Get A Head Start In Negotiations

If you want to start negotiations in a winning position, then you need to prepare like a tiger. That means you must pay attention to 7 crucial areas.

1. Check Whether You’re In A Negotiating Situation. A negotiating situation exists when you are in any communication or problem-solving situation with others that can work out to your advantage. If there is no advantage to you, then don’t negotiate; you’ll only lose. As Sun Tzu, the author of “The Art of War”, said hundreds of years ago, “Engage only when it is in the interests of the state; cease when it is to its detriment. Do not move unless there are advantages to be won.”

2. Clarify Your Aims. Your overriding aim in any negotiation is to achieve the objectives you and your constituents have set. There are other aims, such as getting a good deal and improving your relationship with the other side. But getting what you want is tops. Always keep this aim firmly in your sights and don’t stop until you get it.

3. Gather Information. Once you know you’re in a negotiating situation, you need to gather information about the other side’s offer and use it to refine your own. Many negotiations come unstuck simply because one side or the other doesn’t listen, or check, or take the time to clarify exactly what the other side are offering, or indeed what they themselves are offering. This means that throughout a negotiation you should do tons of listening, clarifying and checking. And when it comes your turn to put over your case, you should use every skill you can muster to make sure they understand.

4. Negotiate With Your Own Side. It is rare to go into a negotiation only representing yourself. Usually you negotiate as a representative of others, your constituents. Part of your preparation for negotiations has to be spent getting the best mandate from your constituents. Aim to get the support you need; the trust you need; the resources you need; the understanding you need; and the freedom you need.

5. Get A BATNA. A BATNA is your Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement and is the only certain way to be successful in negotiations. By preparing for negotiations with one party by sounding out an alternative deal with another party, you get walkaway power. It means that, even if the alternative isn’t quite what you want, you are still prepared to go there, if need be.

6. Prepare The Setting. There are five questions to ask yourself when preparing the setting for a negotiation. They are: Who? (ie who is to take part and do what?); Where? (ie our place or theirs?); When? (ie what is the time scale?); Why? (ie what are we negotiating about?); and How? (ie how are we to present our case?).

7. Prepare Yourself Mentally. The right attitude towards negotiations is the principal difference between successful and unsuccessful negotiators. Getting into the right frame of mind before you begin should be part of your preparation plan.

* aim to be tough, business-like, alert and unyielding

* don’t feel you owe them anything – don’t be a bowl-beggar

* don’t put yourself above or below them

* stay relaxed and unhurried

* don’t reveal your feelings at any point.

There is no guarantee that good preparation will lead to success in negotiations. But the chances are that poor preparation will lead to failure. Don’t take that risk. Pull out all the stops to get a head start and you won’t regret it.

Indoor Air Quality and Mold: Past, Present and Future Considerations

Mold and Moisture Susceptibility

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is a term referring to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants. Indoor air quality, like energy management, is a fairly young industry. In fact, many of today’s IAQ issues stem from the energy-conscious building practices used in the 1970s. Structures were built virtually airtight in order to conserve electricity, causing ventilation problems and, thus, breeding some of today’s IAQ concerns.

Continuing media attention given to the health effects of toxic mold, the outbreak of infectious diseases such as swine flu, and the increase in chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma have resulted in a growing interest and attention to indoor air quality in homes, commercial buildings, schools, and hospitals.

IAQ can be affected by microbial contaminants such as mold and other bacteria, or any mass or energy stressor that can induce adverse health conditions. Indoor air is becoming more of a health threat than outdoor air. Determination of IAQ involves collecting air samples, monitoring human exposure to pollutants, collecting samples on building surfaces, and computer modeling of airflow inside buildings.

There are two procedures involved when IAQ concerns are raised: investigation and remediation. Mold investigation is the process of identifying the location, existence, and extent of a mold hazard in a structure; mold remediation is the process of removal and/or cleanup of mold from an indoor environment.

Mold as a Causitive Agent

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) suggests that there has been a significant increase in public concern about Indoor Environment Quality. This is reflected both in the number and percentage of evaluations conducted in relation to Indoor Environment Quality by NIOSH over the past 20 years.

