The art of negotiation is an important skill you must learn if you wish to become an effective professional capable of maintaining good relationships. You also need to master it in order to be able to close satisfactory deals.
What is negotiation?
People make decisions according to their self-interest. Negotiation is a way of appealing to people’s self-interest in order to get what you want. It involves reaching an agreement or making a compromise to avoid dispute.
How to negotiate successfully
- Be a good listener
Follow this rule: listen 70% of the time and use the remaining 30% to talk. Trying to outtalk the other party will always be counterproductive. Do not be preoccupied with making sure your point is heard that you forget to pay attention to what others have to say.
Instead, encourage them to talk. That’s the only way to figure out how to persuade them. Also, take care not to jump to conclusions.
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To make people more receptive to your point of view, mostly talk about things that will benefit them.
You can resolve conflicts better and get what you want in the end if you master the art of listening.
- Make the first offer
By stating your offer first, the other person will be psychologically inclined to work around it. This is known as the anchor effect.
- Mind your posture and body language
You must appear confident if you wish to be taken seriously. Findings have shown that communication is 93% non-verbal and only 7% verbal.
Here’s what you have to do:
- Sit or stand up straight and maintain eye contact.
- Mirror the other person’s movements so as to create rapport.
- Nod your head in agreement occasionally. This makes the person more open.
- Do not fidget or clasp your hands tightly. You can place the tip your fingers together just below your chest while speaking to project confidence.
- Maintain an open posture. It makes the person feel more comfortable and engaged.
- Be outspoken
Being outspoken does not mean hijacking the entire conversation. It means not being afraid to ask for what you want. Be assertive.
Don’t assume the person you are dealing with is a mind reader. If you are not satisfied with the terms, let it be known. Don’t keep it to yourself and feel bad about it later.
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- Give information freely
It is considered a smart approach not to reveal your cards. But sometimes, this may cause distrust. People tend to reciprocate how they are treated. If you are seem guarded and unwilling to put yourself out there, they will do the same.
Some findings have shown that revealing some information about yourself, no matter how unrelated to the conversation, helps encourage rapport and create opportunities for a better outcome.
But beware. During negotiations, don’t provide information that can be used against you.
- Know when to compromise
Sometimes, to win some, you have to lose some. Make compromises that can create a positive outcome without causing yourself much harm.
- Focus on the other person’s limitations
Never pay heed to any pressure you might be facing. Remove all thoughts you might have about why the deal is important to you. Doing otherwise will make you appear desperate and put the other person in control.
You become more powerful by recognizing the pressure the other party is facing; their worries and concerns. This way, you are better able to steer the negotiation in your favour.
- Always be willing to walk away
This is easier when you know you have other options. But this is not always the case.
However, the fact remains that if you lean too much on the hope of reaching an agreement, you lose your ability to say no, and in the process, accept terms that are not favourable to you.
The other person will be willing to make concessions when they recognize you are not afraid to walk away.
What to do when negotiations turn sour
Sometimes, things may not go the way we want them to. Negotiations can still fail despite making compromises.
The conversation could still go south even when it seems you are about to convince the other party to see reasons or agree to terms.
In such situations, here’s what you should do:
- Try not to lose your composure. It is often easy to lose patience, react emotionally, and say unfortunate things you will regret later on.
- Reschedule another meeting if possible. This will prevent counterproductive arguments that not only wastes your time but can ruin the relationship permanently.
- Make peace with the fact that the negation has failed.
- Consider other possible options.
Good negotiation skills make you confident, keep you from being intimidated, lend your competitive advantage, and most of all, enable you to maintain good relationships through conflict management.
The aim of negotiation is not for you to get everything you want. It’s about finding common ground. People tend to forget this, and that’s why they don’t succeed. At the same time, never agree to terms that don’t favour you, and always know when to walk away.
However, it’s still possible to get what you want by showing empathy. People tend to be more compliant when they feel understood. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to win them over.
Great tips for landing a job during this lockdown
The coronavirus pandemic has had its impact on job opportunities, but here are some tips for landing jobs.
The economic lockdown and movement restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on job opportunities. Some of them could be in the form of job losses, getting new jobs, or even changing the way we work.
Given the unemployment numbers especially in these challenging times, it might be hard not to be apprehensive.
According to a report from Bloomberg, Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst for personal finance website Bankrate.com, said, “It’s important to remember that there is hiring happening. There’s always attrition and individuals leaving for other jobs.”
Robin Ryan, a career counsellor, said that just a few unemployed people are job hunting at the moment. Most believe that there are no jobs, they can’t be hired, or that only lower-level jobs are available.
Here are some tips for landing jobs during this lockdown.
Beat the system: Make a list of your recent jobs and your top accomplishments at each of them. Those are the items that should be on your résumé. To get past automated applicant vetting systems, enter your work tasks—budgeting, project management, graphic design, team leadership, etc.—in the first bullet point under each job. Don’t include extraneous formatting, such as text boxes, tables, footers, or headers, because application software can’t recognize it.
Assess your prospects: You have to find out if the opportunities in your industry are shrinking. According to Hamrick, “many people fail to see that their skills might apply to a variety of settings.” Consider some of the sectors that have stayed open in the lockdown—finance, real estate, food and other consumer goods, technology, and retail, plus suppliers and distributors for each. If that exercise doesn’t yield much, think about how your skills might help companies sharpen their online business. “There’s a need for people to help facilitate digital transformation,” Hamrick says.
Hit up recruiters (Recruiting agency firms): Let them help you with your resume and offer suggestions about things you might do to stand out.
Use your resources: Companies are filling positions needed to support virtual workers as part of their pandemic strategies. Many company websites might not yet reflect these changes, so try popular online job search websites, type in a company and your city, and you’ll get a better sense of what kind of hiring is going on.
Network: That friend-of-a-friend who previously ignored you. He’s home now and might be up for a quick Zoom coffee date. Connect with everyone you know in your field. (LinkedIn is good for this.). Those connections build on each other. You can ask mutual acquaintances to introduce you to people who can help and once that happens, you can fix a virtual coffee date. If that goes well, ask for an introduction to a hiring manager or supervisor. You’ve got nothing to lose.
Millennials changing the definition of work; doing the most with freelancing
Given the numerous number of changes in today’s world, millennials are gradually changing the definition of work, and beginning to embrace freelancing.
Given the numerous changes in today’s world, millennials are beginning to embrace freelancing. It is not just about thinking outside the 9-5 work hours, they are gradually changing the definition of work. This signals a new relationship between the worker and the economy; it is not just where they are working. It is what they are working for.
Millennials do not see companies as salary machines and do not also see themselves as ‘another chair-filler’. They actually see themselves as having the power to make choices, and their decision to work in one place or another is about finding value, not just the luxurious life attached to a conventional job.
How Millennials make the most of freelancing
Skills over degree
Nearly half of millennials have tried freelancing, and nearly three-quarters of freelancers say it is getting easier to find work. Most millennials begin their journey into freelancing by discovering their passion and finessing their skills in order to look unique. They often find time to develop themselves outside the scope of their disciplines by attributing more values to skill acquisition than conventional degrees. With unique skills like photography, graphic design, content creation, etc. millennials are able to make enough money to pay their bills and afford their lifestyles.
Millennials are taking advantage of working remotely. Working remotely affords millennials the much-needed flexibility they need in their daily routines. Working remotely also helps improve the productivity of millennials, unlike conventional workers. This way, they are free from distractions that cannot be taken care of. It is amazing that working remotely can have millennials working straight for 8 hours without thinking of food or break.
Gigs rather than restrictive job functions
Millennials use freelancing as an opportunity to harness their creative abilities rather than focusing on restrictive job functions. Millennials get certain jobs called side gigs which can help them explore their creativity. They figure out who their clients really are and what they want from them. More importantly, is that millennials find an untapped market and then quickly build a huge customer base on it which will be making enough cash in short notice.
Networking for Growth
Gone are the days when business cards were fashionable. This is because people do not really remember business cards. Millennials use networking as a way of getting to know the persons behind the business. They look for a spark in any conversation that a relationship can be built upon. Also, through the use of social media platforms, millennials are also able to collaborate to ensure the growth of the freelance economy.
Finding a freelance platform that affords skilled professionals flexibility and opportunities to grow is a concern for millennials. TERAWORK is a highly recommended freelancing platform that provides freelancers with an opportunity to work on flexible schedules, get rid of the daily commute process and have a perfect balance between work and professional life; not only because it affords local and international millennials opportunities to harness their skills, but the platform also allows these skilled individuals to showcase their past work experience and provide them with the access to new jobs every day.
12 lessons on business strategy from the game of Chess
Are you a chess player? Well, not a lot of people are. Therefore, if your answer is no, you really need to try it. After all, it is called “the game of kings and queens” for a reason.
Are you a chess player? Well, not a lot of people are. Therefore, if your answer is no, you really need to try it. After all, it is called “the game of kings and queens” for a reason.
Chess is a board game that has been around for centuries. It has to do with the art of war. It’s all about strategy, tactics, and the ability to outmaneuver your opponent; the final aim being to checkmate them (that is, capture their king). Once that happens, the game is over.
Chess has been shown to:
- Improve IQ
- Build confidence
- Improve problem-solving skills
- Teach planning and foresight
- Improve concentration
- Exercise both sides of the brain
- Improve memory
- Enhance creativity
It’s quite obvious that these benefits are indispensable when it comes to successfully running a business; especially if you are in a highly competitive market.
What goes on in the game is the perfect metaphor for business competition. In fact, you can learn a thing or two by playing chess. These lessons will prove very useful to you if you are an entrepreneur trying to plant your feet and control considerable market share. It will surely improve your ability to make sound business decisions.
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No wonder you can find a Chessboard in the home or office of top CEOs (Bill Gates, Peter Thiel), world leaders (Barack Obama, Bill Clinton) and even famous TV personalities (Arnold Schwarzenegger, Julia Roberts of Pretty Woman).
How does playing chess relate to running a business?
The parallels between chess and business are clearly evident. The game is about war; specifically about protecting the invaluable piece (the king), and outthinking the opponent who’s trying to defeat you.
There are different strategies for both offensive and defensive play, and the best chess players should have experience with both. As a business person, you need to successfully navigate defensive and offensive positions in your industry.
If you’ve seen people play chess, or maybe you play, you’ll notice that the opponents patiently wait their turn, study the board, anticipate their next move, and go through potential scenarios in their head. This is not so different from what is obtainable in the business world.
Both are based on SWOT analysis. That is, recognizing your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
Chess also involves an opening, a middle game, and an endgame. This is quite similar to the business cycle (expansion, peak, contraction, and trough).
What lessons does chess teach?
To play the game you first have to master the rules, understand the players, and ultimately, play to win.
Master the rules
Before you can take part, you have to learn the rules. That’s also the way it is in business.
If you jump in without first understanding the dynamics of how things work, including consumer demand, market regulations, pricing techniques, and what have you, you are most likely headed for failure. That is why it’s important to start small and grow gradually, expanding your reach as you get more experienced.
Understand the players
Just like in chess, you need to understand your competition if you want to succeed in business.
Chess players spend time studying how their opponents think. This way, they can device countermeasures that will enable them to stay ahead, withstand an attack, and make a counter-attack.
That’s exactly what you need to do as an entrepreneur. Learn what your competitors are doing. Who are they? What are they offering consumers that you are not? How can you make your products, services, and marketing efforts better? These and many more are important questions you have to ask yourself.
Play to win
In chess, you have to keep the ultimate goal in mind. If you play emotionally or succumb at the first signs of hardship, you won’t win. You have to be ready to make tough choices.
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Some people play conservatively. They hang on tight to their pieces and refuse to make sacrifices. That’s also the way it is in business. To achieve your goals, you have to stay flexible. Know when to make adjustments, whether in your product combinations, management techniques, or marketing efforts.
Always keep your eyes on the big picture.
Don’t rush to make a move; there might be a better one.
Inexperienced players stop searching for a move once they’ve located a good one. They forget there might be a better one.
In business, you have to make sure you make choices based on the complete set of information from the whole landscape. Don’t jump into the first option that looks good. Consider all your options.
Plan several moves ahead
Chess players plan their moves and consider potential responses to those moves. Experienced players foresee moves several turns ahead. That’s how they manage to outwit their opponent.
This is what you must do as an entrepreneur. Making a good forecast is crucial to business success.
You also need to device contingency plans for situations that may arise in the future. “We’ll figure it out when we get there” might be a risky proposition you won’t be able to afford.
Don’t play the plan; play the board
When playing chess, your opponent constantly devices measures to undermine your plans.
While it is important to make plans, it’s even more so to know when to abandon them or simply make adjustments.
While you have your business strategies in place, competitors are also applying their own to capture more market share than you do. Your aim should not be to follow a rigid set of plans. What determines your success or failure is your ability to adapt well and on time and respond effectively to counter what your competitors are doing.
Know the value of the pieces
Each chess piece has a specific value. By knowing them, you are better suited to make decisions on how to place them across the board.
Similarly, when you know the value of your employees, customers, and associates, it will be easier to make wise decisions regarding job responsibilities, consumer targeting, and many more.
Manage your resources
To win, learn how to manage your resources.
In business, this applies to cash. If you run out of cash, you are done. You need to make sure you are not overspending. Every single expense you make should earn profit. Nothing should be wasted. You also need to ensure you are raising money appropriately as you go. Your expenses should never exceed your revenue.
Keep an eye on the clock
“Time is material” – this is a common saying in chess.
You not only have to manage your pieces, you also have to manage time.
In a tournament setting, the games are timed so you have a limited period to make a number of moves.
It doesn’t matter if you are beating your opponent on the board, once you run out of time, you lose and your opponent takes the game, although you were doing exceptionally well on the board.
To prepare, players spend months or even years memorizing potential strategies and moves. This way, they can recall at a moment’s notice the move they have to make so they won’t spend too much time thinking.
This is why it is important to prepare in advance. A wise entrepreneur can make decisions which appear to be quick, but in reality, are a result of months of study and preparation.
In chess, you learn to make necessary sacrifices that will give you the upper hand, or enable you to capture the king (Checkmate!). There are situations where you have to offer up a piece with intentions of gaining an advantage later on.
Learn the value of patience
Before you can attack effectively, you have to take time to place your pieces in effective positions. A premature attack might backfire. The same idea is obtainable in business. Avoid making rash moves. Only make a move when everything is in place. For instance, don’t be in a hurry to start a business or launch a new product before conducting market research, no matter how excited you are about it.
Create a balance between skill and intuition
There’s a balance in chess between intuition and analysis. There is always a human element that can’t be replaced by months or years of study and preparation. Chess is an infinite game with millions of possible moves. Therefore, it’s not possible to know and plan for every contingency. There are moments when you have to make a move based on intuition.
Once a player finds the balance between intuition and skill, their game improves remarkably. Many great chess players have come out on top a number of times when they went with their gut rather than their skills.
As an entrepreneur, you need to find this balance. It is what thinking outside the box is all about. It is also the key to creativity and great achievements and may be the difference between success and failure. Be it unique marketing campaigns, new and unique products and services, and other products of intuition.
If you want to succeed in business, you have to be ruthless. This is exactly what chess is about.