The Power of Emotional Intelligence in Building Professional Relationships, Negotiating, and Creating a Business


Fifty of ISC’s top brokers will join us at our Broker Council in Louisville, Kentucky, May 22-23. The Broker Council includes several esteemed guest speakers, including Tahl Raz, an award-winning journalist who has written for Inc. magazine, GQ, Harvard Business Review, and other prominent publications. He is a number-one New York Times best-selling writer of prescriptive nonfiction books, with over five million copies in print.

Tahl’s first book, Never Eat Alone, sold more than a million copies and is used as a textbook in MBA programs worldwide. An earlier collaboration, Never Split the Difference, remains the nation’s bestselling book on negotiation years after its debut, with nearly three million copies sold. His latest publication is Million Dollar Weekend (with Noah Kagan), which has already made it to bestseller lists.

Each of Tahl’s books is rooted in the unique American tradition and belief that we can do anything. His books demonstrate the power of emotional intelligence and the success it brings.

Tahl shares the genesis of each book and its key insights, which are all transformative in our personal lives and careers.

Never Eat Alone: Providing Value to Others

Looking closely at what characterizes successful entrepreneurs, Tahl realized that their common thread was extroversion. He set out to learn if extroversion can be taught and whether you can teach the ability to connect with other people. His journey was to find the “Michael Jordan” of networking, reaching out to and speaking with CEOs and thought leaders. He met Keith Ferrazzi, a master networker, and put the rules Ferrazzi lives by to paper in Never Eat Alone.

Never Eat Alone shares how Ferrazzi is constantly aware of his network and bridging that network for other people,” said Tahl. Putting this into context, Tahl explained that Ferrazzi continually provides value generously to others, connecting people and ideas. “This led Ferrazzi to incredible entrepreneurial heights and has made him the ‘CEO whisperer’ to Fortune 500 companies for over two decades now,” Tahl said.

“Ferrazzi’s approach transforms the way people think about business. Instead of thinking of networking as ‘glad-handing,’ view it as a way of cultivating contacts and sharing your experience to pull different people in.”

In Never Eat Alone, you’ll find timeless strategies for establishing and enhancing relationships with your colleagues and peers.

Never Split the Difference: Tapping into Empathy for Successful Negotiations

In Never Split the Difference, Tahl and Chris Voss, a former international hostage negotiator for the FBI for nearly three decades, go through how the FBI’s negotiation tactics evolved after years of failure using an approach developed by Harvard. The FBI’s strategy was based on having rational individuals agree and eventually shifted to an approach based on emotional intelligence.

“No one makes decisions based on rationality, not even business people,” said Tahl. “The FBI began experiencing with therapy, mediation, mirroring, and other techniques in their hostage negotiations to get people to calm down and make sure they are listening. They figured out what works and doesn’t and used techniques that target emotion, not reason.”

The techniques are simple but incredibly powerful and can be used at home with your kids or partner and at work. You get a concrete way of engaging with emotional intelligence to create rapport and begin to understand the other person so you can reach a successful negotiation.

“It’s not about compromise but about using the power of empathy as a critical tool to understand what the other party is feeling so you can both get what you want.”

Million Dollar Weekend: Overcoming the Fear of Starting and Asking

Noah Kagan grew up in Silicon Valley. He is a dot-com guy whose 25-year career trajectory at various companies didn’t quite work out. You could say Kagan wasn’t cut out to be an employee, so he embarked on a journey of experimentation and formed various companies until creating AppSumo, now a $100 million firm.

“In the process of getting to where he is today, Kagan has had to figure everything out through experimentation. He didn’t have money but tested ideas to see if they would work and created businesses around them,” said Tahl. Kagan launched seven or eight different million-dollar businesses in a very short period. He then began to teach other people how to do the same. In Million Dollar Weekend, you get Kagan’s blueprint.

“We start by addressing what prevents people from moving ahead with a business: fear of starting and fear of asking. In the book, we share how to overcome these two fears with interesting techniques that Kagan developed.”

Simply put, you have to jump in and start doing things; it’s the only way to quickly figure out what works and what doesn’t. “Action creates information, and information is learning. Through rapid learning, you can begin to hone an enterprise and its parts that work,” Tahl explained.

The fear of asking is essentially the fear of selling. “People fear rejection, which keeps them from asking consumers if they want to buy a product. Once you overcome the fear of starting and asking, you can view business as a never-ending cycle of trying new things and asking whether people will pay for those things. You try again based on what you’ve learned instead of getting bogged down watching how-to videos.”

Most million-dollar businesses are not based on crazy ideas or that one big idea but are those that solve problems. “They are owners of gas stations, hardware stores, plumbers, etc. They are insurance agents and brokers. They are creating value for people.”