Listen to Negotiate

September 26th, 2011

Excellent negotiators are excellent listeners.  Pay attention to others, ask questions and focus on the answers.  Those on the other end of the negotiation will feel respected when you pay attention to them.  Listening is a skill that takes attention and energy.  Your efforts here will pay off.

Short-term Goal: Listen to understand. Your negotiation will likely have a better outcome if you understand the objectives of your negotiating partner.

Long-term Goal: Listen to build relationship. Encourage the exchange of information for the future and to build trust.

The model, illustrated below, of listening behaviors ranges from highly non-engaging behaviors (listener-centered) to highly engaging behaviors (speaker-centered).

Listening Continuum

I encourage you to stay to the right (on the continuum) of “Confrontation!”

Until next time, Know Your Audience!


September 26th, 2011


It sounds like breathing again! But it is more than that.  When you present a proposal that you would like others to act on, remember to expose your ideas to influencers and decision makers prior to the presentation.

Advocate: promote your idea

Inquire: ask what others think (colleagues, partners, and customers)

Repeat: revise your idea based on the responses, and repeat the process

Advocate Inquire Repeat

This is a method for testing your ideas prior to presenting them to a larger audience.  You will refine your ideas with each successive iteration of the A-I-R process.  When you finally present your ideas to a larger audience, be sure to address any concerns and to give proper credit for enhancements to the initial ideas.

Until next time, remember, prepare for your audience!


August 23rd, 2011

Proper breathing is essential for a good presentation delivery.

Try this exercise: breathe in, then exhale completely.  Then try to speak.  You’ll probably make some sounds, but they are not strong.  That is what happens to your voice when you run out of breath. You will also limit the supply of oxygen to your brain—definitely not good for speaking!

Practice breath control at home.  Avoid shallow, throat breathing.  Take deep breaths. Here is an exercise you can do to improve your breathing:

Breathing Exercise:

  • Stand with your feet a comfortable shoulder width apart.
  • Keep your knees unlocked. Support the weight of your body through your hips and legs.
  • Consciously release and relax your shoulders.
  • If you’re holding your stomach in, let it go.
  • Place your hands on your stomach.
  • Breathe in through your nose to a slow count of four. As you inhale, feel your diaphragm rising. Breathe out through your mouth to the count of four and now feel your diaphragm expanding.
  • Do several rounds of inhale and exhale to a four count while making sure you keep your shoulders, stomach and legs relaxed.
  • Once you have mastered the four count, increase it. Through regular practice you will soon be able to extend it for an eight or ten count.

See for more exercises, and enjoy your next presentation!

A New Approach: Can Data Mining Replace Simulation?

January 7th, 2011

Tony Hey describes four paradigms for science in “The Next Scientific Revolution.” If you are currently using simulation to solve problems, you might consider using data mining to look for relationships and discover the rules by studying the data.

My first job out of college was working at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography; we were collecting data to forecast weather events. I worked for Jerome Namias, who figured out how the El Niño phenomena in the Pacific Ocean affected world climate.  Our data was sparse and our simulation techniques primitive.

Today’s Ocean Observatories Initiative will map out a network of interactive nodes throughout the Northern Pacific Ocean to study interrelated ocean processes across time. With such a vast amount of data, scientists can use data mining rather than simulation to discover predictive relationships. Amazing progress.

Can your business’s simulation tool be replaced by a data mining tool?  Consider the business opportunities.


June 3rd, 2010

Trust reduces organizational friction and market friction. Lacking trust in an organization is like lacking a Zamboni for a skating rink; it is going to be much rougher.

I’ll be exploring this topic more in coming days.