Attorneys are Human Too, a Podcast

Episode 16-Negotiate Anything Featuring Kwame Christian, Esq.

September 16, 2020 Kwame Christian, Esq. Season 1 Episode 16
Attorneys are Human Too, a Podcast
Episode 16-Negotiate Anything Featuring Kwame Christian, Esq.
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Attorneys are Human Too, a Podcast
Episode 16-Negotiate Anything Featuring Kwame Christian, Esq.
Sep 16, 2020 Season 1 Episode 16
Kwame Christian, Esq.

Join Attorney Steve Wallace and Co-Host Celena Muzic both of The Wallace Law Group as they are join by Attorney Kwame Christian, Esq. of the American Negotiation Institute.

Topics include:

What is Negotiation?
The Art and Science of Negotiation
How Communities Can Hire a Negotiation Expert to Solve a Multitude of Problems
Meeting Client's Expectations as an Attorney
Kwame's Ted Talk
Kwame's Book
Pop Culture Banter
Lightning Round

Show Notes Transcript

Join Attorney Steve Wallace and Co-Host Celena Muzic both of The Wallace Law Group as they are join by Attorney Kwame Christian, Esq. of the American Negotiation Institute.

Topics include:

What is Negotiation?
The Art and Science of Negotiation
How Communities Can Hire a Negotiation Expert to Solve a Multitude of Problems
Meeting Client's Expectations as an Attorney
Kwame's Ted Talk
Kwame's Book
Pop Culture Banter
Lightning Round

Steve Wallace:

we have a great privilege today. We have Kwame Christian Esquire of the American negotiation Institute.

Kwame Christian:

Hi. Hey, thanks for having me appreciate it.

Steve Wallace:

Okay. We're going to jump right into it. Kwame, could you tell us a little bit about your background and what led you to becoming an attorney?

Kwame Christian:

Yeah, so I'm, I'm a lawyer by trade, but my true passion is. In psychology. That's my undergrad degree. I wanted to be a therapist for the longest time. And so I said, okay, yeah, I want to become a therapist to help people. That's what I'm going to do. Then I started to pay more attention to politics and I said, if I get into politics, then I could help more people. That would be more efficient. So I made that pivot and after getting my psychology degree with a minor in. Spanish and foundations of law. I said, all right, let's do a dual degree in law and a master of public policy. Now, as I started to learn more about politics, I started to realize that's not what I wanted in my life.

Celena Muzic:

Politics all need a psychologist.

Steve Wallace:

Politics is a favorite topic on our podcast. So we may throw a couple. How political questions your way

Kwame Christian:

as well. I love it. Let's do it. Yeah. So thankfully I got out of that, but I discovered negotiation along the way. We had negotiation competitions. I did well in those. And so I was just trying to figure out how to incorporate this in what I do. And I. I realized that I like teaching and negotiation more than doing it. I love doing it now. I love doing it now. But, as a recruiter, people pleaser, I like helping to encourage people and empower them so they could overcome it. And our motto here at the American negotiation Institute is that the best things in life were on the other side of difficult conversations. And so if we can help people to overcome the, their fears in these conversations and lean into these difficult conversations and we're helping them to live their best life. Excellent.

Celena Muzic:

That's great. That's great. So

Kwame Christian:

what

Celena Muzic:

type of see when I think of a negotiator, for some reason, I only think hostage negotiator. I feel like that's the person you call to prevent someone from jumping off

Kwame Christian:

a roof. Yeah. Yeah. And I think a lot of people have that and we've had hostage negotiators on the show. It's fun. So the negotiate, anything podcasts, a top ranked negotiation podcast in the world. We have a ton of different guests on, hopefully you too can join us as well as guests love the opportunity.

Steve Wallace:

We love to hear ourselves talk.

Celena Muzic:

I think I'm constantly talking people off the

ledge.

Celena Muzic:

cause because we do bankruptcy. Yeah. I feel like I spend a lot of time, providing a therapy session and trying to convince the client not to job. We got a solution.

Kwame Christian:

Absolutely. Yeah. And that's the thing. So the way that I define negotiation is any conversation where somebody in the conversation wants something. And when you think about it, that way we're negotiating all the time. And especially in law, we have to recognize that the people with whom we're going to, the people we're going to negotiate with the most are the people closest to us. The people on our team, what's the strategy who's going to do? What, our clients, negotiating expectations, managing those expectations. Hey, don't do that. Don't do that. I will have those conversations with our clients all the time. Please don't do this. You're making my

Steve Wallace:

job worse, trying to reign our clients in that's. That's what I think our clients are their own worst enemies. Most of the time. And I always tell our clients that if you listen to us on the front end, then we can save you a lot of stress and aggravation on the backend, which when I'm referring to backend, I'm talking about litigation.

