Interview with Lana Staheli, PHD
We're vulnerable. What a surprise we're vulnerable. It's personal. Our best work evokes feelings, that's the whole idea we want to connect with people through the way we evoke feelings for our clients and our clients is audiences. Emotions are our strength. We have to see them as the strength we have to turn them to our advantage. Feelings, trump logic every time uh, a quote from lana staheli who's dr linus to heli who's goingto going teo join us as in a guest role in a few minutes. And then we're going to talk a little bit about dyslexia and the advantage that dyslexia has given me and I think many others, uh, but first feelings, trump logic every time, fast lower brain thinking kept us alive way back when and when we're still does. When we're faced with danger and think about this, this was an early life experience for me. I, of course, wanting to be the tough, macho kid and being small and usually being on the losing end of various scuffles in my childhood. Pretty typical boy story,...
I joined the y m c, a golden gloves boxing team and and boxed and then one day I was in practice, I wasn't particularly good at it, but it was felt macho to do it. And then one day in practice I was boxing with a guy who was my weight but was quite a bit older than I was who had way more skills than I had and he knocked me out and I saw stars and I crawled out of the ring without even thinking as fast as I could and never went back I crawled out of the ring as fast as I could and never went back it was just a complete gut reaction get out of there this is over boxing career done this hurts this is bad this is not good for me I'm out of here and looking back on it I realised was probably one of the better decisions I've made in my life now that we know what happens to people who get hit in the head too many times that's does long term damage unfortunately it didn't happen to be very often so lizard brain fast got me out of there got me out of there exactly when I needed to frontal lobe slow I didn't even have to think about it although later what was I thought I was a coward I thought I was a chicken all those things that they say about you you know we're set about me because I crawled out of the ring I got over it but my lizard brain served me well at the moment however when we're in a negotiation situation and somebody hits us with something that surprises us and we're uncomfortable are lizard brain doesn't service well because the frontal lobe shuts down so here you are in this stressful circumstance and you can't think you can't think logically because your son frontal lobe has literally shut down and there you are with with the situation that you've that you've found yourself in and in fact under those circumstances of the stress not only are you not good at asking for what you need but you may not even know what it is you need to ask for and so I've asked lana staheli to join us this morning please welcome her and uh oh there she is and uh we will talk about about where these feelings come from and why they are are why they are so powerful hi lana how are you good gods for inviting these my pleasure anything to be here today my pleasure yeah thanks for coming out all of you so here we are in our little tall chairs so I have some questions for you good uh well first of all though I should properly introduced you lana has written one two three four books at this point so far so far and you are on k I x I am eighty uh chat with women way have chance every monday about how men and women to get along with their partner their coworkers there everybody's yeah yeah, cool and so the question the first question that I have for alana is why is it that we don't ask for what we need because I think it's really difficult to know what we want versus what we need versus what we should want because culture plays a big part in telling us what we can and can't want sugar shouldn't ask for but I think the more basic element is feelings get in the way and as you said emotion trumps reason in any stressful situation you're going to tap into all your core emotions and our core emotions are fear you know if the other tribe is coming it's good to be afraid because you want to run get out of their anger hey if they're going to steal your stuff you better be ready to fight right so you have so you have fear anger, sadness god be you know things are not going well you can be said it's sort of sort of cleansing your transition the motion and then discussed x looks sicky don't need it smells bad get away from it so those are also steroid laden emotions so they kind of get his rabbit job which is what they're supposed to do and there's one more joy on ly endorphin producer so of our core emotions those cave man emotions there to keep us alive on ly one of them gives you endorphins all the rest of them give you steroids well, steroids can also flood you so if you're really overwhelmed with steroids like you have fear, anger discussed and sadness all at once you got a truckload of steroids that can immobilize anybody so if you're going to into a situation that's new or where you feel risk or you feel vulnerability you will have a flood of those and it is the worst thing the brain khun dio because at that point the brain thinks were in survival mode and we're going to have to fight flight freezer surrender and none of those put our brain at its best in fact, for men it makes men makes it more difficult for men to hear women's voices so if you're negotiating with a man a woman that really disadvantage there so I think understanding that everybody has these emotions and that you really want to make sure that you own them you acknowledge them and you realize you're not fighting for your life that you need to breathe you need to have some joy in preparation if you're going to do something stressful I mean you just went for a walk, right? Yeah, I did so I gave you a little joy gave you a few endorphins and it helps you feel better and that has to be part of a strategy any time you're in a difficult situation or, uh negotiating for something where you're afraid you're