Archive for: May, 2023

Presentations: Scarier Than a Haunted House?

May 30 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

A nightmare.

Maybe you’ll survive.

Sounds like someone had a pretty scary experience, doesn’t it?

Did they just visit a Haunted House to enjoy a fright before Halloween? (Although why anyone enjoys being frightened, I don’t really understand!)

No, this person was worried about something much spookier than a Haunted House. He was worried about giving a presentation at work. It’s not because he doesn’t know the material, because he is good at what he does.

It’s because, as a non-native speaker, he has to speak English in front of hundreds of people, and he is concerned about his American pronunciation. He hasn’t had much opportunity to improve his spoken English, so he’s not sure the presentation will go well.

Have you felt that fear, too? Your boss tells you that you must give a presentation and you feel that tingle on the back of your neck, your stomach flips around, and you break out in a cold sweat.

What if they don’t understand me?
What if I pronounce important words wrong?
What if my presentation isn’t clear enough?
What if I lose my job?

You know that you are smart enough and that you do your job well; that’s not the problem. But speaking English in front of a roomful of people and hoping they understand you? Now that’s something to be afraid of!

Or is it?

Wouldn’t it be nice to feel confident the next time your boss asks you to give a presentation? It would be such a stress-reliever to know that you will be understood when you speak!

Did you know that there are accent reduction coaches who can work with you over Skype to help prepare you for your next presentation?

We work on voice projection and pronunciation, focusing on your specific topic to be sure that you sound as clear and confident as possible. Giving a presentation doesn’t have to be scary anymore!

But what if your next presentation is very soon and you don’t have time to seek outside help?

Try these tips to improve your American pronunciation:

  • Write out your presentation so that you can practice. Speaking unprepared is a great skill, but right now you want to focus on improving your pronunciation.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Become very familiar with your topic so you can focus on the pronunciation of the words rather than the content.
  • Open your mouth wide and over-enunciate your words. It may sound odd to you, but it will greatly improve how easily you are understood by others.
  • Slow down. We all have a tendency to talk fast when we are nervous, but slowing down is one of the best ways to make sure that you pronounce your words clearly.
  • Practice in front of a mirror. This will help you see if you are able to make good eye contact with your audience. Get comfortable watching yourself, and add facial expressions and gestures for emphasis when appropriate.
  • Practice with a native speaker, if possible. Find someone who can listen to your presentation and point out obvious mispronunciations you can work on.
  • Take a deep breath and think positively! The deep breath will help you relax and the positive thoughts will help you perform at your best. Research has shown that we usually perform about as well as we think we will, so the more positively you think, the better you will do.

Once the presentation is over, evaluate yourself fairly. Congratulate yourself on the things that went well, and make a note of what you can do to improve your spoken English for the next time. Be honest about how clear your American pronunciation is, and work on the troublesome sounds.

Soon, you will see the stage not as a scary Haunted House, but as an exciting platform for you to share your brilliance!

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Presentation is Everything

May 29 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Have you ever spoken to a group of people, only to get a blank stare? Remember…the one where the person in the front row fell asleep? Is it your subject? Or is it you? Whether presenting one-on-one or to a group, many speakers drone on and on, unaware that people are tuning them out. Their audiences blame style, delivery and organization. While these criticisms may be valid, it takes far more to keep your audience’s attention in today’s fast paced world and executives are realizing that expert knowledge is no longer enough—they need to hone their speaking skills to succeed.

I work with a lot of terrific people who are exceptional at what they do. But in order for them to take their careers to the next level, senior management needs to see them as leaders who can command attention and respect. That’s what a top pharmaceutical executive recently told me before I coached key members of his team. When delivering presentations, he said it is essential for them to be able to hit it out of the ballpark if they hope to take their careers to the next level. The executive says a person’a ability to present key information clearly and concisely is critical to their credibility, and the respect they earn both internally and externally.

Yet, even top tier managers will privately admit they are not sure how to deliver more effective data packed presentations that contain fewer slides and more personality. They acknowledge that their PowerPoint driven presentations are too long, lack organization, substance, style and sometimes fail to provide perspective, context or direction.

Sheepishly and slightly embarrassed, they divulge that this is the way it’s always been done and say they’re afraid to leave out important information or personalize their presentations for fear of not being taken seriously.

While most communications coaches, including this one, will teach you to craft strong opens and closes, organize material, develop powerful messages, improve delivery and body language, you will be hard pressed to connect with higher ups if you do not learn how to appeal to their emotions. While your subject matter may be complicated and technical, you must put the content in context to make it relevant to the listener. By combining facts with emotional appeal, you will have a better chance of influencing perceptions and communicating your way to the top.

GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY
You know your business which is why you are speaking. So, stop trying to jam ten pounds of information into a two pound bag just to prove you know your stuff. Figure out how the facts and information bring relevance and value to your audience. If you’re talking technology, how will the technology save them time and money? If you?re presenting promising clinical data, how will the information eventually help a patient? Fewer injections? Lower doses? Reduced side effects? How will your work today improve someone’s quality of life in the future? Step out of your shoes and into theirs to address audience concerns.

DROWNING IN DATA
People remember impressions, not drifts of data. They remember how you made them feel. When we see stories about the December?s tsunamis, we don?t remember all of the facts. But, we’ll never forget the stories, the images and how we felt when we saw almost indescribable pictures of death and devastation. Make your facts and figures stronger by supporting them with real evidence such as powerful numbers, examples, anecdotes and visual images that leave a lasting impression.

STUMP THE CHUMP
It is almost inevitable that management will interrupt your presentation to ask a question. As distressing as this can be, they are not trying to stump you. Think of the question as an opportunity to address their concerns and use it as a stepping stone to repeat and reinforce key points or deliver additional information. It?s helpful to anticipate questions and prepare answers in advance.

REMEMBER THE THREE C’s
Obtaining the financing you need to grow your business might require delivering a financial presentation to investors before you can ask them for money. Delivering information and presenting the numbers is not enough. You must be Clear, Concise and Credible. You must quickly articulate what your business will provide, how the company will make money, what you are doing to address problems, anticipated hurdles and how your strategy will drive future profits.

NO ONE CAME TO SEE A SLIDE SHOW
Today’s business presenters often equate preparation to preparing a slide presentation. Visuals should reinforce what you say, not serve as your script. Don’t read the slide! Audiences are looking to you to make sense of information. Prepare your presentation first. Then develop visuals that support your key messages. Additionally, write in bullets or phrases to help you talk more and read less so you are free to look at people and engage them.

PET PEEVES
Senior executives are a bit like television reporters. They want you to get to the point quickly. When they ask a question, they want the facts, not long winded answers. If they interrupt you in the middle of a slide to ask a question, they want you to answer the question and then move on instead of answering the question and repeating all of the information on the slide. Often, presenters over answer management questions to buy time, fill the silence or because they think a brief response is too simplistic. Less is more still holds true. Long answers frequently dilute messages, lack examples and open the door for unwanted questions.

DON’T DULL IT DOWN
I once worked with a pharmaceutical company that had a terrific opportunity to excite a New York Times reporter about a promising medication. Instead of offering compelling case histories and sharing impressive results, the doctors bored the reporter with endless diagrams and medical flow charts that meant nothing to his audience. He never wrote the story. Step away from your expertise to put the information in perspective. Instead of tackling tactics and strategies first, start by presenting the significance of the problem so they understand why the solution is so important. For example:For nearly 20 million people who suffer from depression each year, the holiday season can be an especially difficult time, resulting in time away from work, strained personal relationships and an inability to complete every day task.

VOICE VISION WITH VOLUME When you speak, you’re on! Even if it’s a small meeting, you want to project so your voice is strong and authoritative. We’ve worked with many people who are soft spoken and others who start out strong, but trail off at the end of a sentence. We advise visualizing a person in the back of the room straining to hear you. Speak to that person in an effort to better project. And, whenever possible, stand up to maximize the richness of your voice.

If you stop and think about it, you can probably recall a couple of memorable business presentations. What is it you remember? What did they have in common? Chances are these presenters were personable and energetic. They were able to quickly cut to the chase and repeatedly reinforce their key points. And, while they likely rehearsed their well thought out, organized, pre-planned and prepared remarks over and over again, they probably made you feel as if they were simply speaking off the cuff for your benefit.

Copyright (c) 2009 Karen Friedman

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The Best Ways To Wrap Your Christmas Presents Revealed!

May 28 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Would you like to know how to wrap Christmas presents? Even though it sounds like a simple thing to do, wrapping Christmas gifts can be tricky. You can be a pro in wrapping Christmas presents after you have read these guides and you will never be embarrassed again of gifts with inadequate results and crumpled papers.

Before you start, you must have the following:

• Sharp scissors
• A roll of wrapping paper
• Clear plastic tape
• A flat surface like a table

Now here are the steps you need to follow.

First step: Size up your Christmas presents
1. Gaze at all that you want to wrap. If your present is in a rectangular cardboard box already then you are lucky and you can proceed directly to second step.

2. But if your Christmas presents are not in a rectangular box, the best thing to do is find a big box where your presents can fit.

3. Now that your gifts are inside a rectangular box, you can now begin wrapping.
(Some people use cloth or paper present bags for irregular shaped gifts. These bags costs much higher compared to wrapping papers, but these bags are very convenient and much easier than wrapping.)

Second step: Determine the exact amount of gift wrap
1. Look for a clear and open place like the dining room and kitchen table.

2. Spread out a slight bit of wrapping paper hence the finished nice side of the wrapping paper is facing down.

3. Put the Christmas gift on top of the wrapping paper to evaluate how much wrapping paper you will need.

4. Uses the present as a guide then unroll slightly the wrapping paper wider than the size of the box. For an instance, the box measures 10 inches wide, you should unroll almost 20 inches of the cover.

5. Cut the paper from the roll by using a sharp scissor. Perfectly straight cuts are not important.

6. Beside the cut edge, pleat or fold the sheet over on itself to have a clean, nice and straight line edge.

Third step: Folding and taping
1. If you are wrapping several Christmas presents, pre-cutting small pieces of clear tape and putting them on the edge of your work surface makes wrapping a lot easier.

2. Place the object in the centre of the sheet.

3. There are two long ends and 2 shorts ends in the present. Wrap the two long ends around the present then secure it using a clear tape.

4. Lay your fingers all the way through the tip edge of the box (now enclosed by wrapping paper) to crinkle the paper and do a professional, square tip edge.

5. Likewise, push the two short ends round the sides of the gifts and secure it with tape.

6. Left are four flaps of the sheet that should be secured. Fold first those flaps papers in on themselves and secure in on top of the present.

7. Once more, crinkle the edges to have a sharp and attractive finished of corners.

Practice makes perfect, after you done wrapping some presents continuously, wrapping Christmas presents will be fast and very easy for you.

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Several Tips to Succeed in Your Presentation

May 27 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

A very important thing in giving a presentation is persuasion ability of the material presented. Avoid using unconventional way that is less necessary, so you do not reduce the reliability of the material presented. If your presentation audience consists of the expert, the presentation that is “straight” is more effective. In the other hand, if the way you present is too long-winded, the concentration of the listeners may decrease.

To improve reliability, there is no other way except to improve the quality of the materials presented. For that, before the presentation, you need to select and arrange the material that will be presented.

One way that is often done is to give emphasis on the contents that are considered important. For example, by saying “the most important findings in this research are….”, then followed by an explanation. Another way is by showing the important data for several times, so that listeners pay more attention to the data. With this method, your ideas can be conveyed effectively to the listener.

In addition, you should make sure that the ideas you present are understood by the listener. Therefore, when preparing a slide, at the beginning of slides, explain what items will be discussed. Furthermore, explain each item in detail.

You should also do the same thing in explaining each item/ sub discussion. First, explain briefly what will be discussed, and follow with a detailed explanation of each heading. By creating a structured slide, when you deliver the presentation, the overall idea/ outline will be explained at the beginning of a slide presentation.

If you are not used to making presentation, and suddenly you are required to give presentation at seminar or official forum, you might face a failure because the words stuck in the middle, or the explanation you have given is wrong. If you experience this, no matter how good your material that will be presented, it will make the listener unbelief with your presentation.

To avoid this failure, there is no other way except to practice the presentation several times. Invite your friend as sparring partner. Ask him to listen, and practice as if you are on the actual formal situations. Your friend that you invite as a sparring partner should be a man that is accustomed to making presentation. Thus, he is quite experienced to be able to see your weak sides that need to be corrected. He can also provide input for your presentation.

Perform this exercise over and over again until your friend can not find a weakness. If you are not accustomed to making presentation, at least you have to practice three times. Improve your slide show if there is criticism against the order of slides or the lay out of the presentation that is less complete.

You can record the training presentation, so that you can re-examine the things which need to be corrected. Because this kind of exercise takes several days, then you should start practicing since three weeks before D-day.

One of the benefits of this exercise is to increase the sense of courage and your self confidence. There are no ways to cultivate courage and confidence in addition to getting used to speak and argue in public.

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Giving a Great Presentation

May 26 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

There are many different tips on how to give a good presentation, but when English isn’t your first language, you need to pay even more attention to advice and preparation. There is nothing worse than giving a presentation that no one can follow, so use the points below as a preparation plan for a successful presentation:

BEFORE THE PRESENTATION DAY:

1. Know your content:

Make sure you know the aim of your presentation. It sounds simple, but it’s crucial. If your topic is ‘The French Political System’ then your aim and objective is not to talk about the French political system, it may be to introduce the French political system, or evaluate the French political system, or outline the development of the French political system. Thinking about the actions your presentation should take will help you target your presentation towards the audience. Then research your topic. You will probably need to answer questions at the end of your presentation. By researching the topic fully, you will be able to answer any questions you receive.

2. Organise your content:

Once you’ve targeted and researched your topic, make sure you organise the content in a practical manner. Presentation slides can help you to do this. It is always useful to have a slide which outlines the structure of your talk after the title slide. Make sure all the areas you want to talk about are grouped in a way that is logical. For example, if you were outlining the development French political system, you may present your talk in a chronological order, grouping changes by century.

3. Write notes about your slides:

Your slides should have bullet points on them. They should not be full of chunks of text. Think of your slides as a road map for you and the audience. Your spoken content should expand on your slides and should be much more detailed. Therefore think about what you are going to say when each slide appears and write some notes down so you are prepared to expand.

4. Take note of transition:

Think of your presentation structure like an essay structure. You should have an introduction, a main body and a conclusion. Your main body will be each slide. Move from one slide to the next with a signposting word and a ‘topic sentence’; for example ‘Now… moving on to the next area… We will be looking at the changes during the French Revolution’ (The topic for the slide is French Revolution changes here).

5. Work on saying the key words:

Make sure you know how to pronounce the key words of your presentation correctly. Use an online dictionary to listen to the words being pronounced, and then practise them yourself. If you can, ask a native English speaker for help.

6. Think of your intonation:

Remember, English is not always one tone. Rise and fall in your speech for a presentation is one of the many things that will keep your audience interested. Try to stress important signposting sentences and stress key words in sentences. Look at rising your tone at the end of questions, and lowering your tone when ending a sentence. These are just a few points that you should remember. Again, if possible, practise your presentation with a native English speaker.

ON THE DAY

1. Be prepared:

Make sure you know the structure of your presentation and what is on all your slides. Make sure you also know your presentation notes. You can refer to these when you need to, but don’t look at them too often.

2. Easy does it:

Don’t rush through your presentation trying to get it finished. If you rush through your presentation then your intonation and pronunciation will possibly suffer and your audience may well lose interest. If you lose your place or forget what you were going to say, take a breath, pause and just think of what’s next. I guarantee the pause will seem longer to you the presenter than it actually is!

3. Be interested:

If you are not interested in your presentation, then your audience will not be interested in your presentation. Even if you are not interested in your presentation, pretend to be! An interested looking presenter is much more interesting and watchable than someone you can clearly see is ‘going through the motions’, in other words, bored.

4. Don’t read:

You have taken lots of notes and you have all the facts and figures, so read them from your notes, yes? NO! If you are staring down at your notes, you are giving a reading, not a presentation. If you are reading your notes, it shows your audience that you are badly prepared for the actual presentation side of the activity.

5. Look at your audience:

You can’t read anyway, as you should be looking at your audience. You can glance at your slides and glance at your notes, but at least 80% of the time you should be looking at your audience. You can learn a lot from this. Watch the audience’s faces; are they bored? Puzzled? Interested? This may tell you something about the presentation. You can always ask the audience questions and involve them a little more or modify your presentation depending on the audience’s reactions.

6. Be friendly yet professional:

Make sure you are clear and approachable. Do not ask the audience any threatening questions or single an individual out. You are there to give information and you should do this in a professional manner. No question is too difficult and too simple. You must give your audience your attention and answer all questions in a full and professional way.

7. Check your body language:

Stand up straight, don’t cross your arms, don’t slouch, face your audience and SMILE. Imagine you are a presenter on television. Think of how they look; generally smiling, looking down at the audience (through the camera), this should be you!

8. Involve the audience:

Always ask for questions at the end of a presentation. If you can, and you feel confident doing so, ask some questions to the audience during the presentation. This kind of interaction can keep the audience interested in the presentation.

If you follow these steps and try your best to be calm and confident when it comes to presenting, you will hopefully give an excellent presentation, which you, and your audience, will enjoy. Speaking in front of a group is never easy, but the more practice you have, the better you will be.

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Negotiating With Your Creditors Tactfully – 3 Key Points to Go

May 23 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

During economy downturn, many Americans are stuck with their financial issues. They fail to repay their debts and they find it extremely hard to face their creditors. Seriously speaking, we need to be responsible and we can’t run away from our debts. We are required to get rid of the outstanding in a professional way. It is time to pick up the skills to negotiate with creditors. Let me share with you some key points:

Point No.1: Determine your objectives
Ask yourself the following questions:
• What is negotiation?
• Why do you need to negotiate with your creditors?
• What is the main objective of negotiation?
• What is the scope of your responsibilities?

Please bear in mind that your intention is to discuss with your creditors to find out the solution to solve your financial issues. You don’t mean to take advantage from your creditors. When you request for debt reduction, you must be able to justify your financial position. Besides, you are reminded to evaluate your financial ability before you make any promise.

Point No. 2: Plan and prepare for the negotiation process
It is important for you to plan and make necessary preparation before you start negotiating. Please follow the points below:
• If you have a few creditors to deal with, you need to decide which creditor you would like to tackle first.
• The next thing you need to determine is the time. Selecting the right timing is very important. When should you start the negotiation process?
• You are advised to work out a checklist of key questions which you need to ask your creditors before negotiating. Don’t just contact your creditors without doing any homework.
• Ask yourself honestly whether you are physically and psychologically fit to bargain.

Point No.3: Apply the right negotiation techniques and methods
Having the right negotiating style is essential. You must know what type of opening statements you can use to provide good impressions to your creditors. You must pick up a few useful skills such as listening skills, questioning techniques and communication skills so that you can have more confidence in bargaining with your creditors.

In order to reduce your debts in an effective manner, you need to apply a PEACEFUL approach when you deal with your creditors. Never negotiate with your creditors when you are in bad mood or when you are too emotional. You should look forward to having a win-win situation with your creditors. Best of luck to you!

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The “Relationship” Must Outlive the Business Negotiation

May 22 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Most people fear negotiation. It must be the specter of someone trying to sell you something you don’t want, which feeds a deep fear of losing. The whole idea turns people sour on negotiation in general (70% of people prefer to avoid negotiation entirely).

It’s important to understand the difference between negotiations and competitions. A competition has a defined winner and loser. As in a ballgame. The team with more points, goals or runs wins. Other side loses. A negotiation is not so clear. In a great negotiation we maximize our deal while growing the relationship for both sides.

Consider that great “love-hate” experience known as buying a car. When buying a car from a private party, a dealership or a used car lot you don’t expect to ever see that sales person again. There’s no expectation of a future relationship. So it becomes a competition. In that case, compete. Use leverage, position and power to get the best deal you can, and don’t look back.

But in business there are 3 “people groups” you will face tomorrow that are core to your success: customers, suppliers and employees. These relationships are the foundation of any great business.

Webster defines a relationship as “dealings, as between people”. There is always the underlying expectation of a future connection or dealing. I define business negotiation as a tool that delivers both improved profitability while moving relationships forward. Or in other words, great outcomes.

So it stands to reason that The Relationship Must Outlive the Negotiation.

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Effective Debt Negotiation Strategies

May 21 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

When attempting to resolve your debt troubles there are a few ways to go about doing so. While many people advocate debt settlement or bankruptcy, these aren’t for everyone. In fact, the best place to start first is negotiating with your creditors directly to lower your payments. However, debt negotiation is not always easy and takes lots of preparation and focus.

Before Negotiations

The biggest mistake people make when attempting to negotiate with creditors is failure to prepare. It is crucial that you have an idea of what you want to get out of the negotiation before you even contact your creditor. Take a look at your monthly budget and income to determine the amount you can realistically afford to repay. You need to know the state of your financial affairs and how they can best be met by a deal with your creditor. Ask whether you need a temporary suspension of payments or just a lower monthly payments. Evaluate whether a lower interest rate would be enough to reduce your monthly payment or do you need a modified payment schedule.

During Negotiations

Once you have an idea of what you can afford to pay and how you may be able to achieve that plan, contact your creditor. Debt negotiations are always better before you miss a payment, as creditors are often more willing to make changes if they feel you were proactive. However, if you have already missed a payment don’t worry. You may still be able to secure a deal through persistence and flexibility. It is important that you remember debt negotiations are simply that, a negotiation. This means that you have to be willing to be flexible in what you want and how you want it. Creditors do not owe it to you to negotiate and they are essentially doing you a favor. Come into the negotiation with an open mind and patience. Always be polite and work with the lender until you come to an agreement you can live with.

After Negotiations

If you were able to successfully negotiate a deal, congratulations. However, now is the most crucial time for you. It is extremely important that you stick to your negotiated plan and not miss a payment. Missing a payment now could mean the end of your deal and even delinquency fees. If you think you might miss a payment, contact your creditor before this happens. You may be able to make further changes to your deal or request a onetime extension. Remember to monitor your credit report for changes and stay on top of creditors to report the most accurate information at all times. Having an updated credit report will significantly improve your credit standing while you work to get out of debt and rebuild your financial future.

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Negotiation For Freelances

May 20 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Negotiating the terms of a project can be one of the most difficult things for freelances to manage, after generating new business. For those without a commercial background, such as copywriters or graphic designers, hammering out a deal can feel a very long way from the comfort zone. It may become a source of real anxiety that taints the enjoyment of the ‘real’ work to be done.

That’s a shame, because negotiation is a skill that can be acquired by anyone. While some people have a natural flair for negotiation, the rest of us can still learn how to apply the basic principles, achieving a huge step forward from ad hoc, reactive or emotional approaches that deliver mixed results at best, frustration at worst.

Preparing to negotiate

The key to successful negotiation is preparation. Thinking through what you will and won’t accept, and your alternatives, puts you in a position of power right from the start. Without preparation, you’re entering a competition without really knowing the rules – so don’t be surprised if you don’t come out on top.

Your top line

Your top line is the best deal you could hope for in the circumstances. In an ideal world, what would you like to agree in terms of price, timescale, working method and other factors? Know this in your mind, or ideally write it down, before negotiation begins.

This might seem pointless – surely we all just want as much cash and time as possible? That’s true in a sense, but of course there are limits to both. Realistically, rates are dictated by your experience, the market and the economy, while timescales can never be completely open-ended. Psychologically, it’s much easier to aim for an absolute goal (“$x per day”) rather than a relative one (“more money”). After all, another $5 a day would be “more money”. Would that satisfy you?

Your bottom line

The converse of the top line is your bottom line: the worst deal you would accept. As with the top line, consider the minimum rate, shortest timescale and least convenient terms that you could live with. If the terms are worse than this – in any one aspect, or more – you’ll decline the project.

