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Professional Development

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4 Tips To Stay Mindful At Work

Trevor No Comments

Recent studies show that multitasking is indeed the worst thing you can do to your brain. Practicing many things at once does not only affect your focus and memory but also your emotional stability and productivity.

When you stop being “present” your mind immediately goes into “auto” mode, blocking your brain’s ability to identify, analyze and rationalize information. And why is this a problem? At work it could lead to mediocre reports, decreased attention to detail and very expensive mistakes. And in life it leads to bad relationship management, exhaustion and low self-esteem.

To avoid getting overwhelmed by thoughts and information, experts developed the “mindful” way of living. Mindfulness encompasses many exercises that help you refocus and live the present, and today we will share some you can practice at work even when it gets super busy!

  1. Mindful Walking

How many times have you forgotten where you parked? Or how you got somewhere? Well, that’s probably because you were thinking about the presentation, the kids and the dinner party while walking.

Mindful walking is about engaging with your actual surroundings and stopping yourself from thinking of what’s not in front of you. You can walk mindfully anywhere, from your desk to the water fountain, or from the parking place to the elevator. The goal is to empower your mind to be present and engage with what is actually happening (the view, the smells, the sounds, etc.) and now with what you can’t control.

Source: Destressmonday.org

Source: Destressmonday.org

      2. The “Pause”

This exercise varies from person to person. Each pause is a minute for you. Take time to breathe and examine if all your physical and emotional needs are being met. Are you thirsty or cold? Is there anything bothering you that you need to work out?

If you can deal with it right away, do so. If not, note it and tell yourself you will take care of it as soon as possible. Acknowledging your needs reminds you that YOU matter and refocuses your mind to the present moment.

Source: trudymorgancole.wordpress.com

Source: trudymorgancole.wordpress.com

  1. Hatha Yoga

Take a minute in between meetings to disconnect yourself from the world and stretch. Stretching does not only release tension but also refocuses your mind and lowers stress levels.

Try to complete a short hatha yoga routine holding each pose for 20 seconds. As you do it, choose not to engage with any outside thought that comes into your mind. Focus only on your body and breath. You can play some music if that suits you.

Source: charmedyoga.com

Source: charmedyoga.com

  1. Meditation

This is my personal favorite. When you meditate you let yourself go in a calmed state of acceptance. Take 10 minutes to sit down, keep your back and neck straight, close your eyes and choose to focus only on your breath or what’s around you. Try to engage only with what you have now and keep yourself grounded to the present through your breath.

If you find it hard to focus, you may want to download meditation audios and practice the many options they offer (sounds, breath, body scan, etc.)

Source: businessinsider.com

Source: businessinsider.com

These are only a few practices to keep you mindful during work. Nonetheless, you don’t have to limit yourself to these. If you’re serious abut improving your everyday wellbeing I highly recommend you research more practices that fit your lifestyle!

 

If you found this post useful, please let us know in the comments!

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6 Business Bestsellers You Must Read!

Trevor No Comments

Reading does not only increase your knowledge in a certain topic. If you get into the habit, reading can also stimulate your mind, expand your vocabulary and equip you with skills to write, analyze and strategize at a higher level.

Imagine then if you got into the habit of reading about business? You wouldn’t only learn from the best guys out there but also you will start to develop unique skills to generate better ideas, try and test new strategies, innovate, increase your personal effectiveness and of course stay updated on important issues.

To get you started on this amazing habit, we’ve shortlisted some of the best business books out there! All you got to do now is choose your favorite.

  1. Unshakeable – Tony Robbins (#1 NYT Bestseller)

BB UnshakeableIf you find yourself trapped in your financial situation, then this book is for you. Robbins has effectively created a step-by-step playbook that promises to take you towards financial freedom in no time. Starting by helping you understand your current financial position, Robbins then guides you to become a smarter investor and a wiser administrator by pointing out how to get the best out of today’s financial systems.

You can get it on Amazon for only $15.32!

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Tools of Titans – Will Farriss

BB Tools of TitansFrom the thousands of interviews Will Farriss has done for his podcast, he created the ultimate “toolbooK” Gathering the most meaningful parts of each interview, Farriss shares with you the “tactics, routines and habits” that business titans (amongst other professionals and icons) followed to be and stay where they are. This amazing book covers topics from AcroYoga to Gut Investing and Hacking, allowing the reader to use it as an encyclopedia of advice given by no other than the very best in each category.

