“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.” – E. F. Schumacker
In an age where we seem to pride ourselves in being intensely busy and remaining connected through technology 24/7, it is easy to forget that it’s the simple things in life that make us happy.
Sometimes we need to find ways to restore this simplicity in our lives. Here are 7 ways to make your life a lot simpler and happier.
1. Call the person, avoid texting
Texting has become a common form of communication, to the point where we have actually forgotten the original purpose of the phone: to actually call a person and speak to them directly. Yes, people, there is actually another person on the other side of that mobile device.
Through texting, It’s very easy for what you want to say to actually be lost in translation. It’s very easy for misunderstandings to happen. And it’s definitely a lot harder to sort out any relationship problems or business issue you may be having. Aside from being incredibly time consuming, the sense of emotion is removed and you can’t actually tell how the person is feeling.Advertising
Would it not be a lot easier if you just picked up the phone and called? One would think so. You could instantly let it be known how you feel. Nothing is lost in translation. The emotion is not removed. There are no misunderstandings. It’s quicker, less time consuming (as you won’t be dwelling on the problem through back and forth messages) and more importantly you will be happier in knowing that you are sorting out the problem.
2. Openly vent your emotions; don’t keep them bottled up
Are you the type of person who has the tendency to hide their emotions? You keep everything inside. When you are angry, you don’t let it be known that you are angry. When you are unhappy with someone, you don’t let that person know. When something someone does irritates you, you don’t tell them.
The problem with this is that it can cause huge stress in your life. It makes you unhappy. Eventually, all these emotions come out, all at once. It’s not pretty. It’s not healthy, both psychologically and physically.
Rather find ways to channel these emotions constructively. Chat with a friend. Find a safe place. e.g. your room where you can openly let these emotions out. Doing this will in the long run surely make you healthier and a lot happier as a person.
3. Create your own memories; avoid the comparison game
How often do you find yourself, scrolling through Facebook, reading post after post of people doing amazing things? You see people travelling the world. Going on hikes. Relaxing with friends. Going out to lunch in beautiful restaurants. Inside you feel a little jealous and you think to yourself. “Why am I not doing these amazing things.?”
Well exactly, why aren’t you? Go out and create your own memories, instead of spending your days reading what others are doing. Visit the places you wanted to visit. Read that book you wanted to read. Climb that mountain. Jump in the dam naked.
Do all those things you want to do and more importantly, stop comparing yourself to others. Avoid the comparison game at all cost. This will not make you happier. What will make you happier is creating your own memories.
4. Maintain open forms of communication; don’t assume
Have you ever guessed what your loved ones or the people you care about are thinking, and been totally wrong? Have you assumed they like something, when in fact this was not the case? Maybe you thought they liked going to a specific restaurant because you have always taken them there, but never actually asked if they enjoyed it?
Assuming and guessing what people think can create complications down the line. Through maintaining open forms of communication and simply asking your loved one’s questions directly, you avoid miscommunication and ensure a healthier and happier relationship.Advertising
5. Actions speak louder than words; don’t panic
We often find ourselves not comforting our loved ones in times of need because we feel we don’t know how to comfort them. We panic about what to do. And what makes it worse is that sometimes your loved ones don’t even want to talk. What do you do?
Sometimes all that is needed is for you to be there. As simple as that. They don’t need words. They don’t want to chat. They just want your touch. They just need a hug. Such a simple action can speak one thousand words.
6. Try something new, don’t hesitate
Do you find yourself hesitating over what to do next? Maybe you are scared of trying something new? Maybe you are scared of what people think? There’s an age old saying:
“It’s better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.”
This means that it’s better to act decisively and apologise for it later than seek someone’s approval to act and possibly risk delay. So if you want to do something do it. Do what makes you happy. Don’t be scared to try something. Don’t be hesitant. You might just find that through trying that something, that you absolutely love it. That it made you a lot happier as a person.
And if it didn’t, well that’s fine. You will survive. Move on to the next thing, knowing that you have eliminated one other thing that doesn’t make you happy.
7. Actively work on your future; stop worrying
We often overcomplicate things, by worrying unnecessarily about the future, instead of actively working on it now. Rather spend time on those things you can control right now and stop worrying about the things you cannot control.
For example, if you want to start your own business, take simple small steps towards achieving that dream that will make you happier.
There is no guarantee as to exactly how the future will turn out, but through focusing on those small things we can control right now, we are on the right track towards a future that will surely be a lot brighter and happier.Advertising
Published on September 23, 2020
6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master
I don’t know about you, but many times when I hear the word negotiate I think of lawyers working out a business deal or having to do battle with a car salesman to try to get a lower price. Since I am in recruiting, the term “negotiation” comes up when someone is attempting to get a higher compensation package.
If we think about it, we tend to negotiate almost every day in a wide variety of things we do. Getting a handle on the important negotiation skills can be incredibly beneficial in many parts of our lives. Let’s take a look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.
Table of Contents
What is Negotiation?
First, let’s take a look at what negotiation is. Put simply, negotiation is a method by which people settle their differences. It is a process in which compromise or agreement can be reached without argument or dispute.
Anytime two people or sides disagree on something, they are almost always looking for the best possible outcome for their side. This could be from an individual’s perspective or someone representing an organization.
In reality, it’s rare that one side gets everything they want and the other side gets nothing that they are seeking. Seeking to reach a common ground of sorts where both sides feel like they are getting most of what they want is the key to being successful and maintaining the relationship.
Places We Negotiate
I’ve mentioned that we negotiate in just about all phases of our life. For those of you who are shaking your head no, I invite you to think about the following:
This one is the most obvious and it’s what naturally comes to mind when we think of the word “negotiate”.
When you first started at your current job, you might have asked for a higher salary. It could be that you delivered a huge new client to your company and used this as leverage in your most recent evaluation for more compensation. If you work with vendors (and just about every company does), maybe you worked them to a lower price or better contract terms.
In recruiting, I negotiate with candidates and hiring managers all the time to land the best talent I can find. It’s very common to accept additional work with the (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) agreement that it will benefit your career in the future.
Recently, I took over a project that was my boss was working on so that I would be able to attend a conference later in the year. And so it goes, we do this all day long at work.
I don’t know about you, but I negotiate with my spouse all the time. I’ll cook dinner with the understanding that she does the dishes. Who wants to mow the lawn and who wants to vacuum and dust the house?
I think we should save 10% for retirement, but she thinks 5% is plenty. Therefore, we save 8%. And don’t even get me started with my kids. My older daughter can borrow my car as soon as she finishes her chores. My younger daughter can go hang out with her friends when her homework is done.
Then, there are all those interactions in our personal lives outside our homes. The carpenter wants to charge me $12,000 to build a new deck. I think $10,000 is plenty so we agree on $11,000. I ask my neighbor if I can borrow his snowblower in the winter if I invite him over the next time I grill steak. And so on.
You didn’t expect this one, did you? We negotiate with ourselves all day long.
I’ll make sure I don’t skip my workout tomorrow since I’m going to have that extra piece of pizza. My spouse has been quiet the last few days, is it worth me asking her about, or should I leave it alone? I think the car place charged me for some repairs that weren’t needed, should I say something or just let it go? I know my friend has been having some personal challenges, should I check in with him? We’ve been friends for a long time, I’m sure he’d come to me if he needed help. I’ve got the #4 pick in this year’s Fantasy Football draft, should I choose a running back or a wide receiver?
Think about that non-stop voice inside your head. It always seems to be chattering away about something and many times, it’s us negotiating with ourselves. I’ll finish up that report that the boss needs before I turn on the football game.
Why Negotiation Skills Are So Important
Put simply, negotiation skills are important because we all interact with other people, and not only other people but other organizations and groups of people as well.
We all rarely want the same thing or outcome. Most of the time a vendor is looking at getting you to pay a higher price for something than you want to spend. Therefore, it’s important to negotiate to some middle ground that works well for both sides.
My wife and I disagree on how much to save for retirement. If we weren’t married it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d each contribute how much we wanted to on our retirement funds. We choose to be married, so we have to come to some agreement that we both feel comfortable with. We have to compromise. Therefore, we have to negotiate.
If we each lived on a planet by ourselves, we would be free to do just about anything we wanted to. We wouldn’t have to compromise with anyone because we wouldn’t interact with anyone. We would make every choice unilaterally the way we wanted to.