Take everything into account: the need to make a profit, opportunity cost (if you do this, you can’t work on something else) and emotional impact. Financially, it’s probably better to be busy than idle, but if the terms of the job make you feel miserable and used, the knock-on effects on your motivation just aren’t worth it.

The bottom line is an important safeguard against accepting the wrong terms in the heat of the moment. Like an automated ‘stop loss’ in investing, it protects you against your own fear and greed, setting a rational limit on what you’ll accept before you walk away. Crucially, you do this before you negotiate, rather than bumping up against it during the negotiation or (worse) realising that you’ve gone beyond it when it’s too late.

Your BATNA

‘BATNA’ stands for Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement. Your BATNA is whatever you will do if an agreement cannot be reached with your client.

Getting a concrete sense of your BATNA gives you a sense of perspective about the consequences of not getting the project. Instead of entertaining apocalyptic imaginings of going bust, losing your house and becoming a vagrant, you create a realistic picture of the outcomes that will result – and the actions you’ll take – if no agreement is reached. For example:

If I don’t get this work, I’ll…

·…work on my other projects, but in a more leisurely and enjoyable way

·…spend some time networking or marketing myself

·…acquire a new skill

·…do something outside work I really enjoy, and return to work refreshed

The point here is to focus on what will be gained if this opportunity does not proceed, not just what will be ‘lost’. As the Zen saying goes, ‘every exit is an entry somewhere else’. (And you can’t really lose what you never had.)

Working up your BATNA takes the sting out of your fear of loss, so you understand that missing out on this deal or project isn’t the end of the world – just another turn in the path.

You are now armed with the three key parameters of a negotiating position: your top line, your bottom line and your BATNA. Let the games begin!

Choosing the channel

While the content of the negotiation is obviously paramount, the channel you use to negotiate can have a significant impact on how things pan out. In other words, it’s not just what you say – it’s the way you’re obliged to say it.

· Face-to-face negotiation can be daunting, but brings the advantage that you can read the body language and facial signals of your client. The choice of venue can be key; negotiating on your ‘home ground’ feels reassuring.

· Email provides ample time and space to consider your response and a written record of every move in the game, but your only feedback is what the client chooses to include in their emails.

· Phone can be the worst of both worlds, with no visual feedback and no time to respond either. However, many negotiations do end up being conducted by phone. Help yourself by choosing quiet surroundings and using the clearest line you can (i.e. a landline).

If you can, take charge of the situation by initiating negotiations in the channel you want, rather than passively waiting for the client to choose one. There’s nothing worse than taking a client’s call unexpectedly and being pitched into a negotiation without warning. Similarly, if you feel pressure during the proceedings, consider asking for a time-out and moving the negotiation to a channel you feel more comfortable with.

Handling the negotiation

· Choose your style. Everyone has their own negotiating style, and it usually flows from their personality. If you’re naturally bullish, you may feel comfortable with an ‘in your face’, aggressive approach. If you’re more laid-back, a more conciliatory, co-operative style may work better.

· Banish emotion. It is your enemy. Handling negotiation is about presence of mind, rationality and balance – like playing chess. Remember: he or she who cares least wins. If your client gets emotional, try to defuse the situation, perhaps with a time-out.

· Look for trades. Negotiation works through quid pro quo. Determine what’s important to the client, and weigh it against what’s important for you. If you’re quiet right now, could you offer faster turnaround in return for a higher price? Or, if you’re just starting out, how about a lower price in return for a glowing testimonial?

· Get their information. Probe the client on the factors behind their stance: how they want to work, the aims of the project, budgetary constraints and so on. There may be an opportunity to trade, but you need to know what they want first. Savvy clients will know that disclosing budget weakens their position, so just get them to chat on a general level and see what comes out.

· Guard your information. Be aware of the value of certain information; by disclosing it, you may cede the advantage. For example, a seemingly innocuous enquiry about how busy you are, or your experience in certain areas, may be the prelude to price pressure. If you don’t want to reveal, try a vague or non-committal response – many clients won’t want to press the issue.

· Make space and time. Don’t be afraid to ask for time to respond. For example, many prospects ask for a ballpark price during the very first call, but quoting a big-sounding number without context can be fatal. You need the chance to put a proposal together with price and service information, communicating value as well as cost, before negotiations begin.

· Know your value. If you’re invited to make your price ‘more competitive’, but it’s competitive already, say so. Restate all the things you’re going to do for the price proposed, making it clear what a great package you’re offering. Above all, remember that although the client has a choice, they’re talking to you; they want you to do this project. You are not powerless.

· Cite authority. If you can, refer to an authoritative third party to back up your stance. For example, many industry bodies have standard rates that can be useful. However, since they’re intended to prevent exploitation, they’re admittedly more likely to bolster your bottom line than give you a target to aim for.

