Feb 092015
 

It is always a challenge when you have to negotiate with someone more powerful than you.

I recently received an e-mail exchange between a young employee and his manager. Most of the mistakes the young employee could do were done and the result is that he had no other solution but to leave the company after what he wrote. So I would like to share with you the principles to remember found in Carolyn O’Hara’s article published in the Harvard Business review. There could be more in the list but it would be quite helpful should you at least apply these.

Do:

  • Put yourself in their shoes — it’s crucial to understand what’s important to the other side
  • Remember your own value — you are at the table for a reason
  • Ask questions — you’ll get valuable insight into their motivations and interests

Don’t:

  • Wing it — nothing beats good preparation
  • Depend on a single strategy — develop a range of responses to push the negotiation in your favor
  • Copy aggressive behavior — if they make threats or demands, stick to your goals

 

May 292014
 

For a long time I have been told “ask why” in order to get deeper into someone’s mind and understand the person’s convinctions to do or believe in something. Have you ever thought about asking “how?” instead of “why?” to get this better understanding?

Most of the people you ask the “how?” question find it more difficult to put their thoughts together and to answer this specific question than to explain why they are right. They eventually realize how complex what they talked about is and may stop trying to convince you to join them. One of the possible effects of this disturbing and often unexpected question could be that they would end up believing they were going into a wrong direction… And you would not have to find any argument to convince them! Just ask them “how?” and let the magic operate.

In my life I have met a lot of people who thought they had terrific plans, ideas, projects, etc. but they had absolutely no solid argument to explain how they would do to realize them. They could talk for hours about why that’s so great but they had not thought about how they would proceed. Would you follow someone who claims he can take you somewhere but who has absolutely no idea about how he will do to succeed?

Take a look at this Business Insider article and find more links about the “how?”: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-win-an-argument-2014-5

 

May 142014
 

Doing International Business is something you cannot improvise. If you have no personnal experience with China all you may work with is your assumptions.

There are plenty of customers ready to buy what you offer but how can you reach this large market and find customers for your products? Understanding how people behave is one first steps but you will hardly make sales if you do not have a local partner. Besides all the administrative issues you are going to face, you need at least a native Mandarin speaker who can translate the culture around your product into something that is understandable for your target market. You absolutely need to create a bridge.

Read more about this topic at http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-05-14/how-small-u-dot-s-dot-businesses-can-court-customers-in-china