Archive for: May, 2023

Rethinking Your Presentation Skills: The 6.5 Second Rule

May 31 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

While numbers are thought of as the universal language of business, most of us don’t use them in our daily communications unless we are calculating costs or analyzing data. Numbers, when used well, can make a strong case for any presentation.

The three-minute elevator pitch has been used by many of us, as a sort of benchmark to increase the chance that you can hold a person’s attention in a fluid environment. Based on a recent study conducted by Draftcb, consumers give marketers approximately 6.5 seconds from the time they engage “lean in” to a message, to the point where they make a decision. Assuming this research is accurate, it’s likely due in part to the shorter attention span brought on by our dependency on the internet.

The use of numbers can help condense a presentation into an effective and concise one. For example, “Apple Surpasses Microsoft To Become The World’s Biggest Tech Company-AAPL market cap 226.838 versus MSFT 225.698.” (Market capitalization represents the public consensus on the value of a company’s equity). Or, “One child dies of malnutrition every 2.3 seconds. One hundred million more people could be fed if Americans reduced their intake of meat by a mere 10%.”

Numbers aren’t just for accountants. When used strategically and creatively, they can tell a story because they’re simple, they demonstrate intelligence, and they show that you have properly researched your subject. Bill Taylor of the Harvard Business Review noted the following about Draftfcb’s 6.5-second research: three simple strategies can help keep your presentation focused on creating an effective message. You should juxtapose: “Put related numbers together to create new information.” Try different contexts: “What’s the social angle? The green angle? Put it in terms of time, or length, or volume.” Turn them over: “2% one way might not be as interesting as 98% the other way.”

Cultural localization (a term often used in the software industry) is also important to understand and consider when creating your presentation. Why? Intellectually it is important because it affects the way we think, work, live, and the choices we make. When communicating, you should make sure your content is relevant. It is politically important in situations where cultural localization shows the person(s) that you understand and respect their environment and traditions. For example, what should be the choice of languages used in developed and developing countries when speaking to businesses, banks, or schools? Should you use Hindi or English in Mumbai, India? In the United States should you use one of the various foreign languages found in several cities?

On a more granular level, there may be traditional interests of local, tribal, and historic cultures that have to be considered, and with the expansion of a multinational, global economy and culture, it will become increasingly important. On the other hand, you may not need to use cultural nuances if you are speaking to well educated, internationally-oriented professionals.

I’ve had the opportunity to deliver many presentations globally over the years, and have found that using numbers (provided you are not overusing them) can impress clients and achieve clarity; cultural localization (adaptation of language, content and design to reflect local cultural sensitivities) can be just as important, and can also maximize your presentations effectiveness.

When it comes to PowerPoint and YouTube presentations, here are few good rules to follow. Presentations Zen’s Garr Reynold’s notes that the “why is where we should start almost all projects, embrace storytelling, keep it simple, concrete, credible, emotional, and have an element of unexpectedness.” The “Girl Effect” ( is an excellent example of a great presentation that uses many of the necessary ingredients to properly communicate a message. If you are promoting a product, recent consumer studies now suggest that within the first five seconds color will play an important role in a positive or negative purchase decision.

That said, no one person is an expert in providing content for your pitches, presentations, and marketing messages because your audience will change and so will your numbers. You will have to continually do your homework to stay on top of the fluid nature of the content. It’s a lot like calling yourself a social media expert-the technology changes so rapidly and media choices are so numerous that your knowledge of social media should be updated regularly.

Before you give your next pitch or presentation, follow these rules and you will be surprised to find that your material will be more impactful, and your audience will remember you and your presentation for the right reasons.

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Tune-Up Your Presentation Skills

May 31 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

The ability to present your ideas publicly is a skill that will get you ahead on your job or in your career.

However, if you fear public speaking, you could be setting yourself up for stagnation or limitation on your job or in your career.

The best way to ensure you use your presentation skills to your advantage is to take time for a tune-up. Whether you work with a coach or make time on your own, you can use the following basic rules to tune-up your presentation skills:

  1. Inform
  2. Prepare
  3. Deliver
  4. Summarize

Each of these actions will allow you to tune-up your presentation skills. Let’s take a closer look to see what each of these actions will do for you.


The purpose of your message is to inform your audience. When you inform your audience, you “communicate knowledge to” them. Become clear on the knowledge you want to communicate to your audience.

Determine what you want your audience to know about your message. Be sure to prepare your message with those details.

Structure your message in a logical way so your key points inform your audience and resonate with them.


When you prepare, this action will allow you to research your topic and learn about your audience.

The topic on which you will speak requires that you gather facts, details, information, and examples. You will construct your message with these facts, details, information, and examples with what your audience must know, need to know, and what you want them to do with your message after your presentation.

In addition to researching your topic, you will do your homework to learn more about your audience. Having an idea about the people with whom you will share your message will help you to gather the appropriate facts, details, information, and examples. Learning about your audience helps you to build rapport and prepare the appropriate message that will resonate with them.

A final reason to prepare is to boost your confidence. When you have confidence in your topic and details of your message, you increase the chances of a confident delivery.