· Walk away. If the client repeatedly offers terms below your bottom line, politely decline the project. Do it calmly and unemotionally, with a smile, and certainly with no feeling of ‘paying them back’. Remember, it’s just business. To emphasise this, you could apologise for being unable to meet their expectations, or wish them luck in finding a supplier who can meet them. They may counter-offer, or they may not; as things stand, this isn’t a job worth going for.

After the negotiation

· Record commitments. As soon as you can, set down the agreement in writing and get it agreed. There’s nothing worse than thinking you’ve got a deal, only to find your recollections of the conversation differ. You might even want to enlist the skills of a professional copywriter to help you.

· Chase up. If the negotiation stalls (for example, you submit a price by email and receive no response), make sure you chase up the client to find out why. Sometimes, you might feel that you don’t want to know – that the information can only undermine confidence. But it’s always better to know.

· Look for learning. Finally, review the negotiation and think about what you could have done differently. Even if you achieved your top line, there will still be details of technique that could be improved.

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Negotiation Skills for Business

May 19 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Every time we engage in conversation with another individual we are generally negotiating a view, discussion or action. Everyone has different filters from which they perceive the world or their surroundings. These filters are developed throughout one’s life as they grow from a child to an adult. Some of the main influences that can develop one’s filters are parents, friends, family, social environment, religion, school and experience. As these filters are molded every individual brings a different view point to a negotiation or business discussion. Understanding the angle or view of an individual with whom you are negotiating is key to laying the foundation to work towards a viable solution.

One of the more widely known methods of understanding human negotiation psychology is the Thomas-Kilman Conflict Mode Instrument, also known as the (TKI). This model asserts that an individual’s behavior falls along two basic dimensions: assertiveness – the extent to which the individual attempts to satisfy his or her own concerns and cooperativeness – the extent to which the individual attempts to satisfy the other’s person’s concerns. This instrument then places an individual into five different style methods when it comes to dealing with conflict.

The first negotiation style is competing. Competing is an assertive and uncooperative, power-oriented style. Most individuals that fall into this category tend to pursue their own interests at the expense of other’s using whatever methods they can to win the negotiation. The next style is collaborating. Collaborating is both assertive and cooperative. When collaborating, an individual attempts to work with other individuals to find a solution that fully satisfies the concerns of both. It involves digging into an issue to identify the underlying concerns of the two individuals to find an alternative that meets both sets of concerns. Collaborating between two individuals can take the form of exploring a disagreement to learn from each other’s insights, resolving some condition that would otherwise have them competing for resources, or confronting and trying to find a creative solution to their conflict.

The next style is compromising. Compromising is generally right in the middle of the assertiveness and cooperativeness dimensions. When compromising, parties look to seek a mutually acceptable solution that can benefit all parties involved. Compromising might mean splitting the difference, exchanging concessions, or seeking a common ground position. However, compromising can also mean that both parties are giving up something to meet on the middle ground and this is not always a positive.

Another type of style is avoiding. Avoiding is unassertive and uncooperative. When avoiding, an individual does not immediately pursue his or her own concerns or those of the other person. The individual is generally side-stepping the true conflict at hand. They generally find ways to withdraw or postpone an issue to avoid a threatening or intense situation. The last style of the five mentioned in TKI model is accommodating. The accommodating style is generally unassertive and cooperative. Generally, an individual that has an accommodating style will neglect his or her own concerns to satisfy the concerns of others. An accommodating style will just accept the view or stance of others and does not try too hard to push their own objectives onto others.

Once an individual identifies what method of negotiation they often fall into, then they can begin to understand what some of their strengths and weaknesses may be during a negotiation. All the different styles or methods have different strengths and weaknesses associated with them.

Competing can be valuable at times when a decisive action is needed and that individual is not afraid to take control of the situation and make an immediate decision. However, some of the negatives of this style are that a lot of the competing individuals always fight for influence and respect. They may not even have the best solution or not know the answer but often push their opinion on others and act more confident that they feel. This style or method can also cause those around you to inquire less about information or opinions and everyone will be less likely to learn from the negotiation or conflicts.

Collaborating seems to be one of the more effective negotiation methods. The main strength of the collaborative style is that they generally find integrative solutions and adhere to the concerns of both parties because they understand that some items may be too important to compromise. This style can also be very good at merging insights from a variety of people with very different perspectives on an issue or problem. This method can also be viewed as a style that still is able to accomplish all their objectives without rolling over the other parties involved. They are able to gain commitment by incorporating everyone’s concerns into a consensual decision.

The weaknesses in this style are fairly limited. However, every negotiation or conflict is different so there will always be times when one method will be better suited for that negotiation. The weakness in always collaborating during a negotiation is that it can take a lot of time and effort. There may be situations where you do not have the luxury of time and effort. Some negotiations don’t require advanced solutions or the time it can take to understand the ultimate goals and viewpoint of every individual involved in the negotiation.

Everyone has heard the old saying that it is always best to compromise. However, when truly analyzing this method more in depth that may not always be the case. In a compromise all parties involved are giving up something to help the other achieve their goal. Even in a compromise where the results are considered to be Pareto optimal, individuals would still have to give up some of their ultimate goal to have all the others achieve the optimal position for all parties involved. This style can also lead some to unintended costly compromises of principles, values, long-term objectives, or company welfare. The main benefit of this style as many are aware is that it often satisfies the needs of all parties involved in the negotiation. It can also be a good way to achieve a quick resolution to a complex issue.

Avoiding generally has more of a negative connotation to it than some of the other negotiation styles. However, there can be at times, some advantages to the avoidance method of conflict. This can be a viable way to solve a conflict or negotiation if the potential costs of confronting a conflict outweigh the benefits of its resolution. It can also be used if an issue is not important enough to address and time will be wasted if the negotiation about the issue even begins to ensue.

Last but not least in the methods of negotiating is accommodating. Accommodating can often help a negotiation in the future because if one accommodates to others’ needs initially they may be viewed very favorable right away by the others involved. Accommodators are also good at reading situations and can realize when they are wrong. They often can allow better positions or decisions to be considered, able to learn from others and demonstrate that they are caring and reasonable to others needs. However, if one is always accommodating then they may be sacrificing many of their beliefs or ultimate goals just to appease the other parties involved.

After one begins to understand the method or style he or she may fall into then it is time to understand the some of the steps needed to reach an agreement. The first step is to understand everyone’s goals or objectives. After one is able to understand the other parties motives than they can begin to understand the needs of each individual and starting negotiating towards a common ground. A key in beginning to uncover an individual’s needs and form a common ground is to start to ask some open ended questions.

After gaining a strong understanding of the other parties needs then we can begin to understand how closely their needs fall in line with our objectives. In a lot of situations you can start by gaining agreement on a collaborative effort to solve the problem and fulfilling each party’s needs. Then once trust has been established and the other party understands that you are not only searching to obtain your own objectives but also helping them to reach theirs it will become easier to negotiate more of the greater details.

The next step after understanding the other party’s needs and working towards a common ground is to start surveying the options available to you. An option can be a possible agreement or part of an agreement that can satisfy either party’s objectives. By beginning to explore different options both parties will be able to see different solutions to the problem coming to the table. When you create different options you are create value to the negotiation and building blocks to move the negotiation further down the continuum.

Most of the best negotiations are those in which a number of options have been explored. The first resolution to a conflict is not always accepted and not necessarily the best option for all parties involved. The more options that are generated, the greater the chance that one of them will mutually and effectively satisfy the differing needs of all parties involved. Often, by understanding each other’s needs, one can begin to formulate some possible ways to execute a strategy that better solutions and give you some more creative bargaining power.

The key behind developing options in a negotiation is to take organized approach at understanding each parties needs and creating a range of options that can fulfill most of them. To do this one must always come to a negotiation with an open mind. If you do not try to understand the other individual’s viewpoints then you will never be effectively working towards a strategy that will fulfill both of your goals. The more options you begin to create, the more room or leverage you will have in that negotiation. To create these options you have to continually remind yourself of the needs and common grounds of the other party and also remember to take into account differences in perception or the filters that were mentioned in the beginning of this paper.

The next items to understand in creating options are timing and risk. Some individuals enjoy the rush of risk and have to make tough decisions in a limited amount of time while others cannot stand the idea of it. Everyone has a different tolerance for risk and they are also different on the speed in which they operate, take action and make decisions. When dealing with any of these scenarios in a negotiation the best action is to try and accommodate the timing involved in the decisions that have to be made.

According to Roger Fisher and Danny Ertel, authors of Getting Ready to Negotiate, when people have several of something, they value the last one somewhat less than those that came before. Fisher and Ertel also state that differences in the marginal value to each party, of some of the goods under negotiation, can create opportunities to improve the overall value they each receive. There is no guarantee that these value creating trade-offs will work in every negotiation. However, if one strives to create good options, prepare in advance, and carefully consider opportunities that create value, then possibilities will become available.

As described by William Ury in his book, Getting Past No, an independent standard is a measuring stick that allows us to decide what a fair solution is. Some common standards include: market value, fair and equal treatment, laws, precedents that have been established in the past. Standards can be utilized when one begins to work or negotiate with a new customer. By establishing certain standards it can help to form the common ground in the negotiation that was mentioned earlier in the paper. Without setting standards the negotiation can have no boundaries and will only make it more difficult to come to a viable solution.

Negotiations always differ in complexity and content. Understanding the different style or methods used by different individuals will help to identify their needs and wants. After understanding the needs and wants it is then time to form the common ground. Once common ground is established in the negotiation then it is time to present the options that will help all parties involved achieve their most viable solutions. Keeping an open mind and always trying to understand the argument from the other individuals’ viewpoint will always help achieve the main objectives in a negotiation. A good quote by John Lubbock encompasses a lot about negotiations, “what we see depends mainly on what we look for.” By keeping an open mind during any negotiation one may be able to find new possibilities that he or she did not even know existed.

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