One-minute negotiation tips – handling hostility

Have you ever been in a negotiation when you find that one of the negotiators is hostile?You may find that one participant such as an industrial manager pretends to be helpful but he’s actually there to undermine your interests.

How do you handle the hostile and aggressive negotiator (which could really be described as yet another dirty trick in negotiation)?

It’s difficult because you don’t want to undermine your position.

But if you leave the hostile and aggressive negotiation party to his own devices, you’ll soon find him slowly and deliberately chipping away at you and your offer.

It’s sometimes hard to accept but it in real life negotiations you have people like this. They have personal agendas and want to get at you for whatever reason especially when they feel inferior.

Negotiation experts will tell you to call attention to the other parties behaviour. They will say something like,”You seem to have a lot of hostility towards me and I would like to resolve it.”

It may work. It depends on the personality involved but at least you have made the other party aware of what they are up to and you have shown that you are not going to tolerate their behaviour.

Perhaps a seemingly soft approach could work. You may say something like, “I’m not sure how we can proceed without knowing your role in this negotiation.” Then you might get a reaction, “What do you mean? “

You can pause, hold the tension and then repeat your question, “Please would you explain your role in this negotiation or meeting.”

Again you will get a similar response but wait for your turn. The person will mentioning their title and mumble some stock words about what they doing.

When the other party is finished, you say that you want to make sure that there is a fair and equitable outcome for both parties in this negotiation and please can both parties move forward in a spirit of cooperation.

If this doesn’t work, be sure to keep your cool and carry on. At least the hostile party now knows you know what they are doing. A tactic communicated is a tactic disarmed.

As a last resort you can ask for the hostile negotiator to be replaced by somebody else.

For more one minute negotiation tips, subscribe at www.ideaaccelerator.co.za.

If you want any help with planning your negotiation, please contact me.

Remember a very true thing about negotiation is that we often turn out to be our own worst possible negotiator because we are too invested in our position or are overwhelmed to make a good deal (to save face with colleagues, family and friends).

Chesney Bradshaw has an MBA with a specialisation in strategic negotiation. He has been in business for more than 30 years where he has been involved in negotiation and communication.

The challenge of strategic planning in volatile times

I once knew a man who took a revolver to his head and shot himself. He had miscalculated the market and his business (and life) was in ruins.

It’s an extreme example but a business strategy can go awry very quickly, especially in volatile markets leading to great pain and even tragedy.

We’ve all seen how Covid-19 has impacted millions of businesses because of the lock-down. It came so suddenly, without warning, that it was very difficult, if possible, for business people to do anything about it.

However, many business experts have urged business people, whether the solopreneur, small business owner or even large businesses, to diversify. Some have even advocated having parallel businesses — to provide more than one source of income.

This is probably sound advice but it is difficult to make it a reality. As soon as you want to do something else, get into some other market, start a new side business, you are faced with opportunities and risks.

Strategic planning can assist with your decision making. It involves looking at the opportunities and the risks which come in many forms, including market risk, customer risk, social risk, political risk, environmental risk, reputational risk, legal risk and technology risk.

Knowing what to do requires analyzing the strengths, opportunities, weaknesses and threats of any business proposition as well as an environmental scanning using analytical tools.

An analysis will only take you so far. You need to have a “feel” for whatever you are getting into. You need to make sure that a market exists and that there are customers that will pay for your product or service.

Some entrepreneurs can spot a business opportunity and after doing their research go straight ahead and make things happen. For example, I know a business person who during the lockdown identified an opportunity, found low-cost premises and started a new business in level 4 of the lockdown.

His new business is five times the size of his previous business. Imagine that. I visited the business the other day and was astounded by the volume of customers and his attractive location. (Just by the way, this business person has owned and managed very large factories and is now in another business line after his factories had to be shut down because of ineptitude by authorities who have allowed the local market to be flooded with cheap imported products. But let’s not dwell on that now.)

