Ep 316: Be a Better Negotiator with Mori Taheripour



Deep down, we probably all want to be better negotiators, and feel more confident as we enter into discussions we care about, whether for our career or personal life.

Today we are very lucky to have an amazing conversation with a negotiation expert, Mori Taheripour, and this is an episode that we promise you are not going to want to miss.

Mori is the author of the inspiring book, Bring Yourself, in which she lays out her philosophy and approach to self-worth, honest storytelling, and communicating in ways that safeguard against dissatisfaction.

Mori has worked in a variety of roles and sectors, and we get to hear about a few of the important stepping stones of her long and winding path to where she is today!

Mori explains how she was influenced by the time she spent working in public health, how she became a teacher at The Wharton School, and how this led to her publishing her book.

We also talk about developing a more fearless attitude, what makes a truly great negotiator, how to make negotiation less difficult (and even enjoyable!), and much more!


  • A look at some of the important pieces of Mori’s life and professional career.
  • The damage that fear can do and the roots of Mori’s belief and bravery!  
  • Mori’s thoughts on self-worth and how she separates herself from her work.
  • The events that led to Mori deciding to write her book.
  • Advice from Mori to anyone talking themselves out of following a dream. 
  • The process of publishing Bring Yourself and the power of a good agent.
  • Building and fine-tuning content and a message; how this foundation is built before the book is written.
  • Getting to grips with the meat of Mori’s book and her central message about negotiation.
  • Pointers for better negotiation; Mori redirects the dominant narrative. 
  • Understanding one’s value and the self-knowledge and awareness that are so vital for negotiation.
  • Tracing the roots of some of the limiting beliefs that inhibit us. 
  • Why negotiation is more about belief and confidence than about skill.
  • Telling your own story fearlessly and getting an emotional reaction from any audience.
  • Where to go to learn more about Mori and purchase her book!
  • Mori’s top three non-negotiables for her own life.


“It took a lot of self-love and changing my own narrative, so I don’t want anybody to think this is easy. It is a long struggle, honestly.” — @MoriTaheripour [0:13:03]

“My story is not what I do for a living. My story is that of a survivor.” — @MoriTaheripour [0:13:27]

“I got an agent before I even knew I was going to write a book.” — @MoriTaheripour [0:25:44]

“The content has to exist, so that you can package it and make it accessible.” — @MoriTaheripour [0:29:57]

About Mori Taheripour

Mori Taheripour is a globally recognized executive, highly sought-after speaker, and negotiation expert who has worked with some of the most iconic sports leagues and Fortune 100 corporations over the past twenty years. She teaches Negotiation and Dispute Resolution at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and is an eight-time recipient of awards for excellence in teaching. 

Top business publications and media outlets have featured Mori’s work, including ESPN, Forbes, INC., Money, and NPR. Mori’s first book, Bring Yourself: How to Harness the Power of Connection to Negotiate Fearlessly, was published by Penguin Random House.  