Confidence is needed when you deliver your presentation. Meaning, when you get before your audience to speak your message, you want the nerves to be controlled and your abilities to shine.

This will happen because you prepared your message with the specific purpose to inform your audience.

This will also happen because you prepared your message to know to whom you are speaking and about what you are talking.

Allow your preparation to heighten your confidence so you can deliver your message with ease.


Be sure to recap your message for your audience. Remind them of the key points you informed them of within your message. Depending upon how long you speak, your recap will be a good reminder of the key points you want your audience to remember.

In addition, your recap will serve as repetition for your message. It’s been said that repetition begets retention. Meaning, a recap of your message helps your audience to retain and remember the importance of your message.

Summarize the key points of your message to finalize your presentation.

These are four (4) basic rules you can follow to tune-up your presentation skills. Be careful not to allow your presentation skills to become a barrier to you on your job or in your career. Instead, use your presentation skills as a stepping-stone for job and career opportunities.

Investing time to tune-up your presentation skills will ensure you will not be held back from job or career opportunities you deserve.

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How to Present Your Own Ideas

May 30 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Blow a big deal?

Trash an important pitch?

Ouch. It hurts.

But you will recover. Star presenters around the globe have the ability to bounce back and keep going.

And here’s the good news. 

If they can do it, so can you. What’s the secret to being resilient and not getting swamped with remorse, guilt and regret? There are three key areas to focus on. The good news is the skills for resilient presenting can be learned through experience, training, coaching and mentoring. 

With active presentation skills training, it’s easy to increase resilience and boost confidence. This is the fastest way to tackle a tough situation, learn from it, and move forward.   So, if you’ve blown an important presentation, instead of kicking the tires in the parking lot, blowing up on the freeway and screaming at your spouse…do something more productive.

Follow these 7 simple steps to get on track and bounce back into action.  

1. Evaluate What Happened

Key word here is: evaluate. A cool head. An objective view. Not the kind of guilt ridden self-attacks that make you feel like crawling into the closet. Nope.   Instead, take a cool look at what happened. When did you drop the ball? Did you have an intuitive hunch before the meeting? Were there signs and symptoms that you ignored or failed to recognize? Was it a surprise ambush that was unforeseeable?   Evaluate and write down everything about the presentation, from contracting to completion.  

2. Get Objective Feedback

Inspite of your best efforts, it can be difficult to be objective. That’s why it’s very helpful to get a pair of outside eyes. Don’t rely on a friend, spouse or teammate. They may be too close to you, the emotions and the issues.   Work with an expert business presentation coach to get levelheaded feedback. Consider working with a virtual presentation coach to get immediate help, at a fraction of the cost of an executive coach who only works onsite.

  3. Focus On Skill Solutions

Once you’ve met with your coach, focus on specific skills that can help you in the future. Target presentation skills you can use immediately – in your very next presentation.   Some of the most helpful skills will be in the areas of: 

  • Structuring your presentation for impact
  • Understanding audience needs and perspectives
  • Communicating to engage and involve Visual storytelling with whiteboards
  • How to inspire action  

These skill areas are available in webinars, online training classes and self-study resources.  

4. Experiment With New Delivery Methods

Once you’ve learned new skills, it’s time to practice. Treat presentation delivery in the same way you run a project. Plan your goals, timelines and accomplishments. Keep a running tally of what you are learning and using. Focus on one area at a time – to get the most mileage out of your efforts.  

5. Ask For Client Input

Check in with your clients and customers. Ask them directly what’s working…and what could be improved.   Position these questions as a part of how you can be a strategic partner and serve their needs most effectively. Most clients are happy to be involved with a sales presenter who is actively growing and focused on improving communications.  

6. Work With an Executive Coach

Now, it’s time to continue working with your presentation coach. Your coach can help you focus on subtle improvements in design, delivery and achieving results. Your coach should stretch you to increase your confidence and ability to ‘bounce back’ from setbacks.  

7. Track and Measure Personal Performance

Evaluating performance, building skills, experimenting, asking for feedback and having ongoing coaching are marks of a successful professional. As you continue to build your resilience, track and measure your investments and actions in each area over time. This is a key factor in making progress, building skills, and enjoying the process.

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Like a brick wrapped in velvet – designing a conference presentation (or most other kinds too!)

May 29 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized


Did you know that the vast majority of men in the UK think they are “above average” as a driver? Obviously, about half of them must be wrong, by definition. Making a presentation often strikes me as being a bit like that. We all think we can do it – and many of us think we can do it well. Some of us are right: some of us aren’t. I’m not too sure that there’s much correlation between those that can and those that think they can, either!

My approach to doing a presentation is summed up in the title: by analogy, a presentation should be “like a brick wrapped in velvet”. Unpacking that, the content of your presentation should be like a brick and the presentation itself should be like wrapping it in velvet. Bricks are simple, easy to pick up, usable on their own but more usable with other bricks. They’re easy to grasp and everything about them is immediately obvious.

They’ve got a reasonable amount of ‘stopping power’ too.

