Workplace Negotiation, Disability, and Access

Jeff Cochran


Most workplaces are becoming more inclusive, hiring increasing numbers of people with disabilities in order to increase creativity and productivity. However, many employers are still stumped on how to best hire and retain employees with disabilities, as well as how to negotiate their work contracts. The following are a few aspects of negotiation that people with disabilities need to master in order to reach the best possible solution for themselves and their employer.

1. Find potential employers: A person with a disability may have better chances at employment if they apply with a company with a history of customized employment. Talk to employed disabled persons in your area and find out which companies may be more open to hiring disabled persons than other companies.

2. Find out the employer’s needs: The best way to get any job is to convince the employer that you fit a need they have. If you can identify a need that the employer was unaware of and demonstrate the importance fixing it, you will gain the employer’s attention and potentially a job. Do research on a desired company and find out their job openings as well as information regarding their expenses and revenues. If you can find a way to save a company money, you are a potentially valuable asset.

3. Get a foot in the door: Set up interviews or meetings to learn more about the company, and introduce yourself to the employer if possible. This interest will usually impress your potential employer, and if you can provide them with an idea to improve their company, they will be very interested. If you show that you are the most qualified person for the position, they will often be willing to make accommodations to hire you.

4. Understand the employer’s concerns. An employer has lots of responsibility to his or her customers, other employees, and investors. Hiring any new employee is a risk, and a disabled employee often represents a larger risk in an employer’s eyes. If you can predict all of the employer’s arguments against your employment, you will be able to dismantle or refute those arguments before they are ever brought up. This in itself will impress your employer, showing that you are able to look at a situation from multiple points of view.

A few of the obvious concerns shared by most employers are the costs of making accommodations for your disability in the workplace, the risk of your impairment affecting your efficiency and production, and the expectation of your wanting preferential treatment due to your disability. After addressing all of your potential employer’s concerns, try to convince him or her of your worthiness for the position. Do not result to bullying or threatening lawsuits for discrimination; that will only cause resentment.

How Networking and Social Media Help Negotiation Skills

Jeff Cochran


Many people consider social media a waste of time in the workplace, which is one reason why most employers block employees’ access to social media accounts during work hours. In general, visiting social media sites during work hours is a bad practice, but social media does have certain benefits that businesses can take advantage of. For example, social media provides a great environment to practice and develop negotiation skills. The following are a few of the benefits of social media for negotiation and how to keep the distractions of social media out of the office.


1. Build your image before negotiations: Social media allows people to build up an image and reputation, in essence creating a persona. This means that negotiators will be expecting to negotiate with the persona and may give you the advantage of appearing stronger or tougher than you really are. By influencing what your competitor knows and thinks about you using social media, you can also influence the outcome of the negotiations.

2. Learn about your competitor: When you research the person you will be negotiating against, look at their social media profiles to get an idea of their character. However, as they may very well be practicing the same methods as you, focus less on what they say and more on their style of writing. For example, concise statuses or comments that express strong opinions and are posted regularly indicate a person who makes quick decisions and wastes little time, striving to be as efficient as possible. By paying attention to how they write and the language they use, you can get a better insight into how their mind works.

3. Practice and learn about emotional control: One of the most prevalent problems with the internet is the number of hate-filled comments posted on every social media site. Some internet users post angry comments and statuses due to personal issues, while others respond irrationally to ideas or statements they disagree with. One way to potentially practice negotiation skills is to join some of these more explosive conversations and control your anger when responding to hate-filled comments. You will also learn what types of comments most affect other’s ability to control their emotions.

4. Practice self-management: Social media often draws users in and keeps them distracted for hours, preventing them from getting work done. When you do go on social media, have a goal of things you want to look at and a time limit for how long you can spend, and stick to those restrictions. By using social media as a tool to learn to control your impulses and manage your time, you can become a more effective employee and a more effective negotiator.

What is Business Communication?

Jeff Cochran


Business communication incorporates the means to effectively relay information within professional channels. Some of the more popular channels using business communication include television, radio, print media, businesses and the Internet. For effective business communication, most professionals prefer face-to-face interaction. While it may be considered confrontational, face-to-face interaction is also the most direct and easy to understand. There are five different conversations taking place in most effective business communication. These conversations include negotiation, mediation, persuasion, conflict resolution and presentation.

