“Negotiate More Effectively By Knowing How To Act Better” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

Do you plan how you’ll #act when you #negotiate? What #role do you decide you’ll play? Knowing the right role to display will allow you to negotiate better. Although you can’t predict every circumstance that you’ll encounter in a negotiation, the better prepared you are, the better your act will be.

Your act:

Everyone plays a role during a negotiation. And, your role should align with how you wish the other negotiator to perceive you; that’s your act. You should not view it as bad or inauthentic; it’s an act. If it’s misaligned, you run the risk of weakening your position. As an example, you shouldn’t become a bully if you’ve been playing the role of someone that’s helpful. That would be a misalignment.

Consider the following and keep in mind that you can morph from one act to another. Just be sure there’s an easily perceived reason for doing so.

  • Nonchalant

You can adopt this act to project a ‘no-care’ attitude (i.e. if it happens, fine – if it doesn’t, fine). You might employ this demeanor when you wish to confuse the other negotiator about your real interest in what he’s offering. Make sure not to become unmasked by being too deep into the role. Because a fleeting offer may disappear before you can shift acts.

  • Defiant

“I won’t accept that offer under any circumstances!” Be cautious when adopting this act. It can leave you in a position that’s difficult to retreat from. While this can be a good tactic, if it’s overused and you must concede, you’ll be weaker throughout the rest of the negotiation.

To combat the perception of being in a weaker position, consider feigning momentary hopelessness. It’ll lend credence to your act. But you must attempt to regain your defiant act, be it from a less entrenched position, to regain your position. You’ll only be able to use the hopelessness ploy once, twice if you’re overly convincing. So, be mindful of how and when you employ it. If you do so too early in the negotiation, you’ll lessen its effect later. If you do it too late, you’ll bring additional scrutiny upon your act.

  • Helpful

Most people like helping people. It’s a characteristic that’s pleasing. It’s also a characteristic that some people despise. Thus, you must know when to be a helpful actor and when to drop the act.

Dominant negotiators, the bullying type, tend not to want help. They already know what’s good for the negotiation. From their perspective, your insights will only hinder the process.

Invoke the helpful act with collaborative negotiator types. They seek input to promote win-win negotiation outcomes. To better effect this act, consider when you’ll lead and when you’ll follow. To follow, ask the other negotiator for her opinion. Then, build on it. To lead, present a non-threatening offer and ask your collaborator what she thinks of it. Build on what she says.

  • Dominant

Most people don’t like to be dominated; it places too many restrictions on them. Nevertheless, acting dominantly versus someone that’s savvy and in control can have its benefits. The difference lies in whether you’re perceived as being overbearing, strong-willed, or just knowledgeable. To effect this act, attune yourself to the other negotiator’s perception. There can be hidden value in this role. Knowing how and when to uncover that value makes it more valuable.

The stage you’re in, in the negotiation, should direct how you act. Like a good director, if you time your actions appropriately, your actions will be more believable. That will lead to more winning negotiation outcomes… and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

Negotiating Skills – Dealing With ‘em Smart

Kevin Spacey made it seem like very serious business in “The Negotiator” and we agree with him! It is important that budding entrepreneurs equip themselves with a strategy for effective negotiation. Why, you ask? Its simple… every one thinks about their own selves, avers Dale Carnegie of “How to Win Friends and Influence People” fame. Doing smart business is often a question of striking deals that are attractive to others while serving one’s own interests. This is where good negotiating skills come in handy.

Negotiating skills are needed during all business interactions, be it acquiring a new client, striking deals with suppliers, hiring new employees or even keeping the ones you have. Bear a couple of things in mind to negotiate well:

The personal touch: Whatever be the deal you are trying to negotiate, keeping in contact with the other party is essential. By this we do not mean fixing appointments over the answering machine! Ideally, one should make an effort to meet the client or vendor in person. This will not only secure the other parties’ attention but also give you a chance to assess them closely.

Understand the terrain: The strategy you employ during negotiations will depend upon the other party as well. For instance, if you have common interests, collaboration is the most likely outcome. Compromise is yet another outcome, wherein both parties settle for something a little short of their individual targets. But if your groundwork is strong, you could be calling the shots. Be a patient listener and try to get as much as possible out of the other person; this will put you in the driver’s seat. Prepare and play your cards well, else you could find yourself accommodating more and more concessions.

Aim high: While the idea is to make the deal as beneficial as possible, that’s probably what the other person is going for as well. So, define your targets and keep them high enough to ensure that you do not lose out in the bargain. Ensure a fairly large margin to play with. While setting goals, stick to what is best for your company, (reputation included) rather than that which merely enhances profits. Remember to be discreet about your own goals while negotiating; keep the opponent guessing about what’s on your mind!