On the downside, they’re likely to scrape your skin if you’re not used to handling them and they’re just that little bit too uncomfortable for most people, so wrapping them in velvet makes them more user-friendly for your audience. Velvet is smooth, subtle and covers over the rough edges – that means that more people are more likely to pick the brick up.

To be blunt for a moment, no matter how good your brick might be, if the velvet isn’t up to it, no one will pick it up. (To be fair I should add that if all you’ve got is velvet with no brick inside it people will spot that as soon as they try and pick it up, too: you need both, obviously!)

This article isn’t about the brick: it can’t be. You know your subject matter; you’re the experts. I’m not.

But how important is the velvet, then? Well, Richard Burton managed to make reading the telephone directory sound interesting, but on the other hand, Bill Gates manages to make the future of technology sound slightly less interesting than my O-level lessons in Archeology! Believe me, that takes some doing.

Applying the analogy

So how does this rather twee-sounding analogy help in practice? Let’s start at the beginning by looking at how long you’re going to speak for and use that as an example.

Actually, I want to be slightly more off-beat than that. It’s not about length measured in minutes: only bureaucrats measure time that way. Real people like you, me and your audience measure time by how long it feels to them; if they’re engaged and interested you can talk for longer than if your audience is bored.

The velvet brick approach is that you consider the two elements of the presentation separately. First you think of what you want to say – your brick – and then you think about how you’re going to say it – your velvet.

Using the approach, clearly you should present for as long as it takes to tell people about your subject: no more, no less. If you can do it in five minutes, do so. If you need 20 either negotiate a 20 minutes slot or talk about something else. You can no more “fit a quart into a pint pot” (as we say in the UK) than you can give your audience all they need to know about particle physics in 15 minutes.

On the other hand only a presentation genius could make a presentation about how quickly paint dries interesting to the general public for more than a few minutes. (There are such people but they’re depressingly few and far between, believe me!)

Look at the other option – that you can explain things in five minutes but you’ve got 20. Listen to Pascal: “I am sorry for the length of my letter, but I had not the time to write a short one.” No one ever made themselves unpopular by finishing early. When you’ve finished saying what you’ve got to say, shut up. If 30% of your presentation is waffle your audience will assume that 30% of your claims about your product are waffle…..

… worse in fact, because once they get past their ‘boredom threshold’ they’ll simply switch off and take nothing you say on board.

So, moving on, let’s look at how this philosophy works for the actual style of your presentation. Are we talking about something complex or something simple? If it’s complex, does that complexity stem from the concept you’re trying to get over or from the application of that concept, the details etc. That gives us three options, and none of them require PowerPoint (or “Presenter” or “Impress” or any of the other presentation packages out there) – at least not automatically. The velvet brick approach is to look at the content and then decide what format of presentation to use.

If you’re like many people you’ll tend to sub-consciously put the idea of the presentation together with the idea of a PowerPoint-type presentation (an example of a phenomenon we call ‘Communication Impotence’, but that’s for another article!). Resist the urge! Don’t even go near a computer to write your presentation until you know exactly what you’re going to say and even then only if you’ve consciously decided that a computer presentation is the way to go.

If you need to, give your presentation the Fuse Test. If all the fuses in the building blew, could you still explain your concept? Anyone saying “yes” should consider long and hard whether they should be using a computer-based presentation in the first place. (Anyone saying “No” should just spend 10 seconds checking that they’re the right person for the job! :) ) Computer-based presentations are actually a lot harder to write well than people think and if your velvet is alienating you drastically cut your chances of your audience actually picking up your brick which is, presumably, what you were hoping for when you agreed to speak!

A third example

You know how long you’re going to speak for and you know whether you’re going to use some kind of multi-media option. What next? Well, anything you like to do with your presentation, really. Should you, for example, use handouts?

According to the ‘brick wrapped in velvet’ approach you just look at the content and then decide the best way to deliver it. If you need your audience to have access to really complicated mathematical formulae for example, you should really think about handouts: don’t compromise by saying “I’ll manage without the formula”. That way you give your audience only half the story.

Of course, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t think long and hard about whether the formulae really are part of your brick in the first place! Often they’re not. A face to face presentation (1-2-many in the jargon) is best used for swaying hearts and minds, not for imparting the minutiae and details. If your brick is comprised entirely of details the approach should be something other than a mass presentation. (There’s some fascinating research on this coming out of the US at the moment, looking at how much recall people have of facts that they read and those that they are told, but that’s outside the scope of this particular article.)

Please, avoid the habit many presenters (particularly the ones who are important and/or lucky enough to be invited, rather than those of us trying to create opportunities for ourselves) slip into of sub-consciously saying to themselves “I’ve got a presentation slot, what shall I talk about?” That’s putting the velvet in place and trying to fill it with brick. You might pull it off – don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen it done superbly – but it’s a much more difficult way of doing things.

The most simple way of avoiding this risk is to have a set of bricks ready in advance. I’ve got a number of things I can cheerfully talk about (bricks) which are just waiting for the right opportunity to arrive (the velvet). I won’t risk spoiling them by forcing them into a place they might not want to go: you’ll not do them justice and you’ll not do yourself justice.