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1. Negotiation

Not only does negotiation play a strong role in business communication, but it also serves as a fine art for many to master. The art of negotiation can transform tense situations into areas of peace and reconciliation for the parties involved. Negotiation mainly focuses on the ability to get both parties to a common ground or to a place where both parties benefit from a decision. In business communication, some of the most commonly discussed negotiations include salary or benefits negotiations. When entering a conversation with planned negotiating, it is important to know the talking points and position on the particular issue. Negotiation is merely problem solving. When solving a problem, a person must look at what they want and how far they are willing to go for it. For example, a job offer may be on the table, but the benefits may not be that great. This could be a place for negotiation. A person must look at the pros and cons of what the job offer entails and decide if it works for them. Negotiation also involves preparing to ask questions and get answers that will solve the problem. It is vital to continue the conversation and persist until a solution is found.

2. Mediation

Another important facet of business communication involves mediation (not to be confused with meditation). Mediation involves inviting a neutral third-party to help rectify a situation. While it’s considered ideal for a company to exist without any problems, it isn’t realistic. Problems will arise during the life of any business. Businesses are primarily comprised of people who are prone to their different ideas, temperaments, strengths and weaknesses. Because of these different factors, it is easy to see the need and importance of effective business communication. When a problem rears its ugly head, it is up to the parties involved to maturely seek a beneficial way to handle it. One of the best ways to destroy a company is through unresolved conflict as it can eventually decrease profits, crush work productivity and lead to very poor job retention. If a problem proves to be harder than usual to solve, mediation is a great solution to take advantage of. The solution of mediation is popularly used in situations of harassment, wrongful termination and discrimination. Mediation is great because it allows both parties to be heard in a safe environment. There is also the benefit of privacy. In mediations, privacy is of the utmost importance. In a business setting, a lot of mediators are lawyers or people who are well-versed in law. When a settlement is reached at the end of a mediation, it is considered legally binding.

3. Persuasion

Persuasion, or influence has been long considered an art. The ability to get people to leave their convictions and buy into another is one of the most highly sought-after business communication skills. Persuasion is used through all mediums of business communication. For example, television networks no longer report the facts alone. There is a bit of opinion delivered with artful persuasion on various evening programs with analysts and pundits. There are a few elements of persuasion that, if properly understood, can lead to many professional success stories. Reciprocity is major in persuasion. People are easier to persuade if they feel like the one doing the persuading has delivered lots of value to their lives in a certain way. People are more likely to give in to someone who does a lot for them. If someone is an authority or a credible source on a subject, they have the advantage to persuade an audience because of their experience. Lastly, when a person is well-liked, it is easier to persuade them. Books like How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie prove that people are persuaded by people who look like them, make them feel good and help them achieve goals of mutual benefit.

4. Conflict Resolution

As previously mentioned, conflicts in business can often lead to a decrease in profits, work productivity and poor job retention. These are some of the most detrimental blows any business could ever experience. A major part of effective business communication involves the ability to solve conflicts and bounce back from them. When dealing with conflict in a business setting, it is important to get the opposing sides out. Both opinions need the opportunity to be expressed. After each side gets the chance to express their conflicting side, problems must be resolved expeditiously. The best way to come to a resolution is through asking each side what the benefits of their reasoning are. What is to be gained by going one way vs. another? After this is expressed, there are usually some fears behind each reason. There are also consequences for each action. Creativity has its place in effective business communication and conflict resolution. After hearing the fears behind each side, the best way to alleviate fears and find a resolution is to find a middle ground. Getting creative about a solution that pleases everyone may be difficult, but it’s worth the fight. Conflict is an uncomfortable part of business. The brightest professionals are the ones who know how to handle conflict quickly and creatively to see resolution!

5. Presentation

Many studies suggest that two-thirds of all communication is non-verbal. In business communications, presentations are a vital part of the process. Within the first two or three minutes, the audience critiques the presenter’s voice, style, tone, style of attire, energy level, confidence level and more. Because all of these can either attract or distract, it is incredibly important to pay attention to these factors. Attention must also be placed on being extremely clear. Communicators must always present their intentions for the presentation from the beginning. Business communication is best when its clear and concise.