You can get it on Amazon for only $16.80!

 

 

 

  1. Option B – Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

BB Option BA great read not only for business but also for life. In this incredible book, Sheryl Sandberg along with psychologist Adam Grant analyze the ability of the human spirit to deal with loss, conquer adversity and build resilience. This emotional yet practical guide is a must-read if you want to build stronger and more resilient workplaces that know how to handle adversity, accept change and thrive even when things don’t go as planned.

 You can get on Amazon it for only $9.19!

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Joy, Inc. – Richard Sheridan

BB Joy IncWritten by Menlo Innovations co-founder and CEO Richard Sheridan, Joy, Inc. is an insightful and fun guide to increase employee engagement, ensure a happy and motivated workplace and increase profit all at the same time.

Basing the culture exclusively on the value of “Joy”, Menlo has been able to grow like no other tech business in a short period of time. Sheridan, in turn, attributes all of this to happier employees and in this book he gives you all the tips so you can achieve the same!   You can get on Amazon it for only $11.06!

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Emotional Agility – Susan David

BB Emotinal AgilityAn incredible research and experience-based piece, Emotional Agility displays a series of steps and exercises to help you identify, manage and get the most out of your emotions. After reading this book you will be able to handle difficult situations (in life and at work), by facing them intelligently with courage and serenity. Also, you will learn valuable skills to lead the behavioral change that will unleash your full personal and professional potential.

You can get on Amazon for only $9.26!

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. The Leadership Challenge – James M. Kouzes & Barry Z. Posner

BB Leadership ChallengeDisplaying the scientific, artistic and social sides of leadership, The Leadership Challenge holds valuable expert advise to help leaders understand the importance of their role, guide their workforce towards team work, learn the power of motivation and take advantage of today’s electronic environment to do so. This book, without question, is an amazing guide to build the leadership and social skills necessary to boost your organization.

You can get it on Amazon for only $23.79!

More resources: 

  1. https://800ceoread.com/bestseller_lists
  2. https://hbr.org/2012/08/for-those-who-want-to-lead-rea
  3. https://www.nytimes.com/books/best-sellers/business-books/?_r=0

If you found this post useful, please let us know in the comments!

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6 Online Learning Platforms for Business!

Trevor No Comments

No matter where you are in your professional life, it is never too late to keep learning.

Every day new trends, tools and methods come out to help businesses and professionals take a step forward, and that includes you! . That’s why we’ve put together a short list of six great online learning platforms for business to help you choose and jump ahead of the curve!

  1. HubSpot Academy

If you’re interested in learning more about marketing, sales and design this is the platform for you. Apart from offering a great variety of free and paid certifications, HubSpot gives participants access to a broad network of collaborators and connects certified individuals with potential employers

  1. Alison

From customer service to human resources and project management, Alison offers more than 800 courses that can be completed within hours and at no cost.

  1. edX

 edX courses were designed to provide you with the best professional and master level education online. In collaboration with great American and Australian universities, you can complete advanced courses in a few weeks whilst being taught by actual university professors and paying as little as $150 per certificate. EdX courses are internationally recognized by companies and can be used as credit to accelerate your Masters degree!

Source: blog.knowbe4.com

Source: blog.knowbe4.com

  1. Coursera

 Bringing knowledge from some of the best universities in the USA, Coursera can train you in anything from data science to game theory and Buddhism. Anything you need to learn to advance your business or career can be found in Coursera, taught by professionals and at reasonable prices. Although these certificates don’t represent credit hours from the participating university, they are great resume boosters and would look amazing in your LinkedIn profile!

  1. Lynda

 As they announce it on their website, Lynda offers more than 5000 courses in business, tech and creative skills taught by industry experts. To start you can either sign up for a free trial or you can go ahead and take the premium option (starting at $29.99) to get instant access to all the knowledge. Also, in partnership with LinkedIn, Lynda offers training programs for companies, ensuring a better learning rate for all your employees!