going to hear in all right and you? Well, as you said earlier, that nose are part of life, but we try to stay away from yeses and noes. I think the other important aspect of why we're afraid it's there's a big biggest difference in the human brain is between men and women and that it's hard for me to underestimate how important that isthe because women have ten times the number of inter neural connections this man, which makes our brain more complex, we also have kind of a super highway in the middle between the two hemispheres of the brain. So we go boom, boom. What meant what happens to men is that you have a better ability to focus so they don't have I mean, they have about a hundred million uh, inter neural connections remember, we have ten times said that is a lot more so men get flooded if you start coming at them. This list, this list this they shut down so slow down, so it's an important thing for both men and women to remember in these situations, you're not the same, and they're not gonna change each other either. So I think in negotiating with man woman reading wannabe a little quieter in a little slower and that that's not a put down to anybody it's just it's just easier process, and I also lodging to keep breathing which which allows, lose ah steroids to tone down a little. So I think we get all of us put together and what women want and what men want are usually a little bit different and how we approach those topics are different, so I think you need a strategy that builds on those vulnerabilities because they're actually strength that so a woman may come up with twenty ideas while a man focuses on one. Well, if you're talking to another woman that's, great, because we can bantered those back and florida, you're talking to a guy, tone it down twenty words is good pilot down to the twenty words and put the first most important ones first, so say what you want first concisely, yeah is briefly as you can and try not to amplify, because when you start explaining why you want what you want, everybody gets lost. So what you want has to be your first part, and that has to be part of your preparation, and I know you prepare. I prepare that when we're going to do something, even if we've done it before, you want to prepare for it, and you really want to take the time to peel off the layers of what it is you want, so for talking about more money, do your homework. How much are other people doing what I'm doing getting paid I've had a number of clients over the years who've got huge raises because we had we did the research we went with the evidence here is what other people in this are getting paid so that we're not necessarily negotiating representing information here's what I can do for you here's what I want to do for you what do you need done? We're having a discussion we're having a discussion I think we don't you and I talked about how creative minds are different and you mentioned the dyslexia I think because I think creatives tend to be more aware of what's going on around you that there's more of ah uh of essential awareness than a lot of other people have theirs more sensory input so it's very easy in a stressful situation to be extracted and really not take the time to make the connection with the person you're talking to because that connection is what's going on two guys to go forward as a team which is what you want with a client, right? So to get to go forward with the person you're discussing it with he's got to make that connection we've got to make that eye contact you've got to find out about them so you're not there to sell you're there to discuss and to learn about them so you know your body language smile uh, you know, smiling is a big deal because it sends endorphins you can put a pencil in your mouth and it gives you endorphins because it's thinks you're smiling, so I think I do that all the time. Yes, he does so I think it works being aware of your own presence and less concerned about the negotiation would be more concerned about a relationship with this person because that's going to give you your foundation and it'll eliminate a lot of the sort of back and forth negotiating that gets people more polarized and we're part polarized to get guess what more steroids and then you forget what you were doing you forget I mean, we all do it your brain floods the female brain lights up like it was, firecrackers were going off and we can see all this now on fmr eyes the functional magnetic resonance imaging so which has been around about ten years before that people were speculating, you know what this guy's that's women they're not different well, turns out now that we can see what the brain does, you can see that it's really different in there, of course there's variants within me within gender, but I think creative people light up a lot in a way that linear people don't and I think while that is a fantastic thing for creativity can also get your really distracted all right, you mentioned also that culture has a factor here in asking for what we need and inhibits perhaps us asking you talk a little bit about that? I think culture is huge I think there's gender issues there men typically are willing to ask for more without apology, right? A bit of research on that this day is not quite a bit of research women are for some reason a little more passive a little more risk averse in that sense and again, I think doing research really the really helps especially women know you know, what's out there and know what the guys are getting and shoot for that don't shoot your for way more than even a little bit yeah, yeah shoot over the goal not under the goal and certainly not at the goal, so I think and getting to that kind of understanding that these core emotions you have in these vulnerabilities are actually what connect people that it when you're not vulnerable if you don't if you can't admit that kind of coming on camera makes you a little nervous, then you're hiding something, then you're gonna be more stressed up stressed out and people can't connect with you, so if you could just say jesus slow tense for me uh it's like the other person says, yeah, I mean they tend to want to offer comfort right if you're not and you're trying to hide it and kind of all clenched up arms crossed you kind unapproachable so it's gonna be really hard for anybody to connect so you need to go in and I'm a strong believer in meditation I know that it helps me control my thinking that can go all kinds of ways so whether it's yoga or meditation do it you don't make you a better creator you better person it'll make you a better partner even with your your personal life because it's important to have that sense of being yourself and that whatever those court you have are and everybody has them it's part of owning them is part of your vulnerability which is what intimacy is intimacy is knowing another steepest nature so why probably not there did develop an intimate relationship with your boss in quite that way you are there to develop connection in that connection will probably determine whether you get the job or not and how much they're willing to pay you and that's where again I think something's like role playing if you have a friend or a partner you can role play with so that you can laugh at things that you'd maybe don't understand uh our smile and say, you know I really don't know how answer that question can you ask me a different way? I mean it's endearing it's not off putting it's actually it wants it drives a person closer they want to help you rather than push push you off earth get into that sort of enemy stance which puts this in backto fight flight freeze and surrender and nobody's going to connect with us when we're doing those little moves right? So then the other the other issue is you know, so we have trouble asking in the first place for what we need for a bunch of very good reasons the other the other interesting question is often we don't even know what to ask for we don't know what to ask for house how bizarre is that? Well, it has I often tell my clients the hardest thing we're going to do is figure out what you want I mean you want to be singled you want to be married what kind of person you want to be with what kind of friends do you want to have? What kind of environment do you want to work in? How do you want to use your mind what gives meaning to your life what's gratifying I mean that's the that's the hard question once we know what we want figuring I get it it's just mr tj plan basically that most of us can figure out with a little help but I think this what do I want it's hard because even if he figured out today it could change tomorrow sometimes things happen and certainly over time one reason that probably as many marriages come apart is what the individuals want changes and if they don't stay in sync with that pretty soon we have that we live in parallel universes something so this need to keep current with yourself and knowing what you want is huge and difficulty because it requires a lot of self awareness and what it brings out the best in you and like, if you're interviewing and think about the environment, what kind of environment do you want to work? Do you wantto environment with light? You want other people around because it gives you energy? Do you like space so you can do you like having your headphones, son so you can't hear anything? Those are all things to think about and often in interviews, you know, think about that what kind of what's the space look like this is a space I'd liketo work in look around because this is where creatives have I think a huge advantage is use your senses because I know there's some environments I don't know I don't like all right that's a turnoff that there's just something about them, you know, if they're for me if they do funky if if they're too formal and I know they're in other environments that I work best in and I work best if there's somebody else around if I'm left to work by myself, I can do there around quite a lot of time with little game straightening up things so I know I do better in that kind of environment, but everybody doesn't but it's an important thing to know so when you're interviewing look around, ask if you can walk around I want to make sure that you want to be there too and that other people's look happy happy is a good thing and happy is an energy that you can feel especially creatives who are sensitive by nature I've been in uh many many design offices and one of the things I have noticed is when I walk in the door almost that quickly I know whether it's a happy office or sad office and it's amazing how quickly you pick it up if I pick it up I'm sure lots of other people do is well and and it's a real turnoff I'll tell you, you know it's like you know no wonder they don't have the business they should have no wonder they don't have the clients they should have no wonder I got that secret call from somebody saying I want out of here can you find me a job with someone else? You know it's it's it's you're aware right away whether it's a happy office where you are if you're a one to your emotions if you're so tense time about going in there, you won't see anything you won't feel it and that's really what you want to do you wantto kind of breathe the air and feel it because I mean, you and I are both very essentially where so use that on don't let yourself get frozen up by trying to get to a quick answer, right? Which is our tendency your tendency is let's get let's get me out of here let me get let's get me out or so the tendency is and we've talked about this earlier the tendency is hurry up too close because it's feels uncomfortable physically, it feels uncomfortable, so we have to know to use that feeling as a signal toe actually slow down, right? Yeah, slow down so quick question on that from our marmee who says who wonders whether the fight or flight response is involved in this? And why it's sometimes easier to just say yes to the first price because you you either want to just accept it and run out of the stressful situation instead of absolutely it's like okay, yeah, I'll take it done flight because you're just trying to avoid that conflict yeah, and I got something right and that's where I think it's really easy to let yourself get, uh, flooded with those steroids and just do the fight flight trees is surrender and there's surrender in that too like okay that's what they were gonna pay me? Okay, I'll take it so yes that that that pump up of steroids is deadly in in making bad decisions because remember your brain, isn't it it's operating at the most primitive level, not at the neocortex, which is the newer part of the brain, the thinking, reasoning creating part of the brain so you're using the most primitive part of your brain to make the most important decisions bad idea so use that time to get yourself repair, do the breathing do the meditation so that when you start to go in there, it's just people right and it's the same as you were saying before it's just a no really it's just a note, but I don't think you even have to get to know I think if you get to doing the discussion prominent going to get to know you're going to get to a discussion where you may decide this isn't a place for me or the scope of the work often I think people forget to understand the full scope of the work you know I want it, I want something that I'm on a logo that does that and you know better what would the scope of the work on that b right? So really understanding really understanding what the scope is because I think that that's the hard part to get to and that's where you really interviewing the other person you know what? Because how many times I think all of us got in situations where all of a sudden I thought it was this and now it's this and my price is that one of the ways to establish her expertise is to have the discussion with your client about what is really going to be involved here and and what that does is it that very discussion demonstrates your expertise because what you bring to the party is a real understanding of your skills and your area of expertise that your client does not have and what they bring to the party is their experience with what they need with their organization, with the goals and objectives that they have for this particular project. So and they may also not know what they want, and they and they usually in my experience don't not know what they want, but they usually have very carefully defined what they want and you usually is limited in some way. So one of the ways of really helping your client is by walking them through what the possibilities might be because you will do a better job of meeting their goals s and filling the need that they have by using your expertise to sort of analyze with them in concert in a spirit of mutuality to actually reach a description of what is going to be accomplished, that's agreeable to both. So it uses your experiences, their experiences and the whole contacts together, and and then what in the result of that is you have you you have in effect, change the context of the assignment, and by doing so, you've eliminated any competition because no one else would define it the way you did so you in concert with the client will define a new assignment and new possibilities that resulted in you getting the job. If there if you reach mutuality with them, you'll get the opportunity and the competition will basically be eliminated well, and the other aspect of that is it's through your questions that they're going for, you haven't expertise to wade got a lot of background noise here to cure that all I had to do what I ask way going out on outside and I want to stop for a moment, maybe it was by asking it stop, see, so we do need to ask right wasn't very long, but I think one of your party your expertise isn't asking the questions help define really the scope of the job, because in any situation you probably know as a creative, you probably know more than they do. You know what the missing you know, with the moving parts that they don't and also more people you can talk teo in that kind of environment better feel you're going to get for what's going on and and with what our other people doing because that may give you a tip toe what really thed compass of the judges your insides yeah, yeah you draw your insights from that conversation and because you may see that there's nobody that's doing graphics you may sign out there's nobody there you know really very good at but the program you use like in design that you're something else I mean, those are all things that are visible, so use your senses because it works and I think that's really in every sort of negotiation we do personal or private is peeling away those layers to try to get to know the other person so you know, the fit also I think what I want things I just thought of it admit they're things you don't know him that you're not good at it because believe me they'll find out so tryingto haider hide those kind of vulnerabilities is a set up for a knockdown, so if you're not good at a certain program or if you're not good at spelling bees have a headache client scott didn't get the job because he was a good speller we have spell check but she should have told him you know if that had been an up front um you know I'm really good at word processing I use spellcheck I've used word for years uh but you know I don't I'm not an intuitive speller that would have been off the table instead it became that split great question here from elle woods on that subject don't people see vulnerability as a weakness and see like here's an opportunity for me to catch more because the other person is weak but uh not the same thing okay let's talk about that vulnerability is not weakness but we do tend to put them together vulnerability is about revealing parts of ourselves you're not weak are you vulnerable yes you do so I have vulnerabilities uh but I'm I'm circling out week so separate those in your mind you know what your vulnerabilities are what would you say you what would you say is your greatest vulnerability uh I need to be in the group it mind would be criticism if somebody really personally criticizes me it's like I want to run for it and so I don't put myself in too many situations but but I'm not ashamed of it that I mean that is what's hard for me I can