There are many moving parts in business communication. Effective business communication skills are beneficial to any professional as well as anyone who communicates with others. Persuasion, mediation, presentation, conflict resolution and negotiation are all incredible elements to the world of business communication. When these skills are mastered, the end result is a masterpiece.

4 Steps to Building Long Term Professional Relationships

Jeff Cochran


Repeat customers and long term business relationships can make or break a professional career. Whether you’re seeking to build a better relationship with your company’s clients or further your influence as an industry professional, it’s important to take an active role in solidifying business relationships. Completing negotiation training and sales training will give you a strong foundation from which to cultivate relationships, as will the following tips.


Adopt a “Give and Take” Philosophy 

As professionals with negotiations training under their belt clearly understand, laying the foundation for a strong business relationship requires a bit of give and take. Instead of initiating contact only when you need something, become a go-to resource for your professional network. Communicate often enough that you remain informed about your contact’s needs and challenges, and become an active part of the solution.

Use Social Media (Really)

Modern sales training emphasizes the use of social media to keep professional networks buzzing, but individual professionals often fail to use social platforms to their advantage. Unlike years past, professionals are relying more on social media to communicate with existing contacts and create new relationships. While the old fashioned phone call shouldn’t be ignored, consider switching up your routine by reaching out to contacts on social media. A direct message on Twitter or a mention on LinkedIn may be enough to gain new leads or land a new project.

 Exceed Expectations 

When honored with the opportunity to provide a service or product to a professional contact, aim to exceed their expectations every time. Take deadlines, specifications, and project goals seriously to ensure your contact’s satisfaction with your work, and always communicate throughout the process. Keeping the lines of communication open will show your business contacts you’re committed to going above and beyond to guarantee their satisfaction. A solid record of success with your contacts is the best way to foster a long-term professional relationship that is beneficial for both parties.

Don’t Undervalue a Good Recommendation 

Even if there are a few people in your professional network you’d rather forget, never waste an opportunity for a good recommendation. In the midst of a task-filled day, speaking with one of your less-than-favorite contacts may be the last thing you want to do. However, taking a few minutes out of your day to be responsive increases the probability that you’ll be recommended to other professionals. When all is said and done, the effort is worth it.

Teaching Innovation: Creativity in the Workplace

Jeff Cochran


The trademark of a successful company is innovation in the workplace. Companies that succeed long term have a policy that promotes creativity and trust in the employees who drive change, and provides leaders with influence training to keep this creativity going. As with anything, practice makes perfect, and innovation must be harnessed, cultivated, and acknowledged to reap positive rewards. Use these tips to motivate employees to think outside-the-box and propel your company’s success.



Foster Collaboration 

As the old saying goes, “Two heads are better than one.” Whether working remotely or in an office setting, aim to inspire team members to collaborate in an easygoing environment. Structured settings, like timed meetings or proposal deadlines, can inhibit creativity and put the focus on competition. Instead, designate brainstorming sessions and choose a different team member per session to lead. Completing influence training equips managers with the ability to create an environment and culture that fosters collaboration.

Redefine Work Processes 

A change of scenery can significantly improve your team’s ability to think creatively and add innovation to your company. Consider redefining work processes by instituting sprints or taking your brainstorming session outdoors. Focus on the elimination of distractions, like electronics, phone calls, or busy public areas, and encourage team members to concentrate on brainstorming the answers to three (or fewer) questions. Doing so will both promote collaboration and provide employees with a welcome change of pace. Influence training for managers is helpful, as it offers deep insights into employees’ decision making processes.

Hire Passionate Team Members 

Above all else, strengthen your team with individuals who are enthusiastic and passionate about your business. Whether their expertise is sales, customer relationships, or marketing, make use of your team’s passion to facilitate creativity and innovation. Through the completion of influence training, managers become adept at understanding each employee’s strengths and goals, leading to more productive brainstorming sessions and the reinforcement of ideas.

Don’t Reject Creativity 

Sometimes, great ideas get dismissed if they are not relevant to the topic at hand. Unfortunately, the employee who had the idea becomes discouraged, while managers fail to save the idea for a later project. To inspire creativity in the workplace, always keep the big picture in sight. If an employee has a great idea that can be used later, acknowledge his or her initiative and make a note of it. Keep a repository of ideas, either digitally or in your meeting space, to revisit at another time.