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AJV (00:00:02): Hey everybody. And welcome to another episode on the influential personal brand. So excited to have a fellow what I’m gonna say, learner teacher, student coach speaker consultant, author on the show today Mori was referred to me by a super good friend of mine. And although Mori and I are relatively new friends, we’ve got a really awesome friends in common. And I’m, it got introduced to her. And then I was so privileged to get a copy of her book that I’ve started reading. I think I’m on, like, I don’t know, maybe a third of the way through also holding it upside down right now. I am. There you go. AJV (00:00:44): And just love this. I’m so excited to get to talk about the book today, but to give you a little bit of a professional highlights of ma and her background, I’m here to some things credential that maybe you would wanna know. I think these are really cool things. But here’s like, I would say generally speaking, we’re gonna talk a lot about today. A lot about negotiation today and Mori is a negotiation expert and she has worked with some of the most iconic sports leagues, fortune 100 corporations. But she’s also a teacher at the Wharton school of a business. She’s also been on some major media outlets, including ESPN forms, Inc money NPR. Like I could go on and on with professional accomplishments, but we were just having this conversation about how our bios are such a teeny tiny part of who we are, and they really don’t give the full spectrum of who we are as individuals. AJV (00:01:43): Just some professional accomplishments along the way. And so two quick things, one Mori, welcome to the show and two I’m, this is my chance to let you introduce yourself and who you really are by helping our audience get to know you. And so here’s my first question for you. So here’s your introduction to the show and our audience. And here’s what we wanna know. We wanna know, how did you go from, let’s just say college graduate to all of these amazing things that you’ve done to most recently launching this awesome book about negotiation. So we wanna know how’d you do it MT (00:02:27): Well, first of all, let me just say J thank you for having me on the show, whatever it is you drink in the morning, I’ll have even half of it, even half of it would probably help. So your en your energy is awesome. Thank you for having me here. So I don’t really wanna go into like the really lengthy explanation of it, because I feel like there’s chapters of my life. I would say the first one is really all the way through college. And probably a few years thereafter the daughter of Iranian immigrants much like all the other sort of immigrants, immigrant stories, your parents have all these dreams and ambitions for you. They want the very best life for you. They take all those risks and they leave behind what they know to promote for the hope and promise of a better life for you. MT (00:03:18): And so, especially sort of this, what I call Iranian guilt, you know, we sort of carried this weight with us, knowing all that’s been sacrificed for you. And that sort of followed me from college. My father wanted me to be a doctor the youngest of three kids and the first two did not go that route. So I was like the last promise. Right. And, and so almost like living my life in a pre-programmed kind of a way I, I really didn’t even question it. And I went through college. All I knew was that I was not very good at the very thing I was supposed to be doing. Right. So it was, the sciences were always so hard, you know, kind of forced my interest in a lot of them, but it was like, don’t look right. Don’t look left, just look straight ahead. MT (00:04:02): This is what you’re supposed to do. And, you know, when I, when I graduated college and took the MCATs twice, by the way I was like, alright, wait a minute. This is not a, I’m not good at this. And two, I, I B I don’t even know if this is something that I enjoy all that much. What I did enjoy was helping people. What I did enjoy through all the, sort of the, the jobs that I’d had through like work study in college and the working in different doctor’s offices. And then really my last job was at St. Louis hospital in New York and Harlem, and working in the sickle cell unit and, you know, sort of really understanding in some ways that it was public health that I really enjoyed. And that was sort of like helping people at a macro level, not a micro level. MT (00:04:47): And so, you know, there was some of that in my spirit. I just knew that being a doctor wasn’t it. And so went through a lot of difference where I volunteered at a amazing organizations organization working with really high risk individuals drug users sex workers, and were, I did basically HIV test counseling. So I was the person that spoke to them beforehand to get them tested. And I spoke to them afterwards to get them their results. Wow. Was right. really high risk population. Yeah. Unfortunately was the bear of bad news on way too many occasions. And it broke my heart, but that still sort of spoke to me. Right. It was something where I felt sort of grounded. I felt like I, I could help people in whatever small way possible, but I was doing something that meant something to me. MT (00:05:42): And I enjoyed that very much. So, so fast forward that I continued to work in public health for several years, moved on to the public health department. And after a few years had the great privilege of starting this program that, that helped pregnant women who were at risk for HIV aids. And this is I’m kind of going down this route because it is important. But this program that I started kind of took off and it was, you know, the, the, the weight was fashioned was that it was basically supposed to sort of democratize access to HIV testing for people, for pregnant women, no matter if their race, religion, color, whatever it was. And only to be able to understand that they were HIV positive so that they can take the medications to help prevent the transmission of HIV from mother to child. MT (00:06:33): And it was extraordinary, right? Again, like this was the first big breakthrough we had had in HIV aids. And again, you feel like you’re doing something that’s meaningful that you could be proud of. It sort of set my soul in its own way. State of California came to me and I said, the great program. We’d like to do this statewide. And here’s like a bunch money for you to do it. And but we want you to do it. So, and I just applied to business school after like all that, the understanding that I was not gonna go to med school, that I sort of found my niche, I was ready to go to business school. And then I get this opportunity and I thought business school can wait. Here’s an opportunity to do something on my own. And so I left the public health department and launched my company at that point as sort of my first sort of entrepreneurial venture. And, and what we did was basically a lot of education and social marketing campaigns, a really big level for like the CDC and others. And so I was like that entrepreneur that got handed money and I was like, wow, this was easy. Like, you know, this is AJV (00:07:41): Like, what’s MT (00:07:42): So hard about this AJV (00:07:45): Bunch of babies. MT (00:07:46): Exactly. But I do remember the conversation with my mom because my mom said, okay, you didn’t go to med school. You know, now you’re, you got into business school now you’re gonna do this. And yeah, there was, there was quite a bit of disappointment in that conversation, but I remember telling her that I’m not afraid. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen. Mom, I’ll be like the most educated waitress on the face of planet. Right. Like that’s what I would go to. Right. Because I realized that I really wasn’t afraid, like there was no fear in making that decision at that point. And maybe it’s because I had sort of taken care of myself always, but I thought what’s the worst that could happen. And that was sort of the beginning of this entrepreneurial journey. Now my career’s gone completely a different way, but I think it’s not having fear at that outset that has sort of that’s, that’s the one thing that sort of stayed with me all throughout my life. It was the whole notion of what’s the worst that could happen. Just do AJV (00:08:41): It. I wanna pause and talk about that a minute, because I really believe that fear ultimately is what holds most of us back from living out our, our calling and our purpose. Right. It’s like, we get so comfortable where we are that we don’t take the risk because we’re, we’re afraid. Like what if it doesn’t go well? And what, whatever. So I’m so curious, like where did that come from? How did you cultivate that? I mean, is that something you were born with? Like, where did this unabashed lack of fear come from that allows you to do things that others don’t? MT (00:09:20): I think a couple of things, the first was sort of like, it was that big fear of having that conversation with my parents to begin with that said, Hey, I don’t wanna be a doctor. I think I feared that for so long that once I had the conversation and I sort of set myself free, then it was like, I don’t know if there was anything else that I feared more than disappointing them, if that makes any sense. So everything else sort of pales to comparison in some way, I thought, I thought, oh my God, I feared that for so long. And all right, what happened? Yes, they’re disappointed, but you know, I’m still time standing. Right. And I’m now able to maybe pursue what I really wanna pursue. So the freedom from that, despite the, all the disappointment, I think if I, if I really had to think about it was the, the one thing that said, look, it all kind of works out. MT (00:10:07): Maybe it’s not perfect. Maybe it’s not exactly what you want it to be, but it works out because you have the wherewithal to sort of get through the lowest of the low. The other part of it is like having money or not having it or losing it never really scared me. I kind of felt like it was something that you just sort of could make up for. And I was very serious. I, I had waitress through college, one of the best jobs I ever had. I was like, if that’s what it takes, if all hell all else goes to, to hell in a hand basket, that’s what I’m gonna do. And I was, I think it was some level of sort of humility or maybe survival mechanisms. I don’t know, but that kicked in really early. And I think actually not putting so much emphasis on the, where am I gonna get money? Where am I, how am I gonna survive? Not really thinking about that, but in some, maybe it was some naive way thinking it’s, it’s gonna work out some way that sort of freed me up. I think one of the bigger, bigger, or hurdles that a lot of entrepreneurs, particularly, I think people who have a family to take care of, right. That they have other responsibilities. It was me. And so that, that, you know, maybe was an unfair advantage that I had as well. I just really had myself to sort of take care of, AJV (00:11:23): You know, it’s interesting in our last conversation, you said something that really resonated with me because it’s a core belief. Like one of the things that, you know, is kind of like one of my life mantras is that people care much more about who you are than what you do. And one of the things that I asked you on our first conversation was, you know, what’s, what’s something that you wish people knew about you. And I had written this down from my notes in our last call and you wrote down, I want them to know that I am not my work, but I am not my work. And I’m just curious, like how much of this lack of fear really comes from you have a really clear disassociation from your self worth and how that’s connected to your profession. MT (00:12:08): It’s not been easy. I’ve learned a lot of my lessons, the really hard way as evidenced by all the stories I tell of my book, I mean, lots of scars and lots of bruises. There’s been some really low lows. And you know, in, in my company, for example we, we, we have sort of, I’ve never lived through this before, as none of us have really a pandemic, but we had, you know, shortly after the, well, whoa, this was really easy. Was the.com crash. I was like, oh no, no, it really wasn’t. And then, you know, then we had the great recession of 2007, 2009, and being an entrepreneur, having to lay people off wor worried about, are you gonna get another contract? You know? So all of that, the really low lows of sort of that economic downturn, you know, I’ve, I’ve gone through that. MT (00:12:58): And so there were on those occasions, you know, again, the disappointment of sort of family, right. And, and I always knowing that I didn’t never want to go back and say you were right. I should have never done this. I never wanted to regret that. And so maybe it was the fear of, of failure that drove me in some ways, but with every one of those, those challenges and some I got through and, and it was okay. And some I got through and, you know, heart heartache and breaking up with a, a business partner who had been a friend for so long. And, you know, I would say I’ve never been married, but that was a really bad divorce. And you know, what I realized is that if I continued to sort of tie who I was with, what I did as a profession, then I would’ve been broken. MT (00:13:51): Yeah. Right. Or, or that got me kind of emotional. I would’ve broken a whole lot through my life and that was not an option. And the fact that I, I got through it and I didn’t allow myself to be defined by those struggles though, a lot easier said than said now, but it took a lot of sort of self love and, and, and changing my own narrative, you know? So I don’t want anybody to think this is easy. It’s, it’s a life lifelong struggle, honestly. But the more, as strange as it sounds, the more scars I got, the more bruises I got, the more hits that came my way. And I just kept getting up. Mm-Hmm that I realized that, you know, my story, isn’t what I do for a living. My story is bad of a survivor. It’ somebody who who’s gotten brutal and doesn’t have a, a dark darkened heart as a result of it. Like, I don’t, I’m still an optimist. I still believe that I, you know, even with my business partner, I never shied away from working with people again. Or, you know, I didn’t walk around with a, you know, bag full of mistrust and threw it at people every time I met them, it was, I couldn’t do that. And so I think that that’s really important because we are, when all is lost, it’s who you are that really matters. And I’ve lost a lot. So I, I, I decided to separate those things. AJV (00:15:18): I think that is such a instrumental and fun, a fundamentally necessary just awareness that we have to have is human beings, much less entrepreneurs or anyone who’s out there it’s like building a personal brand. It’s like, you know, I think the beautiful thing about building a personal brand is it really is about your message, not what you do, it’s about what you believe and right. Who you are and what you stand for. Not about, you know, and that’s why I said, it’s like, you know, we both kind of have this distaste for bios. Right. And I think that’s that, it’s like, what does that have to do with like who I am? MT (00:15:56): Exactly. AJV (00:15:58): And it’s so funny it’s I was at a recent conference with my husband and at this conference, they were handing out these what do you call ’em lanyards, right. And the lanyards have your name on them. And so my husband gets this lanyard and it says, Rory Vaden, CS, PSA. AJV (00:16:23): And it was like, like three other letters. And I was like, what are all of these letters? And it’s like, I took this lanyard and I like marked through all of them and just wrote D a D babe. It’s like, but it was like, like all these like credentials in these letters. And I was like, that’s like, it was two lines. And I was like, this is a third. And it’s like, but that’s what we do in society. I know culture. And I, I love that. I think that’s such an important thing. Like just, I wanted to reiterate y’all to everyone who’s listening. What ma said. It’s like, if I had to attach my identity to my work, I would’ve been broken time and time again, we are not what we do. I think that is like one of the most important messages that we’re gonna hear in this interview. AJV (00:17:07): And it’s like, that’s gonna stick with me and to be a constant reminder of like, work, like the work we do is hard. Right. It’s like, you’re, you’re in the public face. It’s like, and you you’re laying it out. Like, you know, it’s like holding MA’s book. It’s like, you’re putting it out there. Right. You’re, you’re wearing your heart and your