This article, for example, can be delivered comfortably as it is: I don’t need the meet you all to outline my ideas: I had the idea for such an article for a long time, sitting on a shelf in my head……

…. waiting for the right time…..


It’s not rocket science here. I’ve not said anything new – and probably nothing that you’ve not heard before, but if you like the analogy of the brick wrapped in velvet it might just stick in your head the next time you’ve got to stand up at a conference.

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How to Prepare Your Presentation

May 27 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

1. Decide on your objective

Firstly decide on what you want to achieve. For example, assuming this is in a business context, you might want to obtain new business enquiries. You need to ask for this during or at the end of your presentation. I recently made a presentation on branding and offered a one on one branding workshop to audience members – this had a good response and achieved my objective of making follow up meetings. You should ask the organiser for the audience’s contact details and send them your presentation. Use your handout to encourage further dialogue and leave business cards.

2. Do your research

You need to know your audience’s expectation, venue, size of audience, time available and equipment etc

Who are they and what are their backgrounds within the company How many people will be attending How much do they already know about the topic you will be speaking on What are they expecting to take away from your presentation – ideas, information, insights? Venue and equipment

Where is it What equipment are they providing (make sure you bring your own lap top and your presentation backed up and tested on a memory stick). Timing

When is it and do you have enough time to prepare? How long will it take to travel to the venue and how are you getting there What time is your slot If there are other presenters, what is the order (it can be useful to volunteer to go first or last so that you can use the rest of your day profitably)

3. Remember – content is king

You cannot cover up a lack of high quality relevant content with visual style and enthusiasm – you must deliver valuable information. But don’t be tempted to overload your audience with superfluous data just to impress or hide the fact that you don’t really have a point to make.

Never assume that your audience understands the jargon that you and your colleagues take for granted.

4. Plan it out

Knowing the key points that you want your audience to take away, is a great place to start planning the structure of your presentation’s content. Beginning with the key points of your message, determine what information or arguments will need to be made to deliver each of them effectively. Before you begin designing your slides and adding content, spend time at this planning stage to find the most effective order or sequence for your content to be presented in.

5. Create a logical structure

Your audience need to know where you are going right from the start so tell them up front, but don’t be tempted to think that your agenda slide is necessarily a logical structure. It takes some hard thinking and testing to arrive at a presentation that truly hangs together from beginning to end.

6. Keep it short and simple

Making your content simple and short sounds easy but is often the hardest job if you are to do it properly and not lose the meaning in the process. Ask yourself “what is the essence of my message?” and “what three things do I want my audience to take away from my presentation?”

Content can often be shortened and made easier to understand using pictures and diagrams instead of bullet points.

7. Put yourself in the audience’s position

It might feel disconcerting, but imagine that you are in the audience watching yourself present. Are you being interesting and relevant 100% of the time? Why not? Take out everything which is extraneous and dull and observe and amend your presentation style.

8. Do the elevator test

Another useful method of testing the overall effectiveness of your content is to grab a colleague and deliver your message to them in under a minute. If they can understand your overall message in this time-frame then the key points of your full presentation should become clearer to you.

9. Tell a ( short interesting) story

The data and concepts in your presentation can often be effectively illustrated through real world examples or anecdotes. However the rules of clarity and brevity that apply to the rest of the presentation also apply here. In addition to this, while personal anecdotes can be more effective than a quoted source; beware of sounding boastful. Your lunches with the chief execs on their yacht are of no interest to your audience!

10. Build up your own confidence

A confident delivery is obviously more effective than being nervous and hesitant. If you are not a naturally confident person then being sure of your material and well rehearsed are your best allies.

Try to rehearse your presentation in front of a test audience (even your dog if you have to) and if possible use the hardware you will be using during your actual presentation.

11. These tips go up to eleven!

Even if the venue is providing equipment, you should always take your presentation on your own laptop and back it up onto a memory stick – test every slide in both versions. Leave your home or office in plenty of time and get there early. Then do another test on the actual equipment.

Further information please see Design of presentations at Cogent Design

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How to Negotiate With a Used Car Salesman in 3 Easy Steps

May 23 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Used car salesmen are champions at negotiation. However, you can beat them at their own game if you know what you’re getting into. By learning how to negotiate with a used car salesman, you increase the chances of getting a really good bargain.

I’m going to teach you a few tricks when it comes to situations like this. After reading this article, you’ll hopefully learn how to negotiate with a used car salesman with utmost confidence and bravado.

1) Know your numbers.

Before making an appointment or before you even step foot inside a used car store, make sure you did your research. Find out just how much used cars are worth. By how many percent does a car’s value depreciate after x number of years?

Arming yourself with the right knowledge will definitely help a lot when trying to negotiate with a used car salesman. This way, he can’t hide anything from you.

2) Be ready to walk away.

As pushy as car salesmen can be, that doesn’t mean you have to seal the deal at once. Ignore the seller when he gets a little too forceful and listen to your own thoughts instead.

When learning how to negotiate with a used car salesman, ask yourself these questions: Do you really like the car? How much will additional repairs cost you? If you can’t really afford what the seller is offering, you have to be prepared to look for other deals. It’s not the end of the world. You’ll find a sweeter deal somewhere else.

