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12 Reasons You Should Start A Blog Today

12 Reasons You Should Start A Blog Today

I started my first blog a little over three years ago. Since that time I have been blogging about four or five times a week. It has been a great learning experience, and a source of personal and professional growth. It has also done many great things for my business, and has opened up a number of career opportunities that wouldn’t have otherwise been there for me. In this article Here are 12 reasons why everyone should start a blog.

1.  Blogging is challenging, and challenges are good

Anyone who thinks that blogging isn’t challenging hasn’t really done it. It is a challenge to sit down and write, and to do that consistently. It is a challenge to put your ideas out there, but you shouldn’t be scared of it. You should embrace it because it makes you grow, and by growing you become more complex as an individual. It is a challenge that you can handle, and handling challenges can make you happy.

2.  Learn new things

Handling challenges and becoming more complex makes people happy–so does learning. When people learn, they grow, and feel fulfilled. Blogging is a learning experience. You learn how to write. You learn how to access social media to spread your message. You learn the difference between a catchy title and a dull one. More importantly, through your writing, you can learn a lot about yourself. All of these things can increase your happiness.

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3.  Make a difference in the lives of others

Don’t think that your voice doesn’t matter. It does, and what you have to say will have a positive impact on others. The first time that someone reached out to me to say that they consistently read my blog, and that what I wrote helped them, was a very meaningful moment. I realized then that I could make a difference in people’s lives. It made me feel great, and it motivated me to keep writing.

4.  Become an expert at something

A blog allows you to develop your thoughts around a particular idea or topic.This will lead to learning more about that topic and networking with others in that field. If you are consistent in our approach you will find that, over time, you will learn quite a bit about that topic. This can build into a unique expertise, which can lead to new business and career opportunities. I have experienced this in my career as well.

5.  Build your online brand

Blogging is a great way to build an “online brand”. Why does that matter? It matters if you want to keep the door open for continual business and career opportunities. I have had many people contact me over the years on topics such as marketing, sales, and leadership development for consulting opportunities, speaking engagements and other interesting business endeavors. These are some of the topics that I most frequently write on. One of the best ways to create, and control, your brand, is to frequently write on topics that you wish to be known for.

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6.  Expose your ideas to a larger network

When you blog, and include social sharing options on your blog posts, you have the opportunity to expand your sphere of influence to a much larger network. The key here is to write consistent, high quality content that people find interesting and want to share. Sound daunting? It’s not if you start with what interests you. You are more likely to put thought and effort into topics that are of interest to you, and the great thing is that there really are no rules. Anything that is interesting to you is interesting to someone else out there, and that person  will share your content with his or her network.

7.  Create new opportunities for yourself and your business

When you become known for a certain topic, you could get picked up by the search engines, and people who are looking for expertise in that area will eventually reach out to you. This will result in new and interesting career and business opportunities that wouldn’t have otherwise been possibilities.

8.  Have new and interesting experiences

New experiences are fun, and they help to break routine and make life more interesting. Blogging is a great way to have new and interesting experiences. It may be as simple as learning the platform, or having a unique conversation with a follower of your blog. It also may be something like doing a guest post on someone else’s blog, or writing on a topic that requires a little “field work” or research. Make it fun. The more you do, the more likely it is that you’ll stick with that activity.

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9.  Meet new and interesting people

Making new friends is a positive and enjoyable experience. Blogging on topics that interest you will allow you to network and create relationships with people who are interested in similar things. You will also likely connect with other bloggers. Learning about different people, and their unique experiences, can be enjoyable.

10.  Document your life in an empowering way

A blog doesn’t have to be a journal, but it can be if you want. There are really no rules. You can blog about a topic of interest, your random thoughts, or about your personal experiences. My blog is all of the above. When we include personal experiences, our blog becomes a documentary about our lives. It is a great way to record experiences that we can look back on to learn from and reminisce, and share with our loved ones.

11.  Confront your fears

For some people, taking a side, having an opinion, and voicing that opinion online is simple, perhaps even natural. For others it is, at first, a terrifying prospect. If you fall into the latter category, it can be empowering to overcome this fear. What is the worst thing that could happen by blogging? Someone disagrees with your opinion? Big deal. You can handle that. In fact it’s a really good thing for your opinion to be challenged from time to time, as it causes you to analyze it to make sure it is sound.

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12.  Find your authentic voice

Blogging (and writing in general) has been perhaps the most effective means that I have discovered to find and develop my authentic voice. Writing is like art. You start with a blank canvas. Everything that comes after that is coming from an authentic place. With blogging especially, you are free to write on any topic that you choose. It isn’t like school, where you are confined to the terms of a teacher’s direction (and subject to his or her interpretation). When you blog you are free to discover who you are, what you have to say, what interests you, and how you can add value through your words. This is the process of empowerment.

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Ryan Clements

A lawyer turned marketing professional, entrepreneur and writer who writes about entrepreneurship, career and personal development.

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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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