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C-19 – ENGAGE asking people what’s driving a decision

Part 7 Negotiating during C-19 – ENGAGE asking people what’s driving a decision

This is an adapted transcript from a series of videos I created to help people with practical advice to negotiate during the challenging times we’re currently facing due to COVID-19. – The VLOG can be viewed on LinkedIn HERE

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So what I’ve noticed is people’s drivers at the moment are obviously quite different to what they would normally be. And that’s causing a lot of confusion and frustration, and probably a heightened emotional sense in that discussion anyway.

Normally, you can read the play in the room, you can sort of predict what people would be driven by. And, when you’re doing your preparation before you go into the room, then often you will have thought about, okay, if I say ‘this’, they’ll probably say ‘that’. Now that will still work to a point – so we definitely need to do the preparation before we go into the room, trying to work out what are the scenarios that could deliver the outputs we want from this conversation.

But I think that it’s a time when we really need to talk about why people are asking ‘that’ question or why you’re saying no to that particular ‘thing’.

  • I talk about 15 seconds of pain: it takes 15 seconds from you thinking of an idea, to getting it from your head, to your heart, and then out of your mouth.

Now a lot of people would say that “I really hate asking that question anyway. So why would I feel any better about it during COVID-19?” You won’t, you won’t feel any better about it. It’ll still feel uncomfortable, a little bit horrible. However, it’ll get you practicing, so that when we get back to ‘normal life’ perhaps you might be a bit more confident to ask the questions that previously shied away from.

So, when you’re in a meeting, on a Zoom call or a chat or whatnot, and you’re having these negotiations and the other person is behaving in a way that you just can’t get your head around. And you find yourself thinking – “Why are they saying that?” Then I suggest you write down on your notepad, the full question you would like to ask. Maybe the question is:

  • What is driving this decision?
  • How can we work this out together?
  • Is there something that I can say or do that will change the outcome of this conversation?
  • Or are we just not going to reach agreement and we all need to go away and think about that. Do we each need some time to think it over?

Fear might be driving the decision

People are not doing things rationally at the moment, and I think that makes total sense because they’re coming from a place of fear, which is never a healthy place to come from, but the entire universe is coming from that place.

So if you can take a moment to actually turn it from being about ‘you and me’ to about ‘us solving the problem together’, because we’re all in this together. That might change the dial on the conversation.

 

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Investing in pushing through 15 Seconds of Pain, will give you greater confidence, and help you feel more capable to step up to more negotiations.

 

Good luck!


About Sam Trattles – Sam has built a career around negotiation – through marketing, brand, and sponsorship roles over 20 years. She builds capability and confidence in your people by creating strategies that deliver positive business results. Unlocking the value in all your deals. Sam is a straight shooter, she is practical and likes to share her knowledge to help others learn to love negotiating (or to at least, not to hate it). Because it’s worth a great deal.

 

C-19 negotiations – ENGAGE to negotiate part payments

Part 6 Negotiating during C-19 – ENGAGE to negotiate part payments

 

This is an adapted transcript from a series of videos I created to help people with practical advice to negotiate during the challenging times we’re currently facing due to COVID-19. – The VLOG can be viewed on LinkedIn HERE

 

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The focus of this blog is about how do we have some of those really challenging conversations during C-19, but have shifted in light of some of the Government announcements. We now know that yes, for certain people and certain businesses, there is money coming, but there is definitely a lag from when it’s been announced to when it’s going to come into our bank accounts or offset tax etc – so you may need to go an renegotiate on that basis.

Knowing that money coming really does boy the market, obviously that’s intent, which is a great outcome from our Government. It also opens up an opportunity for us to have some conversations with different suppliers.

 

The first place is always to know your position.

Having a list of people that you owe money to and people that owe money to you, so that you can determine what is your current position. Where are you able to pay things? And where can’t you pay things?

Then it’s time to find out what’s happening with the people who owe you money? What’s their time frame?

So, sit down and getting that position, if you haven’t already, then make some calls and have some conversations.

 

These conversations would probably be centered around:

  • “How are you doing?”
  • To get a gauge from the people that you owe money how strongly they are positioned at the moment – in light of workload, in light of everything, and in light of what funds are possibly coming their way as well.
    • If they are a debtor and they are doing positively, then great. That’s an opportunity to open the conversation about how you might be able to come to some sort of compromise together.
    • Perhaps an arrangement where you might pay this off over time, rather than if it’s a bigger invoice, then potentially you could chunk it down and give them a portion of it now, and give them the next portion and the next portion when ‘this payment’ comes in from the Government, or when ‘that supplier’ pays you, or somebody else gives you funds, etc.

 

Contribute what you can, now

If you can, definitely think about paying parts of things, rather than kicking the can down the road and not paying anything. Kicking the can puts you in a risky position and it also kind of disrespects the other person as well. Everybody is doing it tough right now. So being able to say to them, “Look, I really can only pay you 10% of this right now. Could that work for you?” It opens the door.

 

You’re being open, raw and honest. It’s very hard to, because we’re so used to having an “everything’s okay” mentality, but nothing’s okay right now. And that’s okay.

 

It’s about opening the conversation, it’s about not kicking the can down the road. It’s about finding out who’s doing well in your sphere, and then getting a true position. It’s about understanding if the position that you’re all faced with so that we can make things happen in stages.

 

If you are truly, truly in troubled waters, then you need to seek some serious advice from all the people that are in your advisory group, that are able to support you through this time, particularly your accountants, your key financial advisors, and I’m happy to help where I can, but I certainly think that they’re the first port of call for where your position is. If things are dire for you, then I’m really sad for that, because I do hope that the government stimulus’ can help people pull through.

 

For everyone else, the fundamental thing here is that pick up the phone, have the conversations, make sure those people know that they are going to get the money that is owed to them. It might have to happen in stages, but at least you’re in the conversation together, solving the problem as a unit. And everyone’s got a clear picture for when things are going to happen.

 

And you know, really just open your eyes to how a negotiation doesn’t have to be something that you hate.

 

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Collaborating with those who owe you money, or who you owe money to, will give you greater confidence, and help you feel empowered to negotiate a way forward during C-19, and you might learn to love negotiating along the way.

Good luck!

 


About Sam Trattles – Sam has built a career around negotiation – through marketing, brand, and sponsorship roles over 20 years. She builds capability and confidence in your people by creating strategies that deliver positive business results. Unlocking the value in all your deals. Sam is a straight shooter, she is practical and likes to share her knowledge to help others learn to love negotiating (or to at least, not to hate it). Because it’s worth a great deal.

C-19 negotiations – ENGAGE talking to an employer about your position

Part 4 Negotiating during C-19 – ENGAGE talking to an employer about your position

This is an adapted transcript from a series of videos I created to help people with practical advice to negotiate during the challenging times we’re currently facing due to COVID-19. – The VLOG can be viewed on LinkedIn HERE

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If you’re in a position where you have to negotiate but are trying to avoid having a conversation with an employer about what’s the realities of how things are going to play out. Then this blog is for you.

I want to give you some ideas on things you can do to PREPARE for that conversation and then go and ENGAGE in it.

If you work for a big employer, it’s going to be quite different than a conversation with a business owner.

I will focus on the discussion with a business owner. To give you come context from their perspective – a few years ago I was talking to my dad, who is a small business owner and has been for 30 years. And I remember asking him, “what are you in the business of?”, and he said,

  • “I’m in the business of taking care of the livelihoods of 25 families in the Northern Territory”.

That really brought home to me how tough it is to be a business owner with staff.

So, if you are avoiding having a conversation with an employer in the small business, please go and talk to them. They’re probably trying to work through how they can keep as many people as possible. And if you’re in a position to go and talk to them and help them solve the problems, then that will be once less brick on their shoulder that they’re having to carry at the moment.

It’s not always a case of ‘we have to let go five people and we’re choosing which ones’, it might be a case of, ‘how can we make this work with the 30 people that we have right here, based on what we know’, in our preparation is around how, what what’s available to us right now in terms of projects that are going to go ahead or aren’t going to go ahead.

For you it’s the case of doing your preparation, in terms of what’s your financial position and what can you maybe sacrifice, then you can take that as an idea to your employer.

 

What’s your position, is an important place to start.

 

If you can get a gauge on all your bills, all of your outgoings for X number of weeks, based on how much you have in savings, and the conversations you’ve been able to have with your accountant and with your bank, and your landlord or whatnot

Then, thinking about what if my salary was reduced by 50%, for three months, if my if it was zero, then what’s that going look like? If you can sacrifice a little for the sake of keeping a job, then you are going to be in a stronger position with this whole thing is over.

As a business owner, myself these days, I now understand how challenging it is to have to think well, who could I cut and it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. It’s just the isolation of making these decisions.

It boils down to that we shouldn’t shy away from having a conversation with an employer.

If you put yourself in a position to step up and say, “hey, I’m open to having a conversation about how I can help”. It just puts you in the place of leaning forward rather than waiting and sitting back and waiting for it to happen to you.

