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The Great Mind Behind the Negotiations  

Lee E. MillerSeton Hall University’s Strategic Influencing and Communication Workshops, offered by the Division of Continuing Education and Professional Studies, are set to take place March 13, March 20 and May 1. Through these interactive workshops, students learn to master the art of persuasion by observing, participating in and analyzing different situations and designing appropriate strategies to achieve goals and maximize outcomes

Each workshop is led by Lee E. Miller, professor of management in the Stillman School of Business and a consultant, executive/career coach and corporate trainer in the fields of leadership, influencing and negotiating. He is the co-author of the critically acclaimed A Woman's Guide to Successful Negotiating, which was selected by the Huffington Post as one of the "16 Books Aspiring Woman Leaders Need to be Reading." His other book, Up Influence, Power and the U Perspective: The Art of Getting What You Want, was reviewed recently by, noting the intersection of "Convince, Collaborate and Create" as a powerful framework. 

Miller recently shared a little about his background in negotiation and the achievements that can result from learning how to do it effectively.

At what point in your life/career did you realize you had a knack for, and a keen interest in, the art of persuasion?
I took a course in negotiating at law school, but it wasn’t until I had spent several years as a lawyer and then as a corporate executive that I realized that influencing and negotiating were the most important skills you needed to be successful. It wasn’t so much that I had a knack for it, but rather that I went about learning how to become better negotiator and in the process developed a methodology to teach others to become better negotiators as well.  

How have you used your negotiation skills to get to where you are today in your career?
Influencing and negotiating skills enabled me to be successful as a lawyer and as a business executive. They are critical to getting support for your ideas, resources for your projects and to position yourself to get promoted when the opportunity arises. 

What would you say was your proudest moment as a negotiator?
I have been involved in a lot of important negotiations: labor negotiations, employment negotiations, negotiations to build a hospital in the Middle East and even training diplomats at the United Nations to be more effective negotiators. However, I am particularly proud of my first book deal with McGraw Hill to publish Get More Money On Your Net Job… In any Economy. As an unknown author without an agent, I was able to convince them to sign a contract with an advance and a larger than usual commission based on one chapter and an outline.

Is there a well-known figure from history, politics, etc., who you feel is/was a particularly successful negotiator? What makes/made this person so effective?
Ronald Reagan is the only union official ever to be elected president of the United States. He was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild seven times, and as a result, he probably had more real life negotiating experience than any president before him. As president of the Screen Actors Guild, he was responsible for actors getting residuals on television and film productions. He owed much of his success as president of the United States to his negotiating skills, whether ending the Cold War or passing an historic overhaul of the tax code, to dramatically lowering marginal tax rates despite Democratic control of Congress.

Can you think of a moment when someone approached you and credited you for helping them to move ahead in their job/career?
I once helped a bank president move to a much larger bank and double his salary by advising him to refuse to share his current salary and simply insisting that the potential employer give him their best offer. Had he disclosed his salary, not only would he have not been able to negotiate such a large increase, but the relatively low level of his salary might have caused the prospective employer to reconsider his suitability for the position. 

What would you say is a common mistake you see many people make when they try to negotiate salary? 
The most common mistakes people make in negotiating salary are not asking at the right time, not asking in the right way, only focusing on money and not asking for enough. It’s also usually easier to position yourself to get a promotion, and people often fail to strategically pursue that option.  

What is the single most important piece of advice you could give to anyone looking to improve their negotiation skills?
Read books on the topic, take a course on negotiating and practice. No one is born a great negotiator. Everyone has to learn how, and everyone can learn to be a better negotiator.

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For more information, please contact:

  • Continuing Education and Professional Studies
  • (973) 761-9087
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