Parallel or sideline sources of income are available to entrepreneurs and small-business owners unlike the large corporations who are under huge pressure from activist investors to focus on their “core”. Today it’s all about picking the eyes of well-run businesses and breaking them up piece by piece. There’s no room for a portfolio of businesses and if any one of them is not a “strategic fit” it is divested.

Starting something new in addition to what you are doing is one huge ask. But for those who want to give it a go, despite the enormous efforts involved, it remains an important way to diversify risk and rebalance your “portfolio” in these volatile times.

Chesney Bradshaw
BA (Unisa), MBA (Heriot Watt)
ISO 22301 Lead Implementer (BCLI1015573-2018-05)
ISO 22301 Lead Auditor Certificate No. BCLA1015573-2016-11

One-minute business continuity plan – is it possible?

The COVID 19 pandemic has demonstrated how ill-prepared companies and small businesses were for a total shutdown of their operations.

Where was their business continuity planning? How many had reserve cash funds available to stay the course of months of no trading? Smaller businesses lacked a cash kitty.

Employers who grudgingly let employees work from home or were mulling over so-called work-from-home policies but never taking action were in for a surprise. Overnight employers had to rely on employees working from home, many using their own data.

Business risks come in many forms: Economic risk, compliance risk, security and fraud risk, IT and IT infrastructure risk, financial risk, Reputation risk, operational risk, competition (market) risk. Business continuity mainly deals with operational risk but includes the impact of other risks.

So what has this got to do with the One-minute business continuity plan?

Well, if you had the right set of strategic questions in front of you it would be possible to go through them in one minute and perhaps realise that your business would need to come up with a business continuity plan (BCP).

I’m not saying that you can produce a BCP in one minute. That would be ridiculous. But in a minute, if you were serious about it, you could quickly recognise the key business risks you face.

If you had only one minute to decide whether to produce a BCP, what would you need to know?

Here are the most important points:

Have you fully defined the scope of your business operations?
What risks do you face in your business operations
Which risks require a business impact analysis?
How will you address the risks?
What is your recovery time objective?

It’s important that you know the answer to these questions as you call lose thousands and in many cases millions by not understanding the inherent internal operational risks in your business and the external risks your company faces.

Business continuity management can help companies secure future opportunities, such as tenders and contracts. Some large companies are now requiring a comprehensive BCP before approving a supplier contract.

A BCP will not take a minute to complete but a quick understanding of your business risks will get you started in the right direction.

Business continuity planning could take days, weeks and longer depending on the size of your business. For a mining operation, for instance, meetings would need to be held to define risks, analyse them and prepare a BCP.

Remember that a BCP to be effect should be part of a company-wide business continuity management system (and preferably be implemented and audited by ISO accredited specialists).

If you need a free one-minute consultation to evaluate your business risks, then please feel free to contact me.

Business writing tips – is courtesy still relevant?

Business writing tips – is courtesy still relevant?

I was out on my morning run yesterday when a cyclist came tearing down at me on the pavement.

I jumped out of the way and let her pass.

It happened too fast for me to ask her what she was doing riding on the pavement.

We all know, don’t we, that the pavement is for pedestrians and not cyclists.

I’ve never seen a sign that says the pavement is a cycle trail.

Perhaps she thought she couldn’t cut onto the grass side where she could avoid hogging the pavement.

Who knows?

Maybe she was cycling in terror way from someone or a fierce dog.

She could have been in such a hurry because she had some private toilet business.

Or she could be so wrapped up in her private world, that she doesn’t notice anyone around her.

Then again, perhaps she just doesn’t care where she rides. To her she owns the pavement.

My last and final plea, doesn’t age count for anything anymore?

She couldn’t have been past thirty thundering past a “ahem” more “mature” person.

This cyclist is probably the person you receive an email from with the following greeting:

“ABC Pty Ltd works with EPDM synthetic rubber products to provide our clients with commercial and residential waterproofing solutions with unbeatable quality and lifespan.”

No niceties, just straight in with something she wants, wham bam thank you man.

No warm up or polite greeting.

No courtesy.

On one of her feeling good days, she may write:

“I hope this finds you well”.

Isn’t it about time to kill off that email greeting?

Even something warmer such as the following may crack a smile:

“Did you see the news about [XYZ]? How crazy is that!”

Courtesy in business writing involves the respect we show to others. It means writing in terms of the reader’s interest or viewpoint with a positive tone, being polite, sincere and enthusiastic.

Last laugh

A business writing coach who used to come to the university on foot every day arrives one day on a fancy new bicycle. “Where did you get the bike from?” his friends want to know. “It’s a thank you present”, he explains, “from that young student I’ve been tutoring. But the story is kind of weird…” “Tell us!” “Well”, he starts, “yesterday she called me on the phone and told me that she had passed her business writing final and that she wanted to drop by to thank me in person. As usual, she arrived at my place riding her bicycle. But when I had let her in, she suddenly took all her clothes off, lay down on my bed, smiled at me, and said: You can get from me whatever you desire!”One of his friends remarks: “You made a really smart choice when you took the bicycle.” “Yes, another learned friend adds, “just imagine how silly you would have looked in a young woman’s clothes – and they wouldn’t have fit you anyway!”

Business writing tips – can writing apps teach you to write?

I had a chat yesterday to a long-standing friend from the UK who was a colleague with me on an 18-month cadet reporter course we attended with a Johannesburg daily newspaper.

On the course we learned to write from a veteran journalist who told us how to interview and write news stories while in the afternoon we learned to type and did speed hand at a college in the city.

Back then, we didn’t have writing tools except what we assimilated on working for newspapers, an English dictionary and various books to check out facts (beyond from what we obtained from interviewing people).

Common to both of us was a love of good writing whether non-fiction or fiction. My friend still sends me a copy of my favourite well-written paper, the Private Eye.

These days many writing apps are available to help your writing. According to a research report, the global writing enhancement tool market is driven by a “rise in the need for improving English writing skills owing to the increasing adoption of English as an official business language worldwide”.

The number of tools is too long to list here but these are some of them: Grammarly, Reverso, Ginger Software, WhiteSmoke, Hemingway Editor, Virtual Writing Tutor, GrammarCheck, After the Deadline & AutoCrit.

One thing this writing apps don’t do is to teach you to write. You may have learned to write at school (a good foundation for spelling and grammar) but it’s hardly enough to go into writing for publication or in business. To bring your writing up to a level that is required in today’s electronic communications in business you would need to attend a course at one of the universities or find something online that meets your needs.

A business writing course needs to teach you to structure your writing, understand your audience, opening sentences and closing sentences, style and tone and self-editing among other things. In addition to this, you should at least know the following:

·A simple question you must ask yourself before you commit anything to writing
·An approach to writing which is impossible for most business people but easy when you know how
·An exclusive look into messaging in the lightening speed of digital communications
·A simple “laundry list’ of things you must do to organise your facts and figures into a from that gets your reader’s attention
·The scary side of business communication and what you must do to prevent risking your reputation and career

If you’ve read this far, here’s one business writing tip that will save you time and frustration. Take a pen or pencil, switch off your laptop and cellphone, sit in a quiet place and write your important email as you would talk to a friend. When you’re finished, let the email cool off (preferably for at least a day) and then go through it checking for structure, sense and style.

Business writing tips – benefit from technology now

When I was growing up in the late 1960s and early 1970s Crons Dairy in Noordhoek would deliver milk to our doorstep at our house against the mountain at Kalk Bay. My mother would leave yellow and blue plastic tokens together with empty milk bottles.

The milk delivery man would drop off two pints of milk in glass bottles with silver metal caps.I grew up with two brothers and in the morning one of us would be first to bring in the milk. My father always got upset when one of us would open the milk bottle and spoon out the cream on top of the milk.

