Does the thought of entering negotiations cause a sense of dread, or you are not sure how to make the negotiations work for you? Then this episode is for you.
Melinda had the pleasure of speaking with Alice Shikina, a mediator and arbitrator with experience in personal injury, divorce, and family mediation. She also teaches negotiation skills at her Negotiations Academy and serves on several boards. In this episode, they discuss how to handle difficult negotiations, particularly when dealing with people who seem more interested in winning than doing the right thing. Alice also shares her insights on handling bullies in negotiations, finding common ground, and the importance of practicing negotiation skills.
Don’t miss this engaging and informative conversation with Alice and the chance to learn more about her unique perspectives!
About our Guest:
Alice Shikina has several years of experience mediating landlord/tenant disputes and neighborly disputes. She also works with divorcing couples to get to a resolution around their children, money and property. Finally, family disputes can be about taking care of aging parents, strained relationships between adult siblings or children. Alice mediates both litigated cases, such as probate, conservatorship and unlawful detainers as well as conflicts which are not in litigation. Most cases which are stuck in conflict have strong emotional components, whether it be a business case or a family case. She help parties get beyond the emotional blocks and move them to a place where they can come to agreement.
Melinda Lee is a Presentation Skills Expert, Speaking Coach and nationally renowned Motivational Speaker. She holds an M.A. in Organizational Psychology, is an Insights Practitioner, and is a Certified Professional in Talent Development as well as Certified in Conflict Resolution. For over a decade, Melinda has researched and studied the state of “flow” and used it as a proven technique to help corporate leaders and business owners amplify their voices, access flow, and present their mission in a more powerful way to achieve results.
She has been the TEDx Berkeley Speaker Coach and worked with hundreds of executives and teams from Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Caltrans, Bay Area Rapid Transit System, and more. Currently, she lives in San Francisco, California, and is breaking the ancestral lineage of silence.
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Hello, today we have an amazing guest, I'm so thrilled to have Alice Shikina. She was to Kenya mediation and arbitration. Alice is a dear friend. I've known her for many, many years, and she just has great energy. And that's why I'm so excited to have her on the show. She's a mediator. So she mediates a ton of things, personal injury, divorce, mediation, family mediation, and she also has a negotiations Academy where she teaches us critical negotiation skills. She's a board on many things. And so I'm gonna, I'm gonna miss something. Alex, could you do so much? So go ahead and tell us Alice, what are some of the things that you're involved with, and also some fun things that you do?Alice Shikina:
Sure. Thanks for having me. Melinda. I'm super excited to be here. In terms of some of the boards I'm on, I was most recently a vice president of the peninsula conflict resolution center board. I am currently on the board for the Academy of Professional family mediators. And I'm also on the executive committee for the ADR section for Alameda County Bar Association. So those are just some of the things that I'm volunteering my time for.Melinda Lee:
Hmm. And what do you do for fun?Alice Shikina:
What do I do for fun, I like to go hiking. I love to travel. So I love doing both domestic and international travels, I take trips, my upcoming trip is to Japan with my family. That's awesome. And on a daily basis, I like to binge watch on Netflix.Melinda Lee:
You're telling me about a show that you watch, right? I mean, sometimes we just want to watch mindless things. And so yeah, it's good. We need to just do that we work real hard. And so why mine's a watch some of the shows there's some good ones out there. Yes, definitely. Yeah. Awesome. And I wanted to bring you on as one of my first interviewees on the show, because I just know that you're filled with so much like experience and wisdom you mediated you, you've heard a lot of different conversations, a lot of different conflict. And I've always wanted to ask, so my audience is are primarily heart centered leaders, they are leaders that do the right thing. There are leaders that want to make an impact and want to make a difference. They want to lead with heart. And yet sometimes we are communicating, negotiating with people that may just want to win. They may not in our minds do the right thing. They just want to step over people, and they will do whatever it takes to win. And so for me, I want to equipped all of us who want to do the right thing to be able to handle people like that. And so can you share some examples? Where are you seeing like, what is what are some of the things that people might do to harm us or to try to win? Like, what are some common things that you see? I would sayAlice Shikina:
that the most common thing that I see in negotiations while I am the mediator is someone trying to bully someone else. So they might say, hey, yeah, if you don't, if you don't settle with me today, we can just go to court, because I'm going to win in court. So go ahead, go ahead and leave lead this mediation, right. And so they might be bluffing. But they're definitely bullying the other person.Melinda Lee:
And so what do you notice the other person doing? Do you see, people getAlice Shikina:
nervous, because they're not really sure if the other person is bluffing or not. So then they get really nervous. Even an experienced professional might start to question themselves. If the other side is like, okay, that's fine. We can just go to trial. That's okay. See you later. With that kind of comment coming at, you might start to question yourself and doubt yourself as to do I have all the facts, there's something I'm missing, because I feel like we should be able to settle this, we shouldn't have to go to trial and fight, right.Melinda Lee:
I'm fortunate because like that, actually. So that tactic may have worked in that incident, because we're starting to doubt ourselves. So people might know that I want to bully this person, in this instance, just to get what I want. Yes,Alice Shikina:
that is how people calm. So if you are faced with someone who's being a bully, or if you know that you're going to go into a negotiation with someone who might bully you. The antidote to that is preparation and education. So you want to prepare yourself, you want to make sure you have all the information and knowledge that you need. Because what happens if someone's bullying you and you didn't do your homework? Now you have holes in your knowledge, and you're gonna think, like, are they right? Or are they wrong, but if you do your homework, at least you'll be like, You know what, they're bullying me, but I already did my research. And I know where I stand, and I know that I have leverage, and so you can call their bluff.Melinda Lee:
Mm hmm. And then so what are some of the things that we can do? Like if he says, I'm gonna take you to court? I'll see you on trial. What are some what would you say? What would you say back if you know that he was calling your bluff?Alice Shikina:
So number one, you need to make sure that you stay grounded. So if someone is bullying you, you need to do a check on your body to say like, am I? Am I feeling frustrated? Am I feeling stressed out? You know, what am I feeling? Am I feeling angry? Right? So you probably should do a self awareness check to figure out how you're feeling in that moment. If you're feeling anything negative, you should also just know that your negotiation skills in your mind, that's all getting shut down, like the doors are getting locked, locked, locked, locked, locked, so just know that. So even as you think, Well, I'm gonna go ahead and negotiate. If you're feeling something and getting triggered, you should know, okay, I need to like reground myself, because you do not have access to all of your negotiation tools. Right? Okay. So it's really important to know this, then what you want to do is maybe take some deep breaths, I teach people to do the four, five and six, you inhale for four seconds, you hold for five seconds, and you exhale for six. And do that a couple of times, you can even excuse yourself and say, Hey, I need to go to the restroom I'm on, you know, if you're online, you can say somebody's out the door, I'll be right back. And then you leave, do some deep breathing and reground yourself, because then you'll have access to all of your negotiation tools again, okay? Then when you come back to the conversation, you need to bring all the knowledge that you have, so that you can call their bluff, you can say, well, Melinda, that's actually not true. You know, what I what I know is X, Y, and Z. And this is what's proving that you know, this is not true, or you may not have as strong of a case as you think you do. And so why don't we sit down and try to come up with a solution that works for both of us. And so you really want to try to bring that person over to your side of the table, not so that you're on the same side to agree, but that you're on the same side to problem solve.Melinda Lee:
Brides are still angry.Alice Shikina:
If they are angry, then what you want to do is use this mirroring tactic that I speak about frequently in my other talks where you say, okay, Melinda, this is what I'm hearing you say I'm hearing you say, you feel like you have a stronger case, because of XY and Z, I'm hearing you say that you're okay, going to court, or whatever it is, you know, if there's not a litigated case, they might say, this is what I'm hearing you say and repeat it all back. And then the person will feel like they're heard and acknowledged by you. And then that will bring the temperature down. And then you can re engage with them where both of you are feeling more neutral.Melinda Lee:
Mm hmm. And so when you're repeating back what they're saying, and really like acknowledging, acknowledging what they've heard, that's so difficult sometimes, right? Because especially if they're saying something that's bullying me, I wouldn't want to repeat back what that person just said. Because that I don't want to say it, you know, that's hurtful. So why would I want to do that, but the part of what we want to do with repeating that what they're saying is to neutralize their anger by acknowledging what they've just said. So you feel like you have a strong case against me? What I hear you saying? Yes. Right. And so you've seen that neutralize? Yes. Well, sayingAlice Shikina:
absolutely, absolutely. And you can take people. The other thing, too, is you want to, you know, say to them what it is that you're noticing, right, so I made a call with someone recently, where, you know, I said, Hi, I'm the mediator and your spouse asked me to talk to you about potential to mediate. And immediately there was a barrage of anger and yelling, saying, like, I don't trust my soon to be x, and who are you, and there's no way that I can trust you if he's calling you. And you know, and it was just on and off, like five minutes. And so what I did is I made sure that I kept myself grounded. I made sure I didn't take any of that personally. And I also made sure that I was reading into, like, what is the emotion behind what's happening, right. And so the next thing I said was, it sounds like you've had a really rough time with your ex, it sounds like you don't trust him. And it sounds like you know, it's very frustrating that he spent a lot of time researching and finding a mediator when he hasn't spent any time researching and finding schools for your children. So I'm mirroring back as well as labeling what's going on. And immediately that anger disappeared. And it turned into like a lot of tears, because there was a built up frustration. And once the tears came that I could speak a little bit more heart to heart to say, like, Look, I get that this has been very frustrating. I get that this is just making so angry. And also, mediation can help you get through this, because you'll have more clarity on your situation, whereas you haven't had any clarity thus far. And suddenly, I had someone on my side. Right? She went from being like, who are you? I don't know. I asked you to please help me.Melinda Lee:
Right, right. Isn't that interesting? Where people when they're coming at us, and they're angry, it may not be the anger. It feels like, oh, gosh, this is like I did something wrong. And I'm the one fault. And when they're angry, they, you know, could be that they're projecting something else. Yes. And we can do that. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.Alice Shikina:
Because it can tap into the thing that they're actually feeling, you're gonna suddenly open up all the communication channels.Melinda Lee:
Mm hmm. And saying and empathizing with that part of them. Yes. But then it's so hard when we're not grounded ourselves. Yes. When we, when we are automatically go into contraction, or we don't know what to say we freeze. And so that is why Yeah, the grounding. And keeping neutral breathing is important. People might underestimate that, but I think it's just really the box breathing. And, and I teach my clients wiggling your toes, or even just shooting your hand. Because if you're in the in the conference room underneath the table, you can wiggle your toes, or shoot your hands to the floor and have your fingers pointed, and imagine all of the fear and the nerves just getting shot down into the ground. Allow that, you know the ground absorb all the nerves. And then so you, you can start to get grounded and think more clearly. Because many of the time Yeah, many the times, right? The people coming at us, the anger is their own fear. They're, they're fearful that they might be losing something. Right. Right. Yeah.Alice Shikina:
And you know, if they're, if they're still angry, you want to start talking about where is the commonality, like, is it helpful and beneficial for both of you to actually come to an agreement. And if that is true, then you can start from there. If you have no other commonality, except we need to get to an agreement, then you start from there.Melinda Lee:
So we need to get to agreement is different from a comp finding commonality.Alice Shikina:
If you feel like you can't find any commonality, but you both want to get to an agreement that there is already a commonality, the fact that get to an agreement,Melinda Lee:
and then start from there. Yeah, we we do need to just we just want to agree, you don't know how we're gonna get there? Yes, correct. But at least we found something that we agree on? That's right, exactly. That's huge. That's huge. And a lot of times it the basic thing of just finding that commonality, I think that it just, it just sets the tone for the relationship or the communication.Alice Shikina:
Here's another good tip for you and your listeners. So if you find yourself in a place where you're like, we can't agree at all, here's a very good exercise, what I would suggest is that each side write up an agreement that you think the other side would agree to, something that you can live with, but you think it will lower the other side in, and then both parties do a good job of it, then ideally, you will now have two acceptable solutions. Right? Right. So if you feel like oh my gosh, we've been fighting, maybe, you know, one person says I want my kid to go to this one school, the other person says, I want my kid to go this other school than the exercises, right up some kind of a solution that you think the other side will accept? Mm hmm. Once you're both through with that, then you exchange offers, and then you can discuss the two offers. And generally that will bring both of you closer to an agreement.Melinda Lee:
Yeah, because more often than not, we're swimming in what we want. Yeah, we're only like looking at what we want. And we're really not writing down everything the other person wants. Right. And then And then so then we're just posting in our own little prawnsAlice Shikina:
being demanding.Melinda Lee:
Yes, yes. Yes. So now we're, you know, we're merging, we're finding the commonalities. And we're also in hopes that we can move on and have more peace in the relationship, finding the commonalities together. Yes, I've hadAlice Shikina:
situations where I needed and there were, there was no solution. I gave them this exercise. And then they suddenly had two viable solutions.Melinda Lee:
And so let's say we are the ones being bullied me at least that that helped, but we just do it for the other side. And that the other cause, maybe the other person doesn't want to do it. If we just do that exercise for ourselves,Alice Shikina:
I think, yes, I think everybody should be thinking about what the other side wants for sure. To come up like, and sometimes you have to use your imaginations and so Sometimes you can ask for a meeting, to find out what it is the other side wants, it depends on the situation. In some situations, you can discover that by asking questions. And in some situations, you don't have the ability. And so you have to just use your imagination. But you should definitely prepare for all your negotiations by thinking about what do they want, in addition to? What do you want?Melinda Lee:
Yeah, right. Right. Finding the commonality, finding the common ground? And what piece of advice would you give the listeners? For negotiations, what is one key tip or piece of advice,Alice Shikina:
I would say that you need to prepare. But even more than that, I would say grab a good friend, and practice. So let's say you and I are friends, Melinda, well, we are but let's say I call you and I say Hey, Melinda, I have a job offer, and I'm going to have a conversation with them. So I would give you the instructions for your role, I might say, You're the recruiter, this is the amount of money that you're going to offer me. And so I give you the information, and then spend like the next 10 to 15 minutes, just role playing, what that conversation might look like. And I might even instruct you, and Melinda, make it really difficult tell tell me that you can't negotiate the salary, or whatever it is, right, give the other person their entirety of the role. And then practice it. Because when you're nervous and you're in, in, like, in the actual negotiation in real life, if this is the first time that you're going to be saying these words is the first time you make an offer, there's a high likelihood that you're going to mess up. Because you haven't practiced, it's kind of like doing a play, and someone says, Hey, I'm going to do this play, I'm going to improvise the whole thing. Whereas if you practice and practice and practice, when you say the sentence in real life, you already said it the other day in practice, and so it's going to roll off your tongue, it's going to feel more natural to you. And you're going to feel more confident. The times that your confidence starts to shake is when you're nervous, whatever it is that you're doing, right. So whatever you're doing, if nerves come in, you have to be that much more prepared. Because if you're going into a negotiation, and you're nervous, and you haven't practice, you're not going to do as well as then you practice and then you have nerves. And you go in because now you're like, Okay, I'm kind of on autopilot. I'm very nervous on autopilot. But at least you practiced,Melinda Lee:
right? Because you practice and all the nerves came out hopefully in the practice sessions. Yes. And you were through it.Alice Shikina:
Yes. And you also feel a little bit more prepared, because your partner said all of these things that like, Well, what about this? Or what about that, and you have to come up with all of those things while you're in the practice session. So now you have it in your back pocket. And when you go into the real thing, you can just pull out those answers because you rehearsed it already.Melinda Lee:
And this is why I love your negotiations Academy. Tell us about that.Alice Shikina:
So yes, thank you, Melinda. So I am very passionate about my negotiation Academy. I have small group sessions, those eight people or fewer. And we meet for eight weeks, once a week. And you come in and you share the things that you're struggling with. And then we just dive right in, and we start practicing it. And a lot of people might say, well, I don't want to take it because roleplay is really nerve wracking and uncomfortable. If that is you, this class is for you. This class is for people who are like not used to role playing, because you can't learn to skate on a skateboard unless you get on the skateboard. So you can't learn to be a good negotiator by listening to me talking. You have to get in there and do it.Melinda Lee:
Yeah, really. And that's what we do in the classes, right? There's a lot of role playing and scenarios, you bring your real life scenarios. So if you have a really important discussion, you bring it to the class, you roleplay it, and you have the other person also counter act and counter contradict what you're saying. So you're going to come up with different scenarios to try to overcome the rejection or the resistance and asking the right question and you're doing it with the guidance of Alice right? So Alice is going to tell you, hey, you know, this is could be better, or these are some things that you can ask that might make your your statement or your position more powerful. And so, I mean, I learned a lot in the class. And so that's why I think it's everybody needs to take that class negotiations to part of our life. Anytime you are dealing with people and interactions and conversations, which is every day, you have an an opportunity to to make it better to improve your relationships through negotiations. Absolutely. It's an important skill. Yeah, yeah. SoAlice Shikina:
then you're one of my instructors.Melinda Lee:
Yeah. That's why you gotta join and join the class. We're gonna put in your negotiations Academy the link to sign up in the chat or in the the podcast interview, there's gonna be a comment link and so you can click on the link to look for more deep tells analysis negotiations Academy. There's classes every single month and so come come participate and do the roleplay. And Allison, is there something you want to close off with?Alice Shikina:
I just want to like remind everyone that every single conversation you have where you need to get on the same page with someone is a negotiation. And also, are you actually getting everything that you deserve? Because if you're not going to come talk to me, because I can help enrich your life, and help you get a lot more than you're currently getting in your life? Yes,Melinda Lee:
yes, you're probably not getting everything that we want. Because us as these heart centered leaders are putting everybody else first. You're just not asking really, because we want everybody else to benefit before us. And so, here is your opportunity to really think through Are you getting everything that you want? And if you're not, yes, talk to Alice. Thanks for having me. Yeah, one more question. What foods are you going to eat in Japan? Like what are you looking forward to eating I love food and so I want to I don't get a chance to go overseas so many different countries not right now. Especially so what are some of the like the delicious cuisine? I mean, obviously Japanese food but what is this specific things like?Alice Shikina:
So you're gonna live vicariously through me, right? So in Osaka is one of the almost like a delights. It's called Okonomiyaki. And you can get it here in the Bay Area, but not too many places. It's basically like a vegetable pancake and it's got scallions and meat and like all sorts of delicious things. And on top of it, they put like okonomiyaki sauce mix with a Japanese Mayo mix with bonito flakes and the naughty which is the soya gosh, so we're gonna eat that. So I'm really looking forward to that.Melinda Lee:
Oh, my gosh, that sounds great. I feel like I can feel my mouth salivating. It sounds awesome. Thank you so much, Alex, for being on the show and really appreciate your time, your expertise, your wisdom and also your energy and everyone take advantage of connecting with Alice.Alice Shikina: