Negotiating and Team Building Ideas

Teams are dynamic entities in their own rights. By expanding a negotiating group, additional talents and perspectives are introduced. Additional members also increase communication and focus challenges. This can be beneficial to the process; or detrimental.

Like all other aspect of negotiations or management, teams need to be managed.

If you are leading a negotiating team, manage the people on your team. Especially if they are “professionals”. You are responsible for their preparation, research and the role they will play. Too often clients delegate the preparation and research aspects of a settlement conference to their legal staff. This would be fine if the issues were going to be resolved by simply applying legal principles. When it comes to other issues and overall strategy, the responsibility is ultimately vested solely with the lead negotiator. Insure that everyone on your team knows their role, is prepared and, most importantly, that you have set the global strategy for the session and the parameters for settlement.

If the other side brings in a team of negotiators, you can take steps to manage their team as well. How do you do this? By applying small group leadership tactics:

- Welcome them to the negotiation and indicate your appreciation of what they can lend to reaching an accord.

- Observe the other team’s pecking order and note who your prime opponent defers to, if anyone. This will tell you who the real decision maker is.

- Interview each new member of the team as to their role, qualifications and specific area of expertise.

- State clearly and concisely the objective of the day’s discussions in a fashion to get agreement on what will be discussed.

- Ferret out areas where the other team members appear to not agree fully. This is best done by asking one person a specific, target question while observing another’s reaction to the response. Typically the non-verbal communications will indicate any discord.

- Ask questions of members on the other team not specified as experts in the area to see how the team responds and to uncover latent leaders to be dealt with or possible fissures in their opinions.

By taking the lead in this regard, you will be establishing your role as the overall discussion leader. You are setting the agenda and can direct the course of discussion. Remember, negotiations is basically small group management. If you can establish an informal leadership role, you will have much more control over the outcome of the session.

How to End Your Presentation So the Audience Knows You Are Done

When you give a presentation, how does the audience know you’re done? If you’re half-heartedly saying, “any questions?” as a means to signal that you’re done speaking, then you’re missing the opportunity to finish strong.

Here are techniques for ending your presentation strongly so the audience knows you’re done:

USE CLEAR ORGANIZATION
Like your writing, your presentation should have an introduction, body (with your supporting points), and then the conclusion. The easiest way to organize your material is to have a certain number of points, like three tips or four steps, so the audience can follow along and know how many more points you have to present.

SET THE AUDIENCE’S EXPECTATIONS
Be clear and deliberate about what you’re doing and tell the audience. For example, in your introduction, you could say, “For the next 30 minutes, I’ll share with you the five reasons we should replace our current paper-based process with the new electronic process. Please hold your questions and I’ll be happy to answer them near the end of the presentation and then I’ll finish with one action step you can take to get comfortable with the new process.”

AVOID ABRUPT ENDINGS
Don’t just suddenly stop speaking; instead give the audience cues that the end is near, such as “in conclusion” or “my final point this morning is…” (And avoid giving “false” cues, like saying “in conclusion,” and then going on for another ten minutes.)

USE WORDS & BODY LANGUAGE TO SHOW THAT YOU’RE DONE
Pause before your final sentence and make it strong and declarative. End with a powerful conclusion such as a call to action or a strong reiteration of your message and its importance to the audience. Even if you end with a rhetorical question, ask it deliberately. Use a strong voice that’s loud enough to be heard, make eye contact, stand confidently and smile. When you finish speaking, hold the eye contact and your posture for a few seconds.

EXAMPLES OF CONCLUSION SENTENCES
• “As I’ve demonstrated today, the three year projection for the business is bright and we expect to continue our excellent performance.”
• “As we’ve discussed today, there are 5 steps to the process of preparing and delivering an effective presentation. Following these steps will help you be a more powerful and effective presenter.”

BE PREPARED FOR WHAT COMES NEXT
Speak to the meeting organizer well before your presentation to understand what comes next and who you should transition to after you finish speaking.

DON’T END WITH “ANY QUESTIONS?”
If at all possible, avoid taking questions at the very end of your presentation – doing so shifts the energy away from you and can also result in a negative conclusion, especially if you get an off-base or hostile question which you have to reply to defensively. You also have lost the benefit of a strong close if the questions just trail off into silence and you have to say, “…ok, no more questions?”

TAKE QUESTIONS BEFORE YOUR FINAL CONCLUSION
Decide with the meeting organizer before your presentation whether you will have time for questions. If so, take questions near the end of your presentation instead of at the end. In order to do this, you’ll need a mini-conclusion before you take questions so you can summarize your points and transition to the questions. Then after you’re finished answering questions, transition back to your presentation for a final conclusion, which allows you to have the final say and leave the audience with a strong restatement of your message.

So your presentation outline would look something like:
• Introduction
• Body – Point 1, Point 2, Point 3
o Mini-conclusion
• Questions and answers
• Transition back to presentation
• Conclusion
(Thanks to professional speaker and consulting guru Alan Weiss who first introduced me to the idea of not ending a presentation with the question-and-answer format.)

SAY “THANK YOU” IF YOU WANT AND IF IT’S APPROPRIATE
Some people and organizations are very strict about whether presenters should end by thanking the audience. I think either way is fine, as long as it makes sense for that audience and your choice is deliberate. A feeble, half-whispered “thank you…” that trails off uncertainly at the end is not effective.

The next time you’re preparing a presentation, also prepare and practice how you will conclude. Ending your presentation strongly will improve the effectiveness of your presentation and clearly signal to the audience that you’re done.

MUTUAL Trust Is Key To Effective Negotiating!

In their vane attempt, to, gain some advantage, over their negotiating adversary, many pseudo – leaders, try to hard the truth, and shade certain facts/ realities, in a hope, to obtain better results! Unfortunately, few, who, either, are elected, selected, or ascend to positions of leadership, are professionally trained, experienced, and expert negotiators! After more than four decades, of involvement, in hundreds. if not thousands of negotiations, I have discovered, the best approach, is, win – win, negotiating, which must be based on focusing on MUTUAL trust and understanding. With that in mind, this article will attempt to, briefly, consider, examine, review, and discuss, using the mnemonic approach, what this means, and why it’s such a relevant, essential concept.

1. Meeting – of – minds; motivated; motivates: The objective of negotiations should be to obtain, a meeting – of – the – minds, for the common good! Each side must feel motivated, and believe, there are benefits for/ to, them. A great negotiator focuses on the common good, and way, thinking – outside – the – box, in order to produce, the best set of circumstances, agreements, and mutually beneficial concessions, which help both sides.

2. Unique; uses; urgent: One should clearly articulate, whatever unique contributions, their side offers, which would benefit the other side! They must consider the best uses, and address the most significant, urgent needs, and necessities, in negotiating the best terms, not, merely in the short – term, but, also in the longer – run!

3. Time – tested; timely; trends: When one has considerable, quality experience, and relevant expertise, he realizes the time – tested needs, for successful results. He never procrastinates, but proceeds, in a well – considered, timely manner. One must understand, the trends, which might make a difference, for the better!

4. Usual; unusual: Every discussion, and situation, brings about a somewhat, unique set of circumstances, needs, and requirements. Expert negotiating addresses all the usual possibilities, while visualizing, and preparing for the unusual ones, by having a quality, contingency, back – up, plan!

5. Attitude; attention; action; accurate: One must clearly, accurately, describe his needs, purposes, and possibilities, from the start! Instead of thinking of every obstacle, as a problem, one must welcome challenges, with a positive, can – do, attitude, and pay attention to details! Begin with a strategic plan, and perceive and conceive of, create, develop, and implement, the finest, action planning!

6. Listen; learn; lessons: Professional negotiators must learn important lessons, from their past experiences! They must never assume, but be prepared to effectively, listen, and learn, the best way, to achieve, a meeting – of – the – minds!

MUTUAL trust is essential to effectively negotiating, and achieving the finest results. Are you ready, and prepared, to proceed, in this disciplined manner?