Kwame Christian:

Absolutely. Yeah. That's the thing, that's the thing. And here's the thing. When we're going through law school, we're getting our legal training. We're taught to find the right answer. Let's do our research. This is the right answer, but we're not taught that. That's not really how to persuade people being right. Isn't enough when it comes to getting people to actually change their minds, change their behavior. So a negotiation provides us with another tool. Yeah.

Steve Wallace:

We always find that, especially, at times we do handle some litigation and first of all, our opposing counsel oftentimes needs some intense mental health therapy and to. I hear that all the time. Kwame is that a lot of our opposing counsel just want to bang us over the head and say, we're right. We're right. You're wrong. Settle this case or dismiss your claim or take zero. And so I'd love to hear some of your strategies to deal with those types of difficult opposing counsel.

Kwame Christian:

Yeah. It's and it's tough. And here's the thing. let me bring it back a little bit too, because think about, I think about negotiation, like a dance. So if you're a good dancer and you're dancing with another good dancer, Then the dance is going to look beautiful. This is great. It's nice. Everybody's having fun. If you're a good dancer and you're with somebody who can't dance, the quality of the dance is going to go down. And so I want people to recognize that there's no magical negotiation technique that helps you break through somebody who's acting. Completely ridiculous. You can make it better. You can certainly make it better, but you can't cure it. And I think people go in thinking that there are some magical techniques you could use to just make these problems go away, but they're not, those don't exist. You can just make the situation a little bit better. So I want to. Throw that out there to start. And I think what we have to do is recognize if we go back to the classic negotiation book of getting to yes. Roger Fisher. William. Yeah.

Steve Wallace:

We read that. that was our first week of law school professor assign that to them.

Kwame Christian:

Oh, fantastic book. So think about, the difference between positions versus interests. Positions are what you're asking for, but interests. That's why you want it. Yeah. So I take these threats, these aggressive requests, as opportunities to gather information, because they're coming at you with a really aggressive position. And then if you think about it in terms of their position versus your party position, it seems like a zero sum type of thing. this is ridiculous. We're going straight to the litigation because. That's untenable unrealistic, and I won't accept that. And so we keep going back and forth and if we don't go anywhere instead, what I would say as well, I really appreciate you sharing that. It makes sense that you want, this helped me to understand why that's so important to you. And your client, what can we do to start moving things forward? And so instead of focusing on specifically what it is that they're asking for, try to find the need behind it, because that's how we can create creative, creative opportunities. Right? That's how we can come up with some deals that are a little bit more flexible that still meet people's needs, but put us in a better position to actually resolve the case. Excellent. How

Celena Muzic:

does that translate to. actually it translates perfect into what's going on in today's society right now. I feel like more people need to learn negotiating skills to discuss their differences with what's going on, for example, or at least what I see what's going on between the police department and civilians and all these organizations that are protesting. do you ever speak in those situations or scenarios and try to help people mediate

Kwame Christian:

or, yeah, I'm getting more of those opportunities, which is exciting. It's different city governments reaching out on the brink of closing. A couple fingers crossed, I guess that's a, that's up to my negotiation skills, right that up, but I'm a mediator as well. And so you, I think it's important to have that third party neutral. To have to lead the dialogue because if, and says, okay, this is our representative. Who's going to remediate the situation. And everybody says, that's not an unbiased party. Who is this person they're on your side. and the same claim could be made if we have somebody who's a community leader. they're not on the police side. They're not on the, the side of the politicians community. That's not even fair either. So if you bring somebody. From outside of the community who has mediation skills and facilitation skills. You've actually put yourself in a position where you can have some productive dialogue, because let's go back to the difference between positions versus interests. If you're protesting, you're making very strong requests. And then if you are the person on the other side, that whatever governmental institutions, you're just saying. No to all of that. No. So these are two positions that are really untenable, but there are interests behind all of those positions. Now it was really tough for the people who are there protesting to say, actually behind my aggressive request, I do have something more reasonable. That's my chant that doesn't really work well with a channel that doesn't change very well.

Celena Muzic:

Emotions and emotions are high too. There's

Kwame Christian:

a lot of emotion involved also. So

Celena Muzic:

I feel like you always need someone that's. Not emotional in those situations,

Kwame Christian:

right? Yeah. And that's the thing

Steve Wallace:

because you, yeah. To get past the first chant, that's the goal.

Kwame Christian:

One more chance.

Steve Wallace:

I promise you laugh and hopefully we're gonna have a couple more laughs throughout this episode.

