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Book Review: The Power of No: Negotiating Secrets the Pros Don’t Want You to Know by Jim Camp

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I’m a huge fan of negotiating coach Jim Camp’s. He wrote the bestseller, Start with No, which may be my all-time favorite business book. Then he wrote an updated version, simply called NO!, which was written with ordinary folks in mind — nonbusiness people who needed a smart system for negotiating everything from a better salary to the best price on a new refrigerator.

Now Camp has come out with a six-CD audioprogram called The Power of No: Negotiating Secrets the Pros Don’t Want You to Know (Nightingale Conant). I never thought of myself as the type of gal who’d listen to a teaching CD while driving in my car or working in my kitchen, but I decided to try it. From the first moment I heard Jim Camp’s folksy Midwestern voice telling me how to get the other party to agree with what I want by inviting them to say no, I was hooked once again on Camp’s “No” approach.

The audio program presents a complete, detailed, step-by-step training course on the Camp System of Negotiation, which is designed to give you a structure to follow so there are no surprises; if you make a mistake, you can get right back on track easily. The program is delivered in such a way that you feel as if you’re in a living room listening to a humble genius spill his secrets. You never feel lectured to. And it never gets boring because Camp interweaves personal stories, nail-biting examples from his business, and real-life anecdotes that bring his ideas to life. If you’re an audio learner, The Power of No is a phenomenal way to pick up tips, strategies, and tools that will give you new ways to handle yourself (and win) in any type of negotiation, whether it’s in your business or personal life.

Camp’s core message — that compromise (saying yes) is a terrible way to get the best deal for your side — is still the heart of his message. He shows listeners why the word “no” is a much better word to hear, to say, and to seek than “yes” or “maybe.” I know it sounds counterintuitive, but after you’ve learned how to embrace the idea of “no,” you will come to see every negotiation in a new light. Basically, by welcoming “no” into the conversation, you’re showing your opponent that you’re not needy, and this changes the power dynamic.

There are some new ideas in the audio program that were not in Camp’s two previous bestselling books. Camp became fascinated with recent research in the field of neuroscience that deals with how the human brain makes decisions. For example, scientists now know that all decisions are made emotionally, 100 percent of the time. We may think we’re being logical as we accrete a long list of facts to back up our decision. But the actual decision takes place in the emotional area of our brain. Why is this important? If you know this is how your opponent will ultimately come to a decision, then your job becomes one of building a vision for the other party that will appeal to their emotional brain. Camp shows us how to do this. The best part about this is that your opponent won’t have any idea what you’re doing, because he still believes it’s reason that’s driving his decision.

Camp talks about another science-based finding, “fixed mindset” versus “growth mindset.” Researchers have found that the more masterful and knowledgeable we get in our field, the more “fixed” our mindset becomes. For example, a typical negotiator will tend to rely on what he knows — his expertise — when he should be focusing on what he doesn’t know, says Camp. He helps us retrain our brains so we stay open to discovery in the negotiation, and resist our urge to make assumptions or second guess what our opponent is thinking or wanting. That’s the growth mindset, and Camp shows how very useful it can be in managing your decisions. What’s more, since your opponent is very likely relying on what he knows and what he believes you’ll do (fixed mindset), you will gain the upper hand by applying a completely different scientific principle to the process.

Camp shares so many nifty techniques, I began to worry that he was giving up too many of his secrets. For example, he presents well-known negotiation tactics you’re likely to face, and then shows, calmly and methodically, how to completely neutralize each one. He also goes through, one by one, all the common stumbling blocks that appear in negotiations. Like what to do if the other party bullies you or is excessively negative. Or what to do if the other party tells you their absolute price — and then says they won’t budge from this number. Camp has a way to deal with any tactic your opponent throws at you. Why? Because they have tactics but you have principles. Once you embrace the principles of the Camp System, your principles beat their tactics every time.

If you are new to Jim Camp’s “no” approach, get ready to have your mind blown. If you’ve read one or both of Camp’s bestsellers, you’ll benefit greatly from this audio program, because he goes into much more detail about the nitty-gritty components needed to prepare, proceed, and perform well using the Camp System of Negotiation Management. This CD program is ideal for entrepreneurs, salespeople, executives, HR professionals, and others in business who routinely find themselves in the position of negotiating a contract, mediating a conflict, or trying to hammer out the best deal.

But it’s also beneficial for ordinary gals like me. “The Power of No” is a secret weapon that bolsters confidence in any type of negotiation.

 

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About Patricia Gale

Patricia Gale has written and ghostwritten hundreds of blogs and articles that have appeared on sites such as Psychology Today, Forbes, and Huffington Post, and in countless national newspapers and magazines. Her "beat" is health, business, career, self-help, parenting, and relationships.