Emotions, sweet and sour

Why it matters

Let's discuss something generally avoided in professional settings - your feelings and emotions. Yep, those scary things.


You know that feeling of nervousness you get in the pit of your stomach when you're having a hard conversation? Or the sweet relief you feel when it's over? Turns out those emotions matter a lot. I like to think of negotiations as existing on an emotional continuum from sweet to sour. As a rough rule of thumb, sweet is driven by compliments ("You're the best...", "We need you...") and smiling. By contrast, sour is usually driven by threats ("I can't believe you're...", "We may need to pull the offer if..."), silence, and scowling.   


Emotions matter just as much as words. Stating "The offer isn't competitive!" in a squeaky, upbeat voice is not going to be convincing. Nor is saying, "I want to work here!" while yelling and scowling. When you speak, let your emotions match your words.


I've generally noticed that clients in Product Management, Sales, and Bizdev, have the best intuitive grasp of sweet and sour emotions. Data Scientists and Engineers can lack the intuition required by those other roles, and so tend to need the most coaching. 


It's generally best for you, the jobseeker, to be a little more sweet before the offer arrives, and a little more sour when you're negotiating the offer itself. Even if you're new at this and can't drive the sweetness/sourness of a conversation, be aware that your emotions can and will be driven, especially by unscrupulous recruiters. Above all else -- stay calm, and don't feel rushed when negotiating. This is precisely why managing the timeline, again, is so important.


Emotional Management PREMIUM

Here, Blair will act out common recruiting phrases in sweet, neutral, and sour tones. How are her variants making you feel - Good? Bad? Afraid? It's all deliberate. Come back to this video periodically - it'll help you prepare for calls with tough recruiters.

Own your emotions. Don't take the bait. Negotiate like a pro. Get the whole Playbook to get all the advice and resources you'll need.

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The Incredible Powers of Rubber Ducks

Why it matters

Have you ever seen a smooth-talkin' salesman operate in real life? If you're like most people, you might think to yourself, “Man, I he's great at talking. I bet he gets whatever he wants!"

We’ve all seen the stereotypes of lawyers, salesman, and politicians on TV. They are loud. They are boorish. They talk fast. We see these kinds of people be successful, and then think to ourselves, “Man, I want to make a lot of money too. I should talk fast as well!”
When it comes to offer negotiation, this is the exact opposite of the truth. The very best negotiators know how to use the power of silent listening. In engineering circles, this is often known as rubberducking

Are you a worse negotiator than a rubber duck? Sign up for Premium and get the full course in negotiation, with videos, scripts, the equity calculator, and more. It'll help you get what you are worth - I guarantee it.

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Why it matters

I often see inexperienced negotiators make the mistake of asking for too much, too quickly. Getting an offer and then immediately asking for more salary, equity, and vacation in the same breath is not good, even if the company is okay with it.


Why? Let's think of a social example:

  1. You went to a party, and made a new friend
  2. You made plans to hang out
  3. They sent you a loooong text with plans for every weekend for the next month.

How would you feel? Turned off? Overwhelmed? Annoyed?

 There's a better way.

You’re ready to get what you’re worth. You want to negotiate like a boss. Get more. Handle things right when offers start arriving. Get the whole Playbook now to get the tools you need at every step, plus the secrets to declining and accepting offers the right way.

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When it's not the right time

Why it matters

Real life isn’t perfect. In some extremely improbable scenarios, even if you do everything right, you might see your offer rescinded. Why?

It may be one or more of these contributing factors:

  1. You negotiated poorly
  2. The company is a shitty place to work
  3. Racial or gender bias entered the equation

That being said, if you’ve followed this playbook, calculated your offer’s value, set the timeline, etc - and the offer still gets rescinded - this may actually be a strong sign that the company is a bad place for you right now, not necessarily that you’re a bad employee or bad negotiator.



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This anonymized recruiter voicemail is a great example of a poor fit.

The worst-case is rare, but it can happen. Get the whole Playbook and be prepared with scripts on how to maintain your composure, and move on with style.

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