3) Ask for extras.

Price is not everything. Even if you can’t negotiate with the car salesman to lower the price any more, you can still get yourself a good deal. Ask for freebies or whatever extra services they’re offering.

Ask for free car wash coupons or a discount on car parts. I’ve even heard of a customer getting free dinner coupons upon buying his car from a well-known secondhand auto shop. This way, the seller may be more willing to give in to your requests.

Now that you know how to negotiate with a used car salesman, you can go out and try your luck at the first secondhand shop in your neighborhood. And if you ever find yourself in a situation where negotiation is needed, don’t be afraid to use your effective negotiation skills to close that bargain!

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Using Chinese Business Negotiations to Get Ahead

May 22 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

When you are in the business world, you are dealing with many different people from across the globe. There are many countries out there that you may deal with at some point, and handling each situation with the most thought and wisdom is necessary to have it go off in the best manner possible. Not every country works the same so to assume that what you do in one will work in another can be a grave mistake. This may lead to a lost opportunity, one that could have provided your business with a much needed connection. Today, more and more businesses are heading to China to write up negotiations and deals, so it is vital that you know what to do once there. They have their own way of working and communicating so, if you want to make a splash and be remembered, you must know how to talk and act while in the country.

Before the negotiations begin, know how to present yourself and act. If you want your negotiations to go the way you want them to, then it is in your best interest to learn the way they expect you to act.

Remain modest and respectful of your place and others, those are valued highly in China. Be careful not to offend anyone, you want everything to go off well. That harmony will make your negotiations and deals that much better, bringing up your own business. Also, arrive with a conservative and neutral appearance.

Once you do get to the negotiations, stay patient through every step of it. Chinese businessmen may try to use impatience to their advantage, which will not be in your best interest, so you must remain calm and focused throughout the entire time. If you remember to do this, you will come out with a deal that works in your favor and is beneficial to both sides.

A lot of the negotiations in China are based off logic, which means they will take the time to listen to everything. Do not be frightened away by this, just keep going and let them make their decisions. You may also be making compromises and, later on, going over the negotiations again. The contract is not as binding in China, so do not expect it to be set in stone. Simply keep the trusting bond strong between your business and theirs, ensuring that you have a better chance of a redo that works into your own needs.

Always remember to remain respectful of them and their cultural, just as you would want them to be with you. That respect and trust will give them more of a reason to continue working with you, and that can be a large boost to your business.

Never assume that one country works the same as another because that can end very badly. You want business negotiations to go smoothly, ending with your business doing well. While in China, every businessperson needs to remember how different their culture and negotiations are if they want to get ahead. Knowing even the smallest differences will lead to a better negotiation and deal overall, a good end for all.

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How To Negotiate Better By Controlling Your Mind

May 21 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Every good negotiator knows you can negotiate better by controlling your mind. The question is do you catch yourself when you’re about to go into mental meltdown, or do you realize when it’s too late? Observe the following to gain insights to how you can negotiate better by controlling your mind.

Be wary of the man that would have you change your mind by attempting to demean you.

Recently I purchased meat from a butcher that I frequented maybe once or twice a year. I asked for a half pound of the meat which was listed for $4.99. When the butcher gave it to me I noticed it was marked $5.09. OK. So it was 10 cents more. That was no big deal, but the butcher attempted to turn it into one when I asked why the list price was different from that on my package. At first, he looked at me and said, “Come on buddy. Are you serious? It’s only 10 cents.” To which I replied, “I know it’s only 10 cents. I’d still like to know what accounted for the price difference.” He painstakingly explained to me as though I was 3 years old that he went over the half pound mark and that’s what accounted for the 10 cents. Not taking offense to the stance and posture he exhibited, I thanked him for his explanation and left.

I could have adopted several different actions in the above situation, but I chose to maintain my mental perspective and did not allow him to pull me into a ‘back and forth’ that was really not worthy of my time.

When you negotiate control your mind by:

  • Not getting angry when challenged about your thought process, your demeanor, the type of person you are, or anything that might be perceived as being demeaning to your character

  • Be mindful of the other negotiator’s body language. This includes smirks, inappropriate smiling, frowning, inappropriate laughter, or any gesture that might cause you to become angered.

  • Observe his temperament and yours. The combination of a person’s mental, physical, and emotional state of mind can make him become predisposed to adopt a posture or behavior that he might regret when he’s in a calmer state of mind. Be mindful when attitudes start to escalate and control them before they get out of control.

  • Take note of triggers that ‘set you off’. There are certain actions people will engage in that will cause someone to react in a not so pleasant manner (e.g. in the U.S. someone displaying the wrong finger). If you know you’re predisposed to such a reaction, be mindful of the trigger that might provoke you to display and/or engage in a particular action, especially if it’s not going to serve you in the long run.

  • Be aware of your actions based on the environment you’re in. When other people are in your negotiation environment, you may engage in an action to ‘save face’, which you might not engage in if others were not present. When making an assessment as to whether you should engage in an activity, consider to what degree your actions might be altered if the environment was different. Saving face can come at a hefty price if you’re not mindful of your actions.

