Mohamad Mirghahari, B.A. '02, M.A. '04, is the Abd el Kader Fellow (AEK) at the School of Diplomacy and International Relations. Now in his second term, Mirghahari continues to use Abd El Kader's story of compassion and heroism to connect students with the real world, identifying and solving problems.
During his first year as a fellow, Mirghahari, led a 4-student team through a research project for the State Department that sought to identify how the United States might develop the most basic level of common ground with the Taliban needed to establish trust and move forward toward substantive peace talks.
This year, Mirghahari is leading an 8-student team through a project with the U.S. Army in Northern Africa. The AEK Fellowship team provides students with a unique opportunity to conduct guided research as a group, engage with leaders in field, and write policy recommendations that have the potential to impact people's lives. It is truly an experience of diplomacy in action.
On November 9 and November 16, AEK student fellows had the pleasure of attending a professional development workshop on "Strategic Influencing & Communication" with Seton Hall professor, author and executive coach, Lee E. Miller. Miler opened the workshop by asking, "What could we achieve if we were greater influencers?" The answers varied from making more money, to having more free time with family, and showed how different the mindsets and motivations in one room can be.
After sharing various techniques and simulations on effective influencing, Miller helped students realize that everyone has the potential to be better negotiators by considering something Miller calls the U Perspective. According to Miller, chief motivators include money, power, status and competition, and helping others. However, the most powerful motivator is fear, what Miller calls FOMO, or the fear of missing out. To utilize the U Perspective, Miller told his audience, you simply put yourself in someone else's shoes and try to understand his/her motivations.
Thus, to be a great influencer and get better results in negotiations, Miller proposed using what he calls the 3Cs approach. The first C – convince, is the perception of value. He suggests identifying what matters most for the person you are trying to influence and negotiate. The second C – collaborate, is about focusing on a win-win negotiation. The best negotiation is the one that makes both parties happy, and is not a one-time transaction. The third and last C – create, is about structuring the conversation to involve all parties.
The workshops, sponsored by Seton Hall Division of Continuing Education and Professional Studies, were hands-on, which gave students the opportunity to practice what they learned right away. During the four-hour workshop, participants took par in three simulations, one-to-one and in groups. In practicing Miller's techniques, they learned to be better, anchor their negotiation positions and therefore get the best results.
Miller believes all great negotiators are also great listeners and that it pays to listen before bringing proposals to the table. He suggests asking open-ended questions, and hearing not only what people say, but how they say it. Questions lead to understanding, he notes, and that can ultimately lead to convincing. To summarize, building trust is imperative in negotiation, and it is a daily objective. It is about being effective; it is about a long-term plan.
Miller shared copies of his latest book UP – the Art of Getting What You Want. Diplomacy students expressed their appreciation to the Fellow Mirghahari for the opportunity to improve their skill set and to participate in the project. Students said that the Strategic Influencing workshop would benefit their work on the U.S. Army in Africa Project, and improve their research, writing, negotiating and team work.
Diplomacy graduate students Erick Agbleke and Oluwagbemiga Oyeneye also contributed to this article.
Categories: Nation and World