Milk deliveries are long gone but home deliveries are coming back because of the COVID 19  lock down. These days our local green grocer sets aside his afternoons to make deliveries to customers who want their fruit and vegetables delivered to their homes. It’s a growing side of his business.

Many more businesses are benefiting from the COVID 19 lock down by providing their services and products online. Websites are being revamped. Online product descriptions are being improve. Courses are being delivered via platforms such as Zoom.

Educational institutions delivering home-based courses may have seemed outdated a few years back but if we look at the University of South Africa (UNISA), for example, their delivery model now seems a perfect fit for the times.

With all this going on, how has your business communications changed? Are you taking advantage of the new opportunities that communicating in an increasingly digitised world is presenting?

More and more business people are communicating via electronic and online platforms. Communication is easier with online technology but it can lead to miscommunication and business writing that doesn’t get read or acted upon because of the avalanche of electronic communication.

Here are five things that are important to consider in writing electronically:

  • Clear and straight-forward writing that will helps engage with your reader.
  • Revising your draft email so that it is easy to follow and makes your point straight away.
  • Writing more effective openings for emails.
  • Planning your business writing to address low attention spans in fast-paced digital communications.
  • Making your business writing easy on readers through effectively structuring your message.

More effective business writing helps you on the job when asking for resources, influencing in the workplace, concluding agreements more quickly and reaching out to customers with messages that increase response rates.

Business writing tips – dependency on online technology and its impact on your business writing

How has online technology affected your business communication? Are you writing more emails, Whatsapp messages and texting to compensate for your lack of face-to-face contact?

Digital anthropologist Brian Solis noticed how his own ability to focus and be creative has waned as a result of technology. He has developed the “Lifescale method” in response. Check out his book on Amazon.

Before we get into the impact of online technology on your business writing, I’d like to let you know that I have specialised in professional and business writing for 30 years. I majored in English and Communication at university. I started out as a journalist, become a trade business magazine editor and practiced industrial communications in the heavy electrical and automation fields. My book “Guide to Better Business Writing”. More about this later.

Business writing in the workplace does still matter and it should be clear and grammatically correct. In our last article we covered breaking the rules of writing but despite technology business is conservative and is concerned with accuracy and precision. You may be writing in a casual tone as though you are speaking to another person but it still must be clear and comprehensible.

Some businesspeople are concerned about the negative impact technology is having on written communication. For example, digital communication can result in lost meaning, messages that are misunderstood and de-humanise communication so that it becomes merely transactional – one way communication without mutual understanding and intersubjectivity (shared meaning).

The impact of technology on business writing prompted a number of people asking me to put together a book and course on the subject to communicate more effectively in the era of increasing volumes of digital communications, low attention spans and avoid misunderstandings and damaged relationships through ineffective writing.

The Better Business Writing Course will show you how to improve your business writing including things like:

  • How to “flush” out dense, unclear and woolly writing that stops your reader from reading your message.
  • The real reasons why colleagues and customers are not responding to your emails and other business correspondence.
  • What to write when you have to deal with complaints from colleagues and customers.
  • How to write in a toxic work environment where office and company politics threaten to end your career.
  • The single biggest change that you can make to invigorate your writing for increased business results.
  • A sure way to open doors when job hunting.
  • Proven effective ways to write effectively on the job.
  • Simple – sometimes even counter-intuitive ways to get your message across.
  • Exactly what to do if you have to face writing a business report.
  • The secret of starting your emails when you want something from someone.

Here are the links to the Better Business writing Skills Course (hosted on two platforms):

Or


https://business-writing-academy.teachable.com/p/better-business-writing-skills

Should you wish to obtain a brochure on the course, please email businesswritingacademy@tiscali.co.za.

Chesney Bradshaw

Chesney Bradshaw (BA Communications and English, MBA), Business Writing Trainer, Editorial Consultant and Founder of the Business Writing Academy. Chesney has more than 30 years’ experience in business writing for publications and companies. He has helped managers and employees improve their business writing through training and coaching. His many years of business writing include journalism, magazine writing, corporate communications, trade and technical articles in industries from financial services, food manufacturing to engineering and technology. Chesney brings a broad business perspective to his training, consulting and coaching and shares his insights in a warm, engaging manner.

