To Negotiate Successfully, Whose Ethical Compass Do You Follow?

When you negotiate, do you have problems with your ethical compass? Do you assess those with whom you negotiate to determine the direction in which their ethical compass points?

During negotiations, people get ‘caught up in the moment’. As a result, sometimes they say and/or do ‘things’ that are misleading, misaligned with their core values, and even downright fraudulent. Nevertheless, one’s ethical compass is a matter of perception.

Consider the following situations and in your own mind assess who’s right from an ethical point of view.

· As the result of a new state law (SB 1070 in a state in the U.S.), the local police have the right to stop anyone that does not ‘look’ a certain way. Some people are cheering, because they’ll get relief from local crimes that have occurred. Other people think the law will serve as a tool used to stop and possibly harass people that ‘look’ a certain way. Are there ethical misalignments at work in this situation, or a genuine concern for the public’s safety?

· You’re stuck in a plane, on the tarmac for hours. Airline authorities indicate they don’t want to let passengers deplane, because ‘conditions’ could change at a moment’s notice and they need to be in a position to ‘take off’ sooner versus later. Are they lying, or are they trying to avoid the hassle of going through the rigors of deplaning passengers?

· Your stockbroker suggests you buy a financial product, while telling others they should sell the same financial product. Some say financial reform is the answer. Others say, financial reform will be too restrictive. Is greed the factor that’s causing the ethical compass to be ‘off centered’ in this situation, or is it self-preservation. To what degree is the stockbroker’s ethical compass askew?

In the above situations, who is ethically right and what’s the ‘real’ source of motivation? Are the people advantaged in these situations duplicitous in their lack of ethics? Are they simply viewing situations from the perspective that the solution will solve a problem? It really depends upon the perspective from which you view each situation and the goals participants are striving to accomplish. In reality, people on either side of the continuum could be manipulating their ethical compasses for their financial and/or self-satisfying betterment.

In this negotiation tip, I’m not passing judgment on any negotiator, nor the practices he uses. To each I say, to thyself be true. Let your conscious be your guide.

When negotiating, determine ahead of time what you’re willing to do to obtain what you’re seeking. Assess the other negotiator’s capacity to ‘bend’ the truth in his efforts to get what he wants. In the balance will lie to what extent you and the other negotiator are willing to go to achieve the outcome being sought. To the degree that your assessment is accurate, you’ll have more control of the negotiation, from which you should be able to craft a more beneficial outcome… and everything will be right with the world.

The Negotiation Tips Are…

· When you negotiate, if you find yourself in a state of ‘wicked wittiness (lying)’, consider the consequences of your actions. You don’t want to win a battle, at the expense of losing the war.

· Where possible, never knowingly pressure the other negotiator into a position whereby he has to lie to sustain or embellish his point. Be cognizant of his body language to gain insight into his source of motivation.

· Seek to understand what may motivate someone to lie. In so doing, you can guard against that source and use it to your advantage if the situation is warranted.

Tips on Making Presentations

For a presentation to have impact, it should be able to keep an audience completely engrossed. You do not need to be a high profile speaker in order to make a great presentation. Just follow these handy pointers to help you develop your presentation skills.

The key to a good presentation is to prepare well in advance. This is because you get just one opportunity to get your presentation right – there are no retakes! Research your presentation before hand. All data that you include should be accurate. Avoid using too many facts and figures in your presentation as they tend to sound too dry and boring.

Rehearse your presentation in advance so you do not need to refer to your notes during the course of the presentation. Make eye contact with the audience while talking so that they feel as if you are talking to them individually. Nod your head, smile and use voice modulation to make your presentation come alive.

At the beginning of your presentation make your audience feel comfortable by greeting them and explaining the agenda for the session.

You will need to deliver your presentation in the right way so that your participants like hearing you. Stress on important points and let your presentation follow a logical flow. Explain any statistical figures so that even a lay person can understand your point. Use real life examples to illustrate your points.

Do not try to make your presentation too technical in nature. Even if your subject matter is complex, try to simplify concepts by using clear, uncomplicated language. Keep away from excessive jargon. Use just those technical terms that you know your audience will be familiar with. Target your presentation for each and every member of the audience, not just a select few. Keep in mind that the audience may come from diverse background or job functions.

Keep room in your presentation for any extempore additions that feel will add to the presentation while you are making it. Pick up cues from the audience response and use them to make corrections to the overall tone of your presentation.

