The Tsai Leadership Program Holds Public Speaking and Negotiations Workshops

Alexandra Carter leading the negotiation workshop
Alexandra Carter of Columbia Law School led a negotiations workshop, one of two skills workshops for students held by The Tsai Leadership Program.

The Tsai Leadership Program held two workshop series this spring — on public speaking and negotiations — designed to equip students with some of the crucial skills needed now and in their future endeavors.

The Public Speaking Workshop, facilitated by Diane Lennard, Clinical Professor of Management Communication at New York University Stern School of Business, provided students with experiential learning activities.

Lennard described the three-day workshop as a small group session designed to strengthen students’ ability to engage audiences of any size, increase their communication effectiveness, and enhance their leadership presence.

“Students left the session feeling more self-confident and aware of their strengths in public speaking,” Lennard said. “I am always heartened when I receive messages from workshop participants that highlight their excitement, rapid progress, and awareness of specific techniques to practice for continual improvement. In the words of one of the YLS students: ‘I have gotten a lot of feedback on my speaking throughout the years, but none has been as supportive and useful as yours. Improving my self-presentation actually feels actionable now.’”

Lennard said public speaking is a critical skill for both professional and personal success.

“It enables us to inform, persuade, and move people to action,” she said. “Effective public speaking skills have many benefits for individual speakers, including the ability to advance their careers, to develop leadership skills, and to communicate important messages in front of key audiences.”

The Negotiations for Lawyers Workshop, facilitated by Columbia Law Clinical Professor of Law Alexandra Carter, demonstrated that negotiation is a skill that can be beneficial in any career setting. Students participated in negotiation exercises and attendees also received Carter’s book, Ask for More: 10 Questions to Negotiate Anything.

Carter said that she hopes students acquired self-awareness about their conflict management styles, and the different ways they can work with those styles to achieve professional and personal satisfaction.

“We redefined the concept of negotiation more broadly, so that students could see how negotiation and leadership go hand in hand across any of the careers they may embark upon after graduation from YLS,” said Carter. “We learned theory and practical strategies relating to money disputes, so that students will be prepared to handle those with confidence — either for themselves or their clients. And we did all this in a highly experiential atmosphere that prioritized practice, coaching, and discussion.”  

Jenna Cook ’24 said she walked away from the Negotiations Workshop with an appreciation for the power of open-ended questions.

“Whenever I ask for something and receive a ‘no,’ instead of perceiving this as the end of the conversation, I can ask: ‘Tell me more about that no. What are your concerns? What would it take for you to feel comfortable with saying yes?’”

Carter said negotiation is more than just deal making.

“Negotiation is like oxygen — it powers people, teams, companies, and nations. Everyone wants to be better at it. And yet so many people, no matter how brilliant or credentialed, haven’t been taught how to overlay negotiation proficiency over their chosen area of practice.”

Mary Herrington, Executive Director of the Chae Initiative in Private Sector Leadership, said each of the workshops taught essential leadership skills — effective communication and negotiation.

“Both workshops encouraged students to start with self-reflection and taught them that the better you know yourself — your strengths and weaknesses — the more effective you will be as a communicator and negotiator. Each workshop offered a wonderful blend of theory with practice and I believe provided an eye-opening experience for students in furtherance of their leadership development,” Herrington said.

Launched in November 2021, The Tsai Leadership Program expands and modernizes the Yale Law School curriculum for the next century, giving it breadth and depth that enhances a traditional legal education. Students are trained to be numerate, tech-savvy global citizens by bringing leading experts to the classrooms and providing an abundance of robust curricular and programmatic opportunities and workshops to help prepare them for any career path they choose.