Emma Grede is one of the only guests we’ve had on this show who told us she loves negotiating. Early on, she realized that it was her strong suit. And she’s honed that skill throughout her career...especially while she built her own fashion brand alongside a Kardashian (hi, Khloe). Tune in to hear Emma give us a negotiating lesson...and her advice for how to enjoy the process more.
On Her Love of Negotiation
Carly: I don't think that I've ever read prep on anyone that we've interviewed where it said that what they really enjoyed doing and were really good at was negotiation. I stopped in my tracks when I read that. What do you mean you're really good at negotiating? How did you figure that out?
Emma: ….Where I came from, sometimes it was just dangerous, right? And you'd have to just get yourself out of a situation. And the way that you would do that was by negotiating. By figuring out with someone, "Where can we get to a mutually advantageous position?" And so that was part of my personality.
….Negotiation wasn't about beating somebody so hard against the wall that you get what you want. It was about actually finding this beautiful middle ground. And what I understood [is that] when you work with very, very creative people, they have such a specific point of view. And they're not always able to see the other side. And so I always saw it as my job to let each side see one another and understand one another. And so when I talk about negotiation, it really is about storytelling and building a picture of what's going on. And then allowing each side to see the point of view of the other side.
On Her Top Negotiation Tips
Emma: I mean, first of all, I think it's getting organized and focused in your thoughts. That is the key thing. Knowing what you're coming to get. And also understanding where you're willing to give.... In my career, it was always around salary negotiations. But I would really be completely organized. Like, what am I trying to get out of this and what am I willing to walk away without? So that's the starting point. Having that in my mind and being completely clear about that.
Then, it's the education piece. Really knowing what you're doing. What are you talking about? What are the benchmarks? What else are you bringing to the table? To the conversation? And have you actually looked at the space? At the business?
And then for me, again, it's always about going on to the other side. Like, what is the person across the table from you thinking? What is their point of view? What is their key objective? And how do you align the first part with the third part?
Emma: I definitely made an effort to put myself in the right context. And I did anything. And when I tell you anything, I would take any job to be in the company that I thought was going to get me to where I needed to be…. I was very, very naïve when it came to actually building a network. But what I did was always did a really, really good job. And then when I was fortunate enough to be in a situation where you were taking meetings with people or had an opportunity to be at a conference, I'd be very strategic about the way I went into those things. I'd look at the list and I'd find the people that I wanted to meet. And I'd memorize what they looked like. And then I'd find stuff out about them.
You’d try to find something out about somebody. And then I would literally just walk up to a speaker and try to strike up a conversation. And again, that was really how I built my network. Just a mixture of hustle, being available, and then just ballsily walking up to people.
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