Archive for: May, 2023

Effective Sales Presentation – Knowing The Dos and Don’ts

May 30 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

In order to close the deal within the shortest period of time, it is important for the sales personnel to have good presentation skills. If you want your audiences to take further action right after listening to your presentation, you need to bear in mind all the dos and don’ts as follows:

• Before you do your sales presentation, you need to make sure that you have done proper preparation. Get yourself well prepared if you need to use presentation tools. You may need to present at your office or at clients’ office. You must not do last minute work. If you need to amend your presentation slides or handouts, do it earlier. Never ever amend them on the spot. If you do so, your potential clients’ may lose confidence on you.

• Your audiences may not know you at all before the presentation. Hence, you are reminded to introduce yourself in a friendly manner and start to gain rapport with them. Taking the time to do this may help to enhance your performance.

• Stop being so theoretical, intellectual and statistical. You will definitely turn your potential clients of. Your aim is to promote your products or services. You need to find ways to simplify the descriptions. Most of the people want simple and practical explanation. They won’t entertain you if the content of your presentation is too “heavy”. When you prepare the content, ask yourself honestly whether people can understand what you say easily.

• First impression is always important. You need to impress your audiences with your powerful presentation. You are reminded not to forget your attire. Stop dressing like you just came back from the beach or you are on the way to pub or disco. Potential purchasers like sales personnel who look professional. A well-kept look gives you extra points on credibility before you even open your mouth. You stand a high chance to secure big orders if you dress appropriately.

• You need to act smart. Stop being insensitive. Never ever use negative and disrespectful jokes or stories. You may insult your potential clients and they will definitely leave you. It will be good for you to avoid topics related to religions or culture.

If you want to be the top sales, the very first thing you need to do is to brush up your presentation skills. By doing so, you will be able to impress your potential clients successfully and close the deal fast.

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Presentation Planning – Know Your Audience

May 29 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

There is a saying that the effective presentation is the relevant presentation. And it is equally true that the effective presenter is the one who provides relevance to their audience. In both instances we note that relevance is the biggest determinant when we come to judge the effectiveness of any presentation. But what is relevance if it is so important? Well, for starters it is incredibly simple for something that is so important. To be relevant, in the minds of our audience, our presentation has to associate its title, subject matter, content and findings with the immediate cares and interests of the audience. I did say that it was simple.

But for something that is so simple it is often overlooked. If we think of the presentation from the mindset of the audience. The value that the audience extracts from their participation has to outweigh the costs that they incur in their attendance — time, travel and reputation costs. None of these costs can be overlooked — particularly that of time which surely has the largest value. If the audience judges that their time is better spent doing something else or listening to someone else then we have hardly been effective. Knowing the costs incurred in participation, therefore, our task is to make the presentation as relevant and topical as it can possibly be — looking to outweigh the costs of audience participation with our added value. That is the immediate hurdle.

Knowing our audience better is the first step in achieving relevance and getting to an effective presentation. And like most marketing activities there are some useful techniques to help us know our audience or market better. These techniques give us the means to segment our audience, to profile their likely drivers and gauge their responsiveness to our presentation. There are several methods that we adopt to help us get started:

  • We can refer to former participants at an event. First of all we should speak to colleagues and acquaintances about the event in which we plan to speak. We can easily establish who attended the event the previous year and their rationale for being there. They could also clarify what benefit they expected to derive from their presence and the success of the outcome.
  • We can refer to the event organisers. The organisers will give us access to a participant list — perhaps last year’s list and a summary of delegates for the planned event. The listing will provide details on the participants by name, job title, organisation and industry sector at the bare minimum. It might go further with geographic base details for instance. With these records we can establish a picture of the “typical” participant and gain some insight into their likely requirements. You should note here that for many organisations the event organiser is likely to be an internal team member and, very often, is either the Executive Assistant of the VP or Director — discretion is needed!
  • We can always contact other speakers. Organisers will put us in touch with other speakers for earlier events in addition to the planned event. If there is any difficulty with earlier events, note that where the previous year’s event was publicized on the web there will inevitably be a string of contact details still available. Other speakers will give us further insight into audience characteristics, their likes and dislikes. They can also tell us what worked and what did not in their presentations — how effective were they?

Knowing how our audience is selected for an event can also be telling, not least because their selection impacts how we know and understand them and how we prepare material that is relevant. Typically our audience can be selected in one of 3 ways:

  1. Self-selection — where the audience has actively chosen to participate in a conference, discussion forum or association meeting. This audience will give us the most information about their likely needs. But they are also likely to be the most demanding.
  2. Selected — where the audience has been co-opted to attend a meeting in-house or off-site. In all likelihood this will be an organisation briefing, a sales conference or some kind of distributor event. This audience is likely to be the most homogeneous and there will be plenty of information about them. If not demanding, they will certainly demand relevance to keep their attention.
  3. Passing traffic — where the audience attends an event spontaneously or without any prior arrangement. We come across these passing traffic audiences at trade shows, exhibitions and expositions where the organisers offer seminar opportunities that are available to all show attendees. If we plan to give such a seminar we will have little prior knowledge of who will join us on the stand or in the seminar room — but analysing the previous year’s list of attendees is essential.

