

Recently, we keynoted the Ithaca College 2014 BOLD Conference.


We had a great time talking with the student attendees at the conference about negotiation and performing that act of active asking, well and with confidence.

And not just confidence, but outrageous confidence.

We have found in our entrepreneurial journey, that too many people—the majority of whom are women and/or members of minority groups—don’t ask for what they want even meekly, much less outrageously.

But, after the keynote, a point was raised to us, around the issue of using the tactics of outrageousness to boost one’s self-confidence, in order to gain only win-win outcomes.

The person wanted to know about how to maintain diplomacy when going into a negotiation while also maintaining equanimity with self—and others—while also maintaining self-assurance.

This is a great question and, in the context of the wider world, the answer is that, the spate of recent college graduates “asking for too much” or “being unwilling to work hard for advancement” does not spring from a great well of self-assurance.

Instead, both of these meta-employment-phenomena are occurring in response to the messages that older, job holding generations, have provided an entire current generation. These messages have been absorbed and we are beginning to see the results of that absorption.

In the context of the smaller world of the keynote, however, we would respond by noting that, of course there are times in a negotiation, any negotiation, that the cost of disrupting a potential future relationship, must be weighed against the benefit of moving toward a win-lose outcome.

But, until many more people (including women and minorities) begin acting with a little more self-confidence, self-awareness and even outrageousness, we believe that encouraging others to ask period, rather than to not ask for too much too soon, is the better route.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
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