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Learn from a Leader: Negotiating and Communicating

This is the time of year NFL free-agent deals make headlines. It's easy to look at those dollar amounts and think you'll never been in those kinds of conversations - except negotiating is a skill leaders use every day.

Creating buy-in is a form of persuasion and negotiation. Without it you won't foster the type of teamwork needed to be successful. Being a successful negotiator comes down to a few basic communication skills.

Sports agent Kelli Masters joined Learn from a Leader and shared her overall strategy for negotiating NFL contracts and it isn't about the numbers - it starts with knowing your stuff and being able to see different points of view. 

Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner negotiating his own contract in 2019. Most players prefer to let their agent handle the details and have the tough conversations. Those conversations could include the employer (the team) telling an an employee (the player) he isn't as valuable or important as he thinks he is. Who wants to hear that to their face? 

I remember conversations with Wagner leading up to his contract extension. As the sideline reporter for the Seattle Seahawks, I was in his weekly press conferences and recall Wagner telling the media why he wasn't afraid or nervous about conversations with the team. "I know the numbers, and I know how to talk about myself," he said.

When we joined Learn from a Leader a year after signing the contract he negotiated he said keys to negotiating for yourself are being prepared and being willing to take a chance on yourself. 

If the thought of "negotiating" sounds intimidating take a step back and think about what it really is, a conversation with facts and different viewpoints. You can prepare the facts and you can be open to seeing different viewpoints while keeping your ultimate goal in mind.  

Learn from a Leader is a monthly online series hosted by Jen Mueller that gives you direct access to leaders. Go to the Offers page on to see details on this month's conversation. 


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