Season 1 | Episode 2
Jul 28, 2020

Negotiation is a super important skill

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Ruby wants a new phone, but her parents aren’t so sure. So we’re going to help her negotiate to get what she wants — through the power of compromise.

This week, we’re learning how to get what we want through negotiation. It’s about empowering kids — and hopefully avoiding big, nasty arguments — by employing new skills like active listening and compromise. Once you’ve become a negotiation expert, it can help with all kinds of things like buying a car or accepting a job offer. But it’s also really useful right now! We’ll put our new skills to the test and help our friend Ruby, who wants to ask her parents for a new smartphone. Plus, we’ve got some great knock-knock jokes, and LeVar Burton tells us who he wants to see on U.S. currency.

Money Talks

Take a minute to recap the episode and review the key points. Here are some questions to get the kids going:

  1. What are some bad techniques for negotiating? What shouldn’t you do?
  2. Why are these bad strategies?
  3. What did Ruby want from her parents? And why did she want it?
  4. Why didn’t Ruby’s parents want her to have a new phone?
  5. How did she negotiate with her parents to get the phone? What did she bring to the table?
  6. Can you think of something you had to negotiate for? How did it go?

(Click here for the answers.)

Tip jar

The first panel shows a girl doing research, reading "to negotiate well, you need to gather intel about what's important to each person." The Second shows the same girl recruiting her an older boy, reading "Next, find a sidekick who can be a go-between for you and the other party." Third shows the girl pacing and ranting to the bored older boy. It says: "Then, create a plan to make the ask, be sure to think through all the possible scenarios." Finally, the fourth panel shows the girl in cool spy shades. It concludes: "And don't forget to keep a cool head! Remember: It's not an argument, it's a discussion."

Here are some more tips for grown-ups:

This article in The Atlantic offers some advice from a variety of mediation and negotiation experts on how to negotiate with kids. 

Our guest, Carrie Menkel-Meadow, mediation expert and law professor at the University of California, Irvine, offered some additional thoughts for parents. 

“It’s so important to realize that you are in a lifelong negotiation with your child,” she told senior producer Bridget Bodnar. “We should treat each negotiation both as its own thing, but also realize we’re creating a long-term relationship with each other.”

Parents may have to say no, but it’s important for children to know those decisions are made out of love, Menkel-Meadow added. “When we’re talking like this with each other, we’re learning how to solve problems together.”

Bodnar also asked Menkel-Meadow: Who’s your favorite negotiator in history? Her answer: management guru Mary Parker Follett. Here’s more on Parker Follett’s often-cited work.

Finally, Menkel-Meadow has even more tips for grown-ups: she talked with our podcast “This Is Uncomfortable” last year about negotiating a salary.

Gimmie Five

Hey, don’t forget! If you want to nominate yourself or someone you know as a Dollar Scholar, let us know here. (Oh, and if you’ve got any good knock-knock jokes, Jed Kim’s always on the hunt!)

Chances are you or your kids still have more questions. That’s great! We’re always looking for ideas to explore, so we’d love to hear from you. Click here to send us your question.

Money Talks answers

  1. Annoying repetition, throwing temper tantrums, making threats.
  2. They’ll probably just make the other person frustrated and angry. Or you might get in trouble.
  3. A new phone to stay in touch with her friends.
  4. It cost too much, and they were worried about her spending too much time on screens.
  5. She offered to help cover the cost, and she offered to limit her screen time.
  6. Answers will vary

(Click here to go back to the top.)

One more thing: parents might remember the 1999 Disney Channel movie “Smart House.” LeVar Burton directed it, and he talked with Marketplace about smart home technology a couple years ago.

Listening makes you smarter…
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“Million Bazillion” is Marketplace’s first podcast just for kids that answers the awkward, and sometimes surprising questions that they have about money through fun skits and a lot of creativity.

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The team

Jed Kim Host
Bridget Bodnar Senior Producer
Ben Tolliday Sound designer
Sanden Totten Editor
Erica Phillips Writer/Producer
Tony Wagner Digital Producer
Sitara Nieves Executive Director of On-Demand

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