Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Difficult Negotiations, Such As With Someone You Don’t Trust or Who is Adversarial

People with a relatively capacious view of what effective communication is all about include negotiating strategies and tactics within its fold, hence this post.

This past Thursday, August 26, “PBS Newshour” featured a remarkable segment on difficult negotiations—negotiations that are particularly challenging because, say, you are dealing with somebody you don’t trust or who is a tough adversary, an SOB!

During the short feature—less than 6 minutes—which you can either listen to or read, “negotiating guru” Prof. Robert Mnookin of Harvard, author of “Bargaining With the Devil,” suggests that the person in the weaker position (in other words, the poor supplicant) stands a much better chance of success if he or she uses the “economic approach.” And in explaining that approach, Mnookin uses a cogent and evocative metaphor: “the carnivore is eager to trade his broccoli for a lamb chop owned by the vegetarian.” The professor also points out that “the words you use, the tone you use, your language…” (in other words, some of the very verbal and nonverbal techniques that have been the subject of my previous posts) play a big role in one’s negotiating success.

Well worth a listen or read.

© Copyright 2010 V. J. Singal

Monday, August 30, 2010

Body Language for Creating a Favorable First Impression: Go for the “Three-Pump Handshake”

I've substantially improved upon my previous post on the subject (July 28) by mentioning, among other things, the top three "ingredients" or components of a perfect handshake. I also point out why an unimpressive handshake can be so very consequential!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Creating a Favorable First Impression: Egregious Grammar Can Undo You

The display of unacceptably bad grammar even by well educated Americans occupying high positions is not uncommon. A couple of examples that readily come to mind: A few years ago, the then-police commissioner of New York City telling Charlie Rose: “….he gave a copy of the report to the mayor and I.” A similarly horrifying mix up of the subjective and objective pronouns from another PBS interview, this one involving a state governor as the guest: “She is excited that her and her family will be moving back north to be closer to her parents….” But here is something that really takes the cake. It’s an excerpt from baseball star Roger Clemens’s statement during a congressional hearing last year which was rebroadcast on NPR’s All Things Considered last week:

“Once again Mr. Congressman, I think he misremembers the conversation that we had. Andy and I’s relationship was close enough to know that if I would have known that he had done HGH which I now know, if he was knowingly knowing that I had taken HGH, we would have talked about the subject. He would have come to me to ask me about the effects of it.”

The above “murder” of the English language is so “criminal” that I doubt if I will ever be able to disassociate Roger Clemens the person from his language skills, and Clemens’s above “tour de force” will become Exhibit A in my module on “destructive grammar” when presenting the topic of “Some verbal and nonverbal skills for creating a highly favorable first impression.”

Why I am writing this particular post is to warn you that egregious grammar a la Clemens will, in all probability, completely dissolve your chances of success in a job interview or at an important networking event.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Nonverbal Communication Skills: Purposeful and Exemplary Hand Gestures That Will Knock Your Socks Off

As promised in my previous post (July 31), below is a video clip of an executive using his hands in perhaps the most estimable manner I’ve seen in a very long time. In this 2-year old clip which I pulled from my archives, you see Nasdaq OMX group CEO Robert Greifeld using a variety of hand gestures each of which is extremely effective because it sharply accentuates his words. I am proud to write that most of the gestures he employs--hands folded in a streamlined shape and pointing toward the audience; the two hands, each semi-open, closing in to portray action and dynamism; formation of two fists… are among the range of hand movements I implanted in the acting CEO of a Waste Management subsidiary whom I coached about six years ago and who is the subject of the first “success story” on my website.

Also note that the video clip below is a testimonial to the enormous value that PBS’s Nightly Business Report (NBR) brings to the table. I recommend to all of my coaching clients and workshop participants to make NBR a part of their regular TV watching because, in addition to providing insight behind top business developments, you get to see some of America’s sharpest communicators in action—people like Larry Ellison, Ford Executive Vice President Mark Fields, and, of course, Bob Greifeld.

In a forthcoming post, I will get into the granularity of Mr. Greifeld’s hand gestures. In other words, what is it about his hand movements that make him a standout and add to his gravitas immeasurably.

Video clip illustrating exemplary hand gestures, worthy of emulation by top execs, managers, and other high achieving professionals: