Presentation Topics

Great news, you have a second interview. As part of the hour long meeting they want you to present for twenty minutes on… oh my goodness, the subject of your choice. Where on earth do you start with deciding a subject. Should you go professional, serious, fun, talk about something you have done, something you are doing, somewhere you have been?

If you are working with a recruiter ask them if they know what previous candidates have presented on and which of those people were successful. If three out of the last ten people interviewed were hired and they all presented on how to sell widgets in an emerging market then that is probably a topic that the interviewers like; or if you don’t think you could do that subject justice you at least know that work related is a good route.

In general, a good starting point for your choice is subjects you are passionate about. People say that sex sells (although I wouldn’t recommend that as a presentation topic unless you are going for a sex industry related job). I would suggest that passion sells and that sex and passion, at least sometimes, are related. One thing we know you are passionate about is this job. This is the role you have envisioned and dreamed about. You are truly passionate about getting it and what a good fit you will be once you’re hired. What a compelling topic; how about ‘My first six months as ‘XYZ”? Six slides either month by month or subject by subject if the role has six categories within it. Think it through carefully. What will you do? How will you do it? Who will you do it to? When will you get a previously mentioned desired result? Why are you going to be successful? Write notes as and when you think of them. Keep a sheet of paper near you over the next couple of days and just keep scribbling things down. Then sit and start to make sense of what you have. Format it. Add some pictures, graphs, charts. Write notes to go with the slides. Review them again the following day. Rehearse your presentation. Is it sounding good? Does it give the message you are trying to convey? Are you passionate in your presenting of it?

Oh this is so exciting… good luck; go and wow them with your thoughts, ideas and enthusiasm!

For help putting together a presentation or making the transition from where you are to where you want to be please contact one of our Consultant Coaches at [email protected]

Every Negotiating Issue Has Multiple Solutions

Although I’m sure that many of us have heard about negotiations that got hopelessly deadlocked, it turns out that in most cases a negotiation can always be kept on track so that you can reach a deal with the other side no matter what negotiation styles or negotiating techniques are being used. The key is to understand that you always have the power – you could walk away from the deal if you had to. Since we never want to do that, what we need to do is to understand how to work flexibility into our next negotiation so that we can find the multiple solutions that will work for us.

Keeping The Other Side At The Table

In order to conduct a successful negotiation, you are going to need to have both parties come to the table and stay at the table. That may sound easy, but during a heated negotiation, one or both parties may decide that it’s time to throw in the towel. As a negotiator, you need to take steps in order to make sure that this doesn’t happen.

Look, if during a negotiation you reach the conclusion that the situation is hopeless – you are never going be able to reach a deal with the other side, then yes, you need to give up and walk away. However, before you do this you need to realize that both disagreements with the other side and actual deadlocks are really opportunities for you to create a different type of deal. You need to remain flexible and keep an open mind when you encounter these situations.

It is entirely possible that during a negotiation things will start to go off the track when the other side starts to become angry. You can tell that this is happening when they start to interrupt you, raise their voice, or start to lose patience with what is going on. If this happens, then you need to start to communicate to the other side that you are flexible; you are willing to search for different ways to resolve the issues. As long as you can keep the discussions going, then both sides will be in a position to remain flexible.

Different Aspects Of Flexibility

I’m often asked by novice negotiators what flexibility actually looks like in a negotiation. The answer, of course, is that it depends. There is not one thing that you can point at and say “that’s evidence of flexibility”, rather it has a tendency to sneak into a negotiation from around the corners.

Flexibility can enter into a negotiation in several different ways. The first is in how you choose to define the bottom line. The definition that you use when the negotiations start may not be the definition that you’ll be using when things wrap up. Additionally, we need to understand that in any negotiation there is both an apparent and a real bottom line. What both sides may see as being the bottom line may only be the apparent bottom line at the start of the negotiations. Based on the discussions that you have, the real bottom line will emerge.

Different kinds of flexibility may be used during a negotiation. What many of us don’t realize is that a negotiation is really an opportunity for us to use our trial and error skills. If we are trying something and it’s not working out for us, then that is a message that we need to go back and try something else. Your goal has to be to keep trying different things until you achieve the deal that you’ve been looking for.

What All Of This Means For You

The wrong way to approach your next principled negotiation is to go in thinking that there is one and only one solution that is going to provide you with the deal that you want. What you need to do is to negotiate with flexibility so that you are able adjust your approach and stay on track.

The first thing that you’ll need to do is to remain flexible when the other side of the table starts to become upset. You’ll need to find ways to keep them talking and get them to calm down. Keep in mind that there are a number of different aspects to negotiating flexibility and each can be used when appropriate.

The most important thing to keep in mind when you enter into your next negotiation is that there are many different ways to reach a deal that will meet your needs. You need to retain the flexibility that will allow you to adjust your position and work with the other side to take new paths that will lead you to a deal.

Humor As A Negotiation Tool, Or How Humor Saved The World

OCTOBER 1962 – The world held its breath as America and Russia went to the brink, with nuclear weapons at the ready. Russia was installing nuclear missiles in Cuba-a mere 90 miles from the Florida coast. The 13-day crisis played-out in real time on TV around the world.

As American and Soviet delegates came together to negotiate, tensions were high, and they soon became deadlocked. And then… a Russian delegate told a joke: “What is the difference between Capitalism and Communism? In Capitalism, man exploits man. In Communism, it is the other way around.”

Delegates on both sides laughed, and this created a bond among all of them. (Hey, ya gotta start somewhere!) With the tension eased for the moment, talks resumed, and eventually a deal was struck that avoided blowing up the planet-no small feat!

Whether you’re negotiating for world peace or for which movie to go to, humor can play a crucial role in your success.

According to a recent study on business negotiations, humor has numerous functions in the negotiation process. It can put the negotiators at ease; it can introduce a difficult issue; it can foster togetherness and team spirit; it can help the other negotiator save face; and it can be a way of being cooperative in spite of disagreement.

Additional studies show that if you can inject humor into your negotiations, you’re more likely to get what you’re negotiating for.

Once when I was negotiating with a potential client over the phone, it became obvious that budget was a delicate topic. I could feel the tension rising, and when he posed the question: “How much is this going to cost me?” I wanted to reduce the tension.

I paused and said, “Are you sitting down??” He laughed, and from that point, the conversation about money went smoothly.

Those four little words, spoken in just the right tone of voice, have helped me close dozens of deals over the years.

Think strategically. Who do you negotiate with? It might be with a colleague, a competitor, a customer, an employee, a boss, a colleague or even a family member. (You do understand, I hope, that getting a child to go to bed is not something that you command, but rather something you negotiate. Some of those rugrats make Johnnie Cochran look like an amateur. And don’t even get me started on teenagers!)

What are you negotiating for? Examine it and look for an opportunity to weave in a little humor-like a humorous and relevant anecdote, a funny comment or gesture. You probably want to start with something whimsical. Something short. Something that relates to the situation at hand. Negotiations are often important and intense, so use humor wisely, cautiously and professionally. (No “sharp jabs” like Don Rickles is famous for!)

The ability to successfully negotiate is a helpful skill for everyone, but it’s an essential tool for anyone who plans to sell or lead. You may not be called upon to save the world from nuclear war-but I guarantee that sometime soon you will be called upon to save a deal, or make the sale, or advance your agenda in some manner. Humor, used strategically, can make you a more powerful and effective negotiator.