Kwame Christian:

I like it. I like it, but I think it's something that community communities really need to look into because, the process that I would suggest is you get the different groups together independently. You do a facilitation, figure out what it is that their main concerns are because as a third party, they're, they're a lot more vulnerable. They're more open. You're not as much of a threat. I can be honest with you. Yeah. Great. So I'm going to say this. These are the things that I want. All right. Then you do that with each of the States, and then you say, great. Now I have an understanding of what people want. Let's bring representatives together in a private meeting. Now we can have a mediation together and figure out how we can reconcile those differences. And you're doing it behind closed doors, because if you do it, then you feel the need to have this performative nature, right? I'm showboating for my team. I can't look weak to them. No, I'm going to ramp it up a notch because they're watching me. So you want to make sure that it's a private type of situation. I think those are particularly fun just because they're so challenging, but I think it's necessary for these communities to really get the dialogue moving.

Celena Muzic:

So how does someone, like, how do

Kwame Christian:

communities

Celena Muzic:

get someone like you involved? Because I watched the news and I, and I. I watched the news, from a different view because of what we do. And I always tend to. Be able to see a little bit more. I feel like there's just, like I said, a lot of emotion on both sides, even though one side is saying, no, we're not emotional. We're just upholding the law. And another side is saying, this is in Justin. And, but how does someone get someone like you involved? is there a hotline,

Steve Wallace:

you're a level headed. Calm solution oriented based person. And in politics these days, there's nobody that can bridge the gap.

Celena Muzic:

Yeah. What steps does the community take to get someone like you involved?

Kwame Christian:

Like how do they go about it? hopefully the, what they do is they're proactive. They say, I see there's a problem before it gets too bad. I'm going to bring somebody in. That's the way we do it. Think about what you said about your clients before. If you listen to me beforehand, things don't get as bad down the road. It's just like that, but people try to solve their own problems and now it gets significantly worse. And so I think the first thing is called somebody like me early, whoever it is called the person early. So we can start creating a strategy because you were, you're going to try to start doing things on your own. And then we realized two months down the road, Whoa, those were a set of bad ideas. And now the situation is worse. So I think just reach out and call it and start it early. Then we strategize and execute within a timely, timeframe. I think that's really important.

Celena Muzic:

Yeah. Yeah. I agree. I agree. It's just, it's something that just never even crossed my mind. Maybe we should get a negotiator involved, And, and then I think to myself, where do I find the negotiator? I think he's just starting to go dot com.

Kwame Christian:

Yeah. I tried, they just take it.

Steve Wallace:

Alrighty. Oh

Kwame Christian:

man.

Steve Wallace:

darn cyber stalkers, Okay. So I have a question because other things, we get involved as occasionally, if a deal falls apart, our clients will engage us to follow a lawsuit. My strengths, when clients hire me is getting to a solution, getting to a settlement. So I'm involved a lot in a, in many mediations and, down the road. when I get older, I may want to aspire to be a mediator like yourself as well in Florida. just because I enjoy the mediation. so what tips would you give litigants, to really maximize the use of a mediator in a case,

Kwame Christian:

I would say first work with the person on the other side to get somebody that both of you trust. there's a concept called reactive devaluation. And so that's a. Us nerdy, psychological way of saying it's essentially a bias. I call it the, just because you said it, I don't believe it bias. And so if there's a level of distrust at the beginning, then it's really hard to recover. So I think that's the first step. And then after that, trust the process. And get your clients to buy into the process. because a lot of clients look at TV, they say, okay, we're going to war and I want you to be right. My bulldog. And that's problematic because that's not the best way to solve these challenges. And so I think what's really important is to have that important negotiate with your clients, to change their expectations about the process so they can get bought in. And if a client says, if the client is bought in, it's easier for then you to follow the process and trust a mediator. I think that's really it as a media. What are some of the things that are very challenging to deal with? The most challenging to deal with really is dealing with people who are not giving it a good faith effort. You can tell. You can tell when somebody is not into it. And, it's really hard to get a deal. If you can tell if somebody is really not bought into the process,

Steve Wallace:

I'll give you a couple, a nugget of wisdom to share. Whenever we have a client that comes to us, looking for an attorney and they say they want justice. We definitely will not take that client on because the legal system in the United States. Is not set up to accomplish justice, especially on the civil side.

Kwame Christian:

As I talk, I, especially with people that I've worked with as a mediator who are unrepresented, it's the principle it's justice and those types of things, I'm like, you're in the wrong place. You might need to talk to a Batman or something.

Celena Muzic:

It's funny because I actually told Steven that, and I could see, I, you have certain rules when a client comes to me and they say, it's the principle of the matter. That means that they're not going to let this go no matter what. But they're also not going to want to pay

Steve Wallace:

that. That's the part of the practice of law that you don't learn in law

Kwame Christian:

school? Yes. when I'm mentoring new lawyers, I always, I run them through some scenarios. Hey, I'm a client and I don't have any money, but I will pay you. I promise. I'm going to pay you. Can you start working? No, as there's never just know, you can refer them to maybe legal aid or something like that, but you're doing this for a business, right? You come on now. And the thing is we, that's something you it's trial by fire. You have to learn it the hard way

Steve Wallace:

I have a soft heart and Selena will know. That if I ever say I, we have a new rule in the ups. If I ever say I feel bad for the client and I want to help them, that's not a client to take on because they're not going to pay and they're going to take advantage of

Kwame Christian:

mine.