life on your sleeve when we, we dedicate our message to sharing it with the world. And so, you know, one of the things that I hadn’t read down, and I’m so curious, and I’m always fascinated to hear this because if you’re listening and you’ve ever wondered, you know, what would it take for me to write a book or, you know, should I do it? It’s like, I think it’s really important to know. It’s like, it’s hard work and it is long tedious. It’s gonna suck the resources. And a lot of times the money right out of underneath you. And so here’s my first question for you. It’s like, at what point in your journey, right. Professionally and personally, did you figure out that you wanted to write a book? Like how did you know that? Like, and then why did you do it? MT (00:18:10): So we have to backtrack a little bit after that whole sort of the thing with my company. And I, I did eventually go back to business school anyway after five years of, of being in, in my company. And, and when I was getting ready to graduate, my, one of my professors who taught negotiations and was the chairman of that, the legal studies department at the time said I think you should teach. And I thought he had lost his mind. cause I, I was seriously, I, I am an introvert by nature. You know, you handed me a book, I couldn’t stand in front of a classroom and read off the book, much less teach. And seriously, we went back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And he, I don’t know what he saw. I don’t know. I, I honestly couldn’t even tell you. MT (00:18:56): And I, I said, all right, finally, I’ll give this a shot. Right. He said, just be my TA. And that’s how it all sort of started just to see what you think being on the other side of the classroom and not a student that was nearly 18 years ago. I’m, I’m still teaching at Wharton. Wow. But, but I say that to say that then sort of, I talked about my life in chapters, that next chapter was sort of teaching career began. I never imagined it. I had never, never, even in my wildest dreams thought I could do it or was capable of doing it. And it was because somebody saw something in me. I didn’t see in myself. And I always say that to entrepreneurs, especially because I feel like, you know, we’re not risk averse right. To begin with. And, and in a lot of ways obviously not taking ridiculous risks because I think a lot of entrepreneurs take quite calculated risks, but, but in terms of the pursuit of something that drives you that beyond which you have serving in your daily life, right. MT (00:19:59): That, that, that goal, that purpose, whatever it is, I think entrepreneurs are incredible in doing that. Right. They sort of jump off that cliff that many people would never dream of doing. For me teaching was that right. I, somebody else saw it and I was like, you know what, I’m gonna give this a shot. What’s the worst that could happen. Right. And it, it was that what sort of drew me obviously to even the subject of negotiations and when I sort of trusted myself, which took about three years to stand in front of a classroom and teach it my way, like teach it the way I saw negotiations, teach it from my perspective and that sort of opens up everything. I won my first teaching award, I would say the first year that I actually kind of ripped up my syllabus and started teaching it exactly the way I wanted to teach it. MT (00:20:50): And that sort of made all the difference in the world. So you start trusting yourself and then, and then kind of magic happens. The book so years after I started teaching, I got the opportunity to teach for Goldman Sachs and their 10,000 women’s program which is working with female entrepreneurs globally. It’s not Nashville program. And I helped launch the program in the American university, in Cairo, Egypt, and was there for like the first three cohorts, life changing, amazing female entrepreneurs, guts, conviction, all the, all of it. Right. And one of the people sort of high level at Goldman Sachs was sort of seen sort of the outcomes of that program. And, and was that actually for the first graduation of these women came to me after several years of me being in that program and then actually teaching in the 10,000 school business program, which is where I went to next, after that said, whatever it is you do in my classroom, I’m not really sure what it is, cause I haven’t sat in it, but something magical happens and something really special happens. Look at the way they respond to you, capture it in a book. MT (00:22:03): So here’s somebody else who says, you know, they see something in you. And I was never fancied myself to be an author. Didn’t even like writing. The best part of being premed was that I took tests. I didn’t have to write anything. Right. And so I was like, there’s just no way. And, and moreover, there’s like a billion negotiations books out there. What do I have to contribute? Yeah. And so I fought it again. Right. I didn’t trust it. And, and, and yet he sort of planted the seed and kept coming back to me about it. And it took first, it took about 10 years to get the book out, but that’s only because the first four years I negotiated against myself I was like, there’s no place for you that you don’t want a redundancy. You don’t wanna do something that’s already out there. MT (00:22:48): But then when I was like, wait a minute, but what these books say is so different than what you deliver. Mm-Hmm, that don’t, you want people to hear that more don’t you really want, wanna give people that opportunity to see this topic of negotiations from a very different perspective. And I couldn’t find it in anything else, to be honest with you. And until I found that opportunity, I didn’t let myself dream it. And once I did, there was, you know, it was, I ran out of the gate and really started to sort of think about what I wanted to say and what was important, what capturing that message. And that was the hardest part. Once I got started, the proposal was, was not as hard because you sort of know at that point where your heart is and what it is that you wanna deliver. I got incredibly lucky when all these publishers were like, great idea, love the book, love, love. I mean, it was everything sort of fell into place, but I was my biggest obstacle for a very long time. And so, you know, once, you know, and once, you know, it’s a message that’s so necessary, then I would say and I would say writing it, wasn’t actually as hard as I imagined it to be. AJV (00:24:07): You know, it’s interesting. I think there’s like a couple of things I wanna kind of like circle around is one I did, this is a really great reminder to everyone who’s listening. Like writing a book does not happen in a year. It just doesn’t you, you said this was like a 10 year process, the first four years of negotiating against yourself. But then like, y’all like take note, like this does not happen in a year. And if it doesn’t or two years, that doesn’t mean it’s not going to, but this was a very multi-year process. Right? It was MT (00:24:40): Mm-Hmm . AJV (00:24:42): So you’re kinda saying like, once you knew, like there is a message that I have, that’s kind of like unique and different. I think this is, I think this is equally as important because I think so many people struggle with, well, everything has already been said, I have nothing else to add. So what advice would you give to someone who’s talking them at themselves out of their own dream? MT (00:25:04): It’s like, no, honestly, I think especially for entrepreneurs, it’s no different than that product that you know, that there’s nothing else in the market for it, or, you know, whatever niche that you create or, you know, writing a book. I think that so much of it has to be your own belief in it, because again, there are no guarantees right there there’s zero guarantees. So at the end of the day, can you do something that you’re a proud of, but B that could have been, and would’ve been, and should have been like those types of regrets that come from not having taken that risk, not, not living up to the promise of what you had imagined for yourself and instead sort of backing off because you didn’t believe in the fact that you could actually pull it off. I think those missed opportunities to me are far scarier. MT (00:25:58): Like they, that, that notion of the, what if regret is so much more difficult to live with because