By analysing audience data we can establish the framework for strong and relevant presentation content. We should now have a good idea of the particular interests of our audience, their requisite needs, their dislikes, and their primary drivers. With this information we can incorporate topical elements into the presentation’s content. We can introduce industry sector news and key issues into the subject matter. We can make reference to key figures in certain organisations or industries — we can demonstrate that we have a rapport with the people and concerns that fill our audience’s working days. In demonstrating relevance we also demonstrate effectiveness. We still have some way to go, not least we have to ensure that our presentation is useful and meets our mission requirements, but we have achieved relevance by knowing our audience. We are well down the path to being an effective presenter.

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PowerPoint: How to Launch a Presentation Automatically As a Slide Show

May 28 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

By default, PowerPoint saves your slide presentation as a PowerPoint presentation file with the .pptx file extension which, when double-clicked, launches PowerPoint. The presentation opens in whatever view was open when you saved it such as the Normal view or Slide Sorter view. If you want your slide show to immediately launch in the Slide Show view, however, you need to save your file as a PowerPoint Show. Even if you haven’t used this feature before, you’ve probably opened these files before as a photo presentation shared by a friend or colleague.

To Save a PowerPoint Presentation as a PowerPoint Show:

  1. Choose the File tab.
  2. Select Save As.
  3. Pick the Save as type as PowerPoint Show.
  4. Type a name for your slide show in the File name text box (you can use the same name and location as your.pptx/presentation file) and click Save. Your PowerPoint slide show file is saved with a .ppsx extension.

Now, the next time you or anyone else opens your presentation from outside of PowerPoint, your slide show immediately launches in Slide Show view. When you navigate past the last slide, the file automatically closes. To open the file for editing, just launch PowerPoint, and open as you would a standard presentation. If you have access to the original presentation, you may prefer to open the .ppt/.pptx file to edit and save again as a slide show file. Most important, is to manage your files so you are working with the most current version.

BONUS TIP: When I save my presentations as a PowerPoint Show, I save the file to my desktop for easy access during speaking and training engagements. If needed, I can also quickly close and re-open the file without launching PowerPoint and without showing everyone all of my slides. To move to a specific slide in a presentation while in the slide show view, just type the slide number and press [Enter]. To make these moves easier, print out a handout of your presentation and number each slide for quick navigation. I just use a Sharpie marker–sometimes analog is faster.

BONUS TIP #2: In addition to saving PowerPoint shows to my desktop, I also add a black slide to the beginning. Although this may not apply to your presentations, I navigate in and out of my slide show as I am also demonstrating software features and facilitating discussions within my training classes and conference sessions. With a black slide at the start, I can launch the slide show with a neutral, blank slide and then use the keyboard shortcut to type the slide number and press [Enter] to move to a specific slide within the presentation.

Were these PowerPoint tips helpful? Grab your handout of other quick and easy PowerPoint shortcuts and discover more PowerPoint techniques here.

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Communication Strategies For Presentations

May 27 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Sometime during your career, you will probably be called upon to give a presentation. In the business world, a presentation can either make or break a business deal. Being able to use your communication skills as an effective way to present your ideas will demonstrate your leadership skills and bring you closer to a promotion.


When you go to give your presentation, bring note cards. Note cards can make a good reference material in case you forget what you’re going to say. With just a quick glance at your notes, your memory will be refreshed. Once you regain your train of thought, the presentation can go on running smoothly.


As a presenter, you should anticipate questions about the material you are presenting. If you have an idea of what kind of questions will be asked of you, you will be better prepared to handle and answer the questions without hesitation.


Chances are you will be presenting to a large, attentive audience. You will not only want your audience to be paying attention to what you say, but will want them hooked on your every word as well. That’s impossible unless you speak clearly. You don’t want someone to stop you every during the whole presentation, constantly asking you to repeat something or to speak louder. Interruptions like these will disrupt the flow of your ideas and bring down the quality of your presentation.


The usage of examples during your presentation is an ideal way to deal with questions before they arise. Using examples help make everything clearer and easier to understand. Examples should be based on well researched instances or data collected from a survey. Communication of examples makes your presentation easier to comprehend, too.


