Rich Coburn

pianist + negotiation educator

I will teach you how to gain leverage and feel more confident in any negotiation.

I have over 15 years negotiating my own contracts as a freelance classical pianist, as well as training as a mediator. In my workshops I share lessons from my own life as well as strategies from Nobel laureates, Harvard professors, and leading hostage negotiators. Learn how:

  • Your amazing, reactive Fight or Flight system regularly uses emotion to hijack your logical brain. (This makes rational, creative problem solving almost impossible.)

  • There are simple ways to lead both you and your counterpart down the path to productive negotiation, even if they are stuck in a hostile mindset. (They will improve your relationship, even when you can’t give them what they’re asking for.)

  • Most of the time you don’t fully understand why the other rejects your proposal. (As a result, you may be unsure how to craft an agreement they feel comfortable with.)

Rich Coburn headshot.jpg
I would highly recommend this workshop, not only to artists but to anyone struggling with negotiation.
— Melanie Walkty, Career Planing Service, McGill University

Think of someone you love. You want only the best for them. You would be upset, and even defend them if you felt someone was mistreating them.

Now, have you ever found yourself in the middle of an argument yelling at someone you usually feel that way about?

Almost everyone has. Logically, if you love someone and are upset when they are mistreated, you shouldn’t mistreat them. So why is this behaviour so common?

This is an extreme example of your Fight or Flight system using your emotion to hijack your logical brain. You feel threatened by something, and your Fight or Flight almost instantaneously kicks into high gear. This happens faster than your conscious mind can react, and often you’re not even aware it happened. This is the same system that turns your head, dilates your pupils, and primes your body to react when you notice an oncoming car in your peripheral vision. It’s an amazing evolutional adaptation. There’s a reasonable chance Homo sapiens wouldn’t be around today without it. But it doesn’t help you to solve difficult, emotionally charged problems in a positive, collaborate, friendly, or creative manner.

If you want to do those things, you need to learn how to recognize when your Fight or Flight has taken over, and how to return to a relaxed physiological and mental state. Then you have to learn how to help the person you’re negotiating (or arguing) with to do the same. Now you have to figure out how to ask for what you need in a way that they are willing to accept.

All of this is covered in my workshops. I will help you understand what limits your success in negotiation and difficult conversations. Then I will outline a simple framework to diagnose and improve your communication, and a result to improve your outcomes and relationships.

Workshop time: 3 hours
More information available upon request.

Cet atelier sera bientôt offert en français.