You should intersperse your presentation with visuals as far as possible. Graphics not only enhance your presentation but also add to your content.

At the end of the presentation, ask the audience for feedback and answer any queries they may have. Discourage people from asking questions while you are making your presentation so that the flow is not interrupted.

We Are All TV Presenters

At a recent TV Presenting Course that we ran in Dublin, Ireland, it became very clear to me why most ‘presentation skills’ type courses fall short of achieving the results they should be getting – those results being a more confident, persuasive and eloquent speaker. In fact most of them miss the point completely! They fail to acknowledge the most important area of presenting – the voice.

A Speaker needs a voice! The spoken words must be the result of the 3 ‘P’s – Planning, Preparation & Performing (or Putting into Practise, if the word ‘performing’ frightens you!) Each have equal importance, and with a bit of persistence you will be amazed at how little time is required when you give each section it’s own value.

You see, an audience is not concerned with the Planning and Preparation, they only see and hear the Performance. The small window of opportunity that exists for you to speak, is what will motivate, inspire or persuade the listener to trust and believe in you. In a television programme the Presenter is the link between the ‘energy’ of the programme and the audience. Our screens are littered with examples of nonsense television with good Presenters and great subject matter with poor Presenters. Rarely do we see the best of content combined with the best Presenter performance, and when we do we over-ride all logic, cynicism and doubt and allow ourselves to be wholeheartedly taken into the speaker’s (or programme’s) world.

I have seen large, medium and small corporations spend fortunes on brochures, board rooms, PR – in fact all the things that make up the ‘corporate image’, and then fall flat on their faces when the ‘corporate voice’ – the voice that the customer hears – does not deliver the professionalism of the product, ethos or track record of the organisation. It amazes me how little vocal training many sales teams are given to help them maximise the small window of opportunity they have when in front of customers. The way I see it is: no sales = no business. Why take the risk of not ensuring your sales teams’ voices are the very best they can be?

So when I read or hear about courses that do not include at least a third of voice work delivered by voice specialists in their ‘presentation skills’ training, I realise that these people have no idea about courses they run, and have no idea how much value customers, clients and colleagues give to the vocal sound when making decisions. Call these courses ‘effective use of PowerPoint’, ‘content structures that help people understand’, ‘relax and de-stress’ or ‘how to sharpen your pencil’ – whatever – but do not call them ‘Presentation Skills’ if no serious time is given to the mechanics, physiology, psychology and delivery practises of the voice and vocal impact. This is like calling a course ‘Formula 1 Motor Racing Skills’, showing people maps of some race tracks, explaining the importance of driver focus, demonstrating how to change the engine oil and then, bizarrely, not giving them a F1 car with a skilled Instructor to guide them through their newly acquired skills!

(By the way Videoing participants and gratuitously pointing out the blatantly obvious doesn’t count! We are more interested in the cause, not the symptoms and we purposely ban video cameras from the first few days of our trainings. This ensures we guarantee long lasting change where the person no longer displays vocal and physical ‘oddities’. When our participants understand and are comfortable with their natural delivery styles and they can successfully combine this with their expert information, only then do we bring out the cameras as a means to achieve maximum effectiveness of the desired message.)

We all know the philosophical question – “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around tohear it, does it make a sound?” It demonstrates the dictum of ‘Esse est percipi – ‘ Tobe is to be perceived. This can be very easily  transferred to a sales, motivation, education or coaching environment. How often has a presentation ‘fallen in the forest’, and no one has heard it, acts on it, or even cares about it?!

In our ‘Secrets of Confident & Effective Speakers’ courses we continuously make the point that a listener doesn’t really care about the Presenters ‘stuff’ (their slides, sore throats, traffic jams, faulty projector, deadlines). An audience cares about what the Presenter says, how they say it, and most importantly how this makes the audience feel. This is what convinces them to believe, to follow, to buy!

So the next time you watch a TV programme, and you see a TV Presenter, realise that this 30 / 60 minute slot is the section on which you will judge the show, and not on the unseen weeks planning and preparation that has preceded the performance. To be at your best you must give equal time to rehearsing (or putting into practise) the skills of delivery. Only this gives you the best possible chance to do maximum justice to your integrity, ethos or product. This brings you and your message into the listeners present, and activates their response receptors. Planning, Preparation AND Performing. Does Your Performing do justice to your Planning and Preparation? Whether we like it or not, we are all TV Presenters!