“Ask For More: 10 Questions to Negotiate Anything” by Alexandra Carter

Rating: 5/5

This book completely reframed my thoughts about what it means and what it takes to be effective at negotiating. Before reading this book, I was stuck in an outdated way of thinking about negotiation: the idea that negotiation is a process that you win or lose at. It’s fair to say that I was intimidated by the negotiation process because it always felt like I would be going up against someone. And, I don’t like going up against anyone. In this book, Alexandra Carter defines negotiation as an intentional conversation in which you are steering a relationship forward. And, to steer effectively, you need to see, hear, and understand where you are going. What?! Mind expanded! Those words were not words that I would have previously associated with negotiating. They are words that I have come to know and practice with coaching! As soon as I made the connection between negotiating and coaching questions, I realized that the negotiation process is not something to be intimidated by. If I relied on my ability to ask questions and understand situations, then that would set me up well in future negotiation conversations! Hooray! This was an accessible and practical book with a usable framework. The framework is 10 key questions; 5 for you (it’s always good to start with you!) and 5 for the other person(s). My main takeaways:

  • When defining a problem to solve, identify what you want in the future rather than what you didn’t want in the past.
  • In most cases, you are going to have to work with, see, or interact with the person in the future so consider the relationship.
  • Focus on asking questions rather than making your argument.
  • Taking the time to ask and listen to the answers to your questions sets you up for a more productive and effective conversation.

So much good stuff! And despite my new perspective on this conversation type, I realize that it is easier said than done. It takes practice to make these kinds of questions feel natural. What I appreciate most is that these conversations now feel possible!