Do Not Dwell On The Past, Concentrate On The Present

What is past is left behind. The future is still not reached. Whatever quality is present you clearly see right there, right there. To successfully start over, we have to let go of the past and focus of the here and now.

When we expend the bulk of our time and energy recalling better and happier times (even if those times are rosier only in our memory), we generate feelings of unhappiness, regret and anger. And what is the point of doing that? We can’t go back. There isn’t a “back” to go back to.

The past is something that was part of yesterday but is no longer part of today. Learn from the past and then let it go. Keep your energy and attention on today. Do not trouble about the future. It is now that matters. Make your present worth remembering. Banish the future. Live only for the hour and its allotted work. Always focus on the quality and quantity of things that be accomplished today.

God exists in eternity. The only point where eternity meets time is in the present. The present is the only time there is. Don’t miss it. Light tomorrow with how you live today. Be thankful for each waking moment you have. Consider it a gift from God. You cannot let the past come again.

I am convinced of the importance of living in the present. Whether we like it or not, we cannot escape the present because the only reality is now. No need to wait for tomorrow what needs to be done today. Tomorrow is another day. We have to live a day at a time by making our present productive.

However, there is one essential flaw in this perspective because we are not assured with a future. All we have is now. Nothing is worth more than this day. Now is the only time for us to realize our positive self-concept and self-worth. How we relate to it creates the future.

Realize that now, in this moment of time, you are either closing or opening the doors to possibilities. We do not have to wait for something to happen like more money, security, and affection. We have to live the entire moment, and give what we most deeply desire to give, without waiting.

Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. So, let us begin NOW.

Voice Projection and Presentations

What does your voice say about you?

Learning how to master your voice can help you to make a lasting impression in every aspect of your life. And yet, most of us have never thought about how we can improve our impact through speech.

Whether it is getting your opinion across in meetings, giving compelling presentations, or just being more influential in a social setting, your voice plays an essential role in commanding the attention of your listeners.

Many people say that public speaking is their number one fear, outranking death and divorce. Our anxiety about speaking in public may prevent us from reaching our fullest potential since we may try to avoid situations that could advance our career or personal goals. Even experienced performers can experience stage fright; the key is knowing how to manage those emotions in any context, so that the ‘real you’ can shine through.

Speaking well is a learned skill

We tend not to think about the way we speak in our every day lives. Speech becomes involuntary; we forget about delivery as we focus on the content of what we are saying. The first and most fundamental step is simply to become conscious of our good and bad speech habits.

Are you mumbling, as though you lack confidence in what you’re saying?

Are you rushing through your words too quickly, perhaps due to a subconscious fear that your partner is disinterested and wants to go do something else?

Is your voice too quiet, signaling submissiveness, or too loud, suggesting aggression?

Only you can assess whether your voice is portraying the person you want to be. Try using a tape recorder to record yourself speaking so that you can get a better idea of the way you sound to others. Don’t worry if your voice sounds strange to you at first! This is normal, because we are not accustomed to hearing ourselves. The tape will still be helpful in analyzing what you like and don’t like about your speaking voice.

What makes a compelling speaking voice?

The fundamentals of powerful speech are quite straightforward. It just requires practice! A compelling voice:

· Sounds relaxed

It helps if you can actually feel relaxed (more on this later), but in the meantime, try to determine whether you are showing any of the telltale signs of stress when you speak, such as feeling short of breath, flushing, stumbling over words, or losing your train of thought.

· Pronunciation is clear

Clarity of speech is important. If you mumble your words people are likely to think you are not sure of what you’re saying, or that you lack confidence. Professional actresses all practice elocution exercises to improve the clarity of their speech. Try some from the list on the next page!

· Speed is controlled

Rushing through your words makes it clear to your audience that either you can’t wait for this conversation/ speech to be finished, or you suspect that they can’t wait. In most cases, err on the side of too slow rather than too fast, because we typically think that we speak more slowly than we really do. Natural speech will vary slightly in speed. For example, try to insert a longer pause just before or just after you introduce a new idea. This gives people time to absorb what you are saying, and tends to leave a stronger impression.

· Tone is varied

Our tone of voice will impact whether or not our audience believes we are sincere. A monotone voice may leave them doubting our motives, or they may perceive us as boring even if the content of what we are saying is very stimulating.

When we speak naturally, we change our tone of voice in accordance with what we are saying. This makes us sound more dynamic and is key to holding peoples’ attention. Try raising or lowering the tone of your voice in order to emphasize an important point, or to convey your passion about the subject matter.

· Smile and be cheerful

Your voice will instinctively sound more natural and relax if you smile now and then while you are speaking.

Practice integrating these techniques

In order to make these powerful speaking techniques feel like second nature to us, it’s important that we first try to adopt them in our everyday lives – in the supermarket, at work or school, when speaking with friends. Aim for gradual change, focusing on one new aspect of speech every day, until you start to feel a difference. Then, when it matters most, you will remember what it felt like to give a compelling speech.