manage it and I think saying for you you know it's manageable but you just you have to be aware of is the way you have to be aware of what you're vulnerable vulnerability issues are so that you can then guard against him right yeah you don't have to expose them and be strong and what you're strong in wait for years therapy went find find your weaknesses figure out your weakness is fix up your weaknesses holoband didn't work out too well at least my witnesses are the same if they've always been it's way better to build on your strength so know what you're in the streets I have things that bring us joy right endorphins so you know find things you enjoy talk about the things that you're good at I mean I do this radio show like we were just talking about you know it's fun for me I don't have to prepare I can just go and talk and they're professional talkers so how hard can that be and so that is really fun for me you know if I was there try doing the writing writing you're right but it's harder for me it isn't doesn't bring me a ce much joy so know that know your range and make sure other people know what because what they want or your strength and everybody doesn't have every street in every area least I haven't met anybody so you just know what they are and focus on those and whatever the weaknesses are they'll fall to the background when when your strengths are in the foreground and that's what you get to show off right? And that does it brings you joy. It brings connection because remember, you know, smiling at somebody or talking to is going to get you more endorphins and it's going to get them more endorphins being really engaged, yes is in fact, the advantage you use, connected and connected and using the sense is that you have from your creative roots as the source for making that connection and inspiring person think inspiring to great board, because when you're negotiating with somebody, remember, they're at risk, too. They don't want to make a mistake, they don't wantto let the best talent that ever walked in the room goal, right? And they don't want to make that mistake, and they don't want to hire somebody that really doesn't know what they need, so they were at risk, too. So a lot a lot of their vulnerability to be part of it, too, so that you can make them feel more it ease because they're going to be able to help you. Mark, you get the right information that's easy to forget that they are dealing with the same emotional issues that you are just from a different perspective. That's all yeah, and it may appear that they have the power because power in every relationship and yes, they have a type of power but really no more than you because it's either a fitter it isn't and you know how many I mean how many of us have been in jobs that were so glad to get and didn't fit and could hardly wait to get out of me uh so I think yeah so you do want it to be that dance and if it's not that dance of respect and and connection then you really don't want it I mean it just it is a short term want that is a long term lose exactly that was great one of those yeah way have so many questions grace is let's go a lot of really loves having you here thank you so much for taking time to be here uh along the lines of what we're talking about about vulnerability again elle woods was continuing her questions speaking specifically about women in negotiation and I'll actually add on and try to be a little bit vulnerable here I am sure that there are things that I do as a man when I am talking to women unintentionally that are belittling or in otherwise like minimising their contributions how can we be how can a how can I be aware and not do those things in the future and b how can the women that are being minimized in that way react to that in a way that doesn't anger people that doesn't sabotage the negotiation, how can they recover from that smile? It breaks it, you know, if it breaks the tension because you made not intend to send a message that I received is offensive. No, I don't think I can't think of any men who deliberately say offensive things to me. I really don't, but sometimes people say things and I think, what if you could if you if you catch it that quick, you can just say what? I didn't understand that and give him a chance to recover, which is usually what, but they want to do the other prison doesn't use. There are very few people who want to go out and hurt somebody, you know, especially in this kind of situation, they just stone, so I assume it's an accident if it's in a personal relationship and it's, just something your partner friends says to say ouch get it doesn't have to be dissected, but in a more professional situation, you know, you could just smile and say, well, in my situation, you know, I do have more experience than that or you can push back with well what I'm here for is and and go from that point of view you know what I'm going to here for is to talk to you about the scope of the job and I do have experience in this range of it so you come back but give yourself a minute with that smile because and take a deep breath because that each other outside flight mode so breathing take a minute set back and then answer because now you're not defensive because you've take a nice deep breath right now you're back in control of you at least can't control the other person but you sure can control you and that's what you want todo so in the same with men if they do something that's not going you know this sounds night sounds like something different than they intended to say you can say you know I didn't really mean that to sound like that really really what I'm curious about is more about your level of experience so I think you just set the tone and women are very good at setting the emotional tone I mean really these guys aren't gonna hurt you it well they might but you've been hurt before that's kind of a normal part of life so just breathe and let it go and move on back to your point to get back to yourself don't get pushed off in somebody else's bad day I have a quick question uh just do you have any suggestions? This is kind of a broad broad question, but in recent negotiations where I'll walk into a room and I'm working with clients and it's all men and and then I come in and there's just no matter how progressive we are as a society there's always going to be that it feels like there's always going to be that blatant understanding that we're just different right? And so no matter how forward I khun b, I'm still the most feminine and the room and the prettiest I get on that one and not even that like visually like knowing that I'm a woman and these air all men and we're talking we're negotiating this contract I found it so difficult to find that balance of being being okay with being feminine and being a woman but also holding my own and not coming across as teo I'm not going to use the word but it's too much of something yes where I feel like it's forceful what for forceful there we go to force wall do you have any suggestions just unlike basic communication skills in that situation that's fantastic question in fact I had a meeting with president of a major company and she works with all men she became where like a guy much to her dismay much to her husband's dismay and much of her children's dismay and so she's just decided that she's going to change that, but she said it was so easy tio, I want to be part of the group and so to deny her femininity wear baggy clothes, you know, just hide, hide her beauty really hide your attractiveness so I think you have to own it. I think you have to be willing to say the same thing over and over again. I think a mistake we make as women is over explaining our point or why we want what we want or what we're really looking for him in to now, not necessarily on purpose, so I think going back to your original point and really just sticking with it and if you can't get there from here, take a break just say, you know, I just need a few minutes to think about this used that feminine fast moving all over the place brain and take a break they may not need it, but you do and gather your thoughts and come back in and get back to your original point of what you want because they'll pull you off track so I would have been really quick and apologize to everybody out there. I'm sure you can hear the noise going on jack hammering from nearby construction want to apologize for that we're going to get maybe one or two more questions for lana in and then we're actually going to take a brief technical break and make sure that that's done we've been told that it's not going to take a long time so we'll finish up with lana really quick and then we'll take a break so quick one from trixie dean how do you handle a negotiation when the possible client is the one who lets his or her emotions rule the conversation and tries to hurry the decision in the negotiation and you need to rein them in very good question because that does happen like I said a few minutes ago that the person interview he's probably nervous too uh so you know again breathe slow down and you clarify their emotion if there angry you know, kind of address that you know you can say well, I guess I need to understand your question a little better so that they have to rephrase it and if they're really being a jerk you don't want the job but most often they're not the most often maybe they have a headache maybe they've had a bad day uh but stick his own only on the room don't let them on the room you know you find out what start asking them questions about how the company started or how long they've been there or things that are easy answers and then you know you can really set the emotional tone and really own the conversation questions okay yeah, one for max and then I think we will uh you you kind of talked about some of the witness that the women have can you speak on something like the general general topics that our general weakness is that men have when it comes to negotiation in these situations like this near into logical and not not take the time to really see everything that's going on and not to ask us many questions because men will tend to want to get to the answer may be a little faster than women I mean we all want to get to the answer but you can really by just going down the straight line you can miss some of the signs and signals because there are all kinds of signals people give off right how their hands are how they're moving, how they're not moving so I think men sometimes to nose out and especially if it's a woman who's talking ask her to repeat herself because she could be telling you seventy five words and you've got the first ten so you know it's came on I just want to make sure I understand this and she won't mind that's not offensive I want to make sure I understand that what you're telling me is she'll love it so if if he only gets the first ten or fifteen words great yourself no yes of course and get to the most important thing first and don't be afraid to just stick to the same sentence if you have to say it five times it's okay, but don't go off in tangents that take everybody to someplace else in the room ok? Final question here what do you see as the main differences between creative and linear people when you're talking about like getting into a negotiation with, say, an engineer who is used to that check check, check and move on um any thoughts on adapting yourself to them getting them to adapt to you and how do you mean the middle with them it's going to be probably easier for you to adapt because that creative people are probably more adaptive that's my prejudice um I think I think most creative people can be linear a lot of linear people can't be creative it's just how we're wired I think it comes in our dna, then I think you can exercise it or not, but you have to find a common language. And so if it's an engineer and learn some of those terms before you go in there so that you're speaking their language uh again it's preparation because they're not going to be able to speak yours if you start talking about what version of in designer adobe you're using or how creative sweets interfaces with something else they don't know so so you have to have their language, not yours