Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Negotiation Process Part 1: Jenny Fly Talks with Itzel Yagual About Her Career, Business Relationships And Her Thoughts On Negotiations

Building relationships, setting aside differences, understanding perceptions and working toward mutual agreements are not only some of the vital steps in the process of negotiations but also the steps in building a thriving two party relationship. Whether you are an artist negotiating the terms of a contract, an employee unhappy with your employer's agreement, or someone questioning insurance policies for you and your family, negotiations are a very important part of our everyday lives. Without negotiations, as sources suggest, humans would not be able to successfully demand change for their concerns nor defend themselves from others who are simply trying to take advantage.

Dina LaPolt, an entertainment lawyer based in Los Angeles, California, couldn't have said it better in that the entertainment industry is "based on relationships" and when "one has to refer back to the agreement the relationship is in the dumper." Others criticize this view and believe that placing effort solely in business relationships is foolish and that with this thinking, one is bound to playing the puppet in another person's show. Is it safe to say that relationships play a huge role on the outcome of negotiations? Are we foolish if we believe that relationships play a role in negotiations? Is the negotiation process similar or more challenging in a specific field? How does one deal with difficult people in negotiations? What are the key ingredients to being a good negotiator? Are there specific things each party must understand and research before entering a negotiation? 

In this 2 part series, I got an inside look at what several professionals thought about negotiations, how they got involved in their careers, how they work with difficult people and the steps they use to make negotiations effective. 

In part 1 of negotiations, I sat down with Jenny Fly, who works at H&M Communications, a Hispanic marketing agency to talk about her career, her thoughts on the negotiation process and how to work toward a mutual benefit in a work environment. At H&M Communications, Jenny "works for the promotions team" which "reaches out to the media and retail outlets to help spread the word" on the company's films. The company she works for is hired by "Movie Studios to promote films through media outlets." In addition to this, H&M Communications also has "a publicity team that deals directly with television, actors, actresses" and "other clients." 

Ms. Fly always had an interest for the entertainment and media fields. In high school, she participated in a radio and television program, which motivated her to pursue a degree in entertainment. Since she "enjoyed it" so much, during college, she got a job working in a radio show on the promotions team. After that she "worked her way up to being an on-air personality." Later she adopted her current role in marketing and promotions with H&M Communications, a Hispanic marketing agency. 

Jenny loves "the perks" she obtains in this field, such as access to the "premieres, the swag and much more." She is fascinated with every aspect of her job and even though the job requires "long hours," to her it's simply, "not a big deal."

Despite the level of competition and lack of trust one can encounter in the entertainment industry, research suggests that negotiations can still be effective as long as both parties invent options for mutual gain, address perceptions, value each others input and more importantly are willing to work on building a strong and professional relationship. Jenny understands the importance of building relationships in business and takes her clients' input seriously when she negotiates with media outlets "in screening ticket giveaways and other types of promotions, to promote the company's films."

When dealing with difficult people, Jenny ensures that the process is easy for the company's promoters as well as the clients. To that effect, she also makes sure that the parties are comfortable and able to communicate their concerns. In this way, she says, "you keep the clients happy." To further develop solutions for mutual gain, Jenny believes that parties involved in negotiations, need to conduct research prior negotiating, adhere to industry standards, know what types of products or services the other party is interested in and "have a great plan" to exercise. Having a plan of execution will ensure that in a negotiation "the promotions can be handled correctly." Jenny agrees that communication is the key to a successful negotiation and that without it there is  no room for both parties to neither reach an understanding nor can the parties agree to a common ground. 

In conclusion, she feels that negotiators must have "patience, be prepared and have a back up plan," to deal with manipulative ploys, deception and dirty tactics which can be the other party's approach in any given negotiation. Lastly, she says that in order to have a lasting business relationship, both parties need to be willing to "compromise" so that they can "reach an agreement" that is suited not for one but for both parties.

Research highlights that preparing for negotiations plays an important role to having an effective and successful negotiation. Jenny feels strongly in that before entering negotiations both parties need to be prepared for all types of questioning, keep in mind that working "toward a mutual benefit" is the goal, and that negotiators should use their knowledge as "leverage" to place a halt to dirty tactics when they occur. Her wonderful talent and the value she places on relationships are some of the factors that lead Jenny to success, time after time. Her services have been exceptional and no clients have walked away unsatisfied because to Jenny business relationships are vital. 

Seeking gains in any career field is rarely possible when an individual has not developed a relationship with their respective party. The object of a negotiation is not to play a game nor to simply obtain a gain; a negotiation is an avenue, an outlet to develop a connection that which grows into a relationship where neither party will need or have necessity to refer to the fine-print in their contracts. 

To connect with Jenny Fly or to learn more about her, please visit the following places online.

Twitter: @JennyFly 

Tune in for the next blog post, where you'll get a close look at an entrepreneur that is successful not only in his career but also in building thriving business relationships.