The presence of visual aids not only gives your presentation a boost and makes it easier to understand, but it also makes the presentation more interesting. There’s no rule that says a presentation has to be boring. Presentations can go on for a long time, and sometimes, they can be hard to pay attention to, but the presenter can use visuals as a communication aid. Visual aids can be, but aren’t limited to, hand outs, diagrams, and slide shows. Think outside the box and be creative. The more interesting your visual aids are the more memorable your presentation will be. Making presentations can be both stressful and nerve-racking, but if you put these strategies into practice, you’ll be on your way to becoming a much sought after presenter.

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From Bust To Best: How To Increase The Quality Of Your Presentation In Under And Hour

May 27 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

As you gaze outside of your window to see the sun peeking out from behind the clouds on what you thought was a predictable day, your boss walks by to let you know that a top prospect is coming by the office in about two hours. You think this is good news for your organization only to hear your boss say, “I would like you to do a 45-minute presentation.”

Immediately your heart rate increases, you start to perspire and perhaps your head is spinning. Your meek reply in the affirmative reveals your lack of confidence in your abilities. What if your reply was more akin to, “Sure, I’ll be glad to knock our prospect’s socks off with a great presentation.” What would need to change in your approach in the next two hours for you to deliver a presentation that is your best instead of one that went bust?

Presentations have a way of leaving a legacy long after your program has ended. Even if the prospect doesn’t buy from you right now, a high quality presentation will definitely be remembered in a positive light. This might mean referral business down the road. Plus the quality of your presentation will impact how your boss and any other co-workers view you and your abilities. This may affect future assignments of your choice and even your promotion prospects.

Is this enough pressure? Many people in a similar situation take the stress that they are under and pour ‘gasoline on the fire’ as their panic and worries further erupt. While it is important to acknowledge one’s feelings of inadequacy, they must quickly be replaced by feelings of positive action. You can worry all you want, but the real question to ask yourself is, “How can I improve the quality of my presentation now?”

We are a society of storytellers. This is in spite of the pressures of instant messaging, cell phones and programming your personal digital assistant to vibrate each time you receive an E-mail. Your audience won’t remember the three features about your product or service. They will remember the story you told about a photograph that relates to the three key benefits to them.

In photography there is a concept called the Rule of Thirds. The Ancient Greeks discovered that all beautiful works or art could be divided into thirds. Showing a photograph of three windmills, one in the left hand plane, one in the center and one in the right hand plane might be the metaphor for your organization’s three key benefits to your prospect. One of the windmills can stand for ‘great relationships.’

Change Your Surroundings
At this point, you probably have worried for about 10 minutes. You are now down to and hour and 50 minutes to both prepare your presentation and arrive a little early into the room where you will present. The absolute best thing you can do right now is to get out of your office and change your surroundings. This is a critical first step that most people overlook. Your physical state of being will definitely affect your emotional state. For example, it’s hard to come up with new ideas when you are constantly in the same surroundings.

You just received uncomfortable news, your body language probably isn’t the most positive (i.e. slumped shoulders, head down, etc) and what you need to do is to change your body language and surroundings by going for a walk. Head for the elevator or the front door and plan to stroll at a comfortable pace for a few minutes.

While you are walking take deep relaxing breaths. Don’t forget to take your notebook or a journal and a pen. You’ll need these items in a minute or two. I like to find the nearest coffee shop that is playing relaxing Jazz music. It’s important to limit your distractions. You need to focus all of your energy and creativity on the task at hand.

Visualize Your Success
Just as you are sitting down to a cup of gourmet coffee, close your eyes and imagine your prospective customer enjoying your presentation. At the end of the presentation, imagine your prospective inspired enough to take positive action that you have controlled based on your presentation quality. Keep breathing deeply and smile as you look up towards the ceiling. Describe in your notes how you are going to feel, the confident way you will be standing and how the rest of your week will be affected in a positive way.

In photography a picture isn’t taken per se, it is actually made. When I make a photograph, I have to anticipate the shot and try to insert myself in the right place at the right time. I visualize how the final photograph is going to look even before I press the shutter. This is why I might wait for an interesting person to walk in front of a bright yellow background.

Develop a Framework
Just as writers develop an outline for an article, story or book, it is critical for you to develop a framework. This framework relates to the sections that you will be presenting to your prospect. Let’s say that you now have an hour and 30 minutes to prepare. This is still plenty of time.

I have worked with various types of organizations and have found the following framework works best if you have about 45 minutes to present. You can reduce or increase the amount of time around each section, but spend most of the total time talking about the prospect or getting the prospect to tell you what is important to them. I am going to make an assumption in that you know something about your prospect already.

