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Uncover the Hidden Messages in the Actions You Take

Uncover the Hidden Messages in the Actions You Take

People have the ability to change with a new insight or idea, but what happens when you are telling yourself through your actions all of the wrong things?

Communication is always happening and most of what is communicated isn’t even in the words that we are telling ourselves or others. Likely you have heard the phrase “Only 7% of our communication is verbal. The other 93% happens to be non-verbal.”

There is a lot going on there that we might not know about!

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The Actions We Take

The most valuable communication you have is with yourself. Through the years many schools of thought have contributed in attempts to help people communicate better with themselves in order to be happier and to help others get more success in their lives. From affirmations and positive thinking to vision boards and meditations, all of these ideas have been presented to allow someone to communicate the right messages that will empower someone versus the wrong messages that will present limitations and inhibit a person.

With all this talk of what one can say to themselves what is lost most is the communication that can be most important to the lives that we are living. This communication is the actions that we take. 

Sometimes we can be our greatest obstacle in getting what we want or living the lives that we want to live. This is usually noticed in our thoughts about how we would like things to be different, but this thinking comes from our behaviors. What is never talked about is all the hidden messages that you are sending yourself through the actions that you take in your life. For further introspection, let’s look at the following examples:

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Talking to That Person You Like

A man sees an attractive woman that he would like to meet at the grocery store. He might have been working with affirmations or on his confidence before seeing this stunning sight of nature, but the moment he decides to take the action of not talking to her, he is telling himself that he is not good enough. It doesn’t have to be true or not, but your mind takes in this message regardless and this non-action. This action then overrides any sort of positive thinking or affirmations that were originally done so that he could be more confident.

Instead, if this man takes the action to approach this woman, he at least affirms to himself that he is good enough and that he goes after what he wants. It doesn’t have to go well and generally this message from the outside world is going to mean far less to him than the message that he gives to him internally. It is far more important for you to tell yourself that you are good enough than for someone else to.

Charging Others for Your Time in Business

Recently I was working with an entrepreneur who coaches CEOs and other business professionals to accomplish their business goals. This man was spending time in excess of two hours on free coaching calls with men who make far more than he does. In doing this action he was communicating many things to himself that were not helping himself or his own business development. Among the messages that he was sending himself in not charging a premium for his services was:

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  • “I’m not worth anything.”
  • “My time isn’t valuable.”
  • “People shouldn’t pay for my services.”

In looking at the messages that he did want to send to himself I told him that he needed to charge a premium for his services and that he needed to delegate his time efficiently. The way I saw it was that this entrepreneur had a lot to offer the world, but if he doesn’t affirm this to himself then he won’t be able to believe it in himself. When this happens, it is very hard for others to believe it in you as well.

Making Time for Yourself

A house wife can be a blessing and she really holds a house together, but if she doesn’t take time for herself, then she and the house can fall apart. For a woman who devotes all of her time to taking care of the kids, the bills, and the house, but no time for herself – this says a lot to her about what she thinks about herself and how she can care for herself. This message can also lead her to a troublesome place.

The messages that she sends to herself by putting herself last are ones of other people having more importance than herself. It is important to take care of others, but when this woman doesn’t take care of herself everything else can crumble down. This message of not being important can affect one’s self-esteem and can really create a situation where someone is unhappy with themselves. Instead, it is important to take time for yourself every day. It says that you value yourself and that you are important. If you think you are important, others are much more likely to as well.

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This hidden communication in the actions that we take is far-reaching and probably even more important than the verbal messages that we give to ourselves.

I recently had the opportunity to reach out to an ultra famous podcaster who I respect. In emailing him I knew that he would probably turn me down to be on the show, but I asked myself about the person who I wanted to be. In my answer to myself, I affirmed that I wanted to show up in a way where I believed in myself and where my actions were in agreement with my highest goals.

Despite my measly Twitter following compared to this man’s behemoth of supporters, I made the decision to reach out to him anyways to see if he would be interested in a collaboration. In a positive response, he affirmed to me that he was grateful for my action, but he politely declined. While my highest intent was to get on that show because it’s huge, this action was about more for me than just that. It wasn’t the outside validation that was of chief importance, but rather the internal affirmation of myself that meant the most to me. The message that I believed I was good enough was the most empowering.

Look at the messages you are telling yourself through your actions. Are they positive or are they negative? Each and every day through the actions that you take, are you affirming this person who you want to be or are you holding yourself back? I encourage you to really take a moment and decide who you want to be and then act as if you are becoming that person. Through your actions, you communicate even more to yourself about who you think you are and by acting differently you can change how you think about yourself.

Featured photo credit: avacadogirlfriend via flickr.com

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Shawn Schweier

Life Success Coach

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Published on September 23, 2020

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

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.

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:

1. Work/Business

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.

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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.

2. Personal

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.

3. Ourselves

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.

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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.

1. Preparation

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.

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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.

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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.

Conclusion

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

Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

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