What Makes a Successful Business Negotiator?

GETTING TO YES…

Two people are engaged in a negotiation – one achieves his/her objective(s) and is pleased, whilst the other walks away disappointed with the outcome.

How often have you felt dissatisfied with an agreement that you have reached? Have you ever entered into an agreement only to feel remorse soon after sealing the deal?

SUCCESS VS FAILURE

What then distinguishes success vs failure in business negotiations? Do we ascribe our business negotiation success to the characteristics & personality traits that we were born with, or are there conscious developmental actions that we can take to improve our negotiated outcomes? Many of us find ourselves in positions where we have to negotiate professionally on a daily basis. Most of us recognise the importance of preparation to achieve success in almost anything we do.

It is therefore quite interesting to note that the majority of business negotiators do not spend adequate time preparing for negotiations. It is a well established fact that professional sports people spend significantly more time preparing for competition than they spend in competition. Should it be any different for business negotiators?

THE EVIDENCE

Research conducted by The Negotiation Academy has found that from a group of 430 business negotiators surveyed, the average time spent in preparation as a ratio against time spent in actual negotiations amounts to an average of 35%. In other words, business negotiators only spend approximately 1/3 as much time preparing for negotiation as they actually spend in negotiation.

Let us add some perspective to this startling statistic. If you were a professional sports person, this would mean that you spent only 1/3 as much time training & preparing as you do competing. Small wonder then that so many people are disappointed with their negotiated outcomes. It follows that the number 1 contributor to successful business negotiation outcomes is the quality of our preparation for the negotiation.

The Top 5 Components of Preparation:

1. Understand Yourself

Before we even begin to understand and apply best- and leading practice negotiation, it is imperative that we first invest in understanding ourselves. Any professional sports person will tell you that the cornerstone of improvement is gaining an understanding of your own strengths & weaknesses. The idea is to optimise your strengths and find ways to minimise the impact of weaknesses. In negotiation, it is important that we make use of personal profiling tools, such as the Hermann Brain Dominance Instrument, to highlight our areas of preference within the context of negotiations. This is like the golfer being videotaped with a view to having his or her swing analysed. It enables us to have a reference point from which to plot our skills development.

2. Vision

What is the vision or ultimate goal behind the negotiation? Is your negotiation really about price or is it about the value that can be derived/added? What are the main motivating factors behind your counterparty’s position in the negotiation? What common ground, if any, exists between your vision and your counterparty’s vision? It is important to understand the drivers or silent motivations behind the positions of all parties to the negotiation. It is only by asking questions that we will uncover the real motivations behind these positions assumed by our counterparties.

3. Value

What are the key deal objectives being pursued in this negotiation? What are the facts and figures supporting the negotiation environment? What alternatives does each party have, if any? Once again we should try to identify, prioritise & weigh the objectives of all parties to the negotiation. Once this has been achieved, we are in a position to highlight those objectives that are shared and at the same time, we can prepare ourselves to deal with those objectives that are likely to cause conflict.

4. Process

Have you spent time thinking about an agenda for your upcoming negotiation? Will you note all the concessions that you will give & receive? Will you ensure that the negotiation is minuted? Do you have tools/templates at your disposal to support the effectiveness and efficiency of the negotiation cycle in its entirety? It is important to ensure that you are well organised for your upcoming negotiation. Write down the key questions that you need to ask during the negotiation, lest you get sidetracked and forget to extract critical information.

5. Relationship

Never forget that we all negotiate with people. It is easy to forget that we deal with individuals who have goals & aspirations not unlike our own goals & aspirations. It is not always just about the facts & figures. The research is clear that people are more likely to deal with those whom they trust & like, than those with whom they have no rapport or share no similarities with. Try to focus on those elements that you share with your negotiation counterparties, and do not forget to focus on the human elements – all of which constitute the Climate of the negotiation.

The clear answer to what makes a successful business negotiator is…..preparation, preparation, preparation.

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Time Stop Enjoying the Moment – (6) Life Changing Steps For Learning to Live in the Present

To truly be free from the stresses of the world you must learn to live in the present moment. What I mean is to live consciously aware of this present moment. Do you remember grade school roll call where the teacher would alphabetically go down the list of classmates; state their name and expect everyone to respond with “Present”. If no present was heard everyone knew the person was just not there. Now imagine that roll call and your name is called but you do not hear it because you are looking out the window daydreaming about the recess fight you had yesterday. When the teacher called your name no “Present” was heard. You really were not there; consciously or aware.

If you want to feel peace, calm, astounding clarity, grounded, grateful, and happy; then you must let go of the past, stop worrying about the future and be consciously aware of what is happening around you right now, in this present moment.

This may sound easy at first, but it will require some real effort for you to change this habit for good. Every day the world swirls a ton of crap at us while our fears, frustrations, worries and stress stand by ready to distract, confuse and pull us away from enjoying the present. The good news is once you learn to master the present you will not believe you could have ever lived any other way.

Do you want try a new way of life by learning how to live in the moment? Well it is said that “if you have a desire for something new, then you must do something you have never done”

I am going to share my personal method of how I learned to truly master living in the present moment.
First, let us prepare ourselves by recognizing we must let go of all expectations and any preconceived results. To do this I want you to get a hold of this principle. Think happy and thankful; no matter what occurs with any outcome, know that all things work out for your good, you are loved, you are not alone and all is well. Yeah, I know it sort of sounds like a Saturday Night Live, Stuart Smiley thing, “I am good enough, I am smart enough, and dog-gone it, people like me”

Seriously, most of our disappointments, constant thoughts, fears and worries are rooted in our egos trying to micromanage the world and control everything in it. So let go a little and try letting life just happen for once. Do not worry for the future, get a hold of the fact that you will never have to worry about a place to live, clothes on your back and food to eat. You can stand on a higher power faith that your basic needs will be provided no matter what you do. From this security, let go of your controlling ego that continues to fight and struggle against what is actually best for you.

I am going to share an antidote. I do not recall where I heard it, but I do think it is an appropriate example to illustrate my point.

There is a story of two friends, living in the country a few miles outside the city. Life on the farm does not seem to match up with all the dreams swirling around in their heads. They each learn of a job opportunity in the nearby city and decide to travel the several miles together for their scheduled interviews. As they must travel on foot it is agreed that a short cut along the river will save the journey much time.

While walking beside the river a deluge of water flash floods them both into the raging river. One of the friends struggles and fights against the powerful force of fast moving water. He desperately thinks in his mind, if I can just get back to the shore, where I was, everything will be fine. In his struggle to fight back against the river while attempting to thrash towards shore, he is overcome and dies.

The other friend, upon being sweep into the river, immediately gains his composure, relaxes, turns to his back and allows the water to naturally push him to the center of the raging current. He takes a fast wild, face up, float down the turbulent river. A sharp bend in the river forces the water and him rolling unto the river bank. He collects himself, looks around and realizes he is only a few hundred feet from the very business where he has the job interview.

Okay, here we go. It is time to learn to enjoy living in the present moment with these six important steps.

1. Yoga and Meditation
You must exercise both the Body and the Mind. Nothing does this more effectively than the healing properties of Yoga and Meditation. The entire focus of meditation is a tool to help you live in the present moment. It will help you find the answers within yourself by beginning to accept things as they are. Meditating takes some time to master, you can learn to be still and the more it is practice the easier and stronger influence it will have on your personal serenity.

Yoga will help your body prepare for meditation by relaxing muscles and increasing circulation. This will help to quiet your mind and enjoy the stillness. The easiest way to shut off your mind is to focus on your breath. With each exhalation strive to release any thoughts and emotions that continue to pop up.

2. Nature- Those tree huggers are really on to something.
You really must take time to reacquaint yourself with nature. The beauty and serenity offered by stopping to smell the roses will have an amazing therapeutic effect. It is often said you can visit the gentle “Spirit of God” anytime you wish in the stillness of a forest. You may wish to simply go for a walk or sit under a shade tree in the park. Whatever way you choose, if you want to experience the feeling of a present moment nothing will allow it easier than a quiet encounter with the energy of nature.

3. The Past- It is so yesterday, you need to deal with it, because “It is over.”
If you really want to feel better about yourself all you have to do is learn to accept past situations and relationships. Believe me you will feel a lot better once you learn this. I know it is difficult but come on there is nothing you can do to change the past. So stop thinking about it and accept it. The only thing bringing the past into your present will do is to cloud and confuse your current thoughts. This has no value, joy or peace for you and will only make it harder for you to concentrate on this present moment.

When thoughts of the past arise, learn to accept them for what they were, allow those old emotions to pass through you, then return to the present moment and leave the regret and grief behind.

4. The Future- Back to the future, again and again, Please!
What day has any man added to his life by worrying? None! I think Jesus said that. So now to continue our journey to live in the present moment we will need to accept the future. Since you thought about it over and over in your head, you must realize you have no idea about what is going to happen, and of course worrying about it will not make one bit of difference.

Right now I want you to agree with yourself that you will not waste another day going over and over every possible outcome and option of what or why, you should, or should not. Enough of the “What am I going to do?” How do you know if you are going in the right direction when you are not even moving? If you can stop the worrying, analyzing and endless pondering, you will find you have more time to actually do something about it!

5. Enjoy the journey, for living in the now is really about “Awareness.”
Awareness really only needs two friends; their names are “Thankful” and “Happy”. It is very important for you to become mindful. You need to start by having gratitude for all the wonderful relationships and things in your life. A sense of being thankful will immediately provide you with a more positive and happy outlook. To be mindful is to be closely aware by paying attention to what you are doing at the present moment.

I want you to consider some task like laundry or dishes as not just another mundane chore. For you to fully experience this activity it is important to perform it with an open mind. Allow all your senses to open up to what you are doing. You may just experience an incredible positive feeling that you were not even aware existed.

6. Finally, to relax you must remember to breathe.
The only way to achieve conscious living in the moment is to maintain a relaxed attitude.
I want you to consider that there is your ego mind and your true higher self both battling for control of your thoughts. Now just allow your higher self to observe how your ego mind races weird thoughts and fears all over the place. Your higher self can ground you back to the present moment, if you will maintain the insight to realize when your thoughts are getting out of control.

This can be achieved most easily with a consistent meditative practice. You can use a simple breathing exercise that helps calm and relax you, if it is not appropriate to meditate. First pay attention to your breathing. Take deep slow breaths pulling air in from your stomach. Allow the thoughts to flow through you as you remind yourself that in this present moment, the past and the future simply do not exist.

If you can successfully be in the present moment during your scheduled relaxation periods of the day, then you can extend this new awareness to the other parts of your day. As you feel more and more comfortable spending time in the present you will begin to notice a better more fulfilling life awaits your enjoyment.

Do you want to learn the rest of the story? Natural Stress Relief Techniques

When to Present Your Bridesmaid Gifts

As the bride, you have a long list of things to do including buy your dress, pay deposits to the caterer, meet with the photographer, and buy bridesmaid gifts, just to name a few. But, after you have completed these tasks, you realize that you never considered when and where you will present your bridesmaids with their gifts. The challenge is to find a specific time when your bridesmaids will be in one location at the same time. Before you panic, as all brides do, the following is a list of suggestions to help you decide on the best time to present your bridesmaid gifts.

Bridesmaids’ Luncheon

By and far the most popular time to hand out bridesmaid gifts is at the bridesmaids’ luncheon. This luncheon may take place at any time preceding the wedding, but it is traditionally a couple of days or weeks before the wedding. Today, many brides have bridal parties that are spread out in many different places across the globe; therefore, the day before the wedding may be the most appropriate time to host it. For other brides who prefer to have a less eventful wedding weekend and most of the bridesmaids are local then they may choose to have a bridesmaid luncheon earlier in the week or a month preceding the wedding. This luncheon is in honor of the bridesmaids and it is the perfect time to honor them with their bridesmaid gifts.

During the Reception

Some brides have taken to giving their bridesmaids their bridesmaid gifts during the wedding reception. This is sort of odd timing, but it seems to work for some brides. Keep in mind that the reception is center stage for the bride and groom; therefore, it is best not to present the bridesmaids with their gifts publicly. Discreetly setting each gift at the bridesmaid’s place setting would probably be the best alternative.

After the Wedding

Another great time to present the bridesmaid gifts is after the wedding. The reason this is a good time to give out the gifts is because you will have some alone time with each bridesmaid and can even take more time to focus on what to buy. The wedding planning time is so busy and stressful that many brides just don’t have time to focus on what to buy their bridesmaids. Giving your bridesmaid gifts after the wedding has its benefits and is becoming more popular.

As a bride, you may choose to give your bridesmaid gifts at any time as long as it is within reason.