Recently, Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL) conducted a survey to determine what level of concern exists for IAQ. The findings revealed that 95% of those surveyed thought air quality was important, compared to 41% in the previous year. Over 75% of those surveyed were concerned with the quality of air and potentially harmful emissions in residences, offices, and other buildings, and more than one-third of the respondents were very concerned. The study also found that 80% of respondents were willing to spend their own money on IAQ testing and improvements in their own homes.

The findings of the UL study indicate that the desire for good IAQ is present in all building sectors. Evidence suggests that markets for IAQ solutions are significantly under-penetrated compared with their potential, which means significant business opportunities exist. The UL study also found that certain IAQ markets like Memphis are five to seven years behind the adoption curve. This provides further evidence that IAQ markets in different metropolitan areas are nearly untouched and that the potential for IAQ investigations and remediation are prolific.

The World Health Organization and the Chelsea Group, a leading provider of consulting services to the engineering, architectural, and industrial hygiene industry, estimate that approximately 30% of all commercial buildings in the United States and Canada have significant IAQ Problems and that there is no lack of opportunity for IAQ services in the residential and commercial markets. It is estimated that they have the potential to grow up to five or six times their current size.

Mold-Help.org, a not-for-profit website dedicated to educating the public on the effects of indoor mold, maintains that over 25 million Americans suffer from allergic reactions caused by indoor mold exposure. Furthermore, scientists at Manchester University in the UK reported in 2005 that severe asthma attacks are often triggered by an allergic reaction to mold. This asthma link to mold has been confirmed recently by researchers at the Harvard Medical School. As national asthma rates among children and adults (9.4 % and 7.3 %, respectively) show no signs of subsiding, health-related mold concerns should continue to drive the testing market. Adding to concerns in the U.S and abroad, individuals have been forced to evacuate their homes, schools and offices due to growth of indoor molds. This, along with the detrimental health effects of black mold, amply demonstrates the market need for better and more cost-efficient methods for estimating mold levels and exposure in indoor environments.

Non Verbal Communication in Presentations

Presentation skills, conversation skills and writing skills are the three keys to effective communication. In this post, I’d like to focus on some tips for using non verbal communication to improve your presentation skills.

Eye contact helps indicates your interest in the people in the audience. It increases your credibility. When you make eye contact with people in the audience, you increase your chances of getting your message across. Eye contact helps you establish a connection with the audience. When you make eye contact with people as you are speaking, you build one to one bonds with them.

Smiles are powerful – I always try to keep a smile on my face when I am speaking. Smiling makes a speaker more warm, likable and friendly. When you smile, people see you as happy — and this makes them more receptive to you. People react positively to smiles. When you smile, the audience smiles. And a smiling audience is a receptive audience. Smiling will help you get your points across and accepted.

Gestures are another important form of non verbal communication. But you have to be careful with gestures. I practice my talks in front of a mirror. As I’m speaking, I watch my natural gestures. Then I enhance them. Usually, I amplify my gestures, because big rooms demand big gestures. However, sometimes, I tone them down — depending on the audience. Regardless, I focus on making my gestures natural and reflective of what I’m saying. I try to avoid choppy, sudden gestures when I’m speaking. Instead, I focus on making my gestures fluid.

Posture and body orientation – I always stand up straight and look directly at the audience. Standing straight and looking directly at the audience indicates confidence. I use posture to make points though. If I am speaking about confidence and want to give an example of an unconfident person, I slump my shoulders and look at the floor. Spend most of your time oriented toward the audience. If you’re using slides, speak to the audience, not the slide. It’s OK to look at a slide — especially if you want to draw the audience’s attention to it, but always turn back to the audience after a few seconds.

Proximity - Unlike many speakers, I like to get away from the platform and walk the room. This means that I get up close and personal with people in the audience. I have a wireless device to advance slides, so I am not tied to my computer. I find that audiences like it. As I walk the room, people feel that I’m more a part of them, having a conversation with them, rather than talking at them. This doesn’t work with very large audiences — which I define as over 100 people. However, even if you are speaking to a large audience and need to remain on the platform, I suggest using a wireless device to advance your slides. You won’t be tied to your computer, and you’ll appear more natural.

Your voice - Be animated — avoid speaking in a monotone. Show excitement for your material with your voice. I always practice my talks out loud — that way I hear my voice and the words I am using. This helps me modify my delivery in ways that will improve my impact with my audience.

If you use these non verbal communication ideas you’ll become someone whose presentations carry an impact — and you’ll be on your way to career and life success.