3 Steps to Efficient Negotiation

Most people have it within themselves to try to get a good deal. And almost every such person call on their negotiation skills to get what they want. While negotiating is not possible in most retail situations, certain types of businesses do allow the flexibility to haggle over the price. Effective negotiations can be highly useful in situations like this. But is there a trick to negotiating? Is it a science or an art? Or does it completely have to do with force of personality and/or charisma? The truth of the matter is it is ALL of the above. There is a science to negotiations but it is also an art that requires careful wielding. And a certain amount of personality certainly helps. In this article we will look at some simple aspects of effective negotiation skills

Negotiation Skills Training   is an important program for companies to invest in, especially toward those employees whose jobs require them to negotiate deals and transactions with other corporate parties

  • Depending on the personality of the parties involved, one must determine what kind of negotiating style needs to be adopted. Sometimes rational reasons can be debated for the sake of getting the right deal but other times negotiations can be over nothing but the mere transaction.
  • In most negotiations it is important to evaluate one’s interests for negotiating the deal. What are the contributing factors? What is the one aspect that is the most important in securing this deal? How can we find a middle ground that is advantageous without being a compromise? This is crucial to the negotiation process. If your business strategies often require you to negotiate ,  ‘Six Surprising Negotiation Tactics that get you the best deal’  is an excellent article to help you get ahead on negotiation tactics.
  •  Its important to move the tone of the negotiations from compromise mode to a unified problem solving mode. It takes focus to not go into that kind of troubleshooting mode and instead try to keep the conversation geared toward a win-win situation for both sides involved in the negotiations.

For more information on various Soft Skills Training topics, please refer to these articles/blog:

 The Art of Tactful Business Communication

The Presentation Skills of Apple Inc

Shifting Limiting Mindsets – A Leadership Essential

 

 

 

The Cost of Clarity in Communication

Communication is probably the most important of skill that humans are endowed with and need to improve upon in order to relate with his fellow beings. Communication can be of various forms – oral, written and non-verbal (physical), but all of which serve one purpose – the transmission of ideas and thoughts. Business communications also operate with the same fundamental principle except with the added facet of protocols and socially acceptable dynamics that need to be in place for a more professional form of communication.

Communication Skills Training  is a fundamental part of equipping employees to become great communicators and leaders within their respective organizations.

Within businesses even, communication spans over various forms – emails, faxes, memos, notes, meetings, presentations are all conducted and handed with the express purpose of communication. Whatever the medium may be, there are some key elements to communication that are fundamental to the proper transmission of ideas. In this article we will focus on just one of these aspects – Clarity. This is probably the most important aspect for effective communication in business. ‘8 Ways to Improve your Communication Right Now’  tells you how stepwise which  is easy to comprehend.

Whether one is writing an email or giving a presentation, the ultimate objective is to convey a message that is persuasive to the person on the receiving end of the message. This is the most effective of communication techniques. But this will not happen if the message is not clear in the first place. The onus is on the presenter or sender of the message to be clear in his or her transmission of the agenda. Ideas must be defined and extrapolated for clarity and presented in a simple and easy to understand manner. Vague or ambiguous words that may skew or distract from the core of the message must be avoided for the communication to be effective. When beginning an email or a lecture, begin with a clear and well-defined purpose. If you as the presenter do not know where you’re going with the correspondence, there is no way that the receiver is going to know where you’re going either. This is the key to improving communication.

Minimizing the body of the communication to its most core ideas or purpose keeps the correspondence lean and avoids any unnecessary language or ‘fluff’ that distracts from the main idea or objective of the message. This is the key to good communication skill.

For more information on Communication Skills Training, please refer to the following articles:

The Art of Tactful Business Communication 

Communication – A Leader’s Trump Card 

 10 Tips for Effective Workplace Communication

 

 

 

 

What Can Aladdin’s Genie Teach you on Communication Skills?

Even as the world mourns the death of Robin Williams, I couldn’t help but think of my most favorite rendition of his – playing the Genie in Disney’s ‘Aladdin’. Genie’s introduction and intro song is sheer animation brilliance wrapped in vintage Williams. The bravado performance begins with a flashy song full of fire-works, multiple manifestations of Genie himself and colorful dancers. But it is more than just visual stimulation – along the way, Genie tells Aladdin that he is the boss, everything that Genie can do for him and simply how life can just change for the better for Aladdin. Well all this is nice and cartoony! But what in the name of ‘flying carpets’ does this have to do with Business Communication?

What Can Aladdin’s Genie Teach you on Communication Skills?

Like every other form of communication, effective communication skills lies in not simply transmitting information but in doing so in a persuasive manner. While some people resort to the KISS formula (Keep It Simple, Stupid), it sometimes pays to pull out all the stops and just go over the top to make a good impression. At the heart of this communication technique lies the intuitive knowledge that humans are emotional creatures and we often associate the memory of a product or service, not with the details or specs but with the emotions that we felt about it at the time. So what does this look like?

First Impression – Just like the Genie, we want a mind-blowing opener as a communication strategy. Anything that will grab the listener’s attention by the eye-balls! Colorful themes, special seating and theme music can all make for a memorable walk-in experience. Audiences are feeling good and looking forward to it before the show has even begun!

Know your audience – Genie knew that he had to dazzle in order to get the attention of an ordinary street boy like Aladdin. Customize your communication according to the caliber of the audience. Putting up a presentation for the advertising team will look entirely different from putting one up for the CEO and board of directors.

The human element – Genie, although a spiritual entity, appealed to everything human in order to attract Aladdin. At the end of the day, it is you giving the presentation and not your slideshow. Look confident, speak up and smiling alone will give you an edge that will carry you part of the way through your presentation. Communicating your idea powerfully and with clarity is more than sufficient to close the deal. This is communication skills 101.

For information on Communication Skill Training for companies, please refer to the following article – Why Communication Skills are the Epitome of Human Progress

Why Communication Skills are the Epitome of Human Progress

Why Communication Skills are the Epitome of Human Progress

Good communication skill does not just mean the ability to be understood, it means more than that. Effective communication skills can help humans convey their emotions that may be hard to discuss.

Since the beginning of time, what has set humans apart from animals has been our cognitive faculties and the depth of our Communication Skill. Like animals we too have the basic senses but we have something extra – self-awareness. And not only do we have self-awareness but we have always been able to communicate that when needed. Modern commercials and advertisements pick up on this subconscious ability and play to its strengths. All one has to do is watch a commercial of Calvin Klein (CK) or Apple. In the CK commercial you will immediately notice that the product itself is almost never shown. Instead they sell you a ‘mood’, ‘attitude’ or a ‘personality’. CK understood intuitively that often what a product makes you feel or think is more powerful than the immediate image of the product itself. The subconscious feeling one gets when watching a CK commercial is not even centered around the product but instead about feeling, ‘adventurous’, ‘sexy’ or ‘dominant’. Similarly Apple commercials rarely drone the watcher with close-ups and technical specs of their products. Instead they show you a montage of clips of how diversely their products touch people’s lives. From a five year old in a classroom to a seventy year old at home, from the medical labs of Harvard to a cottage in rural China, Apple commercials show how their products bring joy to people all over the world. They’re not selling you a product, they’re selling you a ‘life-style’. This is how to communicate effectively!

Even in the corporate world, communication skills are the brain, heart and blood of a company all at the same time. From casting the vision, to formulating a game plan, to planning a methodology all the way to the execution and gauging of the process, it is communication that drives the entire corporate engine. The corporate world is now looking at helping its employees in the process of ‘how to develop communication skills.’ All types of communication skills intuitively take into account the following:

• Clarity of Objective – No one wants to hear a muddled message. Yet most communicators fall into the trap of getting lost in ‘their’ story. Good communicators usually ensure their presentations, conversations and e-mails have single themes. They keep their meetings to the point and ensure that their communication follows Stephen Coveys principle of ‘beginning with the end in mind’.

• Practical Impact – Often in an official presentation, it is assumed that merely presenting the data and numbers will tell the story for itself. But actually, showing how those numbers have real-time effects on the company and consequentially on an employee will have a more personal and powerful effect on the listener.

• Vivid Expression – With the advent of media and graphics in presentations, the effects of decisions made can be shown in a more graphically intuitive manner that gives the listener a sense of realness. For example, showing how the net profit can blow past the previous years’ profits by implementing the current plan of action using graphics and animation can be more effective than just showing the adjusted figures.

Communication Skills Training is an important facet of corporate operations and management.It is the only medium that serves as the nerve center for the healthy exchange of ideas and feedback between the management and employees and even amongst themselves. Even Fortune 500 companies constantly work on improving this facet: Read related article in Forbes.com

For more information on Communication Skills Training, refer to this article: Is Communication Skills A Part of Soft Skills Training

Etiquette is a Major Focus of Corporate Training

With the marketplace becoming global, business cannot be done effectively and seamlessly without an awareness of the cultures of your customers. Also, since a lot of transactions are conducted on the phone, telephone etiquette training is often requested in corporate training.

India has achieved its stardom through the out sourcing of customer service centers which provided technical support for its customers from all over the globe. Telephone and email were the contact channels to the customers. Hence Telephone Etiquette was very critical in providing excellent customer service. So telephone etiquette training became an important part of the corporate training programs.

Emotions ran high on these calls as expensive equipment is giving trouble. Also, the comprehension between the two parties was greatly impeded by the challenges in communication. The customer service representative often had to deal with anger and sarcasm but the core learning that we hope to imbibe is, “Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength.” – Eric Hoffer (1902 – 1983)

Our training taught the representatives numerous techniques to stay calm and ask the right questions – Open-ended questions that help to gather the information needed to troubleshoot and close-ended questions that allow you to get key information from the client. Active listening is advocated when the client is engaged and giving information without resistance and reflective listening when a client is angry, irate, uncooperative and condescending. Our mantra is, “One of the greatest victories you can gain over someone is to beat him at politeness.” – Josh Billings (1818 – 1885). We believe that the ability of the representative to maintain his/her composure is the ticket to an effective call. All the tools, techniques and methodologies that help us to attain this end is focused on in the training.

Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.” – Mark Twain

Mark Twain could not have put the benefits of corporate training more aptly. It is life changing and rejuvenating for both the business and the employees when the learning from the training is implemented in everyday life.

Presentation skills-A Vital Tool for Succeeding in Professional Life

Presentation training has become an integral part of personality development courses, these days.  Delivering presentations form a vital part of a business process and can never be deleted from the same. All kinds of professions require sharing knowledge and also keeping different teams well informed about the status of various kinds of projects that have been undertaken by the company or business house. The better a person is at giving presentations, the chances of their career enhancement increases dramatically. But, many people perform poorly while delivering a presentation because of the lack of skills and confidence that it requires. Mastering the art of delivering effective business presentation requires significant knowledge, guidance and practice. Presentation skills training helps to face and conquer all fears related to speaking in public and make you emerge as a confident speaker, who conveys ideas effectively and captivate the audience. Training programs that also provide individual coaching are the most effective as ongoing guidance is a critical component contributing to the success. So, if you want to swap from being an anxious speaker to a captivating speaker, then enrolling for a presentation training program will be imperative.

Communication Starts With The Wonder Called Mother

As the world celebrates Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May every year, it is time we looked into what goes into the making of this symbol of pure love.

As a resort to understanding what makes mothers special, I realized that an important aspect of motherhood is communication.

Mothers teach children how to deal with everyday life. They teach children how to communicate. They are taught words and told when to listen. This amounts to verbal communication.

Mothers watch as their child draws the first doodle, and helps them to write while they are in school. They understand their child’s unspoken words and understand what it is going through. This amounts to non-verbal communication.

So in the end of it all, when you look at the whole concept of motherhood, you begin to realize that the epitome of effective communication essentially begins with the mother!

We wish all women a Happy Mother’s Day, and celebrate their ability to make a difference to tomorrow by being here today; for the countless opportunities and the infinite challenges that make them what they are!

“A mother is a person who, seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.”
~ Tenneva Jordan

Avoiding Gaps In Communication – An Anecdote

Here is a humorous story that throws light on effective communication skills:

A man feared his wife could not hear as well as she used to and thought that she might need a hearing aid. Not quite sure how to approach her, he visited a doctor to discuss the problem. The doctor thought for a while and explained that he could perform a simple test to evaluate the extent of hearing loss.

That evening, the wife was in the kitchen cooking dinner when the husband came in. He thought to himself, “I’m about 40 feet away, let’s see
what happens.” Then in a normal tone he asked, ‘Honey, what’s for dinner?”

No response.

So the husband moved to closer to the kitchen, about 20 feet from his
wife and repeats, “Honey, what’s for dinner?”

There was still no response.

He then walked up to the kitchen door, about 10 feet away. “Honey, what’s
for dinner?”

Again there was no response.

As a last attempt, he walked right up behind her and asked, “Honey, what’s for dinner?”

To which the wife answered, “Sam, for the fourth time, we are having CHICKEN!”

The learning point in this anecdote is easy to see – always consider closing any communication gap that may arise before coming to conclusions.

Communication gaps arise due to many factors. They may be extrinsic – like noise or clutter; they may be intrinsic – lack of focus or preconceived ideas. Always keep an open mind during any form of conversation and aim at reducing the impact of uncontrollable factors. By consciously taking the effort to indulge in effective conversation, you can really go a long way in forming better relationships in the workplace and in your personal life.

Business Writing From Abe Lincoln’s Perspective

Abraham Lincoln is one of the most loved Presidents of the USA. He is an admired leader of the world for he always thought before he spoke. The incident given below highlights his thoughts on writing and the learning can be extended to helping you to improve business writing skills.

One day Lincoln’s Secretary of the Treasury Chase said, “Oh, I am so sorry that I did not write a letter to Mr. So-and-so before I left home!”

President Lincoln promptly responded:
“Chase, never regret what you don’t write; it is what you do write that you are often called upon to feel sorry for.”

(From Lincoln’s Yarns and Stories, by Colonel Alexander K. McClure)

A well thought, structured and concise mail or report is easier to read. It saves the reader a lot of precious time in today’s busy world. Lincoln’s seemingly simple response in this story has great meaning. You have to be careful of the words you speak – even more of the words that you write. You are responsible for what you have stated in your writing.

This gives you even more reason to ensure that you recheck the contents for its grammar, punctuation and flow of thought before delivering it to the intended recipients. A minute or two spent in rechecking this way would save you a lot of time, trouble and explanations later.

The bottom line is: Be aware of what you write and how you do so, since it has an impact on your image and career. Improving this aspect of your communication skills can go a long way in putting your career on the fast track.

Business Communication – Understanding Boundaries

We learn many valuable morals from the famous Aesop’s fables. I shall share my thoughts with respect to business communication with regards to the following fable today:

A crab and her child were walking down the beach one day. While doing so, the crab irately watched while the child strolled in a one-sided manner. She said, “Why don’t you walk in a straight manner? It is easier and more pleasing to the eye.”

The young crab replied, “Mother, if you could show me the straight way to walk, I promise I will follow you.”

The mother crab decided to show her child the right way. But as much as the crab tried, she could not walk straight. She finally realized that her child learnt to walk from her; all her effort was in vain, and that she should not have reprimanded her child without any basis.

In business communication, always ensure that you make educated statements about a subject – be it written communication or verbal communication. In other words, ensure that you are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) in what you say and deliver. By doing this, you can go a long way in paving the way for a successful career. This is because such individuals come across as those who can communicate effectively under all odds, are decisive and is consistent in thought and action.

Workplace communication skills are hence a cluster of intelligent thought, effective words and powerful actions.

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” ~ Stephen Covey