If it was your first time at the table with JS, his hard handshake, clenched jaw, and piercing cold eyes would have sent the message that the coming talks were likely going to be a challenge. And if you’d sat across from him in the past, you knew this as fact, for you’d learned he viewed a negotiation table as a battlefield. He didn’t care how he treated people; he didn’t care whether they approved of his tactics—he only cared about winning.
Here’s the way one of our close colleagues described her experience:
“It was my bad luck to accept an invitation to have dinner with him before the talks began. Given his reputation, it was a surprisingly pleasant experience; I found him to be quite charming and a good listener. But when we met at the negotiating table the next day, it was as if a switch had been flicked. Gone was that person I’d had dinner with. This person was ruthless.”