War Gaming Your Sales Negotiations

Are you constantly looking for ways to predict your buyer’s next move and calibrate your own strategy to maximize your negotiation outcome. By War Gaming your upcoming negotiation you can do just that.

A Negotiation War Game has 3 main steps:

  • Intelligence
  • Simulation
  • Debriefing

Intelligence

1. Organize your team into two teams- One “Home Team”, and one “Away Team”.

2. Collect some basic information on the actual people you will be meeting. Google your counterpart’s two most important people, have a look at their Facebook page etc. Look for information that tells you “who” they are. Please note: a War Game is an analytical way of using less data and more inferences.

The collected info. is the Away Team’s briefing material. Don’t bother collecting info. on the Home Team as this is your own people – they already know who they are.

3. Decide how many simulations you feel like doing and how long they should be. Rule of thumb – in a Sales-negotiation I would do several short simulations in rapid succession (each simulation interrupted by a strategy break). Strategy breaks are used to evaluate the progress (Teams are kept apart).

4. Get the physical lay-out right. Once the teams are set, the briefing material is done and the simulations are structured, it is important to structure your War Game.

To do a proper War Game you need access to 3 separate rooms:

Room no. 1: Have one large room in which a pre-simulation briefing will be held (briefing material will be handed out). This room will also be used for the negotiation simulation. Last but not least, this room will be used to debrief the participants.

Room no. 2: Have a smaller room in which the Home Team can prepare and evaluate proceedings in peace.

Room no. 3: Have another small room in which the Away Team can prepare and evaluate proceedings in peace.

Simulation

5. Run the simulations

As the simulations get going the Home Team will get a sense of how well their strategy is working against this specific counterpart. In the strategy breaks, the Home Team will re-group, calibrate their strategy and come back to the negotiation table.

Think about adding a feedback system if needed.

Debriefing

6. Gather your team and collect Lessons Learned, when the simulation, or rather the series of simulations are done.

At this point, you and your team will know what your actual counterpart will most likely do when confronted by your original and subsequent (increasingly calibrated) strategies – and better yet, you will have developed a tailor-made negotiation strategy.

Please note that the above mentioned method does not, in advance, prescribe to any particular strategy or tactic. A Negotiation War Game is simply an incredibly accurate, risk-free environment, in which any strategy or tactic can be tested.

So if you are doing anything before your next big Sales negotiation – it better be war gaming!

Tools for Making Effective Presentations and Keeping Your Audience Engaged

Stage Fright is a common disease of our dynamic corporate world. Astonishingly, not many senior executives undergo a formal training in the art of public speaking or in making presentations. And only those senior executives who understand the importance of posture, pauses, blank spaces, facial expressions, flow and quality of words, variation of voice pitch and timings try to learn this art.

I take it as serious business.

After having attended a formal “Effective Speaking” training program in 1996 at the British Foreign Office training center in London, I was quite hopeful to develop my skills as an effective speaker and presenter. This three day program covered the above techniques in addition to a session on effective writing. I remember our facilitators kept repeating;

“There is only one tool that helps deliver good speeches or presentations – Practice, practice and more practice”.

In the past 15 years, I have delivered uncountable presentations and spoke at numerous public forums, conferences and seminars. And equipped with what I learnt at British Foreign Office Training, I also tried to analyze various fellow presenters.

My observations confirm that particularly case of senior executive that did not go through a purpose-designed program, there always are three common key missing links:

- Control on body movements
- Voice variation
- Expressions

In my opinion, one cannot doubt the knowledge and quality of contents of an expert speaker. However if the above ingredients are missing, it is highly likely that your audience will lose interest. I have also seen that extensive and complicated presentations also cause severe damage to presenter’s ability to engage audience. I have also observed that some presenters keep going in the flow of their thoughts, and in trying to impress their audience forget that a normal human has a short attention time span. In my opinion, if your listeners can not retain 25% of what you have said – “you have failed to deliver your message”.

Let’s discuss the common what can be done to avoid “Presentation Disasters”:

Understand your audience:

Highly important. One must not prepare a presentation without knowing the audience. Try to gauge the level of education, expertise, areas of interest, issues faced, and then only develop your presentation. This is the only way to keep your audience engaged throughout.

Write from your heart: Often I have seen people delivering presentations or speeches written by others. For trained and experienced presenters, this is okay, however if you have not contributed towards developing the presentation or speech, speaking from your heart will be too challenging, hence creating an impact too will not be possible.

Avoid reading from paper: I am not a fan of reading from a written paper. Fine to do it only in case of a specific government level speech or expressing point of view, but for any other presentation, if you read from a paper, you are inviting a reputational disaster!

Practice: Okay, here is the key – as I mentioned above, for making highly effective presentations, extensive practice is unavoidable. And when I talk about practice, I am not only suggesting “speaking practice” but also reviewing the flow and carefully thinking about expected questions and how to respond to these questions. Surprisingly, very few presenters follow this strict rule.

I have also seen presenters struggling with technical glitches, ask yourself:

How difficult to have an additional soft copy of your presentation and a printed version? How difficult it is to check the microphone volume? How difficult it is to control the lights at the stage to avoid blindness?

And the final word “Your audience do not know what you would tell them next, so if you have forgotten a point, keep moving on, they won’t notice it”.

If you follow these points, you will be repeatedly performing better.

Happy presenting!!

Projector Hire – Choosing the Right One for Your Presentation

Calling a projector hire company will often get you confused as they ask:

What lumens do you need? (Lumens is the brightness of the projector)
What resolution do you need? (Resolution is the number of pixels at which the display device does not have to expand or compress the input signal)
What type: install, desktop or portable? (Install projectors tend to be larger and heavier, desktop ones are small and light and portable are somewhere in between!)
What you should ask yourself are the following simple questions:

How many people will need to see the projected image? A 1000 lumens projector will usually be sufficient for a smaller meeting – up to 20 people. 2000 lumens is better. A brighter projector will be needed for brighter rooms, bigger screens and larger audiences – some projectors go up to over 10,000 lumens but you shouldn’t need these for a simple presentation!
What will you be showing on the projector? Both data (from a computer) and video can be used to input into the majority of projectors. Most computers are XGA resolution (1024×768 pixels), but some older models may be VGA. This is not a problem for SVGA projectors, which will generally automatically lower the resolution, however if you are projecting high resolution photos and want near photographic detail, then it will have to be an XGA. If the projector is only going to be used to project video from a DVD or video, then there is little advantage in using the higher resolution XGA since SVGA can already project an image consisting of over 800 lines which is more than the resolution of a video signal.
How big is the room – do you need a PA system? Most projectors come with a small speaker that’s useless for anything practical. There’s nothing worse than being unable to make yourself heard! If you’ve got sound with your presentation or video, make sure you hire a separate PA system to let people hear it.