Negotiating Credibility

One of the paramount mistakes made by less experienced and knowledgeable negotiators is that instead of approaching a negotiation from the standpoint of credibility and a win- win situation, conduct what I often refer to as “incredible” negotiating. However, when I refer to incredible in this case, I am not complimenting the individual, but rather stating that the person comes off as lacking credibility. Any negotiator that is not considered credible by the opposing side generally has a very difficult job conducting a successful negotiations.

As a professional negotiator, who has negotiated hundreds of “deals” over the last three plus decades, I have often been called in to “put out a fire,” after an amateur or inexperienced negotiator “screwed it up.” Amateurs often make false statements about the group he represents, trying to build it up hoping to improve his bargaining position. While that may work rarely under certain circumstances (only when the other side is also represented by an amateur), it usually backfires. For example, I have seen amateurs go to a hotel and considerably overstate his groups buying power, hoping to acquire better concessions, rates, etc. However, especially in the hotel business in today’s world, hotels check and “talk,” and they discover the organization’s true history, including such factors as credit worthiness, attrition versus proposed numbers, and expenditures. If a negotiator overstates these easy to find out items, the hotel will often resent and mistrust the negotiator, which almost always portends to a troubling situation.

My suggestion in any negotiation is to be “tough but fair.” Always study the opposition, and know what they can and cannot do, and where perhaps you can save them money that they could then pass along to your group in terms of additional savings or concessions. Whether the negotiation involves a labor and management issue dispute, a hotel negotiation, or any other situation, the successful and experienced negotiator always explains fully what his needs are, and comes in with his own set of priorities and must haves, as well as possible givebacks. It is essential that both sides walk away from these discussions believing they did well and that the agreement was a fair and equitable one. In many ways, the best scenario is one where the process ends up resembling a mediation, with open discussions and real brainstorming and idea sharing.

However, this is all dependent on maintaining a credible and honorable posture, and not telling lies simply to secure some often short-lived gain. There is perhaps nothing that will mess up this process more than deceit or the perception of deceit, and one’s reputation is paramount to success. My recommendation for all groups is to always maintain your reputation as being honorable, because that will keep you “in demand” in the future, by others. The credible negotiator, in the long run, always end up with the best overall agreements.

How to Give More Effective Presentations?

Have you ever heard a presentation, a lecture, or an acceptance speech that just left you in awe? Did it make you wonder how they did it? How did they make public speaking seem so easy? Even though it may seem like an innate trait, you can learn to become a better, more powerful public speaker.

Public speaking is a skill that is very important to develop. Regardless of the field you work in, you will be interacting with people or groups. By learning to engage the other party, you will have a better time getting through to them and be able to establish yourself as knowledgeable and powerful.

Whether it is in a small conversation or a large presentation, three key elements of public speaking are:

  1. Message content
  2. Audience connection
  3. Message impact

Here, we will discuss the message impact and message content.

First, let’s understand what message impact means. When you are giving a speech, what do you want your audience to take away?

Often times in a company, you may be asked to give a status update on a project or explain a new idea. When doing so, start by writing down what you want to have happen after you give the speech. How do you want them to act- whether that is to support your initiative or help coordinate future actions?

Use those questions to guide the speech. Word it so that it pushes your message.

The next element that we will discuss is message content.

I guarantee that you have sat through a speech that either has gone over your head or became very boring. Often times, it is very technical speech that you cannot fully process.

Yes, having facts in a speech is good- it shows that you are knowledgeable about your presentation- but a good speech is about more than just numbers and charts and data.

If there is a lot of information that you must get across, try breaking it up into different segments, with an engaging break in the middle, or sending out the data sheets afterwards, via email.

The key here is to not bore the audience and ensure that they can process what they are told.

Learning to become a good public speaking will help you get your message across in a more efficient manner. Use these three elements and see how it changes the way people pay attention to your presentations!

Creating Effective Presentations – Planning Is THE Key Ingredient

Creating effective presentations that hit the mark is a little like putting together a puzzle. The majority of professionals in the business world rely on presentations at some point during negotiations. Yet, the results are sometimes inconsistent. Some presentations clearly demonstrate the intended idea, while others leave people confused or, worse, disinterested.

How DO you make this tool work for you? One simple answer to creating effective presentations: planning.

Creating effective presentations means planning, planning and more planning. This often requires meticulous research. For business presentations, the plan should include answers to the following:

  • What point you want to make?
  • What benefits you are offering?
  • What makes you unique from your competitors?
  • What deal you are offering?
  • Why are YOU the only choice?

Good planning helps ensure that enough of your presentation sticks in the mind of your audience to support what you’re proposing at the end of your presentation. Hence, your slides should be used as props, not as running commentary. Crowded data-filled slides often result in confused minds. They pull the audience’s attention away from you and what you’re saying.

Slides should have a maximum of four lines of text or one image that represents one main idea. Always use the slide as a prop while YOU present your message.

When creating effective presentations, one important ingredient is your own conviction. If you are not sold on the idea you’re talking about, the presentation is going to fall flat on its face. The enthusiasm of someone who believes in what he or she is saying is infectious and essential when selling an idea.

Keep slides and your communication simple and clear. Whenever possible, eliminate lists and data tables. Instead, put the gist or result on the slide. The key to creating effective presentations is clarity in your communication. If you have a lot of data to share, put the details in a handout and distribute it before or after your presentation.

While we are on the subject of planning in creating effective presentations, let’s not forget about the hardware. Many presentations fall flat because the logistics around hardware was not given enough attention. Always check that Internet connectivity, computer battery, your projector, outlets and anything else you need are available and in working order. If possible, run through your presentation once to make sure there are no hidden glitches.

Follow these steps, and you’ll be well on your way to creating effective presentations.