Mind Mapping For Business Negotiations

There is no doubt about it, negotiating effectively is a skill and one that needs to be mastered if you are going to be successful in business.  It is also a very good skill to have under your belt in daily life as well.  According to some negotiating experts, you could save as much as 10% on your household bills and shopping if you are willing to negotiate.  So it is worth investigating how you too can become an effective negotiator.  This article isn’t going to teach you everything about negotiating, in fact in won’t teach you much more than the basics but what it will do is show you how you can apply Mind Mapping to your Business Negotiations.  So this article is for you if you have some experience of negotiating and want to get a better handle on what you are already doing.

The process of negotiation can be divided into three broad areas: preparation, negotiation and follow up.  Each of these can be enhanced using Mind Mapping so I will take each in turn and explain how you could use the Mind Map.

1.        Preparation

This is probably where the success or failure of a negotiation is decided.  Preparation is such a key stage and the clich├ęs like “Fail to plan then plan to fail” and “Preparation prevents poor performance” hold true in effective negotiation as well.

During your preparations you will need to gather all of the relevant information to support you in your negotiation and of course using a Mind Map is a great tool to use for this.  These days it is likely that you will have multiple sources of information across different media types and by hyper-linking to those documents you can access them from one place.  This is one of the most useful features of great Mind Map software.

The other thing that Mind Mapping is extremely useful for once you have gathered all of your supporting information, is to review and consider your current position, the place you want to be at the end of the negotiations, your opponent’s position and where they are likely to want to be end.  Whilst you can never fully know where your opposite number stands and where they really want to be, thinking about that ahead of time will allow you to consider the various options and alternative stances you may need to take.

When you lay these various options out and explore them using a Mind Map you will start to see themes and connections and potential win-win positions that you may not have seen before.  I am aware of no other thinking tool that can handle multiple what-if scenarios and “if they say then I’ll say” options so well without you becoming overwhelmed or lost.

2.        The Negotiation Itself

During the negotiation itself, a Mind Map can be applied in a number of different ways.  It can be used for the meeting agenda to set things up.  You can use it to personally keep track of the twists and turns of the talks or you can create a shared Mind Map that everyone can see evolve and is used to capture what has been agreed.  Much of the groundwork for the negotiation will have been done in the preparation stage and so you may need to refer to the Mind Maps you put together before the meeting.  In more proactive and dynamic negotiations Mind Mapping can be used to present your position, consider alternatives and even generate new ideas and solve problems.  It is such a powerful tool that it only enhances the thought process you apply it to.

3.        The Follow Up

After a negotiation has taken place, it is important to follow up and ensure what has been agreed is actually implemented.  Keeping track using Mind Mapping is one way of doing this.  Sharing the maps generated during the negotiation is a good way of ensuring everyone has the same record of the meeting and the decisions taken.

6 Stages To Better Presentations

Whether you are making a presentation, to an audience of one, twenty, fifty, one hundred, or thousands, wouldn’t you want to give the best, possible ones, in order to articulate your message, effectively, and in the most inspiring, motivating manner? Every day, whether we recognize and realize it, or not, we are presenting ourselves, in some meaningful way. This article, therefore, will attempt to, briefly, consider, examine, review, and discuss, the six stages of giving the best possible presentation, in order, to better, make our central points, while inspiring and motivating others, to care more, about, whatever we are presenting.

1. Open/ welcome: You will only get one chance to make a first impression. If your audience isn’t welcomed, and you don’t entice them, interest them, and show, immediately, you will benefit them, from listening and paying attention, your possibilities for giving a meaningful presentation, may be lost, before you, really, even, begin! Be welcoming, friendly, and show, your objective, is to make, your time, spent together, valuable and meaningful! Let them know, what you, will be discussing, and how it might benefit them.

2. Let them know what to expect!: Using some sort of audio – visual, and/ or presentation tool, present your agenda, and, the rules/ guidelines (or what many refer to, as the housekeeping matters). Indicate, approximately, when you will have breaks, and the general topics, for each component of this event.

3. Interactive: The more, the presenter, gets his audience involved, the better, the event will go! Interactive presenting means, truly, involving audience members, for many reasons. Doing so, makes others, pay more attention, connected, and, studies prove, learn the materials, involved! It’s, obviously, far more challenging, for an attendee, to become disengaged, when, you use this approach!

4. Organized/ focus: Learn, as much as possible, about your audience, so you can make your talk, more appealing, and relevant, to them! Proceed, in a clear – cut, focused, organized manner, so, it is easier for others, to pay keen attention, and, thus, learn more effectively, and thoroughly.