Celena Muzic:

Stephen's usually tells me, Oh, I feel bad. Let's just help him. And I'm usually like, No, we're not doing that.

Kwame Christian:

No. Yeah, absolutely. That's the thing, here's the thing. You need to know who you are. And I thought, I think about my dad, he had doctor's office and, he was the same way. And, so I recognize I'm very similar and I just make it very clear when somebody, when we're onboarding clients, I don't talk to them until they sign the agreement and we have money. Catherine, our chief operating officer, she handles all of that. All of the business side. I just show up what's once it's handled know, I know who I am. And I'm not trying to get any better.

Celena Muzic:

I have, here's my rule number two is don't take a client who says I've gone to several attorneys and none of them knew what they were doing and they didn't help my case. They made it worse when they see that

Kwame Christian:

I'm just like, no,

Steve Wallace:

I take it a step further. I'll generally not take a case. If they have another attorney, because number one, you're dealing with a massive and attorney that may have done a great job, but more likely than not probably didn't do a good job. And certainly wasn't good at dealing, managing the expectations of the client and certainly the client is going to use that bias against you.

Kwame Christian:

yeah,

Celena Muzic:

let's see. I have a different, I have a different outlook on that. I think for me, it's more when they say that, I think to myself, okay. We're a Florida. You possibly could have. Had one really bad attorney. However, when I see there's more than one. And it's a pattern I say to myself, okay, your expectations are unmanageable because I'm sure those other attorneys did try and you're just completely

Kwame Christian:

unmanageable. And you it's so funny because that rule I've talked to other professionals, other industries, they say, yeah, that's our same rule too. Especially in therapy. Yeah. The other therapist, they didn't get me, but you're special. Oh, don't fall for that. I'm all for that.

Steve Wallace:

the other challenge that we also encounter many times is managing expectations in this business. So certainly from a negotiation standpoint, and for me personally, because candidly, I'm not the most social person in the world, and that's why I love all of these virtual, medium that's available to us.

Kwame Christian:

That

Steve Wallace:

for me is the biggest challenge in the practice of law is managing expectations. And the last part of it is really telling the clients something they don't want to hear. That for me is the difficult, most difficult standpoint, because similar to you, I do enjoy pleasing people.

Kwame Christian:

It's tough. And I tell you when you. Think about it. this is managing expectations, probably it's going to be one of the most important things for us to learn how to do in general as human beings, because the single thing that leads to the breakdown of all relationships is the violation of expectations. Most people say it's communication. But think about what a communication breakdown means. It means I thought you were going to communicate with me in this way, but do you actually communicated with me in that way? And the gap between expectations, the gap between our hope, our expectations and reality is the amount of frustration, anger, disappointment we're going to feel. And so we have to manage those expectations and what makes it so tough is that oftentimes people don't verbalize those expectations. And so a major part of the negotiation is to get them and persuade them to share those untold expectations, which can be tough. And most people say, a problem hasn't occurred. So why would I bring it up? Maybe I create a process. If you create a problem. Good. let's have the problem now, because then if we do it, if we handle the conflict now, then we can actually deal with the situation before we go further down the line. But if we don't address a potential problem now, then it becomes a big problem down the road. So we want to be proactive with the way that we negotiate and pull out those expectations so we can negotiate them and resolve those conflicts before they become a problem.

Celena Muzic:

Absolutely. Absolutely. I tend to ask just a lot of questions. Sometimes it's unrelated, but it's because of that, because I know people don't, they don't tell you everything upfront. And I feel like by asking. Certain questions is how I get more and more information on where they think this case or the situation is

Kwame Christian:

go.

Celena Muzic:

And I learned early on. So I worked at Apple when I was a lot younger. I was a teenager and this is when Apple first opened and I had this manager, his name was Cleo Smith, and he told me, you need to learn to surprise and delight. And I remember looking at him and, you're dealing with technology and Apple and technology, it's not a hundred percent if it's flawed. And I said, what do you mean? And he said, don't tell someone, you can fix something. He says, tell them, you're going to take a look at it, downplay it. But once you get it done and you tell them they're extremely happy. It's like you did magic. So I cut that motto. Even when we do bankruptcy cases, I tell people like the worst case scenario, everything that can go wrong in their case. And then when we finished the case and they're just, they're like in shock, they're like, it's over. It's done. It's good. It's. And they're constantly calling the office like, so it's really okay. You're fine. You're fine. You're good. We

Steve Wallace:

promise little and deliver a lot. We always try to exceed expectations.