Overcoming anxiety

Once you begin to feel the results of your improved speaking technique, it’s time to focus on higher stake situations. Anxiety can sometimes leave us tongue-tied, but there are many effective methods of relaxation that can reduce fear of public speaking.

· Consider the worst case scenario

Chances are, the stakes are lower than you think. What’s the worst that could happen? How likely is this in reality? There are very few public speaking mishaps that are truly disastrous.

· Exercise releases nervous energy

As mentioned before, there are a million and one reasons to exercise, and here is another one – it really is the best way to release nervous energy.

“Sometimes, when I have an important presentation in the afternoon, I will pencil in an hour at lunchtime to work out at the gym or go for a run. When I’m really worried, it’s the only thing that will help me to get the anxiety out of my system.”

- Sarah K., Fund Manager

· Visualization

One of the most important tools you can use to enact any change in your life is to visualize success. Replace negative thoughts by imagining in as much detail as possible what it will feel like when you achieve your goal! Picture the setting, the faces you will see, the words you will hear yourself saying and the way you will sound – clear, confident, poised and polished. Most importantly, picture your audience smiling and nodding as they listen to you speak. We can never fully control the reception we will receive, but if you expect the worse, the audience will subconsciously pick up on your negativity and respond in a more negative way. Do yourself a favour and expect the best.

· Breathing Exercises

It’s important to keep practicing the perfect posture techniques from the previous section, because these will allow you to breathe deeply and help to prevent anxiety. Once your body is aligned and relaxed, think of something that makes you smile, like a loved one, or something amusing that happened earlier in the week. It’s important that you actually smile, because the simple act of smiling sends a message to your brain that you are feeling happy, relaxed and confident, and can help regulate your emotions. Then, place your hands on your abdomen and relax your belly muscles. Take a deep breath and feel the belly fill up with air. Keep inhaling until the middle of your chest is full of air and you feel your rib cage expand. Hold the breath in for a moment, then begin to exhale as slowly as possible. As the air is slowly let out, relax your chest and rib cage. Begin to pull your belly in to force out the remaining breath. Relax your facial muscles as you exhale and feel yourself start to let go of any anxiety. Think to yourself, “I’m glad I’m here and I’m glad you’re here!” Smile, and begin to speak.

The Modern Finishing School eCourse aims to reveal the secrets handed down by generations of ‘high society’ women. We believe that the skills and knowledge that were once enjoyed only by the elite should be available to everyone, regardless of background.

Research has shown that poise and confidence are competitive advantages that are key to accomplishing your goals, whether its gaining a well-deserved promotion, outshining your fellow students in class, or being elected to the Board of the PTA.

13 Important Negotiation Strategies – Get More for Less!

Here are 13 tips and tricks you can use to strategize a successful negotiation

1. Good Guy/Bad Guy

One of the oldest tactics in negotiation is the good guy/bad guy routine. It can be done when you have two negotiators-a team of negotiators. One negotiator acts overbearing, aggressive and pressuring while the other acts compassionate, flexible, and open. They take turns negotiating with the opponent. Often the good guy acts as if he is on your team. Another version of this strategy is the indication there is a bad guy, but there really is not.

You will hear comments like:

• “The manager will never go for that.”

• “My financial partner says we cannot do that.”

• “I am on your side, but the company will never allow us to do that.”

You may want to request to meet the bad guy. If they exist, they’ll show up; if they don’t, you will hear some fast backtracking or excuses.

2. What If?

If you are interested in reducing the other side’s position, you may want to concentrate on the “what if” question. It is very powerful in uncovering the bottom line. For example, if you are trying to purchase one unit, ask “What if I bought 2, 5, 25, 50? What kind of discount will I get?” This helps you to determine your opponent’s margin of profit. If, at 50 units, you get a 25% discount, you know they are still making money, so go for two units at the 25% discount.

3. Exposed Information

You’re sitting in the buyer’s office. All of a sudden, he excuses himself. You’re looking around the room picking up clues as to the type of person the buyer might be. On the desk you notice a quote from the competition, the price is highlighted in bright pink. Also, there is a yellow notepad next to the quote with some notes. You see your company’s name on a note:

• Good company

• Great service

• The price has to be $1.07 per unit for us to do the deal

The buyer comes back in and shuffles the papers. After a short conversation, you, without being asked, drop your price to $1.07.

4. Bogey

The bogey works on the theory of legitimacy. The negotiator will refer to some document, budget, or expense account. They say, “The budget is only $100,000. That is the maximum we have to work with.” Even though they could spend more if the value was shown, but because the amount is in print they believe the figure to be inflexible.

5. The Eleventh Hour Squeeze

Eighty percent of the concessions in negotiation will come in the remaining 20% of the time available before a deadline-at the last minute or in the eleventh hour. The pressure to give more concessions as the deadline approaches is consistent in all negotiations. The better you manage yourself during the last few days, hours or minutes, the better the deal you will receive.

