By Terri Schlichenmeyer

The answer is always YES.

YES, you want more from your job or your clients. YES, you’re sure there’s more they can give. YES, you need additional compensation, whether monetarily or in perks. Your heels are dug in and you’re not giving up until you get the answer you want but first, read “Ask for More” by Alexandra Carter and see if you have the right questions.

The art of negotiation involves stating what you want, then fighting to get it, right?  Or never giving an inch until you get a kilometer?  Carter says that most people think that way about negotiating, and they’re wrong.

Today’s negotiation, she says, is not conflict or a win-lose process. It’s a conversation you’re steering, with give-and-take involved. It’s being transparent with information, for the good of both parties. It’s knowing how to ask open questions.

Once you have that last part down pat – because it’s key to the whole process – Carter says there are ten questions to ask yourself a day or two before the negotiations begin. They’re in two parts: The Mirror (you), and The Window (the person you’re negotiating with).

Start with the former by asking yourself what you really want, but be very patient with your answers; this is not the time for knee-jerk reactions. Avoid why; that word points blame. Jot down your answers, and include even your wildest thoughts.

Before you get to The Window part of this process, learn to listen, which is something most adults don’t do well. Ask those open-ended questions, and then shut up and enjoy the silence while the other person thinks or reconsiders. Know how to follow up to get the information you need and the information you didn’t know you needed. Pay attention to what’s unsaid. Learn how to summarize and wrap things up.

And finally, get ready for the last question. That, as Carter indicates, is where the action starts.
Or, well, maybe not quite.

There are a lot of things left for readers to do, once they’ve got past the 10 core questions inside “Ask for More,” and there’s a lot of hard work to be done. Even so, anyone who’s ever been on the wrong end of messy negotiations-gone-wrong knows that few things happen overnight, organization is vital, and emotion-management is close behind it. That’s where this book is helpful.

In giving a nudge toward self-introspection on what could be a thorny issue, author Alexandra Carter teaches readers to sort through their thoughts long before the negotiation table looms, and to prioritize – both, organizational skills that help to prepare for what’s ahead. Readers who get mired in their thoughts also get help untangling through hints on getting unstuck in the process, which eliminates at least half of any further frustration, and calms.

Reading this book is like having a teacher at your elbow when you’re (gently) lobbing volleys at the bargaining table. It’s great for businesspeople, divorcees-to-be, and parents. If you’re pondering whether or not to read “Ask for More,” the answer is always YES.

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