No matter where you are on your continuum to become a better negotiator, by controlling your mind in a negotiation you have a better chance of maintaining a level mindset. A level mindset protects you from becoming irrational. If you’re not irrational, your mind won’t be diverted from the negotiation at hand, which means you’ll be mentally prepared to take advantage of more negotiation opportunities… and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

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Food Service Negotiation Tactics

May 20 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Many DSRs I have worked with, believe the customer is not happy until the price has been lowered. My experience tells me that it is not true. Naturally, our customers ask about price because they want to control food cost but they also ask because we (DSRs) have taught them to ask for a cheaper price. Price integrity is threatened because once a day it seems there is a new salesperson dropping by claiming to have cheaper prices. The problem is compounded when the customer says a competitor is selling 80/20 ground beef for eleven cents a pound cheaper and the DSR matches the price after some whining and weak excuses.

If I’m the customer I have to be wondering two things, 1) why I wasn’t getting the lower price to begin with? and 2) what other prices should I be challenging? At this point, trust is damaged.

You and I can’t be shocked when the customer tries to negotiate for a lower price. We need to be prepared for the most popular tactics used today.

#1 Negotiation Ploy

The Nibble Tactic
When someone is trying to get “just a little more.”

There are some predictable tactics the buyer will try in order to gain an advantage in our selling situations.

Nibbling is when the buyer makes small additional requests, either just before or after a deal was done. It is the most used negotiation ploy. Think of a loose string on a sweater. You pull it and no big deal. Then there is another loose string. And another. Soon you have a major hole in your sweater, and it is a mess. The same thing happens in negotiating. One small nibble you would hardly notice but then another little concession is asked for. And before you know it, the whole deal is out of balance because the customer nibbled for “just a little more.”

The “Nibble” is a commonly practiced negotiating tactic. It has become so common that we often fail to understand the impact the tactic has on gross profit to the organization.

Examples of the Nibble

The customer wants to run a weekend “special” and the DSR has offered a good and fair price on choice lip-on rib eyes.

#1 Buyer nibble

Buyer “I think I might be able to take the deal if you can sell my fries for .25 less a case.”

DSR “Well, our current price is very fair…but I guess we can do that.”

What is the new everyday price for the fries? If the DSR drops his price for this “special” deal, next week the normal price of fries will appear as a price increase to a customer.

#2Buyer nibble

Buyer “That sounds good, but what price could you give me if we run the special for four weekends in a row?”

DSR “Boy that is a tough one…but I guess we could get another 4% off.”

What is the price if the customer cancels the “special” after the first weekend?

#3Buyer nibble

Buyer“If I agree to start using your rib eyes, can you give me the 7am delivery window?”

DSR “Yeah, I can probably do that.”

The rep has just given away the earlier delivery window. How much “value” do you think the customer attached to the “give away” in this example? When he or she recognizes how easy it is to “nibble” the earlier window, it seems there is little or no “value” attached to a significant upgrade in service. Now try to take it away when their volume drops off. Within the DSRs organization the earlier window IS a significant value.

Why do buyers use the “Nibble?”

Buyers use the “Nibble” because they CAN!

There is no downside to prevent them from asking for the “Nibble.” The worst that can happen is they don’t get anything added to the deal. They can’t loose anything by asking and most of the time they actually get something for asking.

Stopping the “Nibble”

Stopping the “Nibble” with the “Swap.”

Answer the “Nibble” with the “Swap.” Heighten the value of what ever you are asked to “give away” by asking for something in return.


“Mr. Customer, I understand that is important to you and I respect that. If I faced the same situation, I am sure I would feel the same way. Let me see if I can get that done for you…and if I can, would you be willing to take another shipment of the ham?”

“Mr. Customer, let me go to the powers and see if I can get this through for you. I can’t go in empty handed, if I can get them to agree to this, are you willing to start using the chicken wings we talked about earlier?”

The “swap” in this example was accomplished while the DSR did not “commit” to anything. This tactic is designed to allow the DSR to stop the “nibble” while regaining control of the negotiations

Stopping the “Nibble” with “Drama.” Answer the “Nibble” with “drama.” Make the concession a “BIG DEAL” before offering the Swap. This raises the value of what ever you are asked to “give away.”

Example #1

Customer: “I guess you can send me three cases of the pre-cooked bacon, if you send me a sample case of the Texas Toast.”

Sales Rep: “Ah…I guess I can do that.”

In this example, the DSR did not attach any value to the give away “sample.” This type of transaction is best stopped immediately with a response like, “Mr. Customer, I can’t do anything like that, but I’ll guarantee the product. If the Texas Toast fails to meet your expectations, I’ll get a credit for the full price.”

Example #2

Customer: “I guess you can send me three cases of the pre-cooked bacon, if you send me a sample case of the Texas Toast.”

Sales Rep: “Oh no… you don’t know what you are asking. That’s going to work… I’d really love to get this bacon in your kitchen but I can’t go around giving away cases of product especially when we have seen how much the bacon is going to save you in waste, not to mention cooler space. No way.”

