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A Case Study on eLearning: What It Is and Why Your Employees Need It

Andres Lares

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eLearningA growing business in employee training is eLearning. It provides 40-60% less time learning than in a classroom and increased retention rates to 25-60%, compared to the 8-10% of classroom learning.

eLearning also has a material rate of five times more than a classroom setting. 42% of businesses say eLearning for their employees has increased their revenue.

 

What Is eLearning?

Reading those statistics makes a person wonder what eLearning is and how it can become so great for companies to have such high statistics. A web-based approach to learning, eLearning provides courses online for training, classroom, and book learning opportunities. As the world moves into the digital age, eLearning has become more popular with every passing year.

From a business standpoint, eLearning requires less time – the employees have to be out of the office for training. By providing emails, video conferences, books, and classroom information, eLearning allows employees to train in comfort from their desktops. Should a company require a training program, eLearning would allow the employees to work on this training while being on site at their desks.

Employees can use eLearning to work on training activities on their own. If they have deadlines to meet or projects to finish, they are able to do those things and train after. By providing eLearning, employees don’t have to miss deadlines or be away from their work to attend an offsite training course.

 

Advantages of eLearning

Having your training at your fingertips provides a lot of advantages for employees. It’s easy to link to resources you may need during training because you’re already on the computer. Flexibility and efficiency provide resources and courses any time the employee is able to login and work.

There are so many options for eLearning to provide advantages over other training. Having eLearning available means the employee can work at his or her own pace and still meet deadlines or finish projects they might have been in the middle of but would need to stop if required to attend offsite training.

With eLearning, employees have discussion boards and chats to work with other employees on training as if they were in a classroom together. There are even options for videos and video instructors. Having these options allows the employee to feel like they’re in training but still able to get their work done and meet deadlines.

 

Disadvantages to eLearning

Despite having many advantages, eLearning does have some disadvantages. While they are very few, it’s important to note them for reference so you can see eLearning as a whole. The disadvantages, while small, include limited questions and security and authenticity of work.

Because eLearning is computer based, it’s easy for someone to cheat on the work or have security concerns with their eLearning classroom. This isn’t generally a major problem, but it would be a disadvantage should it occur.

Another concern is the limited number of questions available. Being computer-based, questions tend to be more generic and knowledge-based rather than practical or subjective. Should a company require their employees to use eLearning, it might be pertinent to check the eLearning information and ensure the questions fit the needs of the training.

 

Benefits of eLearning

The disadvantages above provide an insight into eLearning as a whole. However, it’s an overall benefit for employee training.

Providing your employees freedom and abilities to work from their desk will give them a sense of empowerment. They’ll have the ability to continue working on partially finished projects while watching training videos. Or maybe they have to meet a deadline and they will chat with others in the training about certain talking points while working toward that deadline.

Allowing employees the opportunity to get the training you feel they should have without taking them away from their work provides a less stressful environment. Since they don’t have to leave their desks to receive training, they won’t be stressing over missing a deadline or finishing a project. They won’t feel the need to rush back to the office after training to finish that project or pray they can make their deadline.

Employees stress more if they have to leave their desks for training. Especially if they’re dedicated to their work and meeting deadlines.

 

Conclusion

Providing eLearning for employees can provide the training a company requires without the stress on the employees of walking away from their work. By preventing the stress on employees, the company is boosting morale and providing a better way to achieve the training they feel necessary.

How can you get an eLearning training set up for your employees? With a little help from Shapiro Negotiations. Shapiro provides effective eLearning for all situations. Your employees can use LMS, smartphones and virtual reality options for training opportunities. This will provide a number of options to keep them at their desks and stress-free.

Worried about the disadvantages mentioned earlier? Don’t be. Shapiro finds innovative ways to provide exercise-driven webinars and on-demand modular training that eliminates the worry of cheating, knowledge-based questions, and objective learning. Shapiro will provide your employees with the best training available for their needs and give the company peace of mind in the training they’re providing.

Ensure your employees are working hard and training harder for your company. Does your training have top of the line opportunities and innovative methods to keep up with the times? If you can’t answer yes, you’re using the wrong training. Let Shapiro Negotiations help you fix this problem.

It’s time to provide your employees with a less stressful training program. Provide your employees with top training to receive top results. Give them a stress free opportunity to receive the training you require while still meeting the deadlines and finishing the projects they’re so concerned with.

Contact Shapiro Negotiations today for all your training needs and keep your company morale at its peak with stress-free employees. Don’t wait until morale has dropped past the point of no return. Contact Shapiro today.

 

Training vs. Consulting: Why Your Employees Need Both

Andres Lares

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Training Employees need support from their employers and management on multiple levels. The best, and easiest, way to provide this support is by utilizing both training and consulting. So, how can these two supportive ideas help? What’s the difference between the two? Knowing the difference and how they can help is the first step to helping employees become better at their jobs.

 

Training

Although training and consulting are very similar, they are not quite close enough to be considered the same thing. Training provides the knowledge and examples required to perform the task at hand. From a customer standpoint, it’s the idea of providing them with tools to make the decisions at hand. Providing training for your employees allows them to have the skills and knowledge base to effectively communicate and work with customers.

Employees require training to ensure they’re updated on any new policies or approaches in working with customers. Ensuring your employees know their job and are able to provide the best customer service should be your number one priority.

 

Consulting

Consulting with your employees is a way to ensure their training has done its job. By having one-on-one consultations, each employee can prove their able to provide customers with accurate information. This information should include pros and cons of each offered service. Consulting is important for your employees to showcase their skills with you. By doing this, they are providing you with insight into the training you offer.

A consultation with your employees shows whether the training you’re offering them is working based on the knowledge and skills they have about their job and the company’s products and services. It’s important to know your employees are knowledgeable about the company and their jobs.

 

Training vs. Consulting

Many people think training and consulting are the same, or at least similar enough to go hand-in-hand. They’d be partially correct. Consulting and training are similar enough for both to be acceptable in a company; however, one without the other could be trouble.

Training has its basis in knowledge and skill. It’s knowing exactly what and how to teach employees. Training is ensuring they’ve got the knowledge and skill to go back to the customer and explain what products and services are available and what each includes. It’s a broad spectrum of knowledge to understand products and services and the full information about each one.

Consulting is more in-depth. It’s based on team building and the ability to provide specifics about the products and services. This is the ability of the employee to tell the customer this product or service has these pros and cons as compared with the pros and cons of another product or service. Employee knowledge at the consulting level should be more in-depth and specific to the customer’s needs and the inner workings of the products and services offered by the company.

 

When to Use Each

Both training and consulting are important resources, but you don’t always need both at the same time. It’s important to understand the differences and know when to use one over the other.

Training is important when your employees need the knowledge and skills to explain products and services to a customer on a general level. They require the ability to provide examples and give the customer an overview of each product or service to assist them in choosing the correct one for their needs.

Consulting is necessary to provide more specific details to the customer. It’s important for a customer to have an employee versed in consulting when they want the pros and cons of the product and what that might mean versus the other product they’re considering.

While training and consulting are a great skill set to have, it’s important for your employees to have the best knowledge of both and know when to interchange the two. Perhaps they need to use both skills on a customer at once. There are circumstances where an overview of the product or service helps the customer narrow down what they’re looking for, but then it’s required for the consulting side of the employee to provide pros and cons to aid in choosing between what’s left.

 

Conclusion

Having the skills to perform your job is important in any company. The best options in a company that requires one or the other of these skills is to have both. Why both? It’s important for employees to have both skills to ensure they are able to properly perform customer service.

Individual customers have different needs and require specific information about products. By having the skills and knowledge of training and consulting, employees are able to understand the customer’s needs and perform the tasks required to assist the customer in their endeavor to find the perfect product or service.

If an employee only had the training and not the consulting, they could potentially lose a sale. When customers ask for information about a product or service and have an employee who only has information about the pros and cons, they have a tendency to walk away if that’s not the information they were looking for. The same is true of the opposite. A customer seeking pros and cons won’t be happy with an overview of information on a product or service.

Many customers also won’t be satisfied with hearing phrases like, “I don’t know” or “Let me find someone to answer that” when they want answers now. The employee doesn’t look knowledgeable and the customer won’t be happy with that. No customer wants to purchase a product or service from a company where the employees don’t seem to know what they’re doing. It’s important for employees to have and retain both skills to ensure optimum customer service.

Though having both skills may require more training through the company or attending a seminar or workshop, it will be worth their time in the long run. By providing your employees with these skills and the opportunity to improve in each of them, you’re giving them a chance at knowing and working their job better.

SNI’s Jeff Cochran Receives Top Speaking Scores at 2019 SAMA Conference

Andres Lares

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Strategic Account Management Association, Inc. (SAMA) gathers talent in strategic and key account management from around the globe every year at their annual conferences, one in North America and another in Europe. At this year’s North American conference, Jeff Cochran presented “Influencing Without Authority”.  Jeff showcased SNI’s philosophy on influencing.

His ability to captivate and provide value to his audience was shown in his post evaluation scores and anonymous participants’ comments. Two examples are:

  • “Jeff’s way to deliver the content is simply amazing!”
  • “Jeff is an outstanding facilitator and I highly recommend for his content as well as presentation.”

Here is a summary of scores that made him the #1 ranked speaker at the conference:

How to Tell If You Are Experiencing Burnout

Andres Lares

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We all know the stereotype of a salesperson: bubbly, energetic, a go-getter, and a people person. Some might guess that this type of person with a seemingly endless supply of energy and things to talk about never wears out. However, in a career full of high-pressure goals and demands, burnout is very common. Let’s find out more about what burnout means, and how to handle it when it happens.

 

What Is Burnout?

We all feel stressed at work from time to time, but when that stress is extreme and all-encompassing, it becomes job burnout. It can happen to the best of us, even those in high-powered jobs, with great attitudes and outlooks. This is when the job-related stress is so extreme that it leads to a lessened sense of accomplishment or personal identity. While not a medically recognized condition on its own, burnout can lead to a number of dangerous health conditions, and is often tied to depression.

 

Symptoms of Burnout

The feeling of job burnout can creep up slowly on you, but suddenly feel quite despairing. There are many warning signs that burnout is on the horizon. Here are a few to watch for:

1.Good sleep may be hard to come by, especially in high-pressure jobs with long hours, like sales. But even with decent sleep habits, stress can make you feel tired all the time.

