Born in England, now settled in Taxes, the USA, Simon Rycraft is well-known in the world of business as a negotiations trainer. Being a fan of the Headway app, Mr Rycraft agreed to give the interview to Headway Media to discuss his path, his book Negotiation Hacks, and plans for the future.
In this article, Headway Media brings more light to Simon Rycraft’s work, the history behind writing Negotiation Hacks and will reveal unique insights on our interviewee’s future books. And if you haven’t dived into Negotiation Hacks yet, you can find the summary of it on the Headway app! Inside of it, you will find out why it is crucial to master nonverbal cues, how to develop your negotiation style, what drives the other negotiation party, and many more precious insights.
Want to find out more about this conversation? Go on reading!
From financial consultant to negotiation guru
After being asked about his professional path, Simon Rycraft smiles. He confesses that his memory usually blocks the first 18 years of his life. That’s why normally, he starts his story right from becoming an adult. The Negotiation Hacks author has quite an experience working with big financial companies both in Europe and America. “I was actually working for financial client service in London for a quite big company in New York. So that took me across the pond to New York for a year. They spun off the wealth management arm to another investment banking group…in San Francisco. For eight years in San Francisco on and off consulting, and then moved into tech, ran the operations for a technology company.”
And when you talk to Mr Rycraft about his most outstanding achievements, he answers in the most British way one can imagine. “I’ve got a typical, less confident view of achievements, which apparently comes from a British background. You know, there’s been M&A activity. Growing up where I did, I’d never really thought that I’d be involved in large corporate deals for clients as well as companies I’ve worked for in the past. So those are achievements made, 100 million-plus deals.”
Besides that, our conversation unfolded that what Simon Rycraft cherishes the most is life-long learning, especially when it comes to the professional field. ‘I tended to focus on doing things that filled gaps in my strengths rather than gaps about the areas that I had weaknesses in; rather than just, you know, learning additional areas that I believe I already were really strong in.’
What about the book?
As we continued talking about personal achievements, it would be surprising not to mention the publication of Mr Rycraft’s book Negotiation Hacks. He himself admits that he is proud of turning his dream of several years into reality. ‘Everyone has a book idea in their head. You know, anyone has the opportunity to give over their thoughts. You have to take the time and put in the effort to get it written down, and the blood, sweat, and tears that come from producing something of good enough quality that you’re satisfied with.’ He laughs as he confesses that it is his biggest and the most recent success, but hopefully not the last one for sure.
The road to writing and publishing Negotiation Hacks was quite long and not always sunny. Our interviewee has always been interested in negotiation and practised it pretty much daily. But he admits that most works in this field are built on the psychology behind it mostly rather than simply revealing working tactics. But when it comes to literature about negotiation, Simon Rycraft breaks it into three categories:
‘The professors that are teaching this on a daily basis to students. Most of their books talk through frameworks of preparing for negotiation and working with a team. A lot of the stories they provide are based on conversations they’ve had with students in the class, you know, of how a student negotiated well with their kids about what movie to watch on TV or how they negotiated a discount on a flight ticket or got a larger hotel room.’
‘The other group of authors in this area is law enforcement, ex FBI agents. I’ve never been in a situation, thankfully, involved in the negotiation for law enforcement. But will those stories work as they bring techniques and tactics that are of use in those environments?’
‘And then the third area is business books that are generally just somewhat like a dare. That one is very much someone’s independent view on what has worked well for them in their business career.’
Considering these 3 types of negotiation literature, Simon Rycraft decided to write something neutral, something that every person can use in everyday life despite their occupation. ‘I tried to produce a book that I would have benefited from 15 years ago. Which is, you know, a breakdown of the most critical tactics and techniques that you can use in a negotiation.’
The great thing about Negotiation Hacks is that it’s backed up with scientific proves and has an easy-to-follow structure. There is a summary at the end of each chapter that somewhat provides a reference. This approach helps anyone become a better negotiator in minutes rather than burying themselves under the pile of complicated books from before. ‘Practice makes perfect, right? So you don’t want to have to keep rereading a book over and over again to practice. But you can go back, look at a summary, go practice, see what works for you, then go back and kind of refresh your mind.’
Simon Rycraft on reading and his top picks
Pandemics changed the vector of how people spend their time at home, and Simon Rycraft confesses that it affected him too. To him, reading is calming and therapeutic. Despite it, he doesn’t call himself a book geek, saying that sometimes he finishes two or three books in a week, after which a long break follows.
His attitude towards influential titles is especially peculiar as Mr Rycraft says that he appreciates every person’s work, even if he hasn’t finished the book and never picked it up again at all. To add up, fiction is not Simon’s thing. He appreciates biographies, memoirs, and business books most. Still, there are some titles that Simon Rycraft highlights. ‘I think the most recent book, and I’m happy to introduce you to this, Mr. Monkey and Me by Mike Smerklo. I read it over the weekend. It’s fantastic… There’s a new book that just came out on Matthew McConaughey. I haven’t read Greenlights yet, but I think that’s probably the next purchase that I’ll have.’
Basically, any story about the path to success, whether Elon Musk’s or Arnold Schwarzenegger’s, catches Simon Rycraft’s attention as to him, these real-life fairytales of hard work and achievements bring the most inspiration.
Negotiation Hacks and plans for the future
What turned out to be one of the most popular books on negotiation promises to become the whole series of titles with actionable advice. The next in line is the sales and taxes title which, according to Mr Rycraft, is already drafted. In his words, there is more material to work with in this topic as well as expertise. ‘You know, I’ve only been exposed to having to sell things for work and my professional career physically, I’d say, in the last eight years, whereas negotiations are something I’ve been doing for 20 plus years. So for me, it’s still an area that I’m learning on what truly works, what doesn’t, and in what situation.’
The idea of the series is in its consistency. All the books by Simon Rycraft after Negotiation Hacks will have the same structure and flow. That means that they will also contain summaries after each chapter and dozens of tips and tricks to try out in practice. Marketing, sales, tax are only some of the ideas for future books that Mr Rycraft keeps in mind. His attitude is simple yet beneficial to all Negotiation Hacks fans out there ‘If I’m going to do a series, it needs to be in a way where someone looks at the Hacks series and realizes, right, this is going to be just as good in the same layout.’
And just like that, the Headway Media team gives you a unique opportunity to get familiar with an outstanding author, Simon Rycraft. It was an inspiring conversation that made the whole Headway team try out all negotiation hacks in practice, and what can we say? Nothing has worked so well as tips from Mr Rycraft’s book. Try it yourself with the Headway app!