Business writing tips – when to break the rules

No one likes rules. There are rules in life for just about everything – for music, art, photography, behaviour at home, in the workplace and public spaces and business writing. But you need to know the rules before you can break them. As Pablo Picasso said, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”

What are the rules of business writing?

It’s not all about grammar, punctuation, spelling and whether you should or shouldn’t use contractions.

Of course, you need to know that dangling expressions must be avoided unless you want to write something like this: “John Jefferies wrote the marketing strategy while traveling to Cape Town on the back of an envelope.”

Business writing has “rules” such as etiquette, addressing people, tone and style, avoiding jargon and being clear and understood. It doesn’t mean that these “rules” take away your individuality or personality. As Charlie Parker, American jazz saxophonist and composer, said, “Master your instrument, Master the music, and then forget all that BS and just play.”

It’s the same for business writing. When you know the rules and practice your writing, you will quickly learn when to break the rules so that your communication is more effective. As the Dalai Lama said, “Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.”

What you need to know to improve your effectiveness in business writing can be boiled down to five simple guidelines

  • Know the techniques of getting your message across
  • Be aware of common mistakes in business writing
  • Understand the 5 Cs of business writing
  • Show empathy towards others
  • Use the most effective approach and words in difficult communications
  • Develop your writing skills and techniques to persuade and influence others

Every day you aren’t developing your writing in your business life, is a day you are missing out on building relationships, getting your proposals approved and leaving your career to chance.

To improve your business writing skills with our personal coaching will cost thousands but you will know the rules of effective business writing and gain editing and proof-reading skills (if you are insistent on personal coaching and want a quotation, then please let us know).

A much more cost-effective way to improve your business writing skills is to take our Better Business Writing Skills Course. If you want to get these business writing tools and methods at a very low $30.00 (R500.00) cost (the price will eventually go up after this generous introductory special offer), head on over to the link below before this special offer expires.

The course will show you how to improve your business writing including things like:

  • Six ways to tell if the tone and style of your business writing is about to fail
  • How to use a little-known planning secret to get and hold your reader’s attention with today’s business readers having an average attention span of 8 seconds
  • How to add power to your writing and why you should do it if you want to make your message count
  • How to ensure that your audience is receptive to your business writing
  • Dirt-cheap, “low tech” way to ensure that your business writing has punch for even the most critical readers

Here are the links to the Better Business writing Skills Course (hosted on two platforms):

Or
https://business-writing-academy.teachable.com/p/better-business-writing-skills

Should you wish to obtain a brochure on the course, please email businesswritingacademy@tiscali.co.za.

Chesney Bradshaw

Chesney Bradshaw (BA Communications and English, MBA), Business Writing Trainer, Editorial Consultant and Founder of the Business Writing Academy. Chesney has more than 30 years’ experience in business writing for publications and companies. He has helped managers and employees improve their business writing through training and coaching. His many years of business writing include journalism, magazine writing, corporate communications, trade and technical articles in industries from financial services, food manufacturing to engineering and technology. Chesney brings a broad business perspective to his training, consulting and coaching and shares his insights in a warm, engaging manner.

Business writing tips — for people who suddenly find themselves out of work

You’re going along nicely in your job and suddenly things change. How often does this happen to well-meaning employees? With things as they are right now, it’s happening all the time.

What are the major reasons why people are forced to hunt for new jobs?

Here are a few:

  • Salary
  • Working environment
  • Poor management
  • Unethical management
  • Bullying behaviour (ignored or left unaddressed)
  • Not getting along with your boss
  • Overwork
  • Change fatigue

Sound familiar?

When you improve your writing, you can increase your chances of finding a suitable job. Most jobs require candidates to possess necessary English writing skills. Business writing requires you to possess a good understanding of the English language, vocabulary and structuring sentences. With excellent writing skills, you will become more attractive to recruiters and the hiring manager.