2. Lack of appetite. When you are constantly busy and over-stressed, you may not pay attention to your body’s hunger cues, or may not even feel them at all. You run on adrenaline and may lack healthy eating habits and schedules.

3. Everything feels harder. Sales calls that used to be easy seem to take all day. Tasks that should be a breeze feel monumental. Extreme stress can make simple tasks seem more difficult. It’s also harder to focus, so distractions take hold and it’s more difficult to complete necessary work tasks.

4. You’re frustrated with clients and co-workers. Burnout comes with a shorter fuse, and you may find yourself easily annoyed or angered by simple irritations. Every little thing can seem so overwhelmingly annoying when you are stressed to the max.

5. You feel pessimistic. All of the previous factors can create a vicious cycle of negative thoughts that lead to an overall lack of optimism in your job. Your numbers might be slipping, and it feels utterly hopeless. You no longer enjoy your job.

 

Consequences of Burnout

If you have any of the above symptoms, it is likely that you are experiencing burnout, or will soon be. It is definitely possible to recover on your own, but do not take these symptoms lightly. Dealing with burnout for too long can have serious repercussions on your career – and your health.

This heightened level of stress can lead to many side effects on the body. Those experiencing burnout can also feel extreme levels of fatigue and insomnia. The high stress can also lead to self-medicating and overuse of alcohol and drugs. A suppressed immune system and lessened ability to fight off common illnesses are also common with higher periods of stress. Over an extended time period, extreme stress and burnout can be a factor in diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Depression is often tied to burnout, and should be taken seriously.

Beyond the serious health consequences, burnout can also affect your career. If you are experiencing extreme fatigue, irritability, and other symptoms of burnout, it’s easy to see that your job performance can start to slip. If you cannot gain control of a burnout situation, sales numbers can easily go down, and your job may be in jeopardy.

 

 

What Can You Do About Burnout?

If you are feeling burnout creeping in, it is best to take action quickly to get back on track. First of all, if you feel any of the intense physical symptoms of stress, check in with a doctor. And if you feel any signs of overwhelming depression, seek out a mental health practitioner for help.

There are also several actionable steps you can take to gain control of this intensely stressful situation:

1.Seek help and support. Healthcare and mental health practitioners are trained to help. Sometimes confiding or venting to friends, family, or trusted co-workers can also help gain perspective.

2. Try relaxation. Whether you prefer yoga, exercise, meditation, or massage, find ways to practice self-care.

3. Increase your sleep. It’s difficult with busy lives and high-pressure jobs, but try to find ways to go to bed earlier, or sneak in naps or rest periods. Relax and recharge on weekends and days off.

4. Talk to supervisors. Discuss your concerns and try to find solutions that may reduce stress. Is it possible to take a day off or to have some of your responsibilities (at least temporarily) reduced? Your mentors should want to help you succeed and may have suggestions to help your situation.

5. Find structure and routine. Organize your day and have specific goals and lists so that you feel accomplished each day. Stick to your action plan and avoid interruptions if possible.

6. Improve efficiency. Perhaps some of the burnout comes from strategies that just aren’t working. Talk to mentors or do research on other strategies you can try to be more effective and efficient.

Any of these tips can help to improve the situation when burnout has crept in. They can also be used as a roadmap for prevention of burnout. If you are not yet at the point of burnout, but feeling some stress build up, practice these tips and seek out measures for self-care to keep yourself healthy and ready to keep tackling those sales goals.

Sales jobs can be a marathon, and like a marathon runner, you need effective strategies to keep running at top speed, while taking care of your body, mental health, and your job. Shapiro Negotiations has the experience you need to train your team. We offer speakers and training to keep your sales team running, with tips for habits and tools for sales success. Contact us for more information.

 

 

Why TED Talks Are the Modern Gold Standard for Presentations

Andres Lares

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Just about everyone has watched a TED talk at some point in their lives. These seemingly ubiquitous presentations are free and easily shared online through social media, and shown in schools, offices, and other meetings. TED Talks have grown so popular over the years that they are seen as the gold standard of modern presentations, in both the business and consumer realms.

Talks stand out from other form of presentations as an effective medium to convey accurate, easy-to-understand information to a target audience. The key to their success lies in good preparation, top-quality visuals, professional editing, and speakers who are passionate about the topic.

 

What Is a TED Talk?

The original TED acronym stood for technology, entertainment, and design, and was a small conference on the converging of these topics, started in 1984. The next conference was held in 1990, and then annually after that. As TED grew in popularity, the topics expanded to include everything from politics to feminism, science, music, and business, and many others. Notable celebrities, Nobel Prize winners, artists, politicians, and leaders in all sorts of industries have given TED talks. However, the conferences remained small, and exclusive to those invited and willing to pay for expensive tickets.

The TED organization wanted to bring these exciting conferences to the masses, and so, in 2006, six talks were posted online. Today thousands of talks are available on their website, in more than 100 different languages, and the short videos have gathered more than one billion views collectively. The goals of this nonprofit organization remain to provide nonpartisan educational content, seeking out interesting people to speak and share their knowledge and passions. If you haven’t yet caught a TED talk, a quick browse through the many titles on the TED website, shows the wealth of topics to choose from.

