Jason Mendelson’s 5 Tips on Negotiation

One of my favorite mentors last summer at TechStars was Jason Mendelson.

Jason is a lawyer turned VC and a partner at Foundry Group.

Jason gave a few great talks to our program. One of my favorites was on negotiation. I found a condensed video on the TechStars U Vimeo channel. Here it is along with his tips:

#1 Always prepare

Most people just ‘wing it’ in negotiation  Jason shares the importance of charting out your optimal outcome and knowing where you’re willing to walk away.

#2 Prepare to listen

Jason mentions two concepts that emphasize shutting up and listening. One, you never screw up when your lips are closed. And two, most humans are uncomfortable with silence. People want to fill a void and often they’ll break silence with an improved offer.

#3 Don’t negotiate item by item

Often times, you’ll be negotiating many points, and each will depend upon eachother. It’s wise to get all the issues out on the table before locking them down individually. Additionally, Jason recommends negotiating an easy item first to get comfortable with your partner.

#4 Understand the reputational constraints

If you’re never going to see the person again you can be more brutal. Keep in mind what you want the relationship to be going forward and fine tune your tactics to suit.

#5 Find your advantage

Everyone has something that’s to their advantage in negotiation. Maybe you’ve practiced these tips a lot, or your super-prepared. In the video, Jason gives the example of how busy he is, and that you can use this to your advantage when working with him.


I read this quote on Twitter last week:

You don’t get paid what your worth, you get paid what you negotiate

Hopefully this video helps you negotiate what you’re worth.

Negotiation Basics from Techstars on Vimeo.

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