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The Magic Wand of Negotiation

By |March 25, 2024

“I need you to wave a magic wand.”

This is the latest Black Swan Method Jedi phrase to accomplish things no one else can do and get people to move mountains for you. This was the phrase I used to retrieve my lost suitcase in the airport. 

And when the woman who moved mountains for me to get my suitcase came walking back up to me, she gave me a high five and exclaimed, “How's that for waving a magic wand?”

If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go as a team.  


Now, here's how this went down.

I was back in my home airport after a long day of travel. And my suitcase is MIA (missing in action). Now I was on a direct flight…so there was no way that my suitcase had been lost in the transition between the two airports. 

I'm standing outside the luggage carousel, and I'm waiting, and I'm waiting and I'm waiting… and my suitcase doesn't show up. 

There is one other poor guy besides me waiting as well.  So I finally accept that I have to walk over to the luggage services office, where nothing but people who are tired, worn out, and angry as bees walk in.  

Now, I am NOT in a bad mood because I'm back home. I'm going to get a good night's sleep that night…  I’ve got an 8-sleep mattress at home, which adjusts temperatures and it gives me an awesome night's sleep. 

So even though it's a long day, I'm kind of in a playful, happy mood. This is the key to this entire negotiation…

Playfulness - the new superpower 

I walk into the luggage Services Office. And for whatever reason, I think to myself, I bet these people are saying to themselves, “These people think we got magic wands”. 

The lady behind the counter says, “How can I help you?”  This, in point of fact, is pretty obvious as there's no other reason I'd be walking in other than the fact that my suitcase is lost. 

So for whatever reason, I say, “I need you to wave a magic wand” in an upbeat and playful tone. She looks at me and says, “Let me see the luggage tag.” 

I show her the receipt that's got the number on it, and she looks in her computer and says, “It says it’s here”.  I say (playfully),  “Well, yeah.. it ain't because I've been waiting by the luggage carousel.” So she comes around from behind the counter, and heads for the luggage carousel. 

Now I have never seen any of these people do this before. And believe me, my suitcases have been lost plenty of times. 

Her: (as we're headed for the carousel), “What's your suitcase look like?” 

Me: “It's this one's big brother”. 

I’ve got matching loud green suitcases with big white duct tape stripes on them to make them stand out. I’ve got my name on the big white stripes in black lettering so that you can spot my suitcase from 100 yards away. This diminishes the chances that anybody's going to walk off with them by accident. 

Her: “What if somebody walked away with this by accident?’ 

Me: “You know, it's not likely because my name is all over it. I got big white stripes on it, nobody's going to take it by accident.” 

So she walks over to the luggage carousel, steps up onto it, and walks down the conveyor belt ramp the suitcases come up out of.

She parts the plastic curtain, sticks her head inside and looks around.  I am further shocked. (Or “gobsmacked” - one of my new favorite words).  

Your income is the average of the 5 professionals you associate with.

Now I’ve got no idea what's going on down there in the bowels of the airport, but somebody told me later that it looks like a superhighway of luggage conveyor belts. 

So, apparently not seeing it, she comes back up and looks at me and says,  “Wait here” and disappears in a side door about 20 yards away. 


Going Above and Beyond

So I'm standing there waiting (and so is this other poor guy waiting on his suitcase). And we stand there for a few minutes. Pretty soon the luggage carousel starts rotating. And a few moments later my suitcase (and his) came out. 

I am astonished. This level of service has never happened for me before.  Normally, these people don't come out of this office at all. 

I'm standing there just happy as a clam. I want to thank her and I wait for a while for her to come back.

And she doesn't come back. And finally, since I need to go,  I look at one of her colleagues and say, “You tell this woman, thank you very much for me. I appreciate everything that she did for me.” 

I start to head for the door and at about the same time, she comes out of the door that she had disappeared into before. 

And as we pass each other she looks at me with a big smile and gives me a high five and says, “Now how's THAT for waving a magic wand?” 

You're 31% smarter in a positive frame of mind.  You're more effective, a better thinker and you're approachable. 

Ask yourself, “What is somebody really saying to themselves when they lay eyes on me?” 

What are they really thinking (defensively) when they see you?

I had never seen anybody work as hard for anybody before in the Luggage Services Office, and this woman was astonishing. 

Thank you!

The Black Swan Group Negotiation 9