 

What Makes TED Talks So Effective?

TED talks stand out from other forms of presentations as an effective medium to convey accurate easy-to-understand information to a target audience. The organizers of these events and talks aren’t in it for the money – they work passionately to spread ideas. Here are some of the key factors responsible for their explosive success.

1. While some of the speeches may seem simple or spontaneous, lots of preparation goes into them. The speeches are written well in advance of filming, memorized, and practiced to perfection. However, great speakers also know the power of occasional ad-libbing and how to use charisma so their speech doesn’t sound like rote memorization.

2. Props and visual aids. The best presenters know how to use quality visuals – including photos, videos, charts and graphs, as well as 3-dimensional props to help to tell their story in an easy-to-understand and entertaining way that captures the audience. Body language and hand gestures are also important. A recent study noted that the most popular speeches on the site had more hand gestures than some of the least popular videos. And when many people watch videos on mute, body language and visual aids can be very important.

3. Professional lighting and editing. TED talks use top-quality lighting and filming equipment, and use professional editing post-production to give the viewer multiple angles for visual interest and dramatic effect. The talks are shot more like movies than conference presentations and are entertaining to watch.

4. Emotion and Passion. TED speakers go beyond just reciting facts and know how to captivate with emotional influence and speaking passionately about the topic. These presenters touch the hearts of their audience, use enthusiasm, and inspire the audience to positive action.

5. Keeping it short. All TED talks are less than 18 minutes, preventing anyone from droning on too long. These shorter snippets of time allow information to be more easily absorbed and remembered. They also ensure the speaker stays focused on the main topic.

6. One of the most important factors in TED talk’s vast popularity is that they are available online, anytime, to anyone, and for no cost. While the original TED conferences were more elite and expensive to attend, now anyone can benefit from the information and inspiration, even if on a limited budget.

 

TED’s Global Impact

Aside from analyzing the details like speech preparation and fancy, professional filming equipment, perhaps the single most important reason why TED is so important is the impact its speeches have had on the lives of millions. Because of all of the factors we already mentioned, these little videos are making their way across the globe. People share them with friends on social media. The speeches discuss such important topics as social justice, equal rights, and the environment, and because of the charismatic, passionate speakers, more people are inspired to make positive change.

Sometimes, these videos challenge the audience’s viewpoints, using empathy and emotional influence to shed light on an important issue, and even change minds. The organizers at TED report that over the years, thousands of people have written them messages praising the impact of one speech or another, and how it has changed their lives.

 

The Future for TED

The next step for TED is the newer TEDx events. These events focus on local issues in a specific community and have already been hosted in 1200 cities across 130 countries. The TED organization notes that they would like to have all of their TED and TEDx talks not just available online, but translated to multiple languages (both spoken and subtitles) to make all of the inspiring presentations even more accessible. Thankfully, they plan to continue to be a source of educational content for years to come.

We can all learn from the style of TED talks for presentations and conferences. Following the key factors of TED’s success can infuse your presentations and speakers with energy and inspiration. If you’d like to capture some of the explosive energy of TED talks in your own professional presentations, but need a little direction, Shapiro Negotiations can help. We have experienced keynote speakers, as well as training programs to help you and your organization. Contact us for more information.

What Is Emotional Influence, and How Does It Affect Sales

Andres Lares

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Our emotions guide us in our decision-making every day, sometimes without us even realizing it. We all have primal instincts that influence our choices. When we feel hungry, we seek out something to eat. We sleep – or find another cup of coffee – when we’re tired. When we see a small animal or new baby, we want to pet, cuddle, or hold them. These are all examples of instincts in action, emotional responses that affect our choices without much extra thought.

Most influencers and advertisers know about these emotional responses and understand how to use them to effectively market to target audiences. They use images and videos that incite our emotions, making us feel happy, relaxed, excited, or wanted – and “sell” these emotions to us, not just a product. These emotional responses can influence our buying decisions.

 

What Is Emotional Influence?

Emotions are what give color to our daily lives: happy, sad, angry, and many more varieties; and each of these affect how we feel, what we do, and yes, what we buy. And the emotions we feel when we make a decision, or a purchase will affect if we make that choice again. A positive emotional experience can easily create a repeat customer, or a customer that will share those positive experiences with friends, drawing in new business for you.

Good marketers know exactly how to use these positive emotional responses to encourage customers to buy, and to keep coming back. Consider the following example of two coffee shops. Shop number one is a basic café to grab a cheap donut and quick cup of coffee. Shop number two has a wide selection of fancy, while more expensive, coffee flavors and choices, comfy couches, hip music playing, and a vibe that says, “all the cool kids hang out here.” Even with shop number one’s cheaper prices, more people are going to flock to shop number two for the cool-kid vibe and comfy atmosphere. This is a prime example of emotional influence in action.

 

Why Emotions Are so Important

Even though consumers may believe they use their logical mind to make decisions, the truth is that most of these decisions are highly influenced by emotions. And this idea is well documented and studied. Advertising research shows that our purchasing decisions are influenced more by our emotional responses than the ad content itself – sometimes two to three times as much. Other research has even used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to show how we use our emotions more than information, including facts, to make buying choices.