· Introduction about Organization = 5 minutes
· About the Prospect = 10-15 minutes
· Optional Special Segment = 5 minutes
· Assurance (past performance) = 10-15 minutes
· Summary = 3-5 minutes

Simple is Powerful
At this point resist the temptation to front-load your presentation with your organization’s history, how you were acquired, and the fact that your chairman or director is the grand nephew of a former U.S. President. It just doesn’t matter. The only thing that is going to ultimately matter in your presentation is how your products or services are of value to your prospect. Now that you have developed the framework, start filling in the sections. The first section is the introduction. Start by introducing yourself and anyone else in the room from your organization. This is part of putting people first, because it will be the solid relationships that get the product or service to your prospect and provide for repeat business. Remember the earlier story about great relationships and the windmill? Next you need to talk about your themes and how they are of direct benefit to the prospect. This will get their attention right away.

Let me go back to a metaphor. When the simple shapes like the circle, triangle and square are used in a photograph, the photograph becomes more powerful. This is because it is easy for people to ‘get it.’ The primary reason why people are photographed against plain backgrounds is the photographer wants the viewer to be naturally drawn to the person and not be distracted by a cluttered background. The simple photographs are the most powerful ones because the message or messages get though to the viewer easily.

When you have simple messages that are meaningful to your prospects, they ‘get through’ the distractions and are easily remembered. And if you weave them through your program so that they can be repeated appropriately, your prospect will be more inclined to take positive action. Simple messages are the most powerful. An example of a good simple message is great relationships.

Remember It’s All About Them
Now that you have successfully planted your key messages, you need to make sure they pass the value check. Many organizations get confused between features and benefits. A computer software company that has knowledgeable technical staff is definitely not a benefit. This is a feature. The benefit or more appropriately the value to your prospect is their software will have the maximum ‘on’ or up time to benefit your prospect’s operation. Seeing how bug free the software actually is one way to check this.

If you will be assigning a dedicated project manager to your prospect, the feature of this arrangement will be a single point of contact. The value you bring to your prospect is ‘Strong Relationships.’ Notice I didn’t say exactly ‘great relationships,’ but I said strengthen relationships. This is another way to weave your messages. You don’t have to necessarily repeat everything exactly.

Now that you’ve made your value known, how does your prospect know that you can deliver? Where have you done this type of work before? On a recent prospect appointment, I met with an executive from the construction industry. He asked if I had worked with any other construction companies in the past improving the presentation skills of their executives.

While it might have been helpful to show a portfolio of work from the construction industry, what he really wanted was the assurance that I am capable and competent to do the work with stellar results. This means being familiar with the type of people in his industry and their buzzwords.

I mentioned my work with executives in the architectural field. This is a related industry and one that is integral to the work performed in construction. I went on to say it is more important to bring diverse ideas from outside of the industry. New ideas will allow for innovative thinking and improved results. However, if you do have specific industry experience, then it is appropriate to bring it up in this section too.

When I took a photograph of the U.S. Capitol early one winter morning, I knew that I had to get up before first light and arrive at the Reserve Officers Association (ROA). The ROA is directly across from the front of the U.S. Capitol. As I set up my camera and tripod on the roof of the ROA, I knew that I would only have about 20 minutes of light in what is known as the magic hour. It should really be called the magic minutes. My past performance in taking architectural photographs gave my current customer the assurance I would be competent enough to perform the work with stellar results.

Weave Your Messages
As you develop your program, keep coming up with ways to weave your key messages into your presentation. If you are planning on assigning a project manager to your prospect, then one of your key themes for the presentation ought to be ‘Great Relationships.’

You would have introduced the concept by introducing your people first. If you were a bit cleverer, you would have told a story around the value your organization places on relationships. Since you know your prospect, you would want to show how they value great relationships too. In the assurance section, you would want to make reference to other clients where great relationships were critical to the success of your joint operation.

Do you see how the appropriate placement of your key messages helps to control what your prospect is going to remember? The way to tie a ribbon around your weave of key messages is to tell a story that directly relates to your message of ‘Great Relationships.’

Create a Powerful Close
I am always amazed at how much time individuals spend on crafting the beginning of their presentations. Typically it’s always about them to boot! It’s important to spend sufficient time to create a powerful ending that relates to your prospect. When I mentioned the importance of stories in our society, I touched upon the importance of simple, yet powerful communications. While you might not have remembered this exact wording, I’ll bet you remembered the concept of simple photographs with triangles, circles and squares are the most powerful.

Let me go back to a key message of great relationships. Can you think of a story in your organization or in your profession that depended upon great relationships? Expand your field of view even further and look at your previous experience. Maybe you were in the military and you know the high value placed on relationships by your fellow soldiers.

My Grandfather was a sergeant in WWI during the Second Battle of the Marne in 1918. His position was overrun at one point and he was wounded. He used his survival skills to hide under the debris around him. He pretended to be dead as bayonets poked frighteningly close. After the enemy passed, he slowly got up and found a buddy from his unit who couldn’t walk.

