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Where Would You Be Today Without Social Media Tools?

Where Would You Be Today Without Social Media Tools?

Where Would You Be Today Without Social Media Tools?

    Social media is becoming completely integrated in our lives.  It has altered the way we communicate as human beings

      and changed the way we do business.  It has flattened corporate hierarchies and tightened our relationships.  Of course, traditional ways of networking and messaging still hold true, such as text messaging, email, phone calls and in-person “meetups” (tweetups in the social media world).  The greatest part about this technological alteration is that you get to choose which social networks you want to participate in, how much time you spend per week engaging with others and what your career aspirations are (and how these tools can get you from point A to B).  The decision is yours and the power is in your hands. From a business standpoint, social media tools are free advertising and allow you to target and measure the impact of marketing programs.  From the individual perspective, these tools can literally regulate your day-to-day operations and routines.

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      What social media tools are there?

        There is a social media tool to satisfy every type of person.  Of course, there are the industry titans such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and YouTube.  There are others that are still commonly used and well-known, such as Delicious, Stumbleupon, Digg, Reddit, and Flickr.  These tools can help you regulate your life if they are paired together.  For instance, I use Google reader in combination with Delicious to sort through articles and save my favorite ones.  From there, I can link to those saved articles on my blog or push them out through Twitter.

        Our habits have changed because of the social revolution/evolution. I bet you wake up each morning and check your RSS feeds instead of navigating through the WSJ or Us Weekly.  What’s the point of going to all these sites, when the information can travel right to your “doorstep.”  In some ways, social media has made us lazier, yet it has made us more productive simultaneously.  If you have a question you want answered, all it takes it one tweet.  Twitter has become the ultimate customer service machine (ask Comcast or GoDaddy).

        Need to book a flight, peruse reviews of destinations and mingle with fellow travelers, then join travbuddy.com.  Do you go to Church?  Yes, there’s even a social network for people who go to Church.  For all you knitters and crocheters out there, there is a social network for you at ravelry.com.  You can manage and live your entire life online now with all of these tools.  Of course, I would recommend that you get out there and meet people because reality always trumps virtual reality.

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        What the experts are saying

          After speaking to a diverse group of social media experts, I’ve come to a few major conclusions.  The first is that social media has enabled us to connect to many people across the world, without much effort.  Without that level of connectivity, it’s harder to make new friends and keep in touch with previous acquaintances.

          Also, the feelings and emotions that these bloggers get from participating in social media keeps them active.  When you take away these social tools, it hurts productivity and it simply makes life a lot more dull.  Your life is made up of relationships that you grow like plants and when they blossom, new opportunities surface. Social media tools create an environment where you can develop more relationships, with people who have common interests.  If you don’t believe me, then here’s what the experts say:

          “A social media free Web would be quieter and less fun – more about finding information than it would be about gaining and nurturing relationships, forcing us to find digital connections, instead of personal connections, to achieve our goal.”

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          “Without the help of social media I would probably not have connected with so many people or gotten a whiff of so many exciting ideas and opportunities.”

          “I would be 20% more productive but have 20% less friends!”

          “Instead of fun-filled moments connecting with friends, downtime would be sadly predictable and stunningly boring.”

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          “Without social media tools, I would be doing one of two things:  A) sitting at my desk, listening to crickets chirp, waiting for my phone to ring or B) watching my small children cry after me as I headed to the airport once again, to do face-to-face consulting.”

          “Without social media I’d be relegated to doing business one phone call at a time, one e-mail at a time and one deal at a time. It provides an exponentially flowing opportunity to reach thousands in an instant, while adding a human element.”

          “Without social media tools, I’d feel like the anchor on local TV news, simply broadcasting the news rather than interacting and building community around it.”

          • Adam Ostrow, editor-in-chief, Mashable

          “Without social media I’d have a less geographically diverse group of friends, but also a tighter circle of really good friends locally.”

          Now it’s your turn!

          You’ve heard from me and some well-known social media experts.  It’s your turn to think hard about what social media tools have done for you. How might life be different right now without them?  Could you live without your Facebook profile and friends?  What would you resort to?  Would you be sending more emails or calling your friends more?  Remember that you can always unplug…

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          Dan Schawbel

          Dan Schawbel is the leading personal branding expert for young professionals.

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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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