In this example, the DSR’s reaction with “drama” demonstrates the value of the bacon and will likely stop the nibbling. At this point, the customer has expressed an interest in the Texas Toast and with some probing; the DSR has the opportunity to add the Texas Toast to the order.

Stopping the “Nibble” with the ” Flinch”

The flinch is one of the oldest negotiating tactics used by the buyer and the seller. It’s a visible reaction technique used to gain a shock effect to gain an advantage in the negotiation. The objective of this tactic is to make the other person feel uncomfortable about the offer they presented or the concession they have requested.

You must appear shocked and surprised that they could be bold enough to make their request. Unless the other person is a well-seasoned negotiator, they will usually respond in one of two ways; a) the person attempting the “Nibble,” will become very uncomfortable and begin to try to rationalize their request, b) the salesperson will offer an immediate concession.

Common Seller Examples

Consultant: “Holy Cow! I could never bring that one back to my manager.”

Consultant: “Gee, should I throw in my first son too?”

Either of these examples would qualify as a “flinch.” The DSR’s reaction, which might also be considered “drama,” demonstrates that the customer has gone too far in asking for a concession. Most of the time, he or she will back away from the request if the DSR immediately reminds the customer of the value of the proposition originally offered.

Also, understand that buyers will use the “flinch” as a negotiation tactic. Here’s how that may sound:

Buyer: “There must be something wrong with this phone! Did you say $3.26 a pound?”

Consultant: “Yes, $3.26 a pound.”

Please note that the consultant responds with a direct and succinct answer. The answer is “Yes!” Do not waffle on the response. The buyer is using the “flinch” to test for a concession. If the DSR is offering a “fair” price, he or she should have confidence. If the quoted price is not “fair,” the DSR can defer to the manager by saying something like, “Yes that is the price I’m seeing on my computer. If you really feel like the price is out of line, I’ll check with my boss and get back to you within 30 minutes.”

Why do buyers use the “Flinch?”

Buyers use the “Flinch” because they CAN!

There is no downside to prevent them from using the “Flinch.” The worst that can happen is they don’t get anything added to the deal. They can’t loose anything by using the “Flinch” and most of the time they actually get something for asking.

#2 Negotiation Ploy

“Big Guy” and “Little Guy” Tactics

Shifting authority to a third party

The “Big Guy” and “Little Guy”approach is a negotiating tactic both sides can and do use. Using this tactic the negotiator shifts the “power” or decision-making authority to a party not actively involved in the negotiating process.

Examples from the buyer’s perspective:

Chef: “It looks good to me, but I will have to check with management before making a commitment.”

Manager: “I could not commit to changing our seafood supplier without talking to the chef.”

In these examples of the”Big Guy” / “Little Guy”approach, the buyer avoids making a buying commitment by denying that he or she has final authority. This may be true or the buyer may not want to make the change or may want to avoid the negative confrontation with the DSR.

Common Example from Seller:

Consultant: “I think it will work but to do this, I have to get an ‘OK’ from my boss.”

Consultant: “Our policy guidelines are very clear on how we should handle situations like this.

In these examples of”Big Guy” / “Little Guy”the DSR is claiming a higher authority is in control of the decision. The DSR is claiming that he or she is the “little guy” when in fact in most cases he is actually still in control. This is a very important tactic because by deferring to the boss, it allows the DSR to stop the negotiation process, evaluate the situation and then make a decision on how to proceed. This can be done with or without a consultation with the manager.

Tactics for Handling “Big Guy” vs “Little Guy”

Naturally, the first approach to handle “Big Guy” vs. “Little Guy” from the buyer is to get an up-front agreement that you are talking to the person with the authority to make buying decisions. (“Who else will be involved in a decision like this?”)

Unfortunately, some people are not going to be as candid as we would hope. You will sometimes find yourself dealing with a situation where later the “decision-maker” tells you he or she must get approval from someone else. There are a couple approaches you can use to try to pull the sale out of the trash bin.

Tactic #1 Appeal to the Buyer’s Ego:

In this tactic the DSR “assumes” the buyer has enough authority to make the buying decision. This approach gets the buyer’s ego involved. To refuse the sale, the buyer would have to admit he does not have any authority.

Example 1

Customer: “It looks good to me, but I will have to check….”

Consultant: “Off the record…your recommendation is about all that is really needed, right?”

Example 2

Customer: “Any commitment of this size has to be approved by….”

Consultant: “Just between us, isn’t that just a formality? Don’t they usually just go along with your recommendation?”

Tactic #2 Strike the Deal subject to Rejection:

This tactic enables the DSR to take an order with the stipulation that the customer can cancel before the delivery. Remember, every order you take is an order to fill a “need.” The DSR who walks away without taking the order is likely leaving a customer with an unsolved problem. The buyer then has to take more time to interview more sales reps. He or she would prefer taking care of the “need” and then go on to other problems.

Customer: “Any commitment of this size has to be approved by….”

Consultant: “Just between us, isn’t that just a formality? Don’t they usually just go along with your recommendation?”

Customer: “Well they pretty much go along with whatever I recommend.”

