My next guest is someone I have known for many years, Kamal Sarma.

al is the expert in how to Develop the Focus of a Warrior and the Peace of a Monk – in fact, that’s actually the title of one of his critically acclaimed books.

It’s a big claim – but it’s one that he’s in the unique position to be able to make – because he was one, a monk that is, for 8 years in fact. And since then he’s used the skills around clarity, focus and resilience to dominate in the competitive and fast-paced world of venture capitalism.

I first met Kamal after a mutual friend introduced us over ten years ago. At that point, he was new to the world of thought leadership – and I was new to the world of meditation. We swapped expertise and what followed was many beautiful peaceful evenings with a monk visiting my home.

Since then he’s become an expert – and I’ve stayed a complete meditating novice. However, I have been fortunate enough to access his brilliant insights on many occasions – all of which have been transformative in my own journey with influence.

More recently Kamal has distilled everything he has learnt into his latest book… ‘The Art of Win-Win Conversations: How to Navigate Your Most Challenging, Complex and Critical Conversations Through Connection’

Anyone who has ever sat in a high stakes business conversation, or an emotion-fuelled negotiation with a loved one, will know that a win-win is the holy grail of conversation outcomes. It’s like the unicorn in the room – a way to get everyone’s needs met.

Interestingly – Kamal defines a win/win best as a conversation where all parties have their needs met.

And therein I think lies the key – so often we don’t get to the bottom of what our partner, client or colleagues actually need. Which when you think about it is a big ask – as more often we’re not even able to fully articulate our own.

Have you ever had that situation – where you would ask for what you need – if only you knew what it was? We can always think of what we don’t want, a thousand way we want someone not to behave – a million situations we want not to occur.

But what we actually want? A clean request we can make that would possible, reasonable and respectful – now that’s difficult. Actually no – sometimes that feels more like impossible.

So now you can see why I so wanted him on the podcast.

What Kamal and I explore in this conversation goes to the heart of what conversation is about – a desire to connect, and in order to connect, we need to feel heard. Once the other person feels truly heard, Kamal’s belief (and increasingly my own) is that misunderstanding is often removed, conflict dissolves and the opportunity for connections becomes limitless.

Listen to this Inside Influence Podcast Episode