My Grandfather limped back to friendly lines over two miles away while carrying a wounded comrade on his shoulders. For his heroism he was awarded the Purple Heart. Clearly the military values great relationships. If you had this kind of story, can you see how powerful it can be? It is more powerful if it directly relates to the value or key messages that you introduced in the beginning.

Now that you have a powerful ending story and a solid framework, go back and craft a good opening story. A good opening story is designed to get the audience’s attention and to hold their interest. A good opening story about great relationships might relate to your organization’s emphasis on giving employees the time to have outside professional interests in groups or associations. Mention the key relationships that are developed in these places and how they increase the connection your organization has to the community. Give a specific example.

Take Another Walk
Congratulations are in order. You were able to create a great presentation in about an hour. Since you have about 30 minutes remaining, you better get back to your office and into the conference room early. However, the last thing you want to do know is to hurry. Walk confidently back to your office and visualize how impressive your presentation is going to be. Keep breathing deeply and relax.

At one client, I had finished a three-hour information-gathering meeting only to be asked unexpectedly to speak for about 15 minutes to the entire office of 80 people. The principals of the firm wanted me to present a roadmap of program we were going to be implementing. I didn’t want to go directly from one meeting to another, so I went outdoors. I told the principals of the firm that I needed a few minutes to prepare.

This involved me heading out of the office to take a walk around the block for 10 minutes or so. During this time I practiced deep breathing and had my camera with me. I was able to take a very interesting photograph of Georgetown in the early evening during those magic minutes. Doing something completely different for a few minutes helped me to reset my mind and provided an effective transition to the next task.

Present with Power
Another deep breath and ahhh you’re on! You have your notes to the side in case you loose track of your place. Since you have a framework, you don’t have to follow a script or notes written too small for you to read. The only things to remember are your three key messages.

When you have more time, you can further develop the content you just created by practicing. A key concept organizations need to embrace is creating and nourishing a culture of presentation excellence. An important part of this culture is ‘blessing’ employees who take time to rehearse their presentations. When you rehearse and rehearse again, you can better control what you want your prospect to remember.

As you tighten the weave of your messages in the same way that a spider tightens the weave of her web, you will be able to move toward what is known as the Quality Quadrant. This is an area where your content is pretty much finished, so you can focus on your delivery. The more polished your delivery is, the more natural your presentation will seem to your audience. With limited time, you need to focus on your messages and repeat them appropriately.

These messages are the value that your organization brings to your prospect. It is the glue that holds your presentation together and will be the items that you prospect is likely to remember especially when you match your messages with appropriate stories. At the end of the day, we enjoy listening to and telling stories. When you change your surroundings, visualize your success, create an effective framework and weave key messages into your presentation alongside of appropriate stories, the great relationships you are showing to be of immense value will shine through.

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12 Steps to Better Negotiating

May 23 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Communication skills are critical to negotiating; it’s the ability to read others that leads to success.

Yet many negotiations are lost because people work at selling their position and don’t spend enough time fishing for viewpoints and objectives of others.

People with the best negotiating skills are most often the winners.

The following steps will improve the odds of success and help get you want you want.

1. Listen Intently – Active listening is the #1 skill in negotiating. LISTEN! Realize that most people are trained to talk at people. Use that knowledge to your advantage.

2. Prepare To Win Or Be Sure To Lose – Prepare, prepare, prepare.

3. Know What You Want, Aim High – Do not be afraid to ask for more. Be an optimist and it will be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

4. Find Out What The Other Side Wants – The other side would not be there if they had nothing to gain. What are they after and how can you help them meet their needs? Ask open-ended questions.

5. Do Not Make Unilateral Concessions – Don’t offer across the board deals. “Lets work together,” is far different from, “Anything you want.”

6. There Is Power In Your Walk-Away Alternative – You never disclose this and never threaten. At what point will you walk away is your secret. If you put that on the negotiating table, it may be perceived as arrogance.

7. Do Not Allow Others To Intimidate You – Your point of view or issues are not less important than the people you negotiate with.

8. Be Patient. Try Not To Make The First Move – You may jump the gun before you understand the game. It is virtually impossible to negotiate if the pressure is on to make something happen immediately.

9. Be Suspicious Of Deadlines – They may be phony and a ploy to pressure you into making a bad decision if time runs out.

10. Be Reasonable And Flexible – Look for a satisfying agreement for both parties.

11. Negotiation Is A Process – Remember that negotiations are a process and often take time to consummate. Don’t be quick to rush to conclusion.

12. Deal Honestly And Ethically – Deal with integrity; you may need future opportunities to negotiate with the same people in the future

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When Negotiating, Ask Questions To Help Uncover Goals

May 22 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

When you sit down to a negotiating table remember to ask lots of questions as this helps both parties uncover the other’s wants, needs and goals. Asking questions also leads the parties to better understand the feelings and styles of the other party. Additionally, questions help clarify the statements a party makes to the other and shows their understanding of the issues in the negotiations. Moreover, asking questions allows you to move the negotiation in the direction you want it to go in.

First, effectively asking questions is one of the most important skills a negotiator has. This is partly so because asking questions skillfully helps both parties uncover the other’s wants, needs and goals. It is necessary for each party to at least have an idea of the negotiating goals of the other party so the thing given will be what the negotiator wants.

If a person sits at the table and asks for something that is not attainable the other person has no choice but to say, “No, you are not going to get that.” But if the person knows the counter-party’s wants, needs and goals the person can at least offer some concession, some compromise that will effectively meet the needs of the counter-party. Suppose a woman is asking for a raise at her job. If the supervisor has many people working under her management she may know little of the person asking for the raise. However, if after a little conversation and some well-aimed questions the manager may say no to the raise, but offer to let the woman get off earlier so she can pick up her child form day care. Here the thing initially sought, the raise, was not attainable, yet getting off early was something the woman needed and could, therefore, be an effective compromise solution in this negotiation.

Second, asking questions also leads the parties to better understand the feelings and styles of the other party. It may have been outrageous for the manager to suggest that the woman asking for a raise get off early. After all, that could mean less hours and therefore less pay, not more. If the woman needed the money or she would not be able to feed her family the suggestion of more time off could be a deal killer. The woman would that night be on the phone trying to find another job. A costly mistake for the manager. Ask questions and actively listen. Try to dig deeper than the surface answer given so as to understand the feelings of the other party.

Thirdly, questions help clarify the statements a party makes to the other and shows their understanding of the issues in the negotiations. Asking what a person means is often the best way to learn why they said what they said, not just what they said. If your counter-party does not understand why you are negotiating with them it could be difficult to get what you want. When the other person does not understand the issue and the effects of it you will have a hard time moving them to your way of thinking.

Fourth, asking questions allows you to direct the negotiations along the path you want them to take. Asking your questions makes the counter-party think about your side of the issue, even if in disagreement. If your arguments are reason-based and you have prepared your negotiation efforts you can make a compelling case that the person should do as you want. Correct reasoning will not always win the day, but it frequently will. Most people will listen to you, even if they do not want to change, if you can persuade their version of the issue is error and you are basing your version of verifiable facts.

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The Amateur Negotiator’s Top 20 Boners

May 21 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

 In 1979, Royal Little, the 83-year founder of Textron and father of the modern conglomerate, wrote a book titled, How to Lose $100,000,000 And Other Valuable Information. It chronicled some of his colossal business failures, and how he learned from them. Mr. Little kept a picture in his office of the yacht on which his company lost millions as a symbol of his foolish mistakes. His point was that it is often far more beneficial in business, to study what not to do. Since we cannot possibly live long enough to make all the mistakes ourselves, learning from the mistakes of others is also efficient. 

Applying that wisdom, let’s examine what mistakes to avoid in negotiation. This list of my top twenty list boners, while no means exhaustive, does highlight many common errors. See if you can find any of your favorites in the list.

1. Accepting the first offer. If you do, it will drive you nuts. How do you know that you could not have done better? The buyer has an obligation to beat the price down, no matter how good the first offer.

2. Being the first to name the price. This sets the stage for an auction where price is all that matters. Kodak sells priceless memories, not low priced film. The solution to the problem sells far more than does a cheap product or service. 

3. Being the first to offer to split the difference. Instead, get the other guy to offer to split the difference. This tactic transfers veto power to the other side. I once had a customer who bemoaned the fact that we were so close, and how he hated to see the deal fall apart. In a misguided gesture of conciliation (without getting conditional agreement first), I offered to split the difference. The next day, he told me that he had considered my offer, but still could not go along, but we were so close… I offered to split it again, to which he agreed. He gave 25% and I gave 75%. 

4. Falling in love with the deal. Do you love your spouse? Your kids? Your pets? Then why would you ever consider loving anything that cannot love you back? This trait is not all bad, because it represents our devotion to duty. Do not let that emotional investment take over rationale thinking.

5. Inadequate preparation. Most people mistakenly think that most negotiation activity takes place face to face, and involves high power tactics and counter tactics. In fact, only about 5% to 10% of the actual negotiation time will be face to face. The lion’s share of the time is in researching and planning. Information and a written negotiation organized plan are the hallmarks of the negotiation pro. 