Celena Muzic:

I'm happy. and I find that those are the clients that I tell Steven, they send us more clients or they come back and buy a house with us or they just call us to let us know, Hey, my life is totally different because of that bankruptcy that you did. I have my credit back and I've moved

Kwame Christian:

on. Yeah, no, that's great. It makes a lot of sense and you're spot on. And the thing is that also builds trust. One of the best ways to build trust is to use what are what's called statements against interest. So if you say something that you, that people know isn't in your best interest to say, then people trust you a lot more.

Steve Wallace:

That's a term of art and evidence.

Kwame Christian:

Ah, yeah,

Steve Wallace:

that's an exception to the hearsay rule.

Kwame Christian:

So I forgot about that. I forgot about that. That's true. Oh, I

Steve Wallace:

got an a in law school evidence, hurray for me.

Kwame Christian:

So yeah, I haven't thought about evidence since law schools as the difference. but, but yeah, so if you're saying, yeah, these are the worst things going to happen. Listen, this is an easy to say, but this is going to be a really tough case because of XYZ, where we have this uphill battle, but we're going to try our best. And then you pull the rabbit out of the hat there they say, Oh my gosh, this was amazing. So yeah, it makes a lot of sense. And you build trust in the process too.

Celena Muzic:

Absolutely. Absolutely. So

Steve Wallace:

let's transition a little bit. I see. in the, your background, you have a diploma or two from the Ohio state university.

Kwame Christian:

Yes. I'm so glad you pronounced it, Thank you. Yes.

Steve Wallace:

I have some friends that went there. So my question is, and for those of you that aren't aware in the news, the big 10 announced that they aren't going to be playing football. What are your thoughts about that? And if they were to play football, what. Are protocols in place. Do you think they should have to protect the players?

Kwame Christian:

Oh my gosh. Okay. so emotionally, this hurts. it's a religion out here really, but that football is a religion. So this hurts. It's devastating. now hypothetically, if we were able to do this, how would we do it? I say, we make a bubble. Bubbles are everywhere right now. We have one to be right. They did it right. And think about the UFC. UFC was first back in may. They haven't had one issue. They test all the time and if anybody fails a test they're just out. And so they have really strict protocols and they've been at it for months. And so there we're building these models and we actually, we still are pretending that these students are actually students there. Semi-pro athletes. and remember Cardale Jones, one of our quarterbacks awhile back said, I didn't know, come here to play school. I came here to play football. I don't think, I don't think many of them are going to be too frustrated about the fact. you're going to, you're going to be frustrated that you have, you're you don't have that campus social life, but when you think about what's most important to them, right? For most of them, it's trying to get to the league at OSU. That's what it is. And so if you can, put them in a situation where you can they're isolated and all of the teams are in the same spot and then they just engage in virtual learning. I think it could be done, especially if you abbreviate this season, but I don't have any pull. That's just, that would be my dream though. My dream would be Colby to be gone though. that's actually my dream. That's our dream.

Celena Muzic:

So that's

Kwame Christian:

our dream. That's a better dream.

Steve Wallace:

Although we like connected through people through zoom that we enjoy and especially going to hearings, I think all motion, calendar hearings. And you've heard me say this a lot. Selena all motion calendar, not evidentiary matters should be disposed of undo. There's no reason to drive to the courthouse.

Kwame Christian:

It makes sense. I think a lot of processes have been, exposed, because a lot of these things, we are now we're at a point where we are forced to do it another, when we say this is better. And then it makes you also realize that a lot of things that are just remnants of the past, where are we even doing this at all? So hopefully we're we learn from this and we can, we don't. Arbitrarily shift back. If it doesn't provide any type of advantage.

Steve Wallace:

So here's another negotiation sales type of question for you to quote one of my favorite sales movies of all time. Glengarry Glen Ross, isn't coffee for closers and why or why not?

Kwame Christian:

Yeah, copies can be copy, can be for closures, but I'm not a coffee drinker. So you better entice me with something better. So if you say, Hey, Kwame, you don't get any coffee today. Oh, good. No, would be, if you look at my, my Ted talk, I, I talk about how much I love cinnamon toast crunch. So cinnamon toast crunch is for closers. I can get down with that one. Excellent.

Celena Muzic:

I just had that for breakfast. See, it's delicious. It's perfect. So how does this translate into, I don't know if you're married, but your marriage or dating life because. It's common. You have an unfair advantage there. You're your negotiator?

Steve Wallace:

Nice with the ladies myself. I've never done too well in my life with them.