If you’re actually in the conversation, you might be able to influence it in some way. That’s not to say that it will work out positively for you. It’s just about empowering yourself so that things are not happening to you.

Lots of what’s happening at the moment in our world is out of our control. But, you know, we need to be able to hold on to certain things and be part of certain discussions that will make us feel more comfortable and confident that we are actually participating in what’s happening to us, rather than it happening to us.

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Knowing your position, then being part of the negotiation process, will give you greater confidence as you are an active participant, and help keep you calm when stepping into a negotiation.

 

Good luck!

 

About Sam Trattles – Sam has built a career around negotiation – through marketing, brand, and sponsorship roles over 20 years. She builds capability and confidence in your people by creating strategies that deliver positive business results. Unlocking the value in all your deals. Sam is a straight shooter, she is practical and likes to share her knowledge to help others learn to love negotiating (or to at least, not to hate it). Because it’s worth a great deal.

C-19 negotiations – ENGAGE but not via email

Part 3 Negotiating during C-19 – ENGAGE but not via email

This is an adapted transcript from a series of videos I created to help people with practical advice to negotiate during the challenging times we’re currently facing due to COVID-19. – The VLOG can be viewed on LinkedIn HERE

 

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Let’s focus on how do we actually engage in the conversation with someone that we are negotiating with. So regardless of the times that we’re in, I always implore people not to negotiate by email.

 

There’s something about writing it down that just lacks any emotional attachment to it. Particularly when people responding in the negative – it’s very easy for people to just write out an email and send it through without thinking about how that will be received.

 

Whereas if we’re talking there’s no way you can do that, because I’m actually looking at you. For example, if I’m saying to you, “Hey, I’m really struggling right now, my situation is this, I want to talk to you about a solution that we can come to it together”. Then automatically, you’re able to read that person’s face. They might not give you very much, they might give you a lot – depending on how prepared they are for the discussion, or how well or poorly they are doing right now.

 

They may be struggling a great deal too. But by opening up the discussion you become a unit, you become to a team that’s working on solution together.

 

To be clear, I’m not talking about not documenting the discussion. Absolutely. We need to document the outcome, because we don’t want it to be ambiguous at the end.

 

Avoiding the conversation

If somebody says, “Oh, I can’t talk to you right now, just send it in an email”, then don’t send it an email with your position.

 

Only send an email that says, “Please let me know a time that works for you to set up a Zoom/Skype/etc chat? Because I’d like to have this conversation together.”

 

Yes, we are negotiating, however, what we’re doing is having a conversation about:

  • This is the situation I’m in
  • What’s the situation you’re in?
  • And how does that come together?
  • Can we come up with a solution that works for both of us?
  • And what’s fair and what’s reasonable in this insane time that we’re living in? Because what was fair and reasonable two weeks ago is absolutely not the same today.

 

Then, so that you can put one foot in front of the other, be clear about what’s going to happen next.

Additional work and subsequent discussion

One thing to also think about is, that person may not be able to answer you straight away. This might cause you some anxiety or some tension, so go into the discussion thinking Okay, I’m here to have a discussion about ‘this’. But, say to the person,

  • “I appreciate that you may not have had time to think about what the solution might be. So, what I would like to do is just talk about it together, and then give you some time to go away and think that through. Perhaps we can have a conversation in the next day, two days, or whenever the timeframe will allow for it.”

 

So, then it’s not a rush. Everybody is doing one thing next. That way you can get on to your list of other things, focussed on doing just one thing next.

 

For me, in the beginning of lock down I found one of the biggest challenges was knowing which ‘one thing’ can I could do next. I was running a bit helter skelter, but then I just asked myself what’s the one thing I can do. Then every time I stopped doing one thing, and put that to one side, then I moved on to the next thing.

 

Thinking about the whole picture can cause a lot of anxiety as there’s so many things we could do. But which one do we do next? So narrow your focus, make sure that you’re not negotiating by email if at all possible and then just reaffirm what’s going to happen next so there’s limited ambiguity and move on to doing the next one thing.

 

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Removing email from the negotiation process and narrowing your focus, will give you greater confidence, and help keep you calm when stepping into a negotiation.

 

Good luck!

 


About Sam Trattles – Sam has built a career around negotiation – through marketing, brand, and sponsorship roles over 20 years. She builds capability and confidence in your people by creating strategies that deliver positive business results. Unlocking the value in all your deals. Sam is a straight shooter, she is practical and likes to share her knowledge to help others learn to love negotiating (or to at least, not to hate it). Because it’s worth a great deal.