you will spend the rest of your life thinking about it, as opposed to doing it and maybe failing and you learn, and then you move on, but at least you can never look back and say, what if I had and I think so much as we can control when we get to that intersection so much as we can control taking that turn and moving towards something and saying, what’s the worst that can happen. Right. I, I, I think that’s really important. And once you believe then it’ll work or it won’t, but you won’t ever have to spend all those time, you know, moments thinking, you know, I, I let it flip by. AJV (00:26:43): Mm that’s so good. I love that. I love too. It’s like the, the fear of not going for it is like greater than the fear of going for it. I think so good. And I wanna, I wanna get to the book in just a second, because I, I really wanna learn like your insights and perspective around negotiation, cuz I know they’re really unique and I think a lot of people don’t consider themselves good salespeople or good negotiators. We’re gonna change their mind on that today. But from a place of being on the other side, you know, we celebrated 10 years of our first book coming out. This year’s unbelievable. It’s been out for 10 years, but our publishing story was very different than yours. We basically prospected agents for like two years. We were borderline stalking these people until they finally were like, oh my gosh, we’ll just, we’ll read the proposal. AJV (00:27:32): So you go away. Luckily it all turned out in our favor, but from, you know, one publishing story to another, because they’re all very different. I would love for you to kind of share, like what has your journey been? And like a real life perspective for the listener out there. Who’s going, I do feel that calling on my heart, I do have that message that I know it’s, it’s unique and different and my audience needs to hear it. And I don’t know how to go about doing this. Like what do you mean you just called a publisher or what, what did you do? Right. So kinda give us like your, your perspective. I mean, this is, this is somewhat fresh, right? Mm-Hmm so still top of mind for you, what, what, what was that process like and what would you tell someone to do? Who’s like, no, I really, I have the calling to write a book on my heart. Like, what would you tell ’em to do to get it out there? MT (00:28:25): I got an agent before I even knew I was gonna write a book, right. We, I had this for a good fortune of meeting this person and as friends and, and really sort of relied on him all along the way, especially in those four years. And he understood where I was coming from because he, he respected the fact that I didn’t just wanna write another book then, and didn’t have sort of something that was different and fresh and knew cause he would have to stand by it. And so I think that was crucial. One in getting me to focus in a way that could bring this book sort of to market successfully and would be something that people would wanna buy from testing who my audience would be to all of that, right. Something that that’s what agents, they all agents, they, they are great at something, right. MT (00:29:16): That it could be lawyers. They could be whatever it is that work on your behalf. In this case, he was somebody that knew the publishing world and had a great eye for these things. So I relied on him to, to sort of take me through that early those early stages. And then it was, I think his relationship with the publishing world that got me, honestly, the type of an advance that was huge. I, I mean there was a, a sort of, they did an auction basically over my book, right? Like who would’ve ever imagined that there was like more than one person who wanted to get behind this book and it was a proposal at that point. And so it was, they believed. And I think that the, the reason why that worked is because relationships have existed, right. There was a tremendous amount of respect between all these publishing houses and my agent. MT (00:30:12): He led me to a place that I could proudly stand behind something and sell it. Mm-Hmm and, and so I think this is the kind of thing where you have to have some level of humility. You may know a lot, you don’t know everything. And I think there is just, I knew nothing about that world. I probably have even learned much more about it. Wish I had known more before actually this book was published. And would I do some things different again? Absolutely. It’s been a learning process all along. There’s a lot to it, but an agent was re he was my eyes and ears and, and then really promoted me in a way that I probably would never have been able to do on my own. I think, AJV (00:30:54): Yeah. I think that’s really important. And you know, it’s like, it’s same. It’s like we knew that we had to get an agent. If we wanted to do the traditional publishing route. We knew that. And that’s why we spent two years prospecting and stalking. Our particular agent that finally signed us. And the crazy thing was, is, you know, it, it took us two years to get an agent. And once we had an agent and fine tune the proposal, it took us less than two weeks to sell it. So I think a lot of that is it comes down to relationships and reputation mm-hmm right. But I think one of the things that I think is really important is so often we, I hear this from a lot of clients in the brand builders group community. And they think that writing a book is how they build their content. AJV (00:31:40): And that’s not how you do it. Mm-Hmm and I love your story story and your journey in this, because you’ve been building and fine tuning your set of content for like 20 years. Right. Right. And it’s like, you already knew what was gonna go in this book now. Right. Chapters and frameworks and all of that, I’m sure were a part of this process, but the beautiful thing is it’s like you had already been teaching this, you were already known for this. You were already experiencing the lives that were being transformed cause of it, other people were noticing it it’s like you were already associated with this topic and with this content way before it ever showed up in a book, would you agree with that MT (00:32:22): Completely? I mean, it’s, it’s ludicrous to think that, that, you know, your book, it looks like the other way around, you know, you’re putting the car before the horse. I think, you know, looking at your example and hearing what you all did, you had your content as well, right? It actually, the story is all that different, right. Because you knew you wanted the book, whereas me, I, to talk myself into that, but once you have those parts connect, then it’s you go? And the reason why it’s not painstaking is because we had all the content. Yeah. Right. So the book becomes the packaging of that or the making it almost accessible. Mm-Hmm as opposed to, you know, let me figure out what I’m gonna say. As I, as I write this now, you know, if I go on to book number two or whatever it is from there, it it’s because of what you’ve learned, then the content that you’ve developed, you know, maybe even after the fact or all that, you couldn’t fit into the first one, but the content has to exist so that you can package it and again, make it accessible, give it to the people who would never have taken your class or have the opportunity to see you all in action or work with you. MT (00:33:32): Right. It’s the accessibility of that, that I think the book becomes as opposed to, to your point, the other way around. AJV (00:33:38): I totally agree. It’s like one of the things that we, you know, we, we get a profile at the time, like, well, when are you guys gonna write your book on personal branding? And you know, our message for the last four years has been, it’s like our, our philosophy is the book is the final product, not the first product, right? It’s like, we’ve been fine tuning our methodologies and our processes and tweaking it. And it’s like, when the book comes, you’ll know that everything is just where we think it should be. It’s the final product, not the first product. Right. I think there a trend right now is that people create a book to then sell their services. And we’re kind of like, now you need to go sell the services. MT (00:34:19): right. You need AJV (00:34:20): Go speak on this, train on this, consult on this. You need to like be doing it, living it, then go write the book. MT (00:34:28): Absolutely. AJV (00:34:28): Which is what you’ve done. And to me, that, to me, that is what makes me wanna read a book like this is because it’s not your first rodeo. This is like your 1000th rodeo. So let’s talk about, bring yourself I wanna talk about this. It’s how to harness the power of negotiation to negotiate fearlessly. So what is negotiation? Because I think that’s like one of those terms that people use that can kind of be frightening. So for all of our listeners who are like, oh man, I, I can’t negotiate. I’m not a negotiator. Right? What is your definition of negotiation? MT (00:35:05): So it’s something we do all the time. Like literally from the moment you get up in the morning to the moment you go to sleep at night, you know, that’s your parent. But even, you know, regardless of that, every time you make a decision, every with yourself, even, you know, I always say pros and conflicts are, you know, a masterful negotiations, right? Because you’re thinking all the reasons why not and all the reasons why and so debate, that’s going to inner debate that’s going on. But you know, everything from family conversations, kids, business partners, vendors, I mean, you name it. It’s all in negotiation. So literally people hear the word and they’re so anxious and they think they’re bad at it. And I’m like, how could you possibly be bad at it? You, you do this all day long every day. And it’s literally those, those transferable skills that we use that I teach in class that is no different than everything else that you use every day that makes negotiations what it is. MT (00:36:04): Right. So it’s not meant to be scary. It’s not conflict ridden necessarily those such a small slice of that pie. Yes. There are difficult conversations. Yes. There are bad deals, that’s life. But the majority, again, if you think about it in the context of, if this is like the soundtrack of our lives, how could it all be conflict? It’s not, the majority are problem solving and, and collaboration and they build relationships, not break them up. And, and so it’s life. It, it literally is every part of our life. And so important as a result. AJV (00:36:43): So what would you say makes someone a good negotiator? MT (00:36:52): So I should probably sort of public service announcement. This is, this is I take a very different perspective than a lot of perspectives that we see sort of in TV or things that we’ve heard all our lives about. That great negotiator is sort of in your face, combative, you know, goal driven to the point that they’re not even considering anybody else. And you know, that, that real sort of almost like masculine inequalities and I don’t mean masculine male, female. I just mean that sort of the bra that mm-hmm, , that’s bigger sort of in your face. And I feel like there’s a lot of successful negotiations that negotiators that have those types of characteristics and, and I, you know, great. Right. But then there’s a whole other world of people that are so different than that. And AJV (00:38:37): Clearly we’re gonna need to cut this. It’s like roughly at minute 42 the question I will restart with is what makes a good negotiator. And then we’ll, re-pick it up. So I’ll wait here patiently until she comes back Speaker 3 (00:40:08): Okay. So that was really scary. That was literally never happened. It was like an outage, like, oh, AJV (00:40:15): That’s weird. Speaker 3 (00:40:15): Everything flickered and it just went out. So I’m sorry about that. AJV (00:40:19): No, that’s okay. I actually, I captured the minute wrote down the question, so we’re just gonna start over with what makes a good negotiator. Okay. And I already noted the minute we’ll cut it out. It’s not a big deal. I captured all of it really quick. Speaker 3 (00:40:31): Are you okay with me actually getting rid of the AJV (00:40:34): Yes, totally. Okay. Okay. All so made all the verbal notes for the editor. Speaker 3 (00:40:41): Do you want me to start from the beginning? AJV (00:40:43): Yeah. So I’m just gonna re-ask question and then that’ll be a good kind of like segue. So okay. So here’s, here’s the next question then? What makes a good negotiator Speaker 3 (00:40:54): What makes a good negotiator? So I think that we’ve seen a lot of movies and sort of public profiles that show sort of these really brash negotiators in your face, sort of combated, very aggressive mm-hmm and that’s sort of been, I think, what a lot of people consider sort that character that they consider to be great negotiators. Right. And, and there’s certainly, and I know plenty that are, that are that way, right. They fast those characteristics, but then there’s a whole other world of people that are so different, right. Everything from like amazing diplomats to, you know, I quote Nelson Mandela in my book to plenty of other people that, that have not those characteristics, but something quite different in so far as they’re empathetic and they’re respectful. And they are about sort of, you know, consensus building and, and collaboration. And so I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not one type of person that makes for a great negotiator. Speaker 3 (00:41:53): I think the great negotiator is the person who’s their, their authentic self and understands that this is a skill that is learned, right? We’re not born great negotiators and the more you do it, the better you become. But I think a really big part of that is the level of authenticity and believing that that person that’s coming to the table, that, you know, how you show up that gives you the confidence to be a great negotiator. And then all the other things I could tell you like the characteristics, I believe that the best negotiators are incredibly curious that they use negotiations, not an O as an opportunity to be so self-assured that they think they have nothing else to learn, but they come to the table curious with sort of that, that blend of confidence and humility that says I’m confident with who I am and what I bring here, but I’m humble enough to know that there’s a lot to learn always. Speaker 3 (00:42:47): And so the open mind, the open heart empathy, you know, where, again, it’s that level of curiosity about the person you’re negotiating with to understand their journey, how they’ve gotten here so that you can appeal to their sense of values and order. And, and, you know, I think those are the things that we don’t often see celebrated because again, that character that we see in our heads about the movies that we watch, the great negotiators are never seen as like the real kind, respectful, you know, empathetic person it’s so wrong. Because I think there’s a place for everybody, but in my mind, in my heart, I just believe that the, the great negotiators are those that make room for other people. And, and, and trust that, that conversation and that, that, that approach where it considers both sides is really the best one. AJV (00:43:38): Mm. I think that’s really good. I actually have a really difficult conversation coming up. Later this week, that’s gonna require some financial negotiation and that’s a really great reminder for me right now is like, I need to come to this quote, unquote, negotiation table, really seeking to understand, like, where are you coming from? Why do you feel this way? Like really seek to understand the other person in order for me to even have a fighting chance at finding a happy medium win-win situation. Speaker 3 (00:44:12): Yeah. Because I mean, first of all, knowing all that you’re bringing to a table, right. That’s sort of the most important part, right? The, the reason why my book is called bringing yourself is because I believe the hardest part of all this is to really understand their own value. Right? And that, that conversation you have to have with yourself at first, right? Who you are, what you stand for, what your values are, what your conviction is, the things that are sort of the non-negotiables, which have literally nothing to do with money, by the way, it’s what you stand for. Right? And, and once that’s sort of understood, and you could speak, you can be your own sort of best advocate. Then I feel like everything else sort of falls into place, right. Because everything else becomes some kind of tactic or strategy. But the hardest part is that breaking through those really negative things that we say you