One way to develop your writing is through the Better Business Writing Skills Course. The course has been developed from more than 30 years writing experience and learning in reporting, business magazine writing, public relations and corporate communications and in industry. Our course on better business writing will help you to increase your influencing skills, communicate more effectively and persuasively.

Here are some writing skills you will learn:

  • How to avoid the embarrassing business writing mistakes that risk making your readers nod off or through sheer frustration simply giving up
  • How to prevent yourself embarrassing and belittling your colleagues through what you write, damaging valuable relationships and showing you up as untrustworthy
  • How small changes in your business writing can lead to communication that influences your readers to respond to you and what you have to offer
  • A hidden “twist” in effective written communication that makes your readers more receptive to your ideas and what you have to offer
  • How to “reactivate” your business email correspondence so that readers sit up and take note
  • 10 “quick fixes” for your business writing in trouble of coming across as abstract meaningless nonsense that nobody understands (and sometimes including you)

Every day you aren’t using these business writing methods in your business life, is a day you are missing out on building relationships, getting your proposals approved and leaving your career to chance.

To improve your business writing skills with our personal coaching will cost thousands and you will obtain editing and proof reading skills (if you are insistent on personal coaching and want a quotation, then please let us know).

A much more cost effective way to improve your business writing skills is to take our Better Business Writing SKills Course. If you want to get these business writing tools and methods at a very low $30.00 (R500.00) cost (the price will eventually go up after this generous introductory special offer), head on over to the link below before this special offer expires.

Here are the links to the Better Business writing Skills Course (hosted on two platforms):

Or
https://business-writing-academy.teachable.com/p/better-business-writing-skills

Should you wish to obtain a brochure on the course, please email businesswritingacademy@tiscali.co.za.

Chesney Bradshaw

Chesney Bradshaw (BA Communications and English, MBA), Business Writing Trainer and Founder of the Business Writing Academy. Chesney has more than 30 years’ experience in business writing for publications and companies. He has helped managers and employees improve their business writing through training and coaching. His many years in corporate communications includes extensive experience in journalism, magazines writing, financial services, food manufacturing and engineering and technology industries. Chesney brings a broad business perspective to his training, consulting and coaching and shares his insights in a warm, engaging manner.

A solid career today requires solid writing

Writing makes up a very important part of your career. Think about all the writing you are required to do daily on the job with the rise of electronic communications. Writing emails, business letters, blog articles, short messaging, giving feedback, or sending a CV with a cover letter and posting to your social media accounts.

The ability to write professionally can contribute significantly to your career success.

To look professional, you should be able to deliver relevant information in a structured way.

No matter your level of professional or technical skills, writing of poor quality diminishes your estimation among superiors, colleagues, suppliers and customers.

One way to develop your writing is through the Better Business Writing Skills Course. Our course on better business writing will help you to increase your influencing skills, communicate more effectively and persuasively.

Here are some writing skills you will learn:

  • Detailed strategies for business writing whether it be emails, business letters, presentations, proposals or social media posts (that will make your business communications count)
  • Why now is the single best time to make your business communication count (you may not know it but the level of your skills is becoming less and less effective)
  • Little-known techniques that can steer you to tremendous results in no time at all
  • Six too-simple-to-pass-up ways to make your business writing conversational, warm and effective (attracting people instead of turning them off)
  • Five must-know methods for your business writing that will help you communicate more effectively in any situation)

Every day you aren’t using these business writing methods in your business life, is a day you are missing out on building relationships, getting your proposals approved and leaving your career to chance.

If you want to get these business writing tools and methods at a fat $30.00 (R500.00) discount, head on over to the link below before this special offer expires.

Here are the links to the Better Business writing Skills Course (hosted on two platforms):

writing-academy.teachable.com/p/better-business-writing-skills

Should you wish to obtain a brochure on the course, please email businesswritingacademy@tiscali.co.za.

Chesney Bradshaw