Consultant: “That’s what I figured. To hold the price and reserve the product, why don’t we set up the order to be delivered next Wednesday, subject to your right to cancel within twenty- four hours of delivery.”

#3 Negotiation Ploy “The Squeeze”

The buyer will use the “Squeeze” negotiating ploy to see if there is anything left in the deal. This approach is often used right before a commitment is agreed to, when the seller feels like he or she is done.

Buyer: “You will have to do better than that.”

Consultant: “Ah well actually this is a very good price at $29.30 a case.”

Buyer: Silence

Consultant: ” I guess I could get a little better at $28.90, if you commit a 6 cases.”

Buyer: “I only need four.”

Consultant: “Ah well… Okay but you owe me…”

Please understand, when the seller reduces his or her price at this point in the negotiation process, the buyer must ask the question, “Why didn’t the DSR give me this lower price to begin with?” Now, all of your prices are subject to be questioned. At $1.60 per drop, the “Squeeze” equals over $80.00 net per year. It’s well worth the 15 seconds of negotiating time at the end of the process.

Is $80.00 important? Ask a customer how many people he has to serve to net $80.

Handling “The Squeeze”

Establish the Height of the Bar

Buyer: “It looks to me like you are a little high.”

Consultant: “How high do you think we are?”

Buyer: “If you want this order you will have to go a little deeper.”

Consultant: “Just how much deeper do we have to be?”

With this tactic, the DSR is asking the buyer to get more specific about his or her request. Generally, two things can happen. The buyer can name a price or admit that he was just “fishing.” If the buyer names a price, the DSR can “overcome” the objection with value or use other tactics like “Big guy/Little guy.”

Why does the buyer try to use “The Squeeze?”

Buyers use the “Squeeze” because they CAN!

There is no downside to prevent them from using the “squeeze.” The worst that can happen is they don’t get anything added to the deal. The buyer can’t loose anything by using the “squeeze” and most of the time they actually get something for asking.

Prepare to win or lose to some one who is.

Following these strategies will dramatically improve your negotiation skills and ultimately your job satisfaction and income. Further, your customers will feel much better about you and more comfortable accepting your initial price. You can establish a win-win atmosphere or be faced with a lifetime of stress, haggling over nickels and dimes.

Like any skill, your ability to negotiate well is determined by study, practice, preparation and repetition. Your commitment will make the difference.

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Before Negotiating Increase Your Perceived Value

May 20 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Before negotiating, do you consider how you can increase your perceived value? You can do so from a self-perspective and an outward projection. There are simple strategies you can utilize to ensure you always come away from the negotiation table with more, versus less. This article gives insights into strategies you can employ to increase your perceived value and achieve better outcomes when you negotiate. To increase your perceived value…

1. Prior to negotiating, do a self-assessment from the perspective of how strong your negotiation skills are in comparison to the other negotiator. Consider how adept you are at utilizing the appropriate strategies in the appropriate situations. By making an accurate assessment of your skills, you’ll be better positioned to present your perspective more accurately as you negotiate. Knowing your ‘real’ capabilities will allow you to increase the perceived value you have of yourself, which should translate into a better performance at the negotiation table.

2. To enhance the perception of perceived value, view yourself through the eyes of the other negotiator. Ask yourself, what does she see in me? What value does she perceive me to have and why is that value important to her? Do this from the perspective of what the two of you are negotiating. Then, consider the personal factor, which entails your likability, ease at which you are to deal with, or the opposite of both. Be honest with yourself as you make this assessment.

3. Assess the other negotiator from the perspective of how good a negotiator she is. If in doubt, give her more credit for the skills she may possess. You can compensate for her lack of skills, by being magnanimous during the negotiation, if such compensation is necessary. In so doing, you will increase your perceived value in her eyes.

4. Once you’re at the negotiation table, display through your knowledge of the situation at hand that you’ve done your homework. Don’t be overbearing. Display your knowledge for that which you’re negotiating in the appropriate manner and at the appropriate time. If the situation requires a quick decision, make one quickly. You’ll be subliminally displaying the fact that you’ve thought the situation through thoroughly, which in turn will project the fact that you’re confident and prepared. Such actions will translate non-verbally into a higher level of your perceived value.

To increase your perceived value, understand what may be lacking in the negotiation and fill the void. Be very attuned to the other negotiator’s shortcomings. Also, be very understanding and forgiving where appropriate. By being prepared with facts, proper data, and displaying the appropriate demeanor during the negotiation, your perceived value will rise continuously throughout the negotiation… and everything will be right with the world.

The Negotiation Tips Are…

· Since value is perceptional, always consider the demeanor that goes into the makeup of perceived value. You can possess all the self-value in the world and if you’re perception is not shared by the other negotiator, you’re nothing more than a legend in your own mind.

· Be mindful of the approach you use when negotiating. Using the wrong tactic or strategy in the wrong situation will decrease your perceived value and could cause your negotiation position to become weakened.

· There will be times when your assessment of your value greatly differs from that in which the other negotiator views you. If the chasm is too deep, consider what you can quickly do to alter the perception. As a FYI, you should have thought about this potential dilemma in the planning stages of the negotiation.

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