Focused Persistence In A Negotiation Leads To More Success

In your negotiation, how focused and persistent are you on the variables that lead to a successful negotiation outcome? The right degree of persistence and focus will lead to more negotiation success.

A small boy is sent to bed by his father. Five minutes later… “Da-ad… ” “What? “I’m thirsty. Can you bring me a drink of water?” “No. You had your chance. Lights out.” Five minutes later: “Daaaaad..” “WHAT?” “I’m THIRSTY. Can I have a drink of water??” “I told you NO! If you ask again, I’ll have to spank you!!” Five minutes later..

“Daaaa-aaaad… ” “WHAT!” “When you come in to spank me, can you bring a drink of water?”

That story highlights the persistence the little boy had for reaching his goal of getting a glass of water. It also highlights the consequences he was willing to endure (spanking) to get the glass of water.

Consider the following factors as you engage in your negotiations.

  • Think about the questions you’ll ask and how they might lead to the outcome you seek. Questions determine the answers you get, which determines the path upon which the negotiation will follow.

  • Assess what you’re really willing to do to reach your goals and the words and actions you’re willing to commit to in order to do so. This is an important factor to consider for every negotiation you’re in. Don’t treat this thought haphazardly. As an example, if talking tough is required to get your message across, be prepared to do so. Also, understand that there’s a difference between talking tough and showing how tough you are via your actions. We send messages through our actions as well as our words. As such, if our actions are not aligned with our words, our words have less sway. They don’t convey our commitment to the outcome we seek. If our words and actions are aligned, their synchronization emits a subliminal conveyance that we’re more focused on what we seek and the degree to which it has importance to us. Thus, being persistent and conveying it via our words and actions can get you closer to your goal.

During any phase of a negotiation, one has the belief that he will or will not achieve a successful outcome. If you maintain the mindset that states there’s a winning solution to this negotiation and all you have to do is find it, your actions will move you along that continuum. If you think you’re in a hopeless situation and it’s time to pull out, you’ll be focused on an exit point.

Either scenario may be appropriate based on the negotiation situation you’re in. The point is, know where you are in the negotiation, make the right assessment as to your course of action, and execute that action after you’re sure you’ve existed all possible routes to the outcome you’re striving for. If after doing so, you still feel it’s time to pull out of the negotiation you will have displayed the due diligence to yourself indicating that you really gave it your all. In so doing you’ll also have input to tweak your level of persistence for future negotiations, which will serve to make you a better negotiator… and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

How To Handle Tough Questions And Disagreements In Your Presentations

Do you know that the number one fear in people is the fear of public speaking. It is ranked even higher than death itself. Speaking in front of people is already difficult, but how do you handle it when your audience throws at you challenging questions or even disagrees with what you say? What do you do when people start walking right out in the middle of your presentation?

As a speaker and trainer, I have my fair share of people disagreeing with me. When I speak at seminars or conference to hundreds of people at a time, there will always be that small bunch of people who will either say that they know it all or just cannot agree with me. There’s nothing we can do to them, but being prepared for such things is extremely important.

For most people, when others disagree with them, they tend to freeze and then fumble to get a right answer. Our brains are not naturally wired up to handle rejections and disagreements. Therefore, when this happens, a lot of people tend to blank out and not know how to react appropriately. In addition, when emotions set in, it is really difficult to give a clear answer to your audience.

Here are some scenarios that I have experienced before and hope that it will give you an insight on how I defuse potentially tough situations while maintaining credibility with the audience. Do note that the following is not rocket science but more of a way of doing things. It has worked for me and I sincerely hope that it will work for you.

1. A person stands up and disagrees with your certain parts of your presentation openly.

The first thing is to thank the person for their statements and then understand the reason behind the disagreement.


Firstly, we need to set a safe environment to allow people to express their views. If I were to thank a person for their views when they disagree with me, they will tend to be more relaxed and know that I acknowledge his/her views. The unseasoned speakers will tend to quickly disagree with the person raising their objections. This will make the person become defensive and find all ways to prove his/her theory to be true. This is unnecessary conflict we can avoid.

Secondly, I have learnt that if a person is disagreeing based on his or her experience/opinion, I will tend to allow and agree with that person. Why? This is because all our experiences in life are pretty much relative. I will usually say “That’s a valid viewpoint and you could be right. What I was sharing just now was based on what I experienced and found to be true to me.”

By painting a personal experience that I have personally found to be true and good, will quickly help others to know that if it works for me, it might work for you as well. Remember, experiences are never right or wrong. It is how we interpret the events and learn from it that makes it true.

Tip: Remember not to use absolute statements, eg. This is the ONLY right way to do things. You are actually inviting trouble.

2. A person asks a question that you do not understand.

It is best to ask the person to repeat the question or rephrase it. After that, you can also rephrase the question and ask this person whether you have understood the question correctly. This is a simple process but yet a lot of Asians tend not to do it. We tend to just jump into answering the question without fully getting it.

Here’s a simple phrase I use:

“I heard your question but I don’t get it. Would you mind repeating the question or rephrasing it for me? I will appreciate it.”

Tip: Clarity is important before you reply. Ensure you are answering the right question.

3. A person walks away out in the middle of your presentation.

We need to always focus on the crowd and allow a particular individual to affect us. Most people will tend to think that person particularly dislike/hate/_________ (fill in the blanks) their presentation and gets affected by it.

You have to remember that if the entire audience is still paying attention to you, we should not let a single person affect you. However, if you notice that more and more people start to leave, it is good to just ask what is happening. The worst thing as a presenter is to be oblivious to what is making people leave.

I had in a few times notice that people left and only to come back. This could because they had to take an urgent call or even need to go to the washroom. Take heart and not let it affect you. There are those who left and decided not to come back. The only thing I could do is to wish them well.

“Presence” Vs “Presents” – How to Have a Creative Holiday Season

It is no coincidence that “presence” and “presents” sound so similar. What do you remember the most from your childhood holidays? The presents? Or was it the time spent in the presence of friends and family, doing things together to celebrate the season?

Radio, television, billboards and yes, even the internet, would have you believe that Christmas is all about the presents. Your worth and success as a parent is determined by how many packages are under the tree Christmas morning. Seems a little silly and sad, doesn’t it?

There are many ways you can cut down on the commercialism of the holidays and get back to what really matters – creating memories and spending time together as a family. Here are some ideas for having a less commercial Christmas season.

Plan Ahead:

The easiest way to have a memory-filled holiday season is figuring out what you want. What is important to your family? Do some research and pre-planning and figure out the big things. Will you be going anywhere for Christmas? Do you have commitments or traditions you need to plan for? Do you have family downtime built into your schedule? What activities and events are going on that your family would like to experience?

Next, have a family brainstorming session and include all your family- even the little ones can give you their input! Discuss different options for family activities and make sure you include something for everyone. Create a calendar together and put it in a prominent place. This will allow you to see what is going on next and will provide you with a reminder that you have things that are important to your family scheduled and it will make it easier to say no to things that do not fit with your family’s holiday plan.

Embrace the Commercialism:

There is no escaping the commercialism of the holidays. I saw my first commercial for Christmas-colored cereal on TV at around 10:40 pm, October 31; that’s one thousand, two hundred ninety-seven hours and twenty minutes before Christmas, or seven hundred twenty-one hours and twenty minutes before December. Your family would have to go on a complete media fast to avoid overexposure of holiday commercialism, and while that’s not a bad idea, you can also turn commercialism into a learning tool.

Even very young children can pick out holiday advertisements. It is never to early to discuss media and their messages with kids.

When you see or hear an advertisement, examine it with your child. What product are they marketing? What words do they use to make it sound really neat? What makes this product or version of the product different than normal? How much use or fun would you get out of a product like this? How much allowance would you have to say to get this product? Would having this product make you happy?

Children may not notice many of the marketing messages they are exposed to, but these messages can still influence them. Why not control HOW it influences them instead of leaving it to chance?

Every time your child sees or hears an advertisement, get them to point it out and keep score. This number will climb frighteningly fast. Decide to cut the commercialism by giving back. For every advertisement your child can spot and discuss with you, donate 10 cents (or whatever amount you like) to your family’s charity of choice, or put 10 cents away to help buy creative activity supplies. This exercise allows for lots of education and a chance to bond with your kids over the very advertisements that are promoting consumerism and commercialism.

Advent Activity Time:

Many families have an advent calendar for Christmas. Most of these are commercially-made cardboard calendars that contain rather bad chocolate. It doesn’t have to be this way! You can start an Advent Calendar tradition that will create great memories very easily.

One way to do this is to create advent calendar coupons – one for each child for each day of the month of December. These should include quality time coupons. Some might have to be redeemed that day, or others can be kept and redeemed whenever the child wants. These could be for things like playing a family game together, a day trip to volunteer at a local charity or a visit to a museum or other worthy ways to spend a day, one extra bedtime story, a special “date” night with each parent, making a favorite treat together, etc. You can give these coupons each day by themselves or with a single wrapped candy or piece of chocolate. You could mix lists of things you love about your child, or admire about them with the coupons. Each child is unique and it is important to let them know you see it!

By having a plan and identifying what is important to your family, you have the opportunity to create lots of memories and new traditions while giving your kids the best present possible: being present in the moment and enjoying the holidays together.