 

How to Use Emotional Influence

So, we know that emotional influence is important in understanding how consumers make choices, but how do we tap into this? Smart marketers appeal to these emotions by giving brands a personality. Rather than just stating facts about a product or brand, infusing a personality gives the brand life and will attract consumers that align with those traits much more easily. These traits can be expressed in everything from visual advertising to packaging, atmosphere, and the language used to describe the brand.

 

Creating Personas

One of the best ways to understand how to use emotional influence is to create personas for your ultimate target customers. A persona is a made up profile of a target customer, that can also be quite detailed in the specific traits and attributes of each. Getting to know the personas you want to target in your marketing helps to understand your audience, humanize them, and better understand how to appeal to their emotions.

When you create the personas to target (and yes, you can – and should – have more than one), you gain a clearer understanding of who your customers are. Your personal profile should include things like age, gender, location, job/career, marital status, and other demographics. You should even give them a name and attach a stock photo. What are their life goals? Their frustrations and pain points? Their motivations? Write up bios for each of the personas you create and want to target. These bios can be used by your entire marketing staff, to unify the team and make sure that everyone is on the same page.

 

Marketing to Your Personas

Once you’ve established your ideal personas to market to, you can tailor your approach when marketing your product or service. Ask what your persona’s needs are. What are their pain points and how can your product offer solutions and appeal to them? Consider these personas as real people and find a way to use their emotions to draw them in.

Think beyond your product and consider the feelings that your product gives to consumers. For example, think of how the latest technological gadget makes a consumer feel – happy and excited, but also possibly part of an “in” crowd, smart, and hip. They may be relieved to have solved a problem or updated from an older version of the gadget. Now, you are selling a lifestyle, not just a product, and appealing to your customers’ emotions. Marketing in this way sells the emotions that your product evokes, and will lead to greater success in sales.

 

Making a First Impression

First impressions matter, whether in meeting new people or seeing a new ad for the first time. Study after study shows that we form these first impressions in mere seconds, using our instincts and gut reactions – emotional responses. This is why knowing how to market your product is so important. The first exposure a consumer has to a product, or its advertising, will have an immediate impact on their feelings toward it, and create a bias for the future.

Your first impression should have a strong emotional appeal. Consider utilizing the psychological power of colors, as well as storytelling. Inspire your customers, create a sense of community, and project an ideal image of your product and the lifestyle it supports. Shapiro Negotiations has experts knowledgeable in emotional influencing and can help guide you through the process. Contact us today for more information on influencer training, and so much more.

Can “Dealing With Difficult Conversations” Be Trained?

Andres Lares

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Difficult is defined as needing much effort or skill to deal with.
Conversation is defined as a verbal exchange between two or more people.

Why are difficult conversations such a hot topic in articles, academic literature, social media, and training? Because they are so important and unavoidable.

Whether it is bringing up a potentially sensitive subject with a coworker or talking through contrasting opinions with a difficult client, there are many instances in people’s careers when the need for difficult conversations will not only arise, but be necessary. Avoiding these conversations is an option, but rarely the most effective.

Knowing how to have a difficult conversation is an invaluable skill as a professional in any industry or place of work. SNI can help you prepare, script, and role play for situations in which these kinds of difficult conversations may arise. We do this by pulling content from our sales, negotiation, and influence training and focusing on improving the interpersonal business skills that will improve you or your team’s ability to manage these challenging interactions.. The result? More successful navigation of tough conversations without hurt feelings or potential damaging conflict .

Here are some of the topics you can expect to learn about and master with difficult conversations training from SNI:

 

Focus On What You Can Control

Going into a tough conversation, the first thing that you need to do is focus on the things that you can actually control. This is a critical mindset. For example, on some occasions that may be when and where you talk to the other person, such as a location that is both professional and comfortable for both of you. Or, you may wish to strategically select a very public or public place, based on the nature of the topic.

While generally people focus most of their time thinking about how the other person will make a difficult interaction even more challenging, we should instead be focusing more on ourselves. Only you control your preparation (see next topic), state of mind going into the interaction, emotion during the meeting, etc. Control yourself and your emotions, and you will be more successful in these difficult interactions – it’s that simple.

 

Prepare

Preparation is the only aspect of a difficult conversation over which you have control. As such, it should be where you focus most of your time. You cannot control the other person’s responses, emotions, or feelings, so, outside of preparing various outcomes there is little value in spending time worrying about the other side. Rather, work on thinking through (even writing down when possible) the most likely directions the conversation will go – e.g. objections they make, questions they may ask, etc. – and how you will respond to each. Think of it as a sports team practicing a play before they run it in a game. Won’t you feel more confident responding to a tough objection you have already methodically thought through rather than hearing it for the first time during a heated exchange?

In our years of research and experience we have found that most people do not prepare adequately for these kinds of situations because they feel they neither have the time nor do they know how to. This is where SNI comes in. We provide your team with a preparation checklist that provides a process and systematic approach for them to use.

 

Write a Script

An excellent use of your prep time is to write a script for the conversation. This process starts with drafting out everything you want to say. After you write down your script, take a step back and read it again with a fresh but critical eye. Perhaps you should consider having someone you trust read it and play devil’s advocate. . Finally, read it out loud to see how it all sounds and feels.