Here are some suggestions:

• Know your opponent’s deadline and what their pressures are.

• Confirm the deadline as true; fake deadlines are often used.

• Do not reveal your deadlines to your opponent, if possible.

• Know who has the leverage position as you come closer to the deadline.

• Do not get emotional. Panic has ruined more than one deal.

• Do not give more concessions as the deadline approaches.

6. Fait Accompli

Fait Accompli is the strategy of assuming a discount, add-on or additional concession after the negotiations are complete. The negotiator just took one more piece of the pie. If you are good, you won’t let it happen. If you let it happen, it will happen again and again. You just spent three months negotiating a complex and time-consuming deal. The company sends you the check, minus a 2% early payment discount. Do you take the check for 98%? Most people will. They will not even ask for the 2%. They just accept the discount. If it happens to you, ask for your 2% or give them 98% of the product.

7. The Stall

The stall is a great tactic if you have the leverage position, or if you know the other team is under pressure. Just keep putting them off or stalling them. The pressure will build for your opponent, which increases your leverage position. During an actual negotiation, the stall can be effective in giving you breathing room, creating pressure on your opponent, or evaluating your opponent’s position.

Common stall tactics are:

• Refusing to answer questions until later in the discussion.

• Adding information or considerations into the discussion that are not important.

• Asking for time to access information.

• Belaboring a point that is not important.

• Asking for proof of their position (reports, statistics or data).

• Negotiating a non-negotiable point for hours.

8. Salami

If you are trying to negotiate a big deal, break it down into a series of smaller pieces. People do not mind giving up a little piece of salami at a time. They hate to give you the whole salami. The same holds true for anything. Keep asking for all the little pieces and eat it one slice at a time.

9. Bait and Hook

The bait is usually a key benefit, need, or point in the negotiation. “Yes, we can do that. We’ll work out the rest of the details later.” The bait often happens when there are multiple suppliers.

The fisher hooks you with the bait, gets rid of the competition, and then plays you on all of the other negotiable points. They know that once you have taken the bait, you are not very likely to get off the hook. The best defense is to ensure you get a complete understanding of all the negotiable items and ask for a complete proposal that includes all of the details.

10. Withdrawal

Withdrawal from the negotiations is a confrontational strategy. It indicates to your opponent you do not need them and creates more pressure on them to find a way to give you what you want so that the deal can close. A good negotiator’s response is to pay, wait and see. A poor negotiator who charges after the individual who withdrew is guaranteed to lose money.

For example, you sign a contract on the purchase of a home, with a contingency upon it passing inspection. When the home inspector finishes the inspection of the home, he tells you that the addition that was built on to the home does not have a permit and there isn’t an air vent going into the addition for the air conditioning and heating unit to pump air into the addition. It’ll cost you thousands of dollars to bring the addition up to code and you are already paying more than you can afford on the purchase price of the home, so you walk away from the deal.

The seller of the home comes back with an offer that he’ll knock the amount of money it is going to take to being the house up to code off the purchase price of house or he’ll pay for the corrections himself. In this case, the withdrawal technique landed you the home you wanted to buy and corrected the code problem so that you could proceed with the purchase.

11. Crunch

Another confrontation strategy is the crunch. It is not good for long-term relationships, but is effective in short-term relationships. You simply state your terms, conditions, and position and then tell them to take it or leave it.

It is often followed with statements like:

• “This is your only chance for business.”

• “If you do not, we will never do business together.”

• “That is the best you will get.”

• “Do not bother to call if you cannot beat this price.”

12. Distraction

The distraction tactic is a form of deception. The player picks an unimportant or less than important negotiation point that they know they cannot receive. It may be non-negotiable because the demand is completely unreasonable. The negotiator harps on the point and demands satisfaction. He/she never moves off the topic. Then, at the last minute, he/she trades the point for many other concessions. Because you could not give them anything on the original point, you feel obligated to give more on the other or many concessions they follow up with.

The conversation usually goes something like:

“Beth, you know how important it is that we get one-hour repair service (unimportant point). We must have that level of service to make the deal work, but we also know your company’s limitations. We would be prepared to lessen our request if we can get “X, Y, and Z.”

13. Limited Authority

You enter the negotiation ready to bargain and to strike a good deal. The player across from you knows his material, covers all the bases, but does not seem to be able to approve anything. He doesn’t have the authority to make a decision because you keep hearing statements like:

• “I’ll have to get back to you on that.”

• “Let’s review that later.”

• “It looks OK, but I will have to get approval.”

• “You are right on, but we will need to check on it first.”

This is called limited authority. The person may or may not have the authority to agree to the deal but always postpones the final agreement. However, he/she asks a lot of questions and agrees to everything that is favorable to their position. The first time you hear, “I need to check on it,” ask with whom and when. Stop negotiating until you have that individual in the room or have an agreement that the current negotiator