Taking the Ex Factor Out of Your Present Relationship

I know for many of us it is easy to say good bye to a relationship that no longer seems to work. What I mean by easy is that even when you may not be ready to let go of the relationship you come to an understanding that you have to move on. However, although you may physically move on from the relationship, if you have not let the emotional and mental baggage go from the previous relationship you may find yourself dropping those former baggage onto your current mate’s door step.

I had an opportunity to speak with a client of mine who said some very hurtful things to her spouse during the heat of an argument. She did not realize that what she was wrong as her spouse “knew” that was how she dealt with her frustrations. Well to make a long story short I found myself asking her this question, “why do you continue to have your ex-boyfriend sleeping in the bed with your spouse and you?” She paused for a moment and did not understand my question as she was thinking physical. As I probed with her more, she began to see that she was treating her spouse the same way as she did with her former boyfriend. She was “stopping” the hurt before she was actually hurt by her husband. However, she was not stopping any hurt but creating more hurt within her marriage. How you may ask? She was treating and responding to her husband in the exact same way she did her ex-boyfriend who left her.

Without knowing it, my client was reliving her previous relationship with her ex-boyfriend through her current relationship with her husband. As the revelation became more evident to her she realized that she loved her husband and never meant to make those hurtful comments. She finally understood that as long as she kept holding on to the words and behaviors she kept bottled up inside of her from her former relationship, she might have ended up losing her marriage for a man she has no interest in being with. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where your mate may have said or did something that reminded you of your previous mate? What was your response? Did you respond to your current mate as you would with your ex or did you take the time to realize that you are in a different relationship with a different person and your actions and responses should be different?

If you are still sleeping with the ex partner within your current relationship, here are a few tips to help you obtain some closure with the former relationship:

1. Let the person “have it”- If you never had the chance to tell your ex how you felt about the relationship write a letter. You will not send the letter off but just write it so that you tell the person how you feel. Once you have gotten all of your emotions up, tear it up and flush it down the toilet.

2. Speak to your current partner- One of the challenges many people face in a relationship especially new ones is letting your mate know what happened to you in the past. If you are in a committed relationship where you feel like the two of you may be in it for the long haul, let your mate know what words and actions annoy you. If you do not tell your mate then how will they know that this is an area of contention for you.

3. Don’t throw yourself under the bus- Don’t beat yourself up if you get into a squabble with your current partner and you find yourself reverting back to your old ways. When you find yourself saying or doing something you may have done with your ex, take a pause for the cause and excuse yourself from the situation. Explain to your mate that you need to leave for a moment so that you will not say or do something that will cause harm to your present relationship. Designate a meeting place and time to share your thoughts with your mate in a non-argumentative manner.

4. Stay committed to your mate- If you believe this is your soul mate and you want to make the relationship work, stay committed to one another through talking and sharing your feelings. Don’t wait until an argument to arrive to complain or air everything out. Most arguments are solved when they are handle as disagreements in the here and now. It is when you hold on to past hurts that may break down the line of communication with your mate. Let old habits be buried so that new habits may spring life into your present relationship.

All in all, in some form or fashion we have all been hurt by an ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend that may continue to foster pain within our lives. However, if you choose daily to let those hurts go you will find yourself dwelling less on them. The less hurts you allow to control your thoughts in your present relationship, the more fulfillment and enjoyment you will feel with the mate you are with. So go ahead and kick that ex factor out of your present relationship as your mate and you will benefit from not having the third wheel in your lives.

April Lisbon-Peoples is a growth and development coach who enjoys inspiring her clients to find their life’s purpose through becoming visionaries. She the founder and CEO of Running Your Race, a coaching practice designed for individuals who are ready to awaken their visions and create their destiny.

Unlocking a Successful Negotiation Strategy

Are you approaching all your commercial negotiations with a standard approach? Should you only use a win/win approach to negotiations?

Traditionally, negotiated outcomes can be classified into one of the following categories:

  • Lose/Lose (all parties lose)
  • Win/Lose (I win and you lose)
  • Lose/Win (I lose and you win)
  • Win/Win (we both win – could also be described as compromise)
  • Win More/Win More (we unlock synergies – could also be described as being collaborative)

Whilst I agree with the notion that a win/win approach is the only sustainable way to gain competitive advantage in the marketplace, it is well worth considering the practical application of this approach in today’s global marketplace. It would be short sighted to conclude that all negotiations are made equally and should therefore be approached in the same way.

It would be similar to say that one nation’s culture & beliefs are the appropriate culture and therefore the standards that apply to that culture should be applied in interacting with people across the world, irrespective of their background.

Guns OR Butter

There is another dimension within the context of commercial negotiations that should be considered – the old economic dilemma of ‘guns or butter’. The ‘guns or butter’ story illustrates that with limited resources, organisations and individuals are forced to make choices. In order to have more butter, one must sacrifice guns and vice versa.

In a practical sense this means that resources can only be allocated in relation to the relative strategic importance of the activity at issue. In the case of negotiations that are considered strategic in importance to the organisation, we are more likely to pursue a collaborative or compromising approach.

Conversely, when we deem the outcome of certain negotiations to have a limited impact or no impact at all on the achievement of strategic organisational objectives we could decide to be competitive in our approach or even to avoid negotiation completely. We would not be responsible stewards of corporate resources if we were to approach all negotiations in a similar fashion.

Collaborative Approach

There is also a philosophical dimension to the approach to negotiation pursued by many organisations. Some organisations are renowned for their collaborative approach to doing business whilst others have a reputation for a mercenary approach to conducting business. Some players in the retail sector have reputations of dealing ruthlessly with suppliers – they rationalise the approach by arguing that it is in the interest of the consumer.

Whilst I agree that this approach is short sighted and probably not sustainable in the long run, it would be naïve not to recognise the fact that, at least commercially speaking, a lot of organisations have little interest in collaborative or compromising type negotiations within certain departments.

It is interesting to note that whilst most organisations pride themselves on providing ‘solutions’ to the issues confronting their clients, a significant proportion of their so called negotiations actually revolve around haggling about price. I have no doubt that there is a sincere intention to engage on a solution based principle it just seems that this is much easier said than done where the rubber hits the road. A lot of the time companies’ stated intentions to engage on a win/win based principle is similar to the new year’s resolutions so many of us make every year.

Negotiation Strategy

There is scant chance of us achieving our resolutions without putting in place a supporting plan and taking action to achieve our goals. Many organisations lack a clear organisational negotiation strategy & process which exposes them to the risks associated with a huge variance in the results of their negotiated agreements.

Organisations and individuals should recognise that collaborative negotiation demands the investment of significant resources. In order for us to be truly collaborative, we have to spend much time getting to know each other. In a commercial context, this plainly does not make sense in some cases. Consider the purchase of a pure commodity such as paper for a small or medium sized organisation – if there are no value added services presented or required, it would be sub optimal to pursue a collaborative relationship with the provider of such a commodity. It would make more sense to pursue a competitive approach to the procurement of paper than a collaborative or even compromising approach.

In practise, many organisations would approach the purchase of paper or stationery in a way where they would request multiple quotations and award the business to the lowest bidder. As a matter of fact, in some cases no negotiation at all would take place. An interesting note here is that this does not mean that the paper supplier has lost as a result of this transaction – they have won the order, but the telling thing is that we were not really interested in their interests at all; we were only focused on our desired objectives. So pursuing a win/lose strategy in this example has not really resulted in a loss for the supplier, but it does mean that we were not really interested in their desired outcomes.

The flip side of this example is that if you are selling commodity type products, you have to realise that before you will be in a position to negotiate, you must create for yourself a base to do this from – hence the move towards providing solutions.

5 EFFECTIVE NEGOTIATION STRATEGIES

How then do we decide which negotiation strategy to follow? Within a commercial context, the following negotiation strategy options are available to us:

  • Avoiding negotiation altogether.
  • Engaging in a competitive negotiation where we seek to achieve our goals aggressively.
  • Engaging in an accommodating negotiation where we seek to satisfy only the needs of our counterparty to the exclusion of our own needs
  • Using a compromising approach where we seek to satisfy some of our needs and interests and some of the needs and interests of our counterparty.
  • Deploying a collaborative negotiation approach where we seek to satisfy all our needs and interests in addition to satisfying all the needs and interests of our counterparty.

The negotiation strategy that is appropriate will be determined by your answers to the following two questions:

  • How strong are my alternatives to this particular negotiation?
  • How important is a long term relationship in the context of this negotiation?

It follows that in many cases, buyers would be pursuing an approach where they are avoiding negotiation or being competitive and sellers would like to be compromising or collaborative. How then to deal with this situation?

A key part of the negotiation preparation process should be focused on trying to understand your counterparties needs, interests and objectives. This will assist you in identifying the likely negotiation strategy that they will be pursuing. If your counterparty is avoiding a negotiation, you can be sure that your organisation is not being viewed as a contributor of competitive advantage to your counterparty’s organisation.

Your challenge would in the 1st instance be to reconsider the way that your products and services are packaged. The aim should be to add to the achievement of the strategic business objectives of your counterparty by identifying the components of your offering that matches their strategic needs.

If you find yourself at the wrong end of a competitive negotiation, it would serve you well to be familiar with the most often used negotiation tactics as you will most certainly be confronted with a tactical approach. Unless you are well versed in negotiation tactics, it will be difficult for you to maximise the value that you will be able to extract from the negotiation as there is no sincere interest on the part of your counterparty to satisfy any of your needs or interests.

6 Quick Tips For Your Business Presentations

Practices that help people design presentations and the practices that help them deliver successfully do not overlap much. A systematic approach helps busy executives discover how to win results faster.

Thomas Sechehaye has determined two distinct sets of behaviors and practices necessary for effective design and delivery.

Practices associated with successful design only were:
• Participate in audience research
• Look for new information about design
• Learn story structures
• Design for visual impact
• Plan specific calls to action
• Structure dramatic flow
• Follow brand or company guidelines
• Adapt to diverse media

Practices associated with successful delivery only were:
• Adapt to specific audience insights
• Refine vocal quality and tone
• Practice effective eye contact
• Use authentic personal strengths
• Build high impact body language skills
• Share personal experiences with anecdotes
• Get 1:1 coaching and feedback
• Rehearse for face-to-face and virtual delivery

As the two stages demand and require different practices, then executive and sales presentation training needs to guide people about key strategies for each phase. While many organizations target presentation skills training, these two phases are often merged. The skills are rarely broken out as discretely different.

Some people are extremely anxious about delivery skills. All they can think about is previous experiences of feeling anxious, losing their voice, or feeling queasy. Successful delivery skills help professionals reinvent the experience of presenting.

But many of the challenges of delivery can be solved with careful attention to design.”

Professionals who want dramatic improvement in presentation results should emphasize 6 key best practices, listed here.

Key Practice 1. Identify Design Process
Define how presentations are built from the ground up. Find out if every individual or team is doing this differently, or following a proven and systematic design process.

Key Practice 2. Share Best Practices
Once you have determined the best practices for your business, share them. Remove inter-departmental barriers by sharing best practices. This may be done informally amongst peers; or more formally in design debriefs.

Key Practice 3. Storyboard Presentations
You would never build a house by just grabbing a 2 x 4 lying on the ground. Yet many business presentations are built in such a haphazard manner. Use a storyboard to plan powerful presentations from start to finish. This is critical to increase productivity-and streamline processes across your business.

Key Practice 4. Learn Skills For Design & Delivery
Begin with the end in mind. Learn the skills for design and delivery success. Approach each area as a unique skill set. Solid design sets the foundation for high-impact delivery. Therefore, learning design skills first is a smart approach.

Key Practice 5. Provide Training Options For Individuals
Different people learn in different ways. Some people prefer the freedom of online learning. Others learn best in a classroom environment, with shoulder-to-shoulder instruction.

In an ideal environment, provide options that encourage individual freedom of choice. If travel budgets are tight, provide online training that offers freedom in instructional design. This recreates a friendly, open environment for learning new skills.

Key Practice 6. Strengthen Skills With Coaching
One on one coaching is one of the best ways to create rapid improvement. With new advances in virtual coaching, this is now much more available and affordable than in the past.

With a step-by-step approach to the unique skills of presentation design and delivery, busy professionals can make rapid progress and not leave up to chance.