8 Jane Gregory remembers teaching negotiating skills on the contracts training course


Basically what we would do is go through a basic contract and talk about the whole principle: why you have it; what it’s there for; how it works.  And we used to have role plays and things.  I do remember that.

What happened in the role plays?

I think that you’d have a negotiation.  Because one of the things that I was keen for people to understand is how to negotiate, because it’s not a natural thing for people to do. They sort of, people don’t want to discuss money.  And it’s easier when it’s not yours, but it’s obvious you have to discuss money terms and this has to be a negotiation.  So what someone says isn’t an absolute; the other person has a point of view.  So therefore you have to have a negotiation to get there.  And it’s teaching people how to negotiate.

And then we’d put them into groups and we’d have things like: OK, you’ve got this cup of tea, and you want a cup of tea.  How do you get this cup of tea?  You know, talk about it.  And that would be the sort of daft things we’d do.  And I do remember then they’d have to sort of work out the processes of it.

How many women would attend each course?

About 20.  Not more.  I think that, if I remember rightly, we used to put them in a kind of horseshoe round the room, so they weren’t in serried rows, so that it’s more inclusive, and then we could also go up and be talking to people individually.  But you’d have to have everybody so that they could see what you were writing on the white board or blackboard.

What did you want women to take away from your course?

The whole of publishing was really amateurish, and by understanding what it was all about you are then making the whole business more professional; you’re handling authors better; and you presumably can understand the business and therefore are more likely to make a proper contribution to your company.

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