6. Divulging your time frame. The likelihood of foolish and expensive decisions increases as the amount of lead-time decreases. In the early 80′s, I imported construction technology from Europe. After many meetings in the US, and several trips to Europe, the time was right to close the deal, so off I went to France. Upon arrival, I announced to my hosts that I was there for only four days, we had a lot to do, and I expected to leave with a completed deal. For 3 1/2 days we negotiated in circles until it all fell apart. On the ride to the airport, my hosts assured me that we could still do the deal, if I would only be “a little more reasonable”. They got more out of me in those last twenty minutes than in the whole year we had known each other. Looking back, I could have stayed on for another week, and probably struck a more favorable deal, but I lost by trapping myself in my own time frame.

7. Leaving issues dangling. This habit, at best, encourages argument, and at worst, invites constant renegotiation. Drive a stake through the heart of issues, adopt measures to ensure they cannot be resurrected as bargaining points, and move on.

8. Going for the kill. Suppose you miss? Do you really need the extra enemy? Resolve to leave egos, dignity and wallets in tact when you leave the table.

9. Failing to listen. The best negotiators I know are the by no coincidence also best listeners. Listening skills are rare, and not easily mastered. It is possible, and in most cases highly likely, that we can give the other side what they want at low cost to us if we listen carefully enough.

10. Ignoring conflict. Conflict in negotiation is inevitable. Each party has something that the other wants! Think of conflict as rain: we expect it, it is never welcome, but we respect it for the good it does. 

11. Talking about people, not issues. This is a real amateurish mistake. Ad homonym attacks never accomplish anything good, no matter how justified. Focus on the problem and how to resolve it. As one of the celluloid icons of American business, The Godfather once noted, “Nothing personal here, its just business.”

12. Ending on a sour note. Mutual satisfaction requires mutual commitment. If one side feels cheated or unsatisfied, how much can we count on their commitment? 

13. Missing a Win-Win opportunity. The selfishness or greed of one side breeds a culture of resentment that will unleash its revenge at the first opportunity.

14. Arguing! Save that for the lawyers. Negotiation involves only two, reasonable and willing, parties. If your negotiation efforts and skills fail, you’ll have plenty of time to add an expensive third party litigant.

15. Losing self-control.This puts the other guy in control. The justification that I hear most often is that, “He made me so mad.” Horse feathers! No one can make you mad; you have to let him or her do it to you. If I can drive you to an emotional reaction, I can manipulate you and I can control you. Why would you ever give that much control to a perfect stranger?

16. Impatience. This is a weapon we often donate as a free gift for the other side to use against us. If our impatience is caused by lack of preparation, or advancing deadline, we have another problem. Otherwise, be prepared to listen patiently. Stalling is an instinctive tactic when the other side senses impatience.

17. Threatening. You can often tip your hand on strategy by threatening alternative actions. Take a clue from Washington diplomats who never rule any option in or out, and thus never threaten anything. If they announced their military preparedness, for instance, they might unwittingly put their forces in harm’s way.

18. Belittling and Grandstanding. There is never any room for this in professional negotiation circles. It is clear lack of respect, and invites retaliation. You would not be at the table if you did not want something, so why make it harder for yourself? 

19. Having no clearly defined walk away position. Winging it is a sure nosedive to failure. The ultimate power in negotiation is the ability to say “No”, and to live with the deal. Do you remember Alice in Wonderland? When Alice came to the fork in the road, and the White Rabbit asked her where she wanted to go, Alice answered, “I don’t know”. Advised the White Rabbit in reply, “Then, any road will get you there”. Alice was not much of a negotiator. 

20. Misunderstanding power. In seminars, I will ask buyers, “Who has more power in buy/sell settings?” Virtually always, the immediate response is, “The buyer”. To which I pose this follow up question, “Well, why then are we negotiating with them if we have all this power?” Power is truly in the perception. If you think that you have it, you have it. Do not assume that the other guy has more

The good news is that not making these twenty mistakes in the course of your every day commerce will vastly improve your negotiation skills. The better news is that it doesn’t cost $100,000,000 to learn them!

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Disruptive Negotiation

May 20 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

The world is being disrupted – in every area. From Airbnb, to Uber and Grab to Bitcoin, established industries are being turned upside-down. Old-style operators are losing market share at a terrifying rate. Innovative organisations have recognised that this is not an aberration, it is a trend; and smart businesses will use this wave of disruption to surf past the competition and leave them in their wake.

So, it just makes sense for clever negotiators to use disruption to increase their success. There are many opportunities for disruptive behaviour in a negotiation. Here are some you can use immediately.

Disrupt the Opening

Traditional negotiators enter a negotiation seeking to assert their power and authority. They aim to intimidate the other party, dominate them from the outset so they will moderate their demands and be willing to accept less.

Disruptive negotiators leave their desire to dominate at the door. Instead, they start softly and gently, aiming to understand the other party’s interests, priorities and concerns. This way, they can assess which parts of their offering to emphasise when it comes to putting their proposal.