just said fighting chance which I would never see somebody like you who’s accomplished all that. You’ve accomplished. Even think that that’s how they should think about this. Of course you have a fighting chance of, I mean, are you crazy AJV (00:45:18): Reminder talk matters, Speaker 3 (00:45:21): Right? But it’s like, no. I mean, the minute you think that, that you have to sort of even fight to have the chance, like I would, I would abolish all of that. I would, I would put that away because you know, the truth is it will not take you that long to understand why you’re supposed to be there in the first place and ask for what you’re worth. Right. That, that should not take very long. But the other part of that is that, you know, negotiations is all about influencing somebody. Mm-Hmm ING somebody. How on earth would you ever be able to do that? If you can’t persuade yourself first mm-hmm right. So that’s why I believe like that it’s being a great negotiator is in everybody. Right. We all have it. It’s never, you’re not smart enough. It’s never that you don’t know the right strategies. It’s like, get out of your own way. And once you do that, then, then it’s, I, I dare say both enjoyable and, and not so difficult. AJV (00:46:20): Oh yes. Let’s have another coaching session. This is podcast coaching session for AJ. But I think that’s really important cuz it’s like you do like even subconsciously start to think about negotiation in a way of like win or lose. That’s not a real thing. Like we, no one has to lose, no one has to lose in this. And I do think there’s so much negative connotation around the idea of negotiation. So I’m curious, like where do you think that comes from? Like even in my subconscious where I’m an extraordinarily unusually confident human being, but for me to even like subconsciously think fighting chance, like when it comes to negotiation, like where do you think that comes from? Speaker 3 (00:47:02): I think society in a lot of ways, right? Again, like what’s what we see in movies, what we see on TV, what we read. And I think that maybe just maybe the more sort of other examples that we see of really sort of these successful negotiators women who, you know, are, are tremendous at this, by the way, talk about sort of the bad stories, but you know, the more examples we have of people who don’t espouse those other sort of characteristic and, and when we can actually change the paradigm of how we, we see negotiations, we reimagine it. And it becomes something that we all understand that we’re so capable and confident of doing, but, but, you know, use it in a way that speaks to you, right? Make it your voice that matters, not what you are told that you should say or how you should pretend to be. Speaker 3 (00:48:00): I mean, there’s more pretense in what people are taught, right? There’s more, you know, negotiations is not like baking a cake. I, who am I to tell you, if you say this word and that word, and if you do this and you act like this, you’re gonna succeed, first of all, that’s not true. it can’t possibly be true, right? It’s gonna fail probably as many times as it’s gonna succeed. Totally. But the moment that we realize that living in our truth, living in our purpose honoring our values, honoring ourself, that those things are fundamentally not just what will make us successful in life, but successful their value negotiations. I think the moment, the moment we embrace that, that we realize that in a world that we’re told to be everything that we’re not, mm-hmm, that to stand up and be courageous and be exactly who you are. That’s what else is there? AJV (00:48:56): Mm. I love that, you know, and you said something earlier that, you know, really resonated with me, but then also with so many of, you know, the people that I, I get to interact with on a daily basis, both personally and professionally and it’s setting up non-negotiables right. And I think that’s a huge, a huge part of negotiation, but also of confidence of knowing it’s like, there’s wiggle room, but then I have my non-negotiables and there’s no wiggle room there. And so I’ve heard you say, and maybe it was our conversation, maybe it was in the book. I don’t remember at this point, but it’s like, and that negotiation is not an issue of skill. It’s more to do with self-worth and confidence. Can we talk about that for just a minute? Yeah. Like to hear that negotiation is not a skill thing, it’s a belief thing. I mean, that’s really different because it’s like every other negotiation training book seminar that I’ve ever been to are very, very sales oriented, very skills oriented it’s words to use body language, tone of voice, you know, you know, all the things, right. So to hear, it’s not a skill issue, it’s a self worth, it’s a confidence issue. Really puts it in a different place of perspective. And so just, I wanna hear your thoughts on that. Speaker 3 (00:50:21): I’ll probably be best at describing that if I give you an example, but before I go there, I, I, I think that, again, the hardest part is that get knowing yourself, knowing your self worth. And this is after thousands of people that I’ve taught, it could be CEOs of major corporations. It could be professional athlete, people who you would never imagine have, you know, issues with sort of self-worth or, you know, imposter syndrome as we imagine it, but they do right. And so time and time again, it goes back to this issue of knowing your value, right. And not just knowing it, but being able to courageously and fearlessly advocate for it. And so I feel like if, if you can do that, then I don’t teach rocket science. Anybody who tells you that they’re, you know, you have to learn all of these skills before you can negotiate successfully is, is just not being honest because the, the fact is that those are, and those are first of all, really easy, right? Speaker 3 (00:51:18): Learning how to prepare for negotiations is not rocket science, right? Learning, you know, what kinds of things you should consider in preparation, not rocket science. You know, what’s rocket science. What’s really hard is knowing your self worth because only then, right? Can you actually set goals that are aspirational and worthy of you? And then once you set those goals, then you can actually go to the table and, and ask for those things. And then once you can ask for those things, then you actually get it right. But if that first piece is not done, then all the skills in the world are not gonna get you through that journey without you folding. Right. So, so grounding yourself and knowing yourself is really important. You talked about non-negotiables non-negotiables are generally things that are like our values. Yeah. Right? Our convictions, things that if you give them away, you are no longer whole, no matter how success we’ll be, outcome of the negotiations is right. Speaker 3 (00:52:15): It’s the stuff we can’t live with ourselves. If we put those, you know, whether it’s lying, whether whatever it is. Right? So even those things have nothing necessarily to do with financials or the sort of the, the tangibles, it’s the intangibles that matter right now, the example that, that I was gonna give you is this, that, that the best negotiators, right. If, if you’ve gone through 65 trainings, read every book, listen to the podcast, you know, I’m so ready. Right. I’ve watched every movie I’m, I’ve got it. Right. But what you really struggle with is sort of fear and anxiety, or even like, maybe even lack of self-belief. Right. And you know, there’s all these studies that are done. Say like we have somewhere between 12,000 to 60 thoughts, 60,000 thoughts, a day of those thoughts, 80% of them are negative, right? So the minute you go down that rabbit hole and you fall back into that one behavior, you have not chosen to address, which is the fear, the anxiety, the stories that you tell yourself, right? And this, this, you just go in a tail spin. You will not remember what it said on page 37 of that book. Right. AJV (00:53:31): That’s not true. That’s so true. Speaker 3 (00:53:35): Mirroring. You can hardly see the person sitting across from you straight because right. Because cognitively your fear is blocked you from doing that. So you’re in your head, you can’t be present. You’re fearful that now affects every little, everything big or small that you’ve learned. And you’ve been told to