Reading the room is just as important as the message you have to deliver. In my career as a sports broadcaster, the level of awareness I bring to an interview has a direct impact on its success. The same is true in business. That’s why I oftentimes keynote on how adapting to the energy of your environment can be the difference between a message that is listened to and a message that inspires action. A recent episode of my podcast Rounding the Bases featured someone who is a master of reading the room thanks to her unique expertise.
There’s bravery, and then there’s my guest, who is downright fearless. Throughout her career, she’s been esteemed as the secret weapon to high-stakes contract negotiations with some of the world’s largest financial institutions. With a personality that precedes her, she’s been leaning in to asking for – and getting – what you want since before leaning in was the thing to do.
Her name is Mary Redmond, the always passionate and sometimes shocking body language boss more commonly known as the Fearless Negotiator. She’s a businesswoman who means business, and manages to do it all by wearing many hats, literally and figuratively. As an experienced coach, speaker and trainer, Mary helps her clients turn the no’s into yeses and challenges into opportunities. After all, everything is negotiable, if only you are fearless enough to ask.
SINGLE: Hard Lessons
Mary learned at an early age how to hold her own. As one of six children, negotiating was an integral part of her childhood. Equally as important was learning how to temper disappointment when things didn’t go her way. Her de facto response when younger was to march to her room. Now as a professional negotiation coach, she teaches more sophisticated techniques, including how not to walk away upset.
DOUBLE: Reading the Words
Early in her career, it became evident to Mary that there is more to contracts than showing up and getting a signature. Every word in the document had meaning, and she recognized her passion for mastering them at the same time she began to understand their power. Careful application allowed her to guide negotiations in her favor. But when she finally understood the unique dynamic between body language and words, she became a force to be reckoned with.
TRIPLE: Room for Rapport
The core of negotiating – and successfully reading the room – is a trifecta of soft skills: Listening, body language and the art of asking open ended questions. Each is significant in its own right, but when used in tandem, they can have major impact on the results of the negotiation. The most important consideration to remember, though, is that no tactic will work if you don’t take time to build rapport with your client. “Don’t walk in and sit down and expert to start negotiating,” warns Mary. “Take the time to get acquainted.”
HOME RUN: Success over Substance
Sometimes personal wins are even bigger than the professional ones. Mary once battled an addiction to alcohol that threatened to ruin everything that mattered to her. It prevented her marriage, her career and even her life from being everything she wanted them to be. She decided to surrender and admit her challenge, and is proud to have not felt the need to take a drink for 23 years. “I’m not fearless,” she said, “I fear less.”
Learn more about Reading the Room from Joel
Book Joel Goldberg for your next corporate event. He draws on over 25 years of experience as a sports broadcaster. In addition, he also brings unique perspectives and lessons learned from some of the world’s most successful sports organizations. Whatever your profession, Joel is the keynote speaker who can help your team achieve a championship state of mind.