Disrupt the Sharing

Negotiation used to be like playing poker – wearing your ‘poker-face’ to conceal your feelings and using bluff as one of your main tools. Disruptive negotiators use unexpected disclosure to shock and disarm their opponents. They will share some information the other side does not expect. They will explain the interests that formed the basis of their proposal, rather than just putting their offer and ‘hard-selling’ it. They will share their feelings and invite the other party to do the same.

Disrupt the Process

Old-style negotiators got ‘down to business’ straight away. They slapped their offer on the table, invited the other side to do the same so they could start bargaining. Disruptive negotiators hold their offer back until some sharing of interests and feelings have occurred. They start a non-binding dialogue where they are able to probe each other’s priorities before putting any formal offers. Once bargaining starts, information sharing stops. Smart negotiators recognise that the more information is shared, the better the chance of identifying the ways each side can offer the other the maximum value in the deal.

Disrupt your Attitude

Negotiation used to be like a sporting contest where the aim was to win by focussing relentlessly on pursuing your needs. Smart modern negotiators disrupt this by aiming to create the deal that is most likely to have their opponents say ‘yes’. It’s not a contest, it is a joint problem-solving exercise. The decision is easy because they make the other side’s satisfaction paramount. They know that a negotiation is the start of a working relationship and if it causes resentment on either side (because they feel they were out-negotiated) then making this deal work will be difficult if not impossible.

Disrupt the Close

It used to be all about getting the signature, the handshake, the commitment; and applying whatever pressure was necessary to get it. Disruptive negotiators might put the final decision aside and move on to discussing implementation problems – knowing that when solutions to these problems are clear saying ‘yes’ is much easier. A negotiation that fails in implementation (and research has shown that between 75% and 97% do) is a waste of time and resources for both sides and can ruin a potentially profitable relationship.

Disruption in negotiation is about finding smarter ways to deal with others. Using these techniques will surprise your opponents. They will think “there’s something different about this person”. They may even recognise you as an innovative disrupter with the potential to great massively successful agreements.

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How To Make Powerful Heart Gestures In A Negotiation – Negotiation Tip of the Week

May 19 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

“How To Make Powerful Heart Gestures In A Negotiation”

“… and he had the audacity to touch his heart with the back of his hand.”

Where body language is concerned in a negotiation, heart gestures are powerful moves because they’re supposed to connote sincerity. When done correctly, they suggest that the purveyor is being honest and forthright. Here’s the rub. Good negotiators are aware of the potency of this gesture. Some use it to feign sincerity when nothing could be further from the truth.

This article contrasts some of the differences between heart gestures in a negotiation. It also highlights how you can make powerful heart gesture moves when you’re negotiating. If you want to increase your negotiation abilities, take note.

  1. Suspect Heart Gestures:

a. Quick hand movement (hands move towards the heart and then quickly moves away – possibly denoting a quick feeling of emotion/sincerity) Note the point that action occurs to discern the degree of sincerity. If done excessively, an attempt to feign sincerity could be afoot.

b. Non-synchronized hand movement – (hand moves towards heart but not at the pace of speech – denotes lack of sincerity) Speech and body movement are synchronized. A lack of synchronization indicates a lack of forthrightness.

c. Backhanded movement – (more than likely a feigning attempt to nefariously engage you emotionally) This is an unnatural move. The more it’s done, the greater the probability that this trickster negotiator is using this move to solicit your emotions for his dastardly deeds.

  1. Powerful Heart Gestures:

a. Quick hand movement (hands move towards the heart and maintains position for several moments – used to convey surprise or hurt feelings) To add emphasis, lean towards the other negotiator when projecting this action.

b. Synchronized hand movement – (hand moves towards heart at the pace of speech – denotes sincerity) This movement, while capable of being feigned, is more likely a reflection of true emotions being displayed.

c. Hand(s) cupped near the heart – (Attempting to keep one’s emotions in check) Observe the length of time this gesture is maintained. To embolden this move, allow your eyes to become glazed or uncircumspective. This will add to the validity of this gesture.

When engaged in a negotiation, take note of when a negotiator touches his heart and the number of times that he does so. Use this to establish your baseline of how and when, and under what circumstances, you’ll employ this gesture. The purpose of doing so is to become mentally reflective of the other negotiator’s actions. Once you enact your gestures using the intervals that he displayed, your gestures will appear to be more genuine to him.

The heart has been romanticized as the stimuli of our emotional being. To convey your emotional sincerity, let your emotions flow freely when it serves you to do so. If you’re negotiating with someone of like-mindedness, your heart gestures will be heartfelt. They’ll be noted subliminally on the subconsciousness of the other negotiator, if not on a conscious level. That will tend to endear you to her, which will make the negotiation flow less obstructively… and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

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