As we all know, this isn’t how things are. We are constantly interacting with other people and organizations, each one with their own agenda’s, viewpoints, and opinions. Therefore, we have to be able to work together.
6 Negotiation Skills to Master
Having strong negotiation skills helps us create win-win situations with others, allowing us to get most of what we want in conjunction with others around us.
Now, let’s look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.
Preparation is a key place to start with when getting ready to negotiate. Being prepared means having a clear vision of what you want and how you’d go about achieving it. It means knowing what the end goal looks like and also what you are willing to give to get it.
It also means knowing who you are negotiating with and what areas they might be willing to compromise on. You should also know what your “bottom line” is. By “bottom line” I mean what is the most you are willing to give up to get what you want.
For instance, several years ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car. I say newer because I wanted a “new to me” car, not a brand new car. I did my research and figured out what type of car I wanted. I decided on what must-have items on the car I wanted, the highest amount of miles that would already be on it, the colors I was willing to get it in, and the highest amount of money I was willing to pay.
After visiting numerous car dealerships I was able to negotiate buying a car. I knew what I was willing to give up (amount of money) and what I was willing to accept, things like the color, amount of miles, etc. I came prepared. This is critical.
2. Clear Communication
The next key skill you need to be an effective negotiator is clear communication. You have to be able to clearly articulate what you want to the other party. This means both clear verbal and written communication.
If you can’t clearly tell the other person what you want, how do you expect to get it? Have you ever worked through something with a vendor or someone else only to learn of a surprise right at the end that wasn’t talked about before? This is not what you would call clear communication. It’s essential to be able to share a coherent and logical vision with the person you are working with.
3. Active Listening
Let’s do a quick review of active listening. This is when you are completely focused on the speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond appropriately. This is a necessary ingredient to be able to negotiate successfully. You must be able to fully focus on the other person’s wants to completely understand them.
If you aren’t giving them your full attention, you may miss some major points or details. This leads to frustration down the road on both sides. Ensure you are employing your active listening skills when in arbitration mode.
4. Teamwork and Collaboration
To be able to get to a place of common ground and a win-win scenario, you have to have a sense of teamwork and collaboration.
If you are only thinking about yourself and what you want without giving much care to what the other person is wanting, you are bound to wind up without a solution. The other person may get frustrated and give up if they see you are unwilling to meet them halfway or care little for what they want.
When you collaborate, you are working together to help each other get what is most important to you. The other upside to negotiating with a sense of teamwork and collaboration is that it helps create a sense of trust, which, in turn, helps provide positive energy for working to a successful conclusion.
5. Problem Solving
Problem-solving is another key negotiation skill. When you are working with the other person to get the deal done many times you’ll face new challenges along the way.
Maybe you want a new vendor to provide training on the software they are selling you but they say it’s going to cost an additional $20,000 to provide this service. If you don’t have the additional $20,000 in the budget to spend on the software but you feel the training is critical, how are you going to solve that problem?
From what I’ve seen, most vendors aren’t willing to provide additional services without getting paid for them. This is where problem-solving skills will help continue the discussions. You might suggest to the vendor that your company will also be looking to replace their financial software next year, and you’d be happy to ensure they get one of the first seats at the table when the time comes if they could perhaps lower the pricing on their training.
There’s a solution to most challenges, but it takes problem-solving skills to work through them effectively.
6. Decision-Making Ability
Finally, having strong decision-making ability will help you seal the deal when you get to a place where everyone feels like they are getting what works for them. Each step of the way you can cross off the list when you get what you are looking for and decide to move onto the next item. Then, once you have all of your must-have boxes checked and the other side feels good about things, it’s time to shake hands and sign on the dotted line. Powerful decision-making ability will help you get to the finish line together.
There you have it, 6 effective negotiation skills to master to lead a more fulfilling life. Once we realize that we negotiate in one form or another almost every day in every phase of our lives, we realize how critical a skill it is.
Possessing strong negotiation skills will help you in nearly every one of your relationships at both the workplace and in your personal life. If you feel your arbitration tools could use some sharpening, try some of the 6 effective negotiation skills to master that we’ve talked about.
More Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills
- How to Negotiate Skilfully to Get What You Want All the Time
- Perfect Negotiation: The 6 Stages That Help You Negotiate Successfully
- Negotiation: How to Negotiate for Whatever Result You Desire
Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com