  1. Google For Entrepreneurs

 Ideal for start-ups and small businesses, Google for Entrepreneurs brings together lessons, tools and networks to get your business up and running. With most products being free, this is the place to go to get all the resources you need regarding data analysis, digital marketing, research and communications.

If you found this post useful, please let us know in the comments!

More Sources:

  1. http://www.onlinecoursereport.com/the-50-best-online-course-providers-of-2015/

10tips

10 Steps To An Organized Day

Trevor No Comments

Sometimes it can be really hard to stay focused and organized throughout the day. But it’s not impossible!

We’ve put together ten steps successful people use to get their days started, hoping they can help you deal with your day in a more relaxed, healthy and organized manner

  1. Plan your day the evening before

 To avoid stress in the morning, try to plan your next day before you go to bed. Check your calendar or email for any commitments and sketch your next day’s schedule.

This allows you to move things around, prepare yourself in advance and make the necessary arrangements so everything runs smoothly.

        2. Start your morning with a healthy ritual

Bembu, shares some really great morning rituals that can get you started on the right foot every day. Some of these include:

  1. Drinking a glass of warm water as soon as you wake up to restart the body and rehydrate all your internal systems.
  2. Start your day earlier to give body and brain time to fully wake up.
  3. Give yourself time to do some exercise (stretching, yoga, etc.) and some meditation/prayer before you start the day.
  4. Avoid heavy foods and stimulants (energy drinks) in the morning.

gmorn

  1. Eat a healthy and balanced breakfast

Whether you’re relaxed or extremely busy in the mornings…never skip breakfast!

Your glucose levels drop significantly during the night and if you don’t replenish them early in the morning you run the risk of running out of energy, feel light-headed, increase stress levels and decrease concentration.

Health.com has great insight on the topic and have great breakfast food suggestions for fast and slower lifestyles. They recommend oats, Greek yogurt, Fruit, eggs, almonds, cereals and whole-wheat products.

  1. Arrive to work a bit early

 Getting there early gives you time to settle, organize your tasks, read a little before it gets crowded and catch up on emails.

Leaving home early can also help you avoid traffic, which can decrease your stress levels.

Extremely busy for breakfast?? Try these smoothies from Domestic Geek

  1. Call for 5 minute “focus meetings”

 Good companies often have their employees working towards the same goal. Good communication is key not only to share strategies and timelines but also to connect with fellow workers and get everyone on the same page and mood.

The 5-minute catch-up can help you organize your entire department in a short and sweet manner.

  1. Use technology to your advantage

 Today there are many, many tools to help you organize your days. From Google Calendars to reminder apps to personalized agendas, the options are endless.

The key is to know yourself and adopt tools that meet your personal needs and those you’re in charge of.

Source: play.google.com

Source: play.google.com

  1. Take recreational breaks

 To stay focused it is good to give your brain a 15min break every 45 min. use this time to recharge, rest and refocus.

Amongst the many things you can do during break there’s reading, musical meditation, stretching, mind exercises, talking a walk or catch up with friends.

  1. Review your accomplishments before you leave work

 Before you leave, make sure you review your “task list” and see how far you got. Then reprioritize tasks and note down any meeting, deliverable or presentation you have for the next day.

Reviewing your accomplishments can also help you visualize your progress and reassess how you are managing your time and resources.

Read More: Make Work-Life Balance a Reality!
  1. Leave work at work

 After you leave work, make sure you don’t bring it with you. Check all your emails before you leave finish everything before you walk out and then forget about everything (unless you really have to work at home).

  1. Dedicate time to other activities that make you happy

 Waking up early and taking on the day with great determination depends a lot on how you feel inside, and how satisfied you feel with your life.

To feel good you need balance, you need things that make you feel alive and filled with purpose. So think about what you love to do and set sometime to do it! Even if its for 10 minutes every day. You can even mix your hobbies with your everyday duties to make them happen!

If you found this post helpful, let us know in the comments!

 

Build New Year resolutions (2)

Make Work-Life Balance a Reality

Trevor No Comments

An article from Forbes revealed that 94% of professionals clock more than 50 hours/week and some even jump to 65 just to meet work demands.

Countless factors such as unemployment, strict operation systems, and corporate climbing (amongst others) have made people addicted to work, leaving little space for friends, family and hobbies consequently hurting their mental and physical health.

To avoid becoming an unhealