Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 4th 2014 Contents To get what you want,
find a similarity
When you re beginning an intense
negotiation, building trust early is
important: It makes the work of aligning
both interests easier (and makes the
person across the table more likely to
honour his commitments). You can
establish trust by creating a sense of
similarity between the two of you; feel-
ing alike is one of the mind s basic
mechanisms for determining loyalty.
So the next time you re negotiating,
find and emphasise something---any-
thing---that will help your counterpart
notice the link between you two.
Do you root for the same sports
team? Did you have similar first jobs?
Are you both juggling work and a fam-
ily? That sense of affiliation makes him
more willing to cooperate and find a
solution that works for everyone.
(Adapted from "The Simplest Way to
Build Trust" by David DeSteno.)
Make meetings more
We re spending too much precious
work time attending unproductive
meetings. For most executives, meetings
take up at least 20 hours every week.
One meeting spawns another, and on
it goes. Here are three ways to prevent
• Keep the invitee list to seven. The
Rule of 7 states that every attendee
over seven reduces the likelihood of
making a good, quick, executable deci-
sion by 10 per cent. So once you hit 16
to 17, your decision effectiveness is basi-
• Make most meetings under an hour.
Most of us schedule 60-minute meet-
ings by default. Every additional minute
generates more cost, so try blocking
off shorter amounts of time that can
be spent more productively. Can you
get through your agenda in 30 or 45
• Use longer meetings sparingly. Cre-
ate (and enforce) a new rule: Any meet-
ings scheduled to be 90 minutes or
longer need senior approval.
(Adapted from "Yes, You Can Make
Meetings More Productive" by Michael
Make room for your
team in your business
Investors evaluating a business plan
often start by reading the who-is-
involved section. So making an effort
to introduce your management team
is just as important as describing the
venture, the competition and the finan-
cials. Include everyone s resumes in the
attachments portion, and use the bio
section to highlight where your team
members have worked before and how
previous projects relate to the new busi-
Share any special skills they bring to
the table. Show that they re capable of
recognising risks, responding to prob-
lems and making hard decisions.
Investors will want to know how com-
mitted they are, so communicate what
motivates each team member. Then
you can present the team as a unit -
affirm its strengths, acknowledge its
weaknesses and explain its management
(Adapted from "Creating Business
Plans" (20-Minute Manager series).
@2014 The Economist Newspaper
Ltd. Distributed by the New York
Don't be afraid to
It can be daunting to ask your
boss for a new assignment or to
try to land a deal with a major
client. But you can succeed if you
approach the negotiation in the
right way. Don t let fear of the
competition cloud your judgment.
Often, if other candidates are
being interviewed or six vendors
are vying for the contract, we re
tempted to lower our demands.
Don t decrease your value. Think
about the skills and expertise you
bring to the table that others do
not. To conquer your fear, the most
important thing is to be well-pre-
Make a list of what you want
from the negotiation and why, and
then study your counterpart s
motivations, obstacles and goals,
so you can brainstorm creative
solutions that will work for both
Find data to help you make your
case, and build trust by listening
and asking questions. All of this
will help you keep your cool.
(Adapted from "How to Negotiate
With Someone More Powerful Than
You" by Carolyn O Hara.)
Know when to let
an argument go
Sometimes the best solution to
workplace conflict is just to leave
it alone. If you re deciding whether
or not to raise an issue, first ask
yourself: Am I too emotional right
now? Heightened emotions make
it tough to productively discuss the
issue---and they can escalate the
conflict if hurtful words slip out.
Then ask: Can we even reach a res-
olution? If you don t think a con-
versation will change anything---
eg, if your colleague is stuck in his
ways or if the damage is already
done. It s better to let it go.
Do what you can to end the con-
versation or postpone it: "I m not
ready to have this talk right now.
Let me clear my head outside, and
maybe we can talk tomorrow." And
once you ve opted out, accept your
own decision and don t ruminate.
(Adapted from "When and How
to Let a Conflict Go" by Jeanne
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