Sitting Down with Jeff Cochran – Teaching Negotiations

We had some fun asking one of our SNI professionals, Jeff Cochran, a master facilitator, some questions. From teaching negotiations abroad to how to survive living with four teenagers, Jeff certainly covers it all.

1.      Where have you been recently?

Last month, I was in London delivering training and consulting for General Reinsurance, but I have spent the bulk of my time this month in Florida working with a few different clients in the health care industry delivering negotiation skill building sessions.

2.      Do you do anything differently when training abroad?

I speak with an accent. No, it is a common misperception that negotiations have to be tailored to individual cultures, styles, and genders. While those items are important, I think that the concepts that we teach are applicable in every instance. So we’re certainly aware of the cultures in which we teach and of nuances that might change our approach subtlety, however our core tenants are going to be viable regardless of where and to whom we teach.

3.      How do you determine how to customize your programs?

That’s interesting. That again varies depending on the customer. It has been as straight forward as telephone interviews. Yet, we sometimes do ride-alongs so that we can experience the same challenges that our participants face. In one instance, it was as in-depth as attending a cadaver lab and conducting spine surgery on a cadaver and an anterior hip replacement on another cadaver just so I would understand better what sales reps are confronted with on a daily basis.

4.      You teach negotiation skills professionally. Do you ever use it in your personal life?

Yeah right now with my own children ages 13 and 14 and we’ve brought over my nieces from Nepal to study in the US ages 15 and 16. You can imagine having a house full of teenagers, consistently there’s opportunities to use the conflict resolution skills that are part of our negotiation training, especially in my house with my wife, two children, and two nieces. We have all three girls living in one bedroom so there are constant issues over space, clothes, hair bands, all that kind of stuff.

One of the things that has been interesting in having the Nepali girls come live with us is how quickly people adjust and adapt to their new surroundings. Things that would’ve been seen as luxuries in Nepal are suddenly must-haves. You can imagine the correlation with negotiations. When people go into a deal, it’s very important to remember the things we really need versus the things we really want and making a distinction between the two.

5.      What celebrity would be a great SNI facilitator?

An excellent facilitator would be a combination of Alex Trebek and Kim Kardashian. Alex Trebek because he always seems to have all of the answers. Kim Kardashian since there’s obviously an entertainment element involved in our sessions and I can’t think of many people who would be better to look at for eight hours. So, if we could combine those two personalities, we’d have a pretty good one.

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