5. Crux of matter/ points: From the onset, provide an over – view, so others, know and understand, the crux of the matter, and, proceed, in a point – by – point manner, so, they become more capable of knowing, the difference between the most meaningful information, and lesser items. Clearly demonstrate, how much, you appreciate and cherish/ value, their time!

6. Grand finale: Always, leave them, wanting more, while feeling, their time, was well spent! Sum up, the main points, and, answer questions, address concerns, and hopefully, you will have given a great presentation.

True leaders develop the skills, abilities, aptitude, and attitude, which makes them better, and more effective. How one presents his message, is an important aspect of quality leadership!

The Importance Of Being Engaged And Present In All Our Relationships

Listening Requires Being Silent

How engaged are you in your relationships? Are you present within the relationship? I don’t mean physically present since that is a given. I’m talking about being mentally, emotionally and spiritually invested in the relationship. To be devoted means enduring the difficult periods if the relationship runs into rough waters. I’m defining relationships here as all forms of human connections whether they be intimate, friends, family or work colleagues. Now you might think: “Tony, I can’t be overly engaged with my boss because I would cross the line of being their friend.” So allow me to explain myself. By being engaged and present means we bring our whole self to our encounters with others. For example, it is my experience as a coach that many people are ineffective listeners. They listen intending to chime in once the other person is finished. They are not taking part in communication and it is evident in their body language. Contemplate this for a moment, do you consider yourself to be a good listener in your relationships? Do you listen intently to what others are saying or do you skim over the surface of their words?

The theme of this article is inspired by a recent conversation with a client experiencing communication challenges with her boss. She mentioned the difficulty of sustaining a mutual understanding with her boss because of his intolerance to what she has to say. She recalled a recent experience that was met with disdain and indifference. The boss was certain they were listening by repeating “yep” throughout the conversation. From my client’s perspective however, they were indifferent to her communication. Listening requires being silent until the other person finishes their dialogue. You might even ask them: “Is there anything else you want to tell me about this situation?” In this manner, you create an open dialogue with the other party instead of pretending you are interested. I know of a family member who continually interrupts me by asking questions while I am explaining a story. I find it disconcerting because if they actively listen, I will tell them what they need to know within the context of the story. If I have not explained myself well enough, they are at right to ask questions once I have finished. Do you agree with these sentiments? What is your experience with poor listeners?

Bring Your Authentic Self To Each Interaction

Listening is one facet of how we engage in our relationships. Other ways include: compassion, kindness and creating an atmosphere of presence with the other person. So if your significant other comes home and tells you about their problems at work, rather than try to fix it, listen without prejudice. Listen with an open mind and a compassionate heart, knowing they are coming to you because they feel safe sharing their vulnerabilities. Unless they ask for help, actively listen and give them the gift of your presence. Sure, I understand we want to fix the other person’s problem but often our advice may be unqualified or unnecessary. What it requires is empathy, presence and nonjudgement. Have you experienced this with your intimate relationships where you wanted your partner to just listen to you? Sometimes it’s difficult and we retaliate in anger because we don’t want someone to fix our problems, we want to be heard.

Who said relationships were easy? They are not meant to be easy, however they are worth it even when the other person pushes our pain buttons. We experience growth at those times because it forces us to look into ourselves even during conflicts. The importance of being engaged and present within our relationships means fostering true communication. We let go of judgement and fixed ideas of what we think the other person is really saying. There is the opportunity to heal our childhood wounds when we listen openly because we allow our ego to take a back seat. Ego wants to be heard while the heart prefers to listen. Listening is difficult because it involves silence and thoughtful reflection while the other person is talking. Moreover, not all problems need to be solved. When we try to solve other people’s problems we take away their ability to overcome their challenges. We disempower them and strip them of their identity. What we ought to do is listen and ask encouraging questions so they arrive at the answers themselves.

Are you seeing that being engaged and present in your relationships involves more than your physical presence? It means bringing your authentic self to each interaction and letting go of judgement, blame and anger. I’m not suggesting it is simple but if we consider why we are in the relationship in the first place, we learn to see past these disingenuous emotions and truly connect with our core feelings. With this in mind, I’d like you to pick a relationship you feel is strained at the moment. It might be a co-worker, a friend, a family member or a significant other. In the next seven days, make an agreement with yourself to actively listen to what the other person is saying. Listen with the intent to connect with their words and emotions instead of skimming over the surface of the communication. Try to get a sense of what they want you to know about the situation. Are they afraid? Are they feeling vulnerable? Or angry? If so, perhaps they need unconditional love? Are you willing to give it to them without saying a word? Maybe they want you to see them through the eyes of love, even when they experience negative emotions. The true test comes when we are engaged and present in all our relationships without the need to say a lot.