Part of the Six K&R Principles of Negotiations – Get M.O.R.E., Preparation is Key to a Winning Negotiation

Speaker Motivation

The Power of a Great Keynote: Inspiring and Focusing Your Audience

There are always three speeches for every one you actually gave. The one you practiced, the one you gave, and the one you wish you gave. Dale CarnegieKeynote speeches — like the ones that kick off a big sales drive or annual meeting — are fantastic opportunities…that aren’t always leveraged to their fullest.

Most executive leaders will take to the podium assured that the top-line strategic messaging of the day, a sprinkling of humor and a few perfunctory rallying cries for the troops will be in their notes.

But is that good enough?

While attendance is sometimes mandatory, every leader has the responsibility to do more than “check the boxes” with a speech so he or she can get on with their day. The speech must deliver value. This is central to everything we do at K&R Negotiations: analyzing the audience and goals to determine what impact an activity will make.

The “warm fuzzies” generated by even a great keynote speech will quickly subside with the event, but here is a central consideration that will make the activity more powerful: “What value will I deliver outside of the messaging, humor and applause lines?”

Speeches that are measured by the hour will die with the hour. Thomas Jefferson

A few years ago a friend of mine, George Kohlreiser, gave a speech about the consequences of holding on to things that were comfortable because they were familiar; things that were always done a certain way. He likened it to holding yourself hostage, a condition that stifled creativity and prevented the “hostage” from dealing with difficult issues and people. The speech was so powerful that it inspired me to take steps to deal with some challenges in our business. Confronting these challenges resulted in one of our best years ever.

Two Critical Questions

Ask yourself two important questions as you vet speakers or work on a draft for yourself:

  1. What will my audience know that they didn’t know before? Corporate boilerplate does not count. Value is delivered when you make your audience feel as though they are discovering some new insight — maybe even a secret — that tells them they are receiving thoughtful analysis tailored just for them — that their view of the world has suddenly expanded because you have let them in on something. This is the kind of hook that made the Ted Talks series so successful — they offer surprising shifts in knowledge and perspective, having both intellectual and emotional components.Keeping this guidepost in mind will steer you away from the conventional “laundry list” of objectives, goals and milestones that are too often used as filler.
  2. Will my audience know how to do something that they couldn’t do before? One of our chief goals in business negotiation training and workshops is to make sure that every single person walks out the door ready to apply a few key principles. We know we have done our job when sales managers report back on their success. This is the key proposition for focusing any kind of communication: What do I want the person listening to actually do, and how? Supporting your talk with tactical takeaways gives your speech lasting power beyond the temporary fizz of applause.

The distinction between a good speech and an inspiring and action-producing speech was illustrated in classical times: After the Roman statesman Cicero spoke, the people said, “How well he had done!” but when Demosthenes had finished speaking against the oppression of Phillip of Macedon, they said, “Let us march.”

The greatest compliment I can receive is not for someone to say, “I loved your talk at the ABC conference,” but rather, “Your talk gave me great insight that I put to use. I just had my best year ever.” Giving your audience something new to know and something immediate to do (getting them to march) will help you deliver a keynote with lasting value.

Mladen is a powerful keynote speaker. Learn more about how he can help your organization. 

The Value of Role Playing in Negotiation

We have had the privilege of assisting major companies all over the world with our Win Wisely™ approach to negotiation. The principles we teach are far from theoretical: they were forged from practical experience gained in all kinds of negotiations involving all types of participants. This includes everything from basic buy-sell transactions to complex, high-stakes negotiations in business and technology conducted by lawyers, salespeople and executives. Each of them needed a methodical approach to forging better deals.

We routinely hear from our clients. They describe how the teams we have trained are able to put their learning to immediate effect. Read more

The Five Teamwork Principles to Follow for Winning Negotiations

Even with a well-crafted value argument and solid customer motivation to get a deal done, the whole process can unravel if negotiation leadership and teamwork are absent.  The most effective “tactic” in your arsenal is a unified team. Selecting your team, involving all key players in planning, and maintaining group discipline begin the teamwork  that will hold your important deal together.

In our decades of helping clients manage and win complex deals, we have seen five key teamwork principles that are critical to getting the win/win negotiation outcomes you desire.

1. Recognize Varied Motivations, Both Internally and Externally

Everyone has specific reasons for acting as they do. (For example, the other side may stall negotiations if they think you are in a revenue bind, hoping to extract price concessions.) Lay the necessary groundwork by considering both the organization-level and role-based motivations of the other side. Read more

Negotiation Lessons from Deadwood

Have you ever appeared at the negotiation table with a thoughtful list of offerings only to realize that your assumptions about those across the table were dead wrong? There’s a scene from HBO’s acclaimed Deadwood series (2004-2006) that illustrates just how uncomfortable it can be to misread or underestimate the other party.

To set the scene: Alma Garret is a widow who has come into a lucrative, well-producing gold claim in the lawless, titular town of Deadwood. Mining tycoon, George Hearst, has come to the camp, slowly consolidating smaller, single-operator claims into one ruthlessly efficient operation. Only Garret’s mine stands in the way of his complete control of the area’s gold mining operations. Hoping to strike a mutually beneficial bargain after a bumpy first meeting, Garret visits Hearst with a list of proposals. This is what happens. Read more

Negotiation Examples: Knowing How the Other Team Approves a Deal

negotiation motivation

Knowing how people are measured for bonuses, rankings, commissions or promotions helps you determine the personal motivations that can be just as important as company position when it comes to closing the deal.

Simply making someone’s job easier can be a major motivation. Here’s a software negotiation story from the K&R files:

It was the middle of the fourth quarter and the software sales team of Company X was trying to sell a $650K software monitoring solution to a major financial institution, Company Y. The customer IT executive had been convinced a few months earlier that the solution would help them tackle certain technical issues in serving their international accounts. The Company X sales team was getting pretty frustrated with a sale that should have been easy. They couldn’t get Company Y’s procurement team to move with urgency. Read more

Six Principles Every International Negotiator Must Know: M.O.R.E.

This is the fourth post in a series entitled: The Principles of International Negotiation: Finding Universal Value in a Complex World

International Negotiation

In our two previous posts on international negotiation, we discussed the importance of P&L (Patience and Listening) and the dynamics of credibility and leverage. One is a practice, the second is a conceptual understanding. They are interlocking and dependent. Patience and listening yield trust and information. Trust and information help us generate credibility and leverage – the two things you must have if you want to negotiate successfully.

What are some other ways to generate credibility and leverage? Over decades of collective experience as international negotiators, K&R has formulated six principles that serve as a guide to the fundamentals of negotiating. Read more

We Have Stuff. Buy it!

In our negotiation sessions, we often get into the discussion of how being so busy saying what you can do it makes you not busy enough saying what your client needs. In an example brought to us for comment, there was a good executive summary (well, not that good, but let’s pretend it was)… on page 18 of a 200-page proposal. If executive summaries show up on page 18, what comes first? Generally speaking, it is stuff about the seller and the seller’s offerings, and not about the client or the client’s needs. An executive would never reach it.

To make it worse, the “seller stuff” is in the wrong form. For example, the seller makes statements which are in concept like these:
• “Our coffee is fair trade.”
• “We roast and deliver daily.”

Instead of statements like these:
• “Your policy is to support reasonable returns for your suppliers. To support that, we offer coffee which we buy under fair trade guidelines.”
• “You told us your clientele is very sensitive to coffee freshness. We roast and deliver daily.”

We just reviewed a client proposal sheet for a multi-multi-million dollar agreement, and every line was about the supplier, not about the client needs.

The shorthand for the first approach is “We have stuff, you should buy it.” For the second, “We understand your needs and our offerings support them.” The first requires the client to make the connection between what you offer and their needs and interests. The second puts the client’s interests first, and then makes the connection for them.

We used coffee in our example, but these errors are all too common in our primary client set, high technology hardware, software, and services providers.

In many cases, the client can make the connection. However, your odds of success will improve if you help them along the way. Don’t say, “We have stuff”. Say, “These are your needs, and our stuff supports them.” You’ll be more successful with your clients. (td)

Got a question? Email a K&R negotiator directly at

M.O.R.E. – Negotiations and the Australian & International Pilots Association

An August article in Aviation Online Magazine caught our eye with this headline – “Qantas Airline Pilots Negotiate Job Security Not Pay Increase”.  It concerns bargaining between the Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA) and Australia’s largest airline.  Included in the article is a quote from the AIPA negotiations spokesperson that states that the pilots’ leading issues are “job protection, career progression, and off-shoring of jobs”.  Not money.

First, it is an interesting matter that the AIPA negotiator took these issues public.  That can work for them or against them.  On one hand, the list makes clear what the AIPA wants, which is a plus.  On the other hand, this list implicitly makes some concessions.  Read more

Time Stamps in Negotiations

Negotiation and the News is brought to you this week from Cape Town South Africa, where rail travel has ceased. Google (or Bing) “South Africa Rail Strike”, and check out the news. In general two groups of rail employees have struck. First those transporting goods, followed by those transporting passengers. The normal management / union disagreements apply – a mismatch in positions and demands for wages and benefits. Your Negotiation and the News correspondent, being in Cape Town ready to travel (by rail) to Johannesburg, reported live on May 15th. The strike is a classic example of negotiation “time stamps” in action. Read more

Advance Fee Fraud – Again

In September of 2008, we wrote about the concept of “Advance Fee Fraud”, and how sellers fall victim to the tactic from buyers in various forms.  A couple of those include promises of future business “if you give me a good deal now”, or “if we do a successful proof of concept”.

Sometimes this practice is known as a “Nigerian 419 scam”, although that’s a bit unfair to Nigeria.  However, a recent article we saw on brought it all back when it stated, “Nigeria dropped nine places to 130th position out of the 180 countries ranked on the global Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2009 by Transparency International (TI), a global anti-corruption watchdog.”

Review our article – don’t let a buyer convince you (as a seller) to advance them a benefit in anticipation of a reward that may never come.