The first step -writing everything you want to say – can be cathartic, in addition to a great brainstorming process. The second step, reviewing it or having someone else do so – is where strategy comes in. It’s what allows you to refine and fine-tune your messaging. Finally, the third step – practicing the delivery – is what gives you confidence going into the real interaction.

Scripting your conversation and potential responses will make you feel more prepared, increase your confidence, improve your strategy, and ultimately make you more successful during difficult conversations. And, as counter intuitive as it may seem, it’s the process of scripting which provides the most value not the final product. Even if the interaction does not go as planned, having systematically thought through it helps in the “heat of the moment.”

 

Keep your Emotions in Check

As mentioned above, your emotions are one of the few areas that you can and should control during these challenging situations. Thus, one of the most important factors of learning how to have difficult conversations is understanding how to keep your emotions in check. Keep in mind that you can prepare for their emotional outbursts, but you can’t control them.

 

Role Play

The scripting process introduced above plays a crucial part of preparing for a difficult conversation. However, we suggest taking this one step further, when needed, byactually role playing the situation. This might just come in the form of running through the conversation in your head or asking your trusted devil’s advocate to play the other party. Either way it’s a worthwhile experience.

Pro Tip: Consider recording yourself, audio only or with video, using your phone as you roleplay and then looking back at the tape.

 

Keep Perspective

When all is said and done, perhaps the most practical and actionable piece of advice when entering difficult conversations is simply to remember to keep perspective. Take a step back for a minute and think about how this conversation is not that daunting after all. When you look back after years of professional and personal growth, you likely will have had tougher conversations, and possibly even forget that this conversation took place at all. Keeping this kind of perspective may be a huge help in making this conversation seem much less intimidating.

Taking part in SNI’s difficult conversations training can provide you with valuable lessons and experience in navigating challenging conversations in all kinds of business environments and situations. Our proven methodology will not only give you greater peace of mind, but actual deliverable results. So whether it is a difficult client or sensitive coworker, contact us today to turn those “difficult” conversations into easy and successful ones.

15 Reasons Successful Influencers Admit Their Mistakes

Andres Lares

0

To err is human. As we go through life, in any endeavor we are going to make mistakes from time to time. Even experienced professionals make mistakes in their field.

A mistake does not have to be a disaster, though. In fact, a mistake can strengthen your position as a leader and make the group you are a part of more cohesive. There are several reasons why a mistake can ultimately lead to better things in the future.

  • Learn from your mistake. A mistake can be a great teacher. It is best to learn from others’ mistakes, of course, but when you make your own mistake, don’t miss the opportunity to grow from it.

 

  • Earn respect. When admit you were wrong, you will earn the admiration of your colleagues. Admitting a mistake is hard and everyone knows it. When you show you can admit your own, people will notice and think better of you.

 

  • Establish trust. If a person is honest about his or her mistakes, people will trust that they will be honest in other areas as well. This builds team cohesion.

 

  • Lead by example. The best way to lead is with your own actions. If you want those who follow you to admit their mistakes and thereby improve the cohesiveness of your team, you can start by showing them how it is done.

 

  • Face your fears. You can gain a great deal of personal growth by facing your fears. Everyone fears admitting a mistake. This is a chance to display your emotional maturity. There is no courage unless there is fear to overcome.

 

  • Prevent larger problems. Don’t wait for mistakes to pile up and turn into a disaster. When you admit your mistake quickly, it allows for an earlier course correction, which avoids larger mistakes in the future.

 

  • Get rid of your pride. Humility is important in a leader. People will follow a person they love and admire. Humility in the face of error earns the admiration of those you work with, and will help to cleanse you of your own pride. It makes admitting future mistakes that much easier.

 

  • Improve relationships. Relationships sour when one party believes another party owes them an apology that never comes. Admitting a mistake smooths over hurt feelings and resentment.

 

  • Gain defenders. Many people will flock to your defense when you admit your mistake. They will be moved by your humility and good judgment.

 

Sometimes, a mistake is minor and hardly needs more than a simple acknowledgement. Other times, a mistake is more damaging, or even involves a lack of good judgment. In many cases, you may owe someone or a group of people an apology for what you did or failed to do. No matter how much you may have learned from making a mistake, without a proper apology many people may not be ready to move on.

There is an appropriate way to apologize when the time comes. A poorly fashioned apology can sometimes be worse than the mistake, and worse than not apologizing at all. There are a number of factors that go into a true apology, one that mends the damage that has been done and allows for team and personal growth.

 

  • Express remorse. Use the words, “I’m sorry.” It is important to use the first person. Don’t say an action was regrettable, and don’t use the passive voice. Mistakes were not made, YOU made a mistake. Be careful not to word it in a way that makes it seem like you are shifting blame.

 

  • Explain what you are sorry for. You don’t want people to think you are not fully sorry for the entirety of the act, or that you are only sorry that your error was discovered. An apology comes with a reason. Make sure the people to whom you apologize are on the same page about what exactly you are sorry for.

 

  • Take full responsibility. Apologize for what you said or did, or failed to say or do, and leave it there. When you try to explain what you did, it starts to sound like you are making excuses. It is best to simply admit you were wrong and fully own up to it.

