I may be a negotiation expert to some, but I wanna share the story of how this negotiation expert got beat by his 14-year-old daughter. First, a bit of background. In case you can't tell, I'm a bit of a math geek. I even went to math camp one summer during high school. The program, which still exists, is Hampshire College Summer Studies in Math, and I thought it was great. So, when my eldest daughter started high school, naturally, I wanted her to join the math team. Our conversation this topic quickly turned into a negotiation. A not uncommon occurrence in our household. So young lady, what would it take to get you to join the math team? I'm not interested. Really? Really. You mean, it's not your first choice? No dad, it's not my first choice, my second choice, it's not even on my list. Okay, is there anything I can do to change your mind? There's only one way I would ever consider joining the math team. And that is? We get a dog. A dog? This daughter had been pining for a dog for several years. And I wish I could say, I'd been cleverly holding back, waiting for an opportune moment. Instead, we had just been living pretty crazy lives and didn't know how a dog would fit in. [SOUND] Yes, have a seat. Have a seat. Yes. Good girl. Here's the math team mascot. She's a rescue dog. Her name is Utility or Happiness, but we call her Tilly for short. On one level, you might say I succeeded. My daughter did join the math team. But my mistake was, I didn't specify for all four years. You see, after her freshman year, she dropped off the team and we couldn't send the dog back. So, the first lesson here is to think beyond your immediate needs. Think ahead to the future. I'm pretty sure I could have gotten four years on the math team in return for her dog. On the other hand, Tilly has been with us now for some ten years. And she's brought great happiness into our lives. Yes. You're such a good dog. So, maybe it wasn't such a bad deal after all. There's a second lesson here I'd like to emphasize, never say no. Instead, let the other side say no to you. What I mean is, make an offer the other side might reject, but that you'd be happy to take. Imagine you're unhappy in your job and decide to quit. Instead of just quitting, come up with a package that would entice you to stay. Let the firm say no to you. The worst that can happen is they say no and you leave. But you were planning on doing that anyway. On the other hand, they might say yes. Business writer Lewis Schiff tells a story of how Adam McKay, head writer at Saturday Night Live was unhappy in his job. He was prepared to quit and move to LA, but his manager suggested a different course. He asked Adam, what would it take to keep him at SNL? Adam came up with a list of five unreasonable demands, including never going to another production meeting, and having a budget in permission to make short films. Lorne Micheals SNL's executive producer said yes to all five demands. This sideline in making sure it's led Adam to co-found the Funny or Die comedy website, and prepared him to write and direct feature length comedies, including Anchorman, Talladega Nights, and Step Brothers. In some ways, I acted as my daughter's manager. Faced with a no, encouraged her to make a proposal she'd be willing to take and have her leave it to me to say no to her deal. As you now know, my wife and I said yes, the moral is don't say no. Let others say no to you. Think about what it'd take to get you to say yes, and then make that your counter proposal. Like our daughter, you might be surprised by what you get. There's a time a few years back when someone wanted me to come to Seoul, Korea, to give an after-dinner talk. The timing wasn't great, and I had to fly from New York to Seoul, and then come right back in order to teach my class at Yale. I was tempted to just say, no, thank you. Instead, I explained that this wasn't a convenient time, and proposed a price at which I'd be willing to make the trip. I was clear that I didn't think I was worth that much. But, why should I be the judge of that? The client had twice hired me before to give talks and decided that I was worth it. So, off to Seoul I went. The one bonus I hadn't anticipated is that even though Seoul is halfway around the world and almost 12 hours ahead, if you're only there for dinner, you don't get jet lag.