7 Keys For Effective Negotiating

In nearly every aspect of our lives, we find a need to effectively utilize negotiating skills in order to perform to our potential. Negotiations is a useful and needed skill in our personal lives, in our business activities, and in nearly every one of our day to day activities. There are seven basic keys to become a competent and effective negotiator, which include: 1. Doing our homework; 2. Effective listening; 3. Clearly communicate what’s needed; 4. Be as specific as possible; 5. Include as much as possible in the contract/ agreement; 6. Build in contingency clauses; and 7. Exhibiting absolute integrity.

1. Homework refers to understanding the needs and positions, not only from your perspective, but from your adversary’s perspective, as well. This process creates an understanding of what can and cannot be asked for, and why. It requires both a willingness as well as the ability to do the work and put in the effort that is required in advance.

2. Unless someone is willing to effectively listen, rather than simply speak at someone, he cannot effectively negotiate. When we negotiate, the goal must be achieving a deal that creates a win- win scenario, because all long lasting deals come to fruition only when both sides are satisfied with the results. Negotiating is never about trying to defeat an opponent!

3. Next, there is a need to clearly articulate and communicate what is needed, and why, so that there are no surprises, misconceptions, or inaccuracies. How can anyone possibly negotiate properly if both sides are not on the same side? This must include a thorough understanding of priorities, etc.

4. Effective negotiations require specificity. There is no use or purpose being vague during this process, because unless it is clear what you want to happen and need, you can never come to a meeting of the minds. When both sides understand each other, they can much better work together to come to a mutual,y acceptable agreement.

5. The result of the negotiations must be coming up with a contract agreement that is as inclusive as possible, including as much specificity and detail as possible. There is always the best chance of a fair deal before a contract is signed because both sides are then on equal footing, while after the contract is signed, one side might have an upper hand.

6. The basic rule of any deal made is that at some point, things happen. We can never foresee all possibilities, but it is wise to include as many contingency clauses as can be foreseen, in that initial and binding agreement. Professional negotiators always have back up plans!

7. When all is said and done, the main quality remains a commitment to the principles and ideals of absolute integrity. Without integrity, negotiations will invariably fail in the long run.

Successful negotiations must be based on mutual respect and understanding. When this is the approach, there is always significantly more cooperation between the parties, and thus a better end result. These principles and keys are needed, whether the negotiations are event related, labor contracts, business dealings, or intra- family arrangements, etc.

Mind the Three Ps For Effective Presentations – Posture, Presence and Projection

Effective presenters pay close attention to the three Ps. They make sure that their posture is erect, their presence is self-confident, and their projection is loud, but not too loud, and clear. They also use body language that enhances their message.

There are three elements that contribute to an effective presenter’s platform, or stand-up training, effectiveness. The first is posture: how you physically carry yourself. Do you stand erect, with your shoulders comfortably back and head up- or do you hunch your shoulders and shrink into yourself? Your posture has a direct impact on how your audience will perceive you (presence) and how easily they will be able to hear and understand you (projection).

The second is presence: the impression of your personality. You can appear professional, self confident, calm, and approachable. Or you can appear uncertain, anxious, distant, and humorless. It depends on your posture, your tone of voice, your willingness to smile, your comfort standing in front of people, your general or “on-stage” personality, your sense of humor, your choice of words, and your joy and/or belief in what you are doing.

The third is projection: the range and clarity of your voice. Some presenters are easy to hear and understand. Their words are loud and clear enough to distinguish their meaning. Other presenters speak softly or too rapidly, slurring syllables and making it difficult to hear and understand what they are saying.

Your posture has a great bearing on your ability to project. If you hunch over and constrict your diaphragm, it is almost impossible to get a deep breath and expel it in strong and carrying tones. However, if you stand comfortably centered and erect, and speak from your diaphragm, you will be able to bounce your voice off a far wall!

After you have taken the trouble to research and design interesting and effective learning content and activities, why would you want to unwittingly sabotage it by appearing meek and uncertain, and swallowing your words so that no one can hear them? The simplest way to check your three P’s is to have someone videotape a short presentation. Typically, people are pleasantly surprised when they play back their tape. In addition, if there is a need to polish one of the P’s, they have immediate and useful feedback.

Body language (how you look and move) can either enhance or undermine your message. Good body language will help you appear confident and knowledgeable. Poor body language will interfere with your message and your credibility.

For more effective body language communication, fight the urge to:

  • Lean into a stationary microphone (use a lavaliere microphone instead, and remember to turn it off during private moments…);
  • Stand poker straight or immobile, or do the opposite- rock or sway in place, or pace (yes, Tom Peters paced- and it made us dizzy!;
  • Use a single gesture repeatedly, or use obviously practiced gestures;
  • Chew gum or suck on candy (we really do notice!)- unless you are using a lozenge to keep from coughing, in which case, explain that to your audience;
  • Lean on or grip the lectern white-knuckled, as if holding on for dear life;
  • Look at the floor, or close your eyes;
  • Hide behind the audiovisual equipment, or turn your back to the audience;
  • Take deep sighs;
  • Play with your clothing, adjust body parts or undergarments, or lose your undergarments!
  • Shuffle your notes unnecessarily, or click your pen or laser pointer on and off;
  • Crack your knuckles, examine or bite your fingernails, clean your ears, or perform any other body care activity!
  • Cross your arms in front of your chest;
  • Twirl or pat your hair, or play with your jewelry (that includes you, too, guys!);
  • Jangle change or keys in your pockets; or
  • Whisper, whimper, mumble, or shout.

The next time you give a presentation, pay attention to your posture, your presence and your projection. Remember that your body language will either enhance or undermine your message, so stay poised and in control.

How to Communicate and Negotiate in Life to Better Effect

We all use negotiation constantly in our communications. Starting as children we quickly learn that if we promise to be good we gain some advantage or positive result. That understanding is often quickly transferred to our other relationships, where we learn the value of trading. We give something the other person wants in return for some benefit to ourselves.

Children quickly learn to be quiet in return for sweets. That is the fundamental tenet behind every negotiation, a win/win situation for all concerned. The fact that the child may manipulate the situation when they want more sweets may have to dealt with by using penalty clauses and riders as time goes on. The negotiator too has to learn how to trade.

As an adult the art of skillful negotiation is in learning to trade something that we are not too concerned about losing. The skill is in treating it as if it is really important, as if it really matters to us. We create in the other person a sense that are we are making a huge contribution to the negotiation process by allowing a particular concession to be made.

When the other person feels that they are gaining an advantage they are more likely to relax their guard and become more flexible. When they feel that they are gaining ground they will often decide that it is reasonable to make some concessions to the negotiations. They are more likely to feel the need to reciprocate, as a gesture of good faith on their part.

A good negotiator treats the other person with respect. Good manners are a large part of being good at the job. A person who is calm, poised and polite will appear to be in control, measured and clear as to what they are doing. They will instill in the other person a sense of confidence.

Meeting someone halfway is a good negotiation technique. In daily life, we will all have had times when we have been in a group or with a friend and have had to decide where to go for a social evening. Negotiation can be required in these situations. We may decide to take it in turns as to where to go, or decide to go somewhere completely different as an alternative option. The skill is in being respectful and flexible, is in appreciating that each point of view has its own validity and importance.

In acrimonious couples counselling I sometimes say to my clients ‘you may win the argument, but lose the relationship’. Being pedantic and inflexible may ensure that you get what you want as an outcome in the short term, but in the longer term it may be a massive price to pay. Appreciating that each person has reasons for their opinions, feels justified in holding the view that they have, can bring some sense of perspective to the counselling process.

Effective communications are about trying to clearly understand what each person is saying, what they are hoping to achieve and how the different sides of the discussion can find resolution and compromise. Negotiation is a valuable process to apply. By trading, giving ground and feeling to gain some positive results or compromise each side can feel that they are successfully making headway and achieving a better relationship into the bargain.