 

  • Don’t give a false apology. If you aren’t sorry, you aren’t ready to apologize yet. A false apology is never a convincing one. Instead, think back on the mistake and try to understand why and how this has affected others. When you are ready to make the apology, make it sincere.

 

  • Don’t spread the blame around. Even if you were not the only one to blame for the mistake, don’t try to highlight anyone else’s role. Apologize for your part and leave it at that. If you start talking about the fault in others, it sounds like you are trying to duck the blame you have earned.

 

  • Explain your new understanding. If you ever explain why you did something, be sure to follow it with how you realize that it was wrong now. Never let your apology get covered up with excuses. When you explain how you see things differently, you can follow with how you plan to do better in the future.

 

If you are a team leader, you may have to apologize for someone who works for you, even if you had nothing to do with the mistake and were not there. As a leader, you are ultimately responsible for your employees. If you apologize for an employee, apply the same rules as if you were apologizing for your own mistake. The apology needs to be sincere and you need to take responsibility.

A mistake, even a major one, can lead to growth and improvement.  It can lead to your improvement as a person, a team member and a leader, it can improve relations and even performance in your group, and it can act as an important demonstration of what not to do and how not to do it.

When you make a mistake, own it. If an apology is warranted, make an honest one and do it the right way. It says a lot about you as a person, and that will only make you a better, more respected leader in the future.

15 Factors to Consider Before You Start Negotiating

Andres Lares

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Negotiating is a part of life. It doesn’t always have to involve money, but sometimes another party has what we want and we want to make a deal. Naturally, we want to make the best deal for ourselves that we can.

There are important factors to consider before you enter into negotiations with another party. Preparation is essential and can make the difference between coming out of a deal with excellent terms or leaving the negotiating table with no deal at all. This preparation involves knowing yourself and your own goals, knowing the other party and understanding the field in which you are negotiating.

Before you sit at the negotiator’s table, consider these factors and what they mean for you when it comes time to trying to convince the other party:

 

1. Have a goal. The goal of a negotiation is not merely to negotiate. Negotiation is a means to an end. What is that end for you? What is it you want? If you go into a negotiation without a firm sense of what it is you are after, you are unlikely to come out satisfied. Always clearly define your ideal outcome before you start to negotiate.

 

2. Form a plan. A plan is not just imagining how you want the process to go. A plan is about contingencies. You must picture the hypothetical scenarios, to expect the unexpected and figure out how best to react to each scenario. If you are prepared for all the likely responses to your entreaties, you can transition smoothly and confidently into a new tactic because you already prepared for it beforehand.

 

3. Know your disadvantages. You need to be honest with yourself. In what aspects of the talks is your position weak? If you are asking for a pay raise, for example, you may be hampered by the fact that you use a lot of sick days. Anticipating possible objections beforehand allows you to counter with your strengths at the right time.

 

4. Know what you are willing to part with. In a negotiation, each party sacrifices something in exchange for getting something else that they want. You have a goal, you know what you want to achieve with the bargaining. But do you know what you are willing to give up? Some things are off limits; have a firm idea of what this means for you before negotiating.

 

5. Know what the other party wants. You have a goal, but so does the other party. They want something if they are going to give up something else. This ties in with the previous point. What is the other party going to ask for, and are you willing to give that up? If so, under what conditions?

 

6. Know when to say when. Sometimes you must walk away. If you go to the negotiator’s table unwilling to just say, “No thank you,” you put yourself at a disadvantage. Being willing to walk away gives you a certain power in the proceedings, and the other person will sense that. After you walk away, you may find that they reopen the negotiations with you on terms that are more favorable to you.

 

7. Know your limits. How experienced are you as a negotiator? How experienced is the other party? Is it reasonable to think you will be able to walk in and smooth-talk the other side until they give you what you ask for? The more practice you get as a negotiator, the better idea you will have of what you can achieve and how far the other side is willing to bend to your ideas.

 

8. Gather background information. Don’t just study the other party. Learn about the field you are negotiating in. What are the typical salaries? What are the trends? What is hot and what is on its way out? No matter what it is that you want, external factors can play a decisive role in the outcome of any bargaining talks. Know which way the wind is blowing before you even set your goals for the process.

Preparing yourself along these lines will set you up for a strong negotiation. However, you still have to do the actual bargaining before you can achieve your goal. Even the best preparation is no cure for weak technique. After you have prepared, make sure you put your best foot forward when the time comes to go after what you seek.

 

9. Confidence. Confidence at the negotiating table gives you more bargaining power. If the other side senses hesitancy or uncertainty, they will become emboldened and demand more.

 

10. Self-Interest. There is nothing wrong with looking out for yourself. The other party is going to take care of their own interests. You need to take care of yours.

 

11. Objectivity. Don’t be carried along by undue optimism nor held back by pessimism. Make a realistic assessment of the situation before you start, and revisit your assessment at key points during the process.

 

12. Creativity. Price is not the only aspect of a negotiation. Is there something else you would be satisfied with if the other party cannot agree to a price? Are there other concessions you are willing to make if the other side asks for too much?

Finally, after you prepare yourself beforehand and enter the process with good technique, there are three maxims to keep in mind. These ideas can help put everything into perspective.