do. And now you’re sitting there in a, in a, you know, pile of fear. Mm-Hmm . And how do you get through that? You don’t know, because you hadn’t addressed what was most important, which is those things that really you’ve struggled with internally. So that’s why I say the skill thing, easy breezy, right? The, the internal stuff, right? The, the, the mindset work, the, the, the, the lack of self love, lack of self-worth lack of understanding why your why? Just in general, that’s the really, really hard stuff that if you can accomplish that, then that’s why I said skills. You know, EQ is so much more important than IQ in any negotiations any day of the week. Right? That’s what gives you sort of strategic, strategic advantage. Why? Because it tells you how to be present. It tells you how to listen. It tells you the people side is far more difficult skills anybody can learn. AJV (00:54:51): Yeah. Oh, I love this. And you know, this is, it just brings up, you know, a fear that I often hear from people who are working on their personal brand or who want to become more well known for something, but what their real fear is, is, do I really have anything to add to the conversation? And I love this so much because being in a world of sales for a very long time, there’s a lot of talk on negotiation. I have literally probably read a dozen books, been to twice as many conferences or seminars heard speakers on these attended webinars. And I have never heard negotiation discussed the way that you’re discussing it today. And if we would just lean more into the uniqueness that is just naturally within us as like, I wish this was the conversation that was had with me when I was starting out at 22 and 23, like how much further ahead I would be if it was not about reading body language and, you know, say these words and do it at this time. AJV (00:55:55): And, but it was more about like, do you know what you’re going in for? Right. Do you know what you really want? Do you know what the outcome is that you wish, you know, to have? It’s like, do you know your non-negotiables like, do you know your own self worth? Like, do you even know what you’re negotiating for? Right. It’s like, how often are we just, you know, and in my perspective, it’s to my comment I made earlier, it’s like, sometimes it’s just a, it’s, it’s a battle. It’s like, well, I’m just going into win. Right. Right. And it’s like, well, right. Is what’s that old saying, you can win the battle and still lose the war. Right. Right. It’s like, do we even know what we’re, we’re going into conversate with? I think this is such a great reminder to anyone who is listening. It’s like, regardless of what you feel called to talk about, I assure you the way you’re gonna talk about it is different than how anyone else is going to talk about it because they’re not you, I, this is a great example of that in this conversation. Speaker 3 (00:56:50): And I should have probably added before, as I’m thinking, as you’re saying, this is like another really great attribute of, of, of negotiators, great negotiators is that they’re storytellers really, really great storytellers. And that’s how we move people. Right. That’s how we influence people. That’s how we persuade people. And it’s the story you tell yourself. Right. But it’s also the stories that you can share with other people, the, the opening up the vulnerability, the, the letting people in. But we’ve been told that you should not, and I’m not saying, you know, be vulnerable in every negotiations, but just even vulnerable to yourself. Right. And, and that sort of deep understanding of yourself, but learning to tell your story, you know, it’s the brand builder’s way, right? Yeah. But it’s, but it’s knowing, knowing how to do that fearlessly. And knowing that that’s how you change people’s minds and hearts, I guess you know, the, the great quote of, of this notion of, you know, people may forget what you said, and they may forget what you did, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel. How do we make people feel some way mm-hmm, we, we tell that story, we bring them in and that you can’t learn in books that you have to first believe and then, and then have the, the courage to share, AJV (00:58:11): Oh, I love this. I could continue this conversation for another hour and still have more questions. But I wanna make sure people know where to go to check out this book, bring yourself so more where should go to learn more about you and learn more about becoming that great negotiator that is already within Speaker 3 (00:58:34): Well, they can, so everything’s on my website. So if they go to more report.com the information about the book I’ve got a newsletter they can sign up for everything’s there. I’m on social media, the book itself, you can find it, any outlet that sells books. So Amazon and hang on random house. It’s actually the publisher Barnes and Nobles all it. So not too hard to find it is out there. AJV (00:58:58): All right. Well, I will make sure to put your website link in the show notes, everyone spells it correctly. You can go to Amazon type in, bring yourself, I’ll put all your social handles in the show notes. And before we sign off, I have one last question for you that has nothing to do with negotiation or publishing or teaching or anything. But since it came up today this is help me and help our audience get to know you. What would you say are three non-negotiables in your life that you’re like, these are three non-negotiables for me. Speaker 3 (00:59:32): I don’t lie. AJV (00:59:34): It’s a good one. , Speaker 3 (00:59:36): I’m horrible at it. That’s probably one of the reasons why, like, I can’t keep up with a, with a, with a lie to save my life. And so I just feel like the reputational risk is so worth so huge and so damaging. Yeah. That, you know, I, I just, I’ve, I’ve learned from mistakes and not even like business mistakes, but like mom and asking me 30 questions and I’m like, I lost you at eight. Right. So can’t do that. AJV (01:00:05): That’s a good, I love that. Okay. That’s good. Speaker 3 (01:00:09): Not having the really hard conversations. I, I, I wanna just, if it’s there, let’s just talk, talk about it, right. Because I’ve, I’ve, that’s another thing I’ve learned. I carried the burden of those difficult conversations for a really long time. I, I, I, I lived with Ms. I was diagnosed with Ms in 2010, the burden of stress and all the rest of it had, hasn’t gotten the best of me, but it definitely has taught me that, that the minute you can release that stress and, and the stress of sort of holding back things that are important to you or things that, that need to get cleared away, then, you know, it’s, it’s just so much healthier for your mind, your body, your spirit, all of it. AJV (01:00:53): Hmm. Love that. Speaker 3 (01:00:55): My non-negotiable, I don’t, I don’t want to be in any kind of relationship business or otherwise with people who have little thought for others that have no empathy, that, that just don’t care. Here I go getting emotional again. I don’t even understand it, but, but I feel like I see so much of that. We see so much of that in our world, and it honestly breaks my heart. And I know that I can’t control all that happens, but I can certainly control those people who I wanna associate with. Amen. And I feel like that we owe the world. We owe everybody better than that. More than that. So that’s really important for me is for people to, to just care about others. AJV (01:01:48): Yeah. I love that. Those are so good. I think this is a good practice for all of us, right? Leaving this show. It’s like, if nothing else, it’s like spend some time thinking about what are the non-negotiables in your life. And I love those more. I think those are so good. I have so enjoyed having on the show, getting to know you more, getting to learn from you and also getting a mini coaching session. So lots of, for me y’all stay tuned. I’m gonna record our recap episode. That’ll be live next. Make sure you check out the book, bring yourself and make sure you come back for another episode on the influential personal brand. We’ll see you next time. Thank you.

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25 of the World's Most Recognizable Influencers Share Their Tips on How to Build and Monetize a Personal Brand

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