Keep the ball rolling: Good negotiating skills require adopting an active stance. For every problem the other party comes up with, discuss possible solutions. Be enthusiastic and persuasive; emphasize common ground and stress on the benefits of the deal to the other person. Unexpected opportunities might emerge during the dialog; hence be prepared to request for more time, if you need to consult with others. Likewise, if dispensable clauses seem to be getting in the way, compromising on them is probably the best thing to do.

See which way the wind blows: Don’t hesitate to make or seek clarifications as this will avoid confusion later. Think twice before you agree to anything new on the spot; there might be more to it than what is obvious. Keep your ears and eyes open for any changes that might not be in the best interest of your business. Calling off a deal that is a no deal is just as important as negotiating well.

Face roadblocks head on: While conflicts are common to all negotiations, they need to be handled with caution. Suggest temporary solutions to problems until they can be discussed at length later. This way you could buy more time to tackle those difficulties efficiently. If there are more than two people on either side then call for a vote to resolve the setback.

The devil is in the details: Once you see the deal through, take care to outline the terms and conditions carefully. Specify the validity of the contract and clauses addressing compensation if the deal falls out among other things. Do this meticulously to avoid loopholes. Attention to minute details will help save precious time and money, should the tide turn against you. Look before you leap; don’t make any commitments before the deal is down in black and white.

There might come a time when it seems like the discussion is headed nowhere; stay patient and focused through it. “Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement without Giving In” by Roger Fisher, William L. Ury and Bruce Patton , could be a good start for those of you wanting to nail the deal at top speed . “Interviewing, Counseling, and Negotiating: Skills for Effective Representation” by Robert M. Bastress and Joseph D. Harbaugh, could improve your negotiating skills a great deal. If poor communication has been getting in the way of your negotiating skills, solve your problem .

Finally, be confident about yourself and your offer; most importantly, end the discussion on a good note, whether you decide for or against the arrangement. With our tips to guide you, “The Negotiator” could well be your second name!

Improve Presentations With Black Slides

Temporarily switching to a black display or slide is an effective way in PowerPoint to change focus, add audience interaction or to handle discussions or content not related to the current slide in a presentation. Why bother? You don’t want to leave your audience distracted by the slide in front of them especially if the presentation or conversation has changed. Plus, a black display quickly signals a change in topic or material.

Explore the 5 ways to work with black slides in PowerPoint:

  1. Presentation Remote
  2. Projector Remote
  3. Quick Slide Show Keyboard Shortcuts
  4. Create a Black Slide
  5. End with a Black Slide

Presentation Remote

The easiest way to switch to a black display is with a presentation remote. If you use one, practice using the button to go to a black screen so you are less likely to accidentally hit this button when you don’t want it.

Projector Remote

If a presentation remote is not available, you may have access to the projector remote control. This is more likely for smaller or internal presentations when the A/V equipment is not so tightly controlled as with conference sessions or large groups. Many projector remotes have an option for “Black Screen”. Also, practice turning this feature on and off. Do not choose “Standby” as it may take several minutes to “wake-up” the projector from this mode.

Quick Keyboard Shortcuts to a Black Display

While running your PowerPoint slide show, easily switch to black by pressing the letter B (for black) or press the [Period] key while running your slide show. Just press B again to restore the presentation.

You can also press the letter W (for white) to toggle/switch to a white display. A white display, however, is often too bright in many presentation environments.

Create a Black Slide

As with other parts of a presentation, you may also want to build in or choreograph your interaction and other transitions in addition to the slide show. Do this by adding a black slide at the point where you want to temporarily change focus.

One advantage of a black slide over just turning the screen black is that, when you continue with your presentation, the next slide or topic will display instead of the slide you were previously displaying. Plus, a black slide may “jog” your memory about planned transitions.

To create a black slide in PowerPoint:

  1. Create a slide with a Blank Layout.
  2. Pick on the Design tab > Format Background.
  3. Click Hide Background graphics.
  4. Choose Solid fill and pick a black from the Color options.

End with a Black Slide

Another way to work with a black slide in a PowerPoint presentation is to choose whether or not you want to end your presentation with a black slide. Although this is a default in PowerPoint, you can quickly verify or change this option.

To set the option to end a slide show with a black slide:

  1. File > Options.
  2. Select the Advanced category. Under the Slide Show section, check or uncheck End with black slide and OK to continue.

Bonus Tip:

To avoid moving too far at the end of a PowerPoint presentation and accidentally exiting out of a slide show, I like to add a few “buffer” slides I don’t plan to show. If I do, however, click too many times with my presentation remote, the extra slide will display. Good choices for these ending slides include a simple slide with your company logo or website or an appropriate photo.

Finally, as with any presentation, make sure to practice your presentation (along with planned interaction) so that you can effectively and successfully deliver your message.

Were these PowerPoint tips helpful? Discover more PowerPoint techniques and shortcuts here.