 

13. Everything is negotiable. It all depends on the price.

 

14. No one is going to give you their last dollar. If they are at the negotiating table, it’s because they are willing to bargain. Don’t let them tell you that they are down to their last dollar.

 

15. Ask for more to get more. The first step to getting more for yourself is to ask for it.

Negotiation is a delicate process. It is part willpower and part social agility. There are many factors to consider and if you come ill-prepared you are likely to be disappointed with the result. The more important the result of a negotiation is to you, the more time you should spend preparing for the process. It’s about getting the best deal for yourself that you can, and that means adequate preparation.

What Is Change Leadership?

Andres Lares

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Companies sometimes need a drastic change in order to fix a long standing problem or merely to adapt with the rest of the world. That shift only occurs when a single vision motivates the employees as a team and becomes strong enough to enact that change. Change leadership is important in renovating overarching aspects of a company by using an empowered vision of the potential of such radical change. To become a change leader, you must understand what it means before taking the first steps.

 

Definition of Change Leadership

Change leadership is a type of leadership that focuses on large-scale changes within an organization. Real change leaders (RCLs) are more concerned about a large, transformative vision for the business and how the employees become empowered enough to contribute to the creation of that vision. One risk of change leadership, however, is it has the potential to get out of control and not account for the smaller details in that line of work. In addition, a company may not act upon every proposed change to the established structure.

 

Distinction From Change Management

Change management is often associated with change leadership. Many consider the two synonyms. However, these two concepts approach the upcoming change at a company with different methods. Change management refers to “a basic set of tools or structures intended to keep any change effort under control.” Change management essentially introduces a company shift to a work environment that is usually resistant to the concept of change. Management keeps the distractions and effects of change under control at a small, gradual pace, rather than the disruptive approach change leadership takes.

 

The Role of People Management in Change Leadership

For RCLs to continue their ambitious vision for their business, first they need to embrace people management. People management focuses on having each employee reach their full potential by managing them. People managers lead their employees into training and developing their skills, meeting new goals, defending them by understanding employee law, and encouraging them to improve. Some of the practices in people management include:

  • Training and development. Managers ensure that employees receive enough orientation to start their job and that they receive evaluation and feedback to encourage them to grow and take on more responsibility.
  • Decision making. A manager must make the final decision when it comes to employee recognition or discipline with fair, objective decisions.
  • Managers must work as mediators for employee grievances, help the employees feel confident about their job, and carry out evaluations.
  • Overseeing teamwork. Despite delegating teamwork to employees, managers must make sure the team is performing its duties within budget and deadlines.
  • Role modeling. A manager sets a good example for the other employees by behaving like a professional and treating other employees with respect and dignity.
  • Managers oversee the progress of employees, and if necessary, set up programs and identify opportunities for improvement to ensure employee growth within the company.

By embracing something as structured as people management, RCLs can motivate employees to align to the greater vision for the organization.

 

Actions of RCLs

Advocates for change leadership are very different from regular management roles. While managers strive to keep everything controlled and running, RCLs are all about shaking the business up. RCLs have skills that make them stand out from other types of leadership.

  • Linchpin linkages. Forging connections in the marketplace, RCLs engage with the customers and find out what the competition is doing. Then, the leaders use the information to energize their work teams into improving their performance.
  • 360-degree impact. Often in middle management positions, RCLs inspire their vision first among the employees they are directly responsible for. Later, the leaders also try to influence the executives and people above them to bring changes, with varying degrees of success.
  • An expandable toolkit. RCLs have specific problem-solving skills or tools. However, they are always looking for new approaches and techniques, and do not get complacent in the techniques they already have. These leaders adapt to new situations.
  • Switch-hitting leadership capacity. In change leadership, there is no single type of leadership approach. RCLs have different approaches to leading depending on each of the employees. In the case their methods cannot adapt to the situation, RCLs delegate others to help lead the current vision for the team to completion.

 

Characteristics of RCLs

While individual change leaders may have their own unique approaches at leadership and driving the company to meet a unified vision, they all share a few characteristics:

  • Excited and committed to a vision that will improve the future of the organization
  • Courage to face and combat norms, power bases, and failures to fulfill their goal
  • Motivated and make sure to spread that motivation to others
  • Take the initiative in challenging the status quo and thinking outside the box to solve problems
  • Care for the way the company treats other employees, particularly the ones on their team and under their watch.
  • Sense of humor, even in the worst of times, to motivate everyone around them to keep focused on the larger vision for the company

 

Shortage of Change Leaders

Change leadership rarely comes from the top because the people involved have the least incentive to drive a large, overwhelming change that extends all the way to the smallest employees. Most RCLs originate from middle management positions. However, there is a shortage of RCLs since most management positions are traditional and more akin to change managers. Experts argue that the shortage can end by both bringing in outside talent specialized in real change and instructing managers on change leadership methods.

 

Boost Your Change Leadership Skills

Becoming a strong, efficient change leader requires patience and practice. Inspiring employees to follow your vision is a skill that develops over time. If you want to learn more about how to influence others, then consider investing in some lessons. SNI’s influence training course is based on Aristotle’s philosophy on the three elements of influence (ethos, pathos, and logos) to build credibility, engage emotion, demonstrate logic, and engage action. Call us today to join our program and maximize your leadership success.