Communication at Work: Are You Being Too Nice at the Negotiation Table?

By Brandon Voss | February 18, 2019

When we’re faced with a difficult negotiation, many of us make the mistake of thinking that niceness will help us get what we want. To make ourselves seem more agreeable, we switch into an overly energized tone and take every opportunity to smile or nod enthusiastically—sometimes without knowing we’re doing it.

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Active Listening: What It Is and Why It Matters in Negotiating

By Brandon Voss | February 04, 2019

The term “active listening” is easy to misinterpret. Oftentimes, it’s used to describe the nonverbal cues (like nodding and direct eye contact) that we use to show someone that we’re paying attention to what they’re saying. Other times, it’s used to refer to minimal encouragers—short verbal expressions like “uh-huh” and “hmm” that we interject to demonstrate our engagement. Although both examples are powerful communication techniques, they don’t fully encompass or explain what makes this approach active.

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5 Effective Communication Techniques for Managing People

By Brandon Voss | January 14, 2019

There’s no shortage of bad managers in the world. Most of them aren’t inherently evil people—they’re simply poor communicators. Being an effective leader and earning the respect of your colleagues comes down to honing your communication and emotional intelligence (EQ) skills more than any other attribute. No matter what your industry or your job title is, if you manage people, these five communication & EQ techniques are essential to your success.

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3 Scenarios to Practice Your Negotiation Skills

By Brandon Voss | December 10, 2018

There’s one commonality that all effective negotiators share: they consciously make the decision to negotiate in their daily lives. It may sound simple, but deciding to negotiate in real-life situations demands stepping out of your comfort zone. In reality, it’s uncomfortable. When you decide to negotiate, you risk feeling weird or awkward, regardless of your age, intelligence, or experience level. Choosing to negotiate also means deciding to be present, to focus your attention, and to engage with your environment and your counterpart in a more deliberate way—all of which can be hard to muster if you’re tired or simply not in the mood.

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Seven Seconds: How to Crush Your First Impression

By Chris Voss | November 26, 2018

How much time do you have to make a first impression? Seven seconds.

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How to Be More Persuasive Over Email

By Brandon Voss | October 29, 2018

Most people have mixed feelings about email. On one hand, it allows us to instantly communicate with people around the world without pigeons or morse code. It’s also the most ubiquitous form of business communication and a ritual part of our daily lives—for better or worse.

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4 Ways to Keep Your Sales Team from Offering Discounts

By Brandon Voss | October 22, 2018

There’s no denying that sales is a high-pressure, high-stakes game. When you close a big deal, you feel on top of the world. When you lose one, it’s hard to remember that you ever won. When you’re between the two, it’s dangerously easy to make concessions to get that coveted “yes” and avoid the sinking feeling that often comes with a “no.” But as we at the Black Swan Group often say, “yes” is nothing without “how,” and compromise is a relationship’s worst enemy. Teach your sales team these four tips to help them close more deals without relying on discounts.

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5 Tricks To Repair A Bad Business Relationship

By Chris Voss | September 10, 2018

The ability to repair suffering relationships is a vital business skill. Cultivating emotional intelligence and control will give you a competitive edge in the negotiation and empower you to be effective under pressure.

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5 Negotiation Techniques That Work

By Derek Gaunt | August 06, 2018

Our work and personal lives are filled with negotiations. Some are small negotiations, such as what movie to watch or who should be responsible for washing the dishes. Other negotiations are high-stakes, like major business deals or funding procurement. While losing your movie choice isn’t likely to have a lasting impact, negotiating key business deals can directly affect your organizational viability, growth potential, and job security. Believe it or not, both types of negotiations involve the same basic skills. Practicing those skills is the key to becoming more effective when it matters most. No matter what type of negotiation you’re facing, these five tried and true techniques will improve your likelihood of success.

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Fine-Tune Your Business Negotiation Skills in 6 Steps

By Chris Voss | July 31, 2018

To be a compelling and consistent negotiator, it’s important to keep learning new skills and evolving your approach as you grow. Even veteran negotiators can benefit from some expert tips. We’ve laid out six tried-and-true methods to help you fine-tune your negotiation skills and improve your effectiveness in business dealings.

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