Ecological Negotiation

Negotiation is a process of trying to arrive at a mutually agreeable conclusion about something. It could be a sales situation; it could be a behavioral contract; it could be a cease fire. Negotiation is basically an agreement. What makes negotiation’s time consuming is that each party involved often has numerous needs that require some kind of guarantee of satisfaction. Until those needs are at least addressed in some way, there will be objections.

Objections are critically important in successful negotiations and taking into account all objections is ecological. That is, it takes into account varying components of the system. Negotiations often prove a failure after the fact because one or more of the parties does not express their objections to the proposed settlement. Then, after the negotiation is over, they start to feel shortchanged and don’t abide by the agreement.

In every successful negotiation it is critically important that objections be addressed. Some people involved in the negotiation may be shy or reserved about voicing objections. The facilitator or leader must draw out objections from participants so they can be discussed. Once out in the open, objections can be analyised and the need or concern they represent satisfied. For example, let’s say a couple is in marital counseling negotiating a behavioral contract. The husband wants the wife to contribute her paycheck into the joint checking account but she wants to open her own checking account. She objects to putting her money into the joint checking account. A good question to ask to understand the reason for the objection is “what would happen if you did put your money in the joint checking account?” This requires the wife to verbalize her concerns. She might say “I wouldn’t feel as though I had some of my own money to spend in my own way whenever I wanted to for whatever reason.” The negotiator might then say “If you knew you could spend your money any way you wanted whenever you wanted for whatever you wanted even with the money in a joint checking account, would you then be OK with the joint checking account?” The wife might ponder this and if she says yes the condition upon which the negotiation would be successful is clarified. But, if she says no that indicates there is yet another objection which has not yet been verbalized. At that point, the negotiator needs to uncover a deeper layer of objection. This is accomplished largely through asking specific questions.

This process of uncovering layers of objection is the ecological part of negotiation. It ensures that all parties involved or all parts of a single person’s mind have addressed every single objection. Ecological negotiation is one of the most effective means of behavior change because although we may say we want to change behaviors, for example, to quit smoking, we find it difficult or fail because there is also a part of us that does not want to change. A person who says they want to lose weight might be surprised to find there is a part of them that objects to that goal. Ecological negotiation attempts to find the reason behind not wanting to lose weight and try and satisfy that need in some other way. For example, being overweight can serve a need. In some it might be power, in others it might be protection. Without discovering the need that being overweight serves and finding other ways to meet that need, there will be an objection to losing weight.

Everyone has needs and most all behavior is designed to meet those needs. Ecological negotiation takes this into account and recognizes that all objections are a way of saying “hey, if that happens my needs won’t be met so I’m going to object.” By accepting the objection in that light and helping that need be met in other ways, the negotiator removes obstacles to a truly successful negotiation.

Learning about Presentations from Robin Williams

In the feature film RV, Robin Williams plays an advertising executive. His boss orders him around and it looks like Robin will be put out to pasture. Showing no respect to Robin, the boss orders him onto an assignment. To make a presentation in Colorado, Robin must cancel his family’s vacation plans. Hawaii is out. An RV trip to the mountains is in. He is ashamed to admit to his wife and kids that the trip is anything but an attempt to reestablish some quality time in a family that has become fragmented.

Robin stays up at night writing the presentation and fires it off from a mountain peak when he is able to find a signal strong enough. He abandons his family to make the presentation and only then finds out that his boss has brought along a replacement for Robin. Robin is only a backup. The first-string guy fumbles and Robin must step in.

After meeting the clients and noticing their reactions to the first-string guy’s emphasis on profits and money, Robin takes a different tact and talks about nostalgia, love and the environment. He saves the day, and the account.

Whenever I have to make a presentation, I always leave myself some wiggle room. I’ll switch horses in mid-stream if I have to . . . and sometimes I even plan it that way.

Recently, I was to review a fund-raising video with a client. I played the rough draft version of the video they had approved. They were happy. They loved it. I could have walked away and finished the production, but instead I said, “But, that’s not the video I recommend for your fundraising event.” In editing, I had fallen in love with a single interview. I was unable to use any “soundbites” from that interview for the approved video, but with a few simple edits, I was able to use the interview itself as a heartfelt fundraising presentation. There was not a dry eye in the conference room after I played the video.

I was confident with both videos, but if the client had hated the first video, I would have redeemed myself with the second. The client loved them both. The interview video was played at the big fundraising event and they were both distributed on DVD and placed on the web. My budget was increased slightly and the client was extremely pleased with their two fundraising videos.

When making presentations, you must know your clients, you must listen to your clients and by all means you must watch your clients during the presentation. If you need to make adjustments, don’t make them lightly. But if you sense that something else is needed to make the client happy, stay loose and try a little adjustment.

Apply 5 Point Test To Start A Presentation

In my preceding article “9 Secrets To Better Beginnings Of Any Presentation”, I wrote about the importance of presentation beginnings and best ways to capture the audience’s attention, as opening is one of the most crucial elements of a powerful presentation. In this article I would focus on how to practise the openers with a 5 point test that could be applied to get into the actual presentation.

Effective presenters know that the beginning part of a presentation should take between 5 and 10% of the allotted presentation time. For one hour presentation, this is between three and six minutes. It is only 30 to 60 seconds for a 10 minute presentation. Although one should spend not more than 10% of the delivery time on the beginning of presentation, over half of the preparation time may be spent on honing and crafting for opening. The hardest thing a presenter is required to do is to START. When you want to travel, the hardest part is to just go ahead and go. But once you start, everything follows. Once the beginning is set, it becomes easier to jump start the presentation and get audience attention almost immediately.

Test whether your presentation opener has the following statements:

1. Impact Statement

An Impact Statement is a brief narrative summarizing the outcome of your presentation which creates strong support to proceed further. To create an impact with your presentation, the audience have to get the message. That means they have to be able to hear it and understand it. And to do that, first they must listen. So the very first step in this whole process is to gain their attention and then keep it, so that they listen, hear what the presenter say, understand it, and then they can be influenced by it which is, after all, the essence of impact.

2. Statement that arouse curiosity or suspense

Best way to arouse curiosity is by hiding or obscuring or veiling or hinting but never revealing. An example statement: “We are close to being able to file hyper-linked legal documents on CD-Roms. Only one thing stands in the way and that is my topic today.”

3. Statement through Question

If you want to persuade the audience to use Copy right legislation, starting the presentation with a question might do the trick. ” Is there anyone here who has not violated the copyright law ? “. Here you are making a statement that your topic is all about copyright law.

4.Statement about startling statistics

A startling statistic can be great opener. ” According to a national survey reported in the Wall Street Journal 82% of respondents say they access pornography on the Net at work “.

5. Societal norm statement

If your presentation subject is “Helping Children Learn to Work”, your opening statement could be”Are We Losing our Societal Norms About Work ? With children becoming more sedentary due to study routines, entertainment options and the like, it is more important than ever to teach the value of work. We parents face the challenge of needing to create opportunities to work rather than just having them.”

Finally make sure to establish credibility upfront with the following ABCD checklist:

-Attract audience straight away with a statement at the beginning of presentation

-Begin to deal with ingredients of your presentation after your initial statement.

-Come out punching. Get to the point with right statement. Your audience expect nothing less.

-Drive rest of your presentation with sub-statements.

Follow this 5 point test and check list for your next presentation and if none apply then it is better to reschedule that next presentation until you are able to create a dynamic opening.

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