Posted on: August 3rd, 2011 by Jen Mueller

We’ve seen it in the NFL and in the federal government in the last two weeks.  Each struck big deals to keep business going after wading through very contentious negotiations.

During the process we heard updates that included “negotiators walking away from the table” and “talks breaking down.”   There are definite similarities between the NFL negotiations and Collective Bargaining Agreement and the federal government’s new debt deal.  For starters both deals were reached in what many consider the 11th hour, and both deals accomplished less than originally hoped.

You can debate the merits of both – or turn it into a talking point for how you can implement more effective negotiation strategies in your workplace.   Rick Newman of points out lessons that debt-ceiling negotiators could learn from NFL negotiators including the importance of “protecting your franchise, thinking long-term and considering the little people.”

I would add another key to successful negotiations – good communication.  You have to be able to talk to someone without getting into to a heated argument.  You need to be able to listen and really hear what the person is saying instead of allowing stubbornness to take over.  It sounds simple, but it’s a challenge facing a generation of business owners and entrepreneurs who rely on emails, text messages and other electronic exchanges instead of face-to-face conversations.

The best way to start improving those skills is to learn how to engage in effective small talk.  It’s the basis of a conversation, the building block of a relationship and the foundation that leads to good rapport.  All of those things lead to more productive business transactions and can help you avoid last minute deals that miss the mark.   Don’t know where to start?  Download my 5 tips for effective small talk and learn from my experiences on the sidelines and in the locker rooms of professional teams around the Northwest.


America's Expert Talker, CEO Talk Sporty to Me


Jen Mueller, America’s Expert Talker, is the Founder and CEO of Talk Sporty to Me.  She’s available to speak for keynotes, presentations and workshops.  Contact for more information. She also developed a line of popular greeting cards as another way to build rapport.  They are available on her website