- Who & Why?
All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘Negotiating skills’
Do you know the difference between showing your passion to the world versus just being emotional and perhaps, irrational? It’s a concept we don’t stop and think about often, especially with respect to personal brand management. We speak so much about making sure your work product is firmly grounded in your passion and purpose, we leave out HOW best to EXPRESS this passion you have.
This very concept came up for me last week. I was working with a client on how to prepare her best for negotiating a bigger chunk of the ownership of a company she currently co-owns with 2 other people. The snag is that the other two owners are men. She was lamenting that it is often difficult for her to communicate her passion for their wildly successful business without getting emotional. She feared that her emotion would be mistaken for uncontrolled emotion, perhaps.
As women, we tend to process emotions and feelings very differently than our male counterparts obviously. In business, this is often misinterpreted as women being “weak”, “overly emotional” and yes, even “erratic and out of control”.
The truth is none of these poor personal brand labels have to apply. In the case of my client, they are certainly not true. In fact, my client is anything but these labels. She is very clear about her worth and her passion for the business she co-owns. Now she just wants to convey that to her partners because she feels she deserves more equity.
The most important way to make sure your emotions don’t get misinterpreted with your passion, resulting in a negative personal brand perception is to:
1) be clear about your intentions- are you passionate about your work?
2) know how does your passion show up in your personal brand?
3) make sure you communicate your passion with emotion, but not with such overpowering emotion that you look out of control as a personal brand.
Your effective personal brand is in large part about how you communicate who you are to your target market and clientele. Given that 78% of all communication is non-verbal AND given that we spend so many hours on the phone selling and working, having effective body language and posture over the phone is just as critical as having effective body language during an in-person meeting.
When we are going out to see clients or prospects or to a networking event, we spend time and effort (hopefully!) on our visual appearance. We take time to (hopefully!) give ourselves a pep talk and get ready to be “charming”. However, people notice and pay attention to your phone voice and tone, too. So why shouldn’t you spend time getting ready to make phone calls, too?
Your posture and how you feel about yourself as you make or take a phone call speak volumes to the other party on the call with you. I’ve run many experiments to test this theory. We’ve had people answer the phone in a less-than pleasant mood, while slumped over in their chair wearing pajamas. The party on the other end of the call often times remarked concern and asked, “Is everything ok? You sound not well.” Is this how you want to be remembered on the phone?
- Dress the part- while you don’t have to wear a suit to make a phone call, ask yourself if you’d be happy to be on a visual call while you are on the phone. If the answer is “no”, then your phone voice and tone will resonate that same lack of self- confidence to the other party over the phone.
- Smile as you talk. Your smile will transfer non-visually into an effective personal brand for you over the phone.
- Sit up straight in your chair as you talk on the phone.
- Give your full attention to the party on the other line. Shut down your email and do one thing at a time so you can do it well.
- Uncross your legs so you are grounded and feel stable as you speak.
- Listen and pause- don’t do all the talking.
Since I teach negotiation skills as part of an effective personal brand, I often get a very simple, yet complex question. People often wonder where is the best location/premise for them to hold face-to-face negotiations. There are two schools of thought on this topic.
Some claim that you should always invite the other party to your turf and negotiate at your own office or at the place of your choosing. Many believe this gives you a “home court” mental and physical advantage. You have access to your own staff and documents as well as having the comfort and familiarity of your own space. Plus, you set the initial rules starting with where you meet to negotiate.
Others are of the belief that you should negotiate at your opponent’s premises/office/location. The logic here is that you get to have your opponent comfortable on their own turf so that you can get concessions on items they don’t see coming. In addition, some prefer to be out of their own office so they don’t have any interruptions or distractions like calls and emails. I never found either of these “benefits” to truly be benefits when negotiating. To avoid distractions, just turn off your emails and your phone. As far as getting your opponent too cushy, if your opponent is one to fall prey to this distraction, then I don’t think you had much of a difficult negotiation anyway.
Perhaps the biggest reason people like to negotiate on opponent’s premises is because if you are thrown a tough question/topic you can use the excuse that you left certain documents/information at your office, thus you’ll have to “get back to them” and i.e, stall. While I suppose this logic is possible, it fails on its merits. Negotiations are successful when you are honest and have integrity. Thus, you preserve and strengthen your personal brand. If you’ve done your homework well and are ready for a negotiation, you’ll never be caught off so much that you’ll need to stall. And if it does happen to you, just be honest and stay authentic.
So what does this mean for you? I’ve never been involved in a negotiation that was won or lost due to the turf. In my opinion, it really doesn’t matter where you negotiate as long as you know how to negotiate well and do so with integrity.
I define negotiations as when we work side by side with another party to come to a mutually beneficial result. Being able to successfully negotiate speaks volumes about your personal brand, as I discussed in this blog post.
In all my years as a lawyer negotiating various agreements with tons of parties, I always found the best way to approach a successful negotiation was with the intention of having a peaceful interaction. That said, the problem always comes up when we look at one of the fundamentals of negotiation: confronting another party.
The term “confront” has a really bad vibe and meaning in our every day language. We often hear people refer to someone as being “confrontational”. What image or personal brand does that conjure up in your mind? For most of us we envision someone being very aggressive, even angry, with their finger pointing at the other party and barking orders. Am I close?
In my world, “confront” is a great term. It means you can stand up to a situation and handle it successfully. There is nothing wrong with confronting a situation as long as you do so peacefully with the intention that both you and the opposing party succeed and walk away content. Standing up for yourself and explaining your wants and needs requires looking people in the eye, being totally present to them and the situation, and communicating effectively by using your words carefully. I’m always encouraging clients to look at negotiations and confrontations as a way of connecting with people in a positive way.
Any situation you can’t confront and handle, handles you and leaves you without control. That translates into an unsuccessful personal brand.
I was in a discussion this afternoon with an executive looking to engage me as a speaker for their organization. One of my clients who had brought us together, was in the room watching my “negotiation”/conversation with the executive.
At one point the executive asked me if I would speak on a complimentary basis. To this inquiry, I politely replied “no” and went on to give an explanation as to why.
After the executive had left the room, my client remarked that it was very intriguing to her to watch the shift in the executive’s attitude towards me after I had stated that I would NOT speak complimentary.
Very interestingly and as to be expected, my client rightly noted that the executive seemed to have more respect for me and suddenly found better/more opportunities for me to address the organization.
My client often suffers from doing too much for her own clients without expecting to be compensated monetarily. Watching our interaction taught her much.
As I explained to her- working for free, or for a fee that is beneath your value, robs you of your positive image with colleagues and clients. Not only do you do the work begrudgingly and with resentment that builds up over time, but your clients do not value your work and believe that you are desperate. As a by-product, they may start cancelling or rescheduling your appointments for this very reason.
In contrast, charging the market value for your services imparts an image of success and value to your clients. In addition, you will feel your self-worth and value increase AND as a direct result, your work product and quality will improve.
So next time you feel like you HAVE to work for free or give a deep discount, step back and re-evaluate the situation from your image perspective. Remember that you and your business image are valuable and that you and your clients deserve better- in fact you and your clients deserve the very best!
Wishing you a fabulous image,