Netflix Hot New Release ‘Scoop’ Reinforces Why the Art of Feminine Negotiation is Critical

Scoop (Netflix hot new release) is being lauded by some and impaled by others. Not surprising as there are layers upon layers of issues inspired by the story and any approach is destined to leave one interest group or another dissatisfied with the breadth, focus or perspective chosen. Personally, I love that they chose to focus on Sam McAlister as the protagonist (more on that below). And I particularly love that it reinforces why the Art of Feminine Negotiation™ is so important.

For those who may have been hiding under a rock recently, Scoop, is the new Netflix release that follows the infamous BBC Newsnight interview with Prince Andrew about his association with Jeffrey Epstein. They made the unlikely choice to follow and frame the story around the efforts of Sam McAlister, the BBC booking agent who pursued the story and captured the booking. That choice allowed them to subtly highlight issues of classism and sexism in journalism and beyond.

Sam McAlister showed unwavering commitment along with unerring intuition. She was the uncelebrated hero behind the iconic interview of Prince Andrew. She had to overcome not only the expected seemingly insurmountable odds of convincing Prince Andrew to appear, but also had to battle internal prejudices within the BBC. These kinds of internal battles are too common for women in the professional world and sadly too little talked about.

McAlister’s ideas and efforts were undervalued and often dismissed by her coworkers. When it turned out that her instincts were not only spot on, but ahead of the curve, she was sent in to close the deal (which she did) but she got little of the glory for her efforts.

This all made for a good untold story, but the thing that really captured my interest was the negotiation prowess that underlined the main storyline (and was likely missed by most). While outspoken and abrupt in her dealings with her coworkers (as the situation arguably called for), Sam was a masterful negotiator in booking interviewees for the show – ultimately including Prince Andrew himself.

The thing that particularly resonated was her artful use of the Art of Feminine Negotiation in achieving her goals. McAlister herself, in real life interviews, acknowledges the importance of bringing sensitivity, integrity and care to negotiations. She speaks to the necessity of preparation and persistence. She landed the interview after a full year of ongoing communications and carefully orchestrated outreach.

Sam is quoted as advocating that “it’s all about finding the sweet spot – that crucial piece of motivation, of human psychology, that will make the difference between a yes and no.”  She makes a point of bringing empathy to the table, ensuring she puts herself in the shoes of the other person and that she fully understands the needs of the other person.

Her approach embodies my A.R.E. F.I.T. model (as highlighted in Woman’s World magazine). She is assertive; her persistence and up-front honesty force people to pay attention. She is intentional in building rapport, bringing empathy, staying flexible, trusting her intuition and earning trust. This is a solid foundation for any successful negotiation.

Her approach also invokes my No F.E.A.R. model. She is thoughtful about considering the fears the other person carries (and how to pre-empt that fear); she surrenders her ego and knows how to play to the other person’s ego; she avoids attachment to a particular outcome, remaining open to other possibilities for how the end result may best serve; and she avoids triggers that will cause reactivity which may adversely impact the outcome she seeks.

Sam was not afraid to ‘lean into the messiness’, having the difficult conversations with compassion and respect. It’s often in this messiness that the real work is accomplished. This is an approach I strongly advocate in my book, The Art of Feminine Negotiation, as it’s counter-intuitive to most people.

Negotiation is all about relationship and connection. Sadly, this key starting point is typically missed as we’re conditioned to see negotiation as a win-lose competition. To get great outcomes, we need to always deal in good faith.

As Sam so elegantly said in her interview with Writers Digest, “If you deal with people, treat them with respect, tell them the truth, don’t mislead, don’t overpromise, don’t compromise who you are for the sake of trying to close a deal. It will always come back and bite you.”

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Are you looking to up-level your negotiation skills? 

Please enjoy my TedX Ocala talk

- Rise of the Feminine Voice as the Key to Our Future


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