I’m a negotiation consultant who works with clients ranging from individuals to schools and non-profits to global companies. On an average day, I work from home and meet with clients either virtually or in person in New York City, where I live. But whenever I travel, I try to maximize the opportunity by fitting in both work and fun. I recently joined my husband and in-laws on a trip to the U.K. to celebrate his grandmother’s 90th birthday, and was able to set up a training engagement at the London branch of the global P.R. company Hill+Knowlton Strategies before the festivities got underway.
8:00 AM — Good morning, London
I landed at Heathrow late the previous night and stayed at my client’s London home. She’s a former colleague and also a friend, so it was especially nice to have a little time together to catch up. We battled the morning commute to her fashionable office in central London and arrived in time to get set up. Thankfully tea, coffee and pastries were waiting for us! I relied on a combination of caffeine and adrenaline to ignore my jet lag and get myself pumped up for the long day ahead.
9:00 AM — Meet HER
I started my day by giving a talk about my life as an entrepreneur and my business as part of a monthly speaker series called Meet H.E.R. (Helping Executives Rise) — the company’s internal initiative to provide resources to rising female employees. These talks are open to anyone at the company and are particularly well-attended by rising women and leaders. I wanted to communicate that not all entrepreneurs drop out of college, put on a hoodie and start tech companies. I’ve found the idea that “you can’t be what you can’t see” is also true the other way around — when you have a model, it’s much easier to imagine yourself breaking out of your comfort zone and forging your own path. My work is as much about providing confidence and inspiration as it is strategies and tactics, so I am always happy to share my own story if it’s useful for someone else.
11:30 AM — Negotiation Training Workshop
Negotiation skills are useful for so much more than salary, and wise companies know that their people must negotiate daily in a variety of contexts as part of their work. I taught a 90-minute workshop designed to give employees the practical knowledge to build and enhance their negotiation skills. Thirty people were nominated by their managing directors to take part in the training session. In this photo, participants are doing a mock negotiation where one person represents him or herself as an employee and the other represents a difficult client who has list of demands. Everyone had the opportunity to role-play from both sides of the negotiation.
8 PM — Down to Devon
After finishing up my workday, I met up with my husband (who also spent the day working at his company’s London office) and in-laws and we drove together about three hours south and west from London to an idyllic county called Devon. When you picture the rolling green hills of muddy England, Devon is what you are envisioning. The family all pitched in to rent a big, beautiful house in the countryside to spend the weekend celebrating Gran’s 90th birthday. The kitchen was furnished with an Aga, which, if you aren’t familiar, is a classic British stove, made from cast iron and always on. The ovens are heated at different temperatures, so you control cooking by moving items between heating elements. I had heard of these but never cooked on one before.
11 PM — Ready to relax
Made it through a long but productive day! I was up at 6:30 to get ready for a long commute and a big day. I gave an hour-long talk, taught a 90-minute training session, had a networking lunch, and traveled out from the city down to one-lane paths through the woods to finally arrive at a countryside getaway and family celebration.
This post originally appeared in Women@Forbes, where Alexandra Dickinson is a contributor. She writes about how to use a negotiation mindset to achieve your goals.