Kwame Christian:

So yeah. So you're negotiating with the people around you the most often. So my wife, Whitney, myself. Son, Kai, I'm constantly negotiating with them. And I realized that my relationship got better when I started thinking more strategically about how I interact being a little bit more intentional because before I would say, just trying to communicate and then she wouldn't get it. And then I would say, how do you not get me

Celena Muzic:

of

Kwame Christian:

all the people in the world? How do you not get me? You get frustrated. And then I stopped as I was writing my book. And I said, okay, Columbia, the advice you're giving everybody is to look at negotiation like a life philosophy, every single interaction is a negotiation. Are you negotiating at home or are you just reacting? a crazy person said, okay, yeah, let me be a little bit more intentional and things are a lot better. Things are a lot better. And I think what I'm, one of the things that was really helpful was a piece of advice from my dad. And he said, Kwame, you have to ask yourself from time to time, is this the Hill you want to die on? And he said that when I was like in sixth grade and I didn't get it. I didn't get it. I get it. Now

Steve Wallace:

you mentioned your book. Could you tell us a little bit about what led you to writing your book and what is it about? And then most importantly, how can all of our listeners and ourselves purchase it?

Kwame Christian:

Yeah. thank you for that. the book is called finding confidence in conflict. I has the same name as the Ted talk. And so I did the Ted talk, really enjoyed the process, but it was a, it was tough because they had a lot of ideas that didn't get to make it. To the, to the actual Ted talk. So the notes that didn't make it and the things that I wasn't able to put into the Ted talk, that's what the foundation of the book was built upon. And, it was really built on giving people a single tool, the compassionate curiosity framework for addressing all difficult conversations. So I'm acknowledging and validating emotions, getting curious with compassion and then joint problem solving three steps for every difficult conversation. It makes life a lot easier. And then the first half of the book though, is just based on the confidence part, going back to my roots in psychology, helping us to overcome the fears, the different psychological, and emotional barriers that we have when it comes to being our best selves in difficult conversations. So that's a little bit about the book.

Steve Wallace:

And how do we get it?

Kwame Christian:

Great. And

Steve Wallace:

I'd love to play

Celena Muzic:

audibles. Where can we get, where can we

Kwame Christian:

download it? I need to get it on audible. I, that's, that is one of the projects for this year, but right now it's paperback on, on Amazon.

Steve Wallace:

Excellent.

Celena Muzic:

I can appreciate it. Paperback.

Steve Wallace:

Yeah. I like, I, I liked paperback better cause we're on our screens all the time. So I kinda like to get a little kind of go a little bit old school and read a book. Cause I like, I can touch it. I can hold it. I can feel it. So

Celena Muzic:

I like that.

Steve Wallace:

Yeah. And I can keep it. And I liked that you kept it old school. So one other thing that perked my interest is you mentioned that you did a Ted

Kwame Christian:

talk.

Steve Wallace:

How does one get selected to do a

Kwame Christian:

Ted talk? That's very exciting. Cute. Yeah. So they, the cool thing is the TEDx talks. Those are the, the smaller version. So you have the big Ted conference in California, then you have community versions and they can be pretty big. Ohio state has one. The one I did in Dayton, it was a 1200 people. So these are still large events. And, you can, depending on the way that they're run it, many of them have applications. Other ones are invite only. And so I said in 2017, I said, all right, my goal is to get a Ted talk. I'm just going to apply until I get one. That's

Steve Wallace:

my fault too. I think so lean and all you've given us inspiration. Yes, confidence.

Celena Muzic:

There you go. Hey,

Kwame Christian:

Yeah. So just, just figure out which one you want to do. here's something though, recognize that all, not all Ted talks are created equally, and so the team is going to be important. So look at the previous version, the previous Ted talks that have come out of those communities and see the quality cause some of them are not great. And you want to avoid those. You want to make sure you get to one with a high level of production. Quality Dayton was fantastic. It's a military city. And so they operated there with military precision. They weren't leaving anything to chance. They were very focused and it made me a lot better. My process was they, we started working together. I had to audition and, actually, so they could actually see it. Then I was accepted in June. And then they put me through training through October. and then I had another friend who went through it. They said, yeah, my friend said I should do it. And then I showed up, how was that possible?

Steve Wallace:

How can we find your Ted talk? Is it on you?

Kwame Christian:

Yeah, it's on YouTube. so the same name as the book, finding confidence in conflict. Very exciting.

Celena Muzic:

Fantastic.

Steve Wallace:

we're going to ask you two more pop culture based questions. Cause we really, we enjoy our time with you. You're not even billing us. So we're excited.

Kwame Christian:

We're

Steve Wallace:

promoting all your wares. so Selena, what would you like to ask Kwame?

Celena Muzic:

there's so many things. okay. I want to know Al actually I asked this the other day, just because I'm curious on what everyone's. I want to know what your celebrity crush was when you were a teenager. And what was your favorite musical group when you were a teenager? what were you listening to?

Kwame Christian:

so Sierra was my crush growing up and what was funny is one of my friends is actually cousins with, the quarterback from. Seahawks Russell Wilson. And so when my friend got married, CRN Russell was Wilson read the, at the wedding. So I can say I shared a dance floor. She didn't know who I was or that I was there

Celena Muzic:

in your head. You were singing my goodies.

Kwame Christian:

Oh yes, exactly. Exactly. I was there. I was there. So that was great. and so favorites, artists growing up, I'm an Island boy. So I, so my family's from Dominika and Diana. So I love, music from those countries. But to give, I'm not going to go to obscure with some Dominique and artists cause they're too small, but I'm the mighty Sparrow from Trinidad. And of course, Bob Marley from Jamaica, those are Oh, okay.

Celena Muzic:

Yeah. Very interesting. Okay. Very cool. Very cool. That kind of tells me your age range and then it tells me a lot more than you think they're into. And it tells me how strict your family was.

Kwame Christian:

Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Yes. Yes. Okay.

Steve Wallace:

so my question for you, Kwame is what shows are shows where you have you been binge watching during the pandemic?

Kwame Christian:

Oh, Superstore? that's yeah, it's a hilarious show. So disappointed when we got through it. So disappointed, but it's so funny. So that's been that was the one that we wiped out. Gosh, it's always so disappointing when you get through a show that you've binge. And then of course, I'm I like Rick and Morty. That's one of my guilty pleasure. That's a funny show too.

Celena Muzic:

Good morning. I've never watched Superstore, but I want to, what's your top movie that you've watched? What movie has been like the best movie you think you've watched or even

Kwame Christian:

rewatched? I'm not big into movies, but I did watch this movie a couple weeks ago that came out on Netflix and Netflix original where I forget what it's called, but these people, they were like immortal. I forget the name of it. It was actually really good. It was actually really good. cause usually I'm not into this kind of scifi type of things. I like to think. I like to see either comedies or things blowing up. but that was, that was good. Actually it was scifi and things blew up.

Steve Wallace:

Okay. My last pop culture question, before we go to the lightning round, this is a top, this is a very popular question and topic conversation on our podcast. And it relates to who is the basketball goat, LeBron James, or Michael Jordan. And why?

Kwame Christian:

Good timing. I just started watching the last dance and I feel like the answer's gotta be Michael Jordan. Cause I was, I was, I grew up with LeBron. I'm like, how could it be better than this? Yeah, I get it. Now I get it. And the thing is. Also, you have to consider the thing that I hit me last night, he was putting up points like 61 points in a time where the rules were really lax. They were okay. They're playing rugby sometimes. And so the rules are super soft. So you have fun games now where people can just. Play essentially unimpeded, basketball. But back when Michael was playing there, they're tackling folks and anytime they get close to the rim, you think about the pistons. And so it's yeah, I'm seeing it now. And so I appreciate it a lot more. He, I have to admit he is, unless the thing is, LeBron still has time. Who knows what happens next, but a lot would have to happen. True. Okay.

Steve Wallace:

Selena, take us home with the lightning round.

Celena Muzic:

All right. I have the lightning round now. Okay. So since I more or less know your age range now changes everything. Okay. So Batman or Superman.

Kwame Christian:

what's the question. Who am I, or who am I picking in effect?

Celena Muzic:

who do you, who do you prefer? So these are going to be, it's a series of questions and it's this or that. And you just pick the most appealing or the person that comes to mind or your favorite or who you think is the best.

Kwame Christian:

Yeah, certainly Batman.

Celena Muzic:

Batman. Okay. Does it matter that Superman's an alien?

Kwame Christian:

Yeah. that's not, it's not even fair. Like the fact for me, it's I have a four year old.

Steve Wallace:

Okay. What about Ben Affleck was Batman. That kind of turns me off a little

Kwame Christian:

bit. Yeah.

Celena Muzic:

Ben Affleck or Christian bale.

Kwame Christian:

Oh, Christian bale. Okay, good. Yeah. Here's my thing about Superman though. Let me say this because if I'm playing basketball against like Kai, my four year old and, who's going to win Kwame or Kai, it should be me. If I'm ever challenged, that's an indictment. Of who I am. And so let's bring it back to Superman. If Superman has ever challenged, you're an alien who is challenging you, how do

Celena Muzic:

you

Kwame Christian:

come on now? We don't even have kryptonite on earth. We shouldn't, that's an alien thing. So I don't know. I just don't have much respect for him,

Celena Muzic:

but Batman did kill Superman, unjustly.

Kwame Christian:

you know what we think about justice.

Celena Muzic:

Okay. Next question. this is a power, couple of question beyond saying Jay Z or Kanye and Kim Kardashians. I'm going to get as ridiculous with, it has to be

Kwame Christian:

intelligent, but default, you haven't, you didn't even name a competition. Hey,

Celena Muzic:

listen, Connie is. He thinks he's going to get the answer. What was the answer? I didn't hear

Kwame Christian:

Jason.

Celena Muzic:

Can you ask me a hard question, please? Here's the hard one, Jetsons the Jetsons versus the Flintstones,

Kwame Christian:

but Jetson's

Celena Muzic:

really.

Kwame Christian:

No. first of all, it's historically incorrect. Dinosaurs and humans were never around at the same time. That's how we exist today. And then the Jetsons, at least that's a painting, a picture of a hopeful future ex except though flying cars, not realistic because when you look at the physics of a flying car, we have that. And right now those are called helicopters. The amount of air proposed down in order to get a

car.

Kwame Christian:

Yeah, those are so loud. That's noise pollution. We would not want a society with flying cars. Number one,

Celena Muzic:

fortunately, I'm biased. Cause I thought when I was a kid that my life was going to be like the Jetsons.

Kwame Christian:

Yeah.

Steve Wallace:

I love that cartoon. Yeah,

Kwame Christian:

it was great because it was hopefully like you remember those, those food tablets. How convenient would that be? Yeah, not real. And do we really want to pee? We see drivers today. I've been in Florida. I've seen your drivers. Do we want people with flying cars? Really that'd be the worst thing ever.

Celena Muzic:

We're going to have the ton of cars. Aren't great,

Kwame Christian:

That now I can deal with that. But if we had flying cars, we wouldn't even need like bad guys. They'd just be like, Hey, let's just sit back. Watch everybody else kill themselves.

Celena Muzic:

Okay. Okay. Next question.

Kwame Christian:

Is the godfather

Celena Muzic:

or Scarface?

Kwame Christian:

Scarface. Really? Yeah, no, and here's why, and here's why I like movies with clean endings. That's what I like. And sometimes I get mad at shows and movies that go on beyond the way that they should there's leaves too much open to criticism. And so Scarface had a really, it was a great, told story and a very clean ending. We know what happened to him. I like the, how clean the ending was now, as far as something to look at and analyze and take things from definitely the godfather, because the mafia, that's an incredible organization. Evil for sure. But incredible organization.

Celena Muzic:

They run it like a business.

Kwame Christian:

Yeah, it's beautiful actually. And that's why I like American gangster because Frank Lucas was able to do great movie. Oh, this is one of my favorites. That's one of my favorite movies. I've watched that multiple times. Because he's able to learn from the Italians and figure out their organization structure, and then do it better in that community. And I'm just business fundamentals, getting a better product at a lower price and selling it.

Celena Muzic:

Yeah. He ran it like any other business you would run. Unfortunately, they got a little too flashy.

Kwame Christian:

No, that posts can't do it.

Celena Muzic:

Don't help. I always watch those movies. And I think to myself, I think I would make a great mobster. But probably

Steve Wallace:

you're but you follow the law too much. So I don't think he would be monster.

Celena Muzic:

Yeah. I don't like getting traffic tickets. I forgot. Oh, okay. And last one, because I asked this yesterday and I'm always wondering Dwayne Johnson, the rock or VIN diesel.

Kwame Christian:

these questions are preposterous. I, this is an insult to my intellect and my tastes, of course, it's the rock. what is this? Come on

Celena Muzic:

diesel.

Kwame Christian:

You need to check the car quality of your guests. That's insane. What could maybe cause he can drive better.

Celena Muzic:

Maybe he it's a movie. That's a great, that's a good question.

Kwame Christian:

Yeah. gosh,

Celena Muzic:

thank you

Steve Wallace:

so much. This was a great episode and hopefully you'll accept our invitation to come back because we have so many questions for you that are, that have not been answered yet.

Kwame Christian:

Yeah.

Steve Wallace:

If you could let us know how to find you online and then also tell us again how to get that great book of yours. And then how would one be part of your negotiation, your American negotiation Institute?

Kwame Christian:

Thank you. Yes.

Celena Muzic:

So if you need a social media scoop,

Kwame Christian:

Yes. Instagram and LinkedIn, Instagram is Kwame negotiates. and then LinkedIn, everybody who reaches out to me on LinkedIn personal message. I don't know when you'll get it, but it will happen eventually. it's getting harder to keep that promise, but of course, check out the podcast and negotiate anything. We have a different guests. Every week. And then the book is on Amazon. It's called a finding confidence in conflict, same name, Ted talk. And then I'm yeah. Also free gift for your audience. if you go to American negotiation institute.com/guide, you can get free access to over 15 negotiation guides. Salary negotiation, business negotiation, car negotiation, how to negotiate as an introvert 15 plus how to have difficult conversations about race, all sorts of different guides that we'll walk

Steve Wallace:

swag. Cause I'd love. You got a nice shirt on right there.

Kwame Christian:

I know we, I'm thinking about selling some merchandise, but I think it might be a distraction. So I'll just wear it myself and have people envy.

Steve Wallace:

Excellent. thank you so

Kwame Christian:

much.

Steve Wallace:

we look forward to you coming on the show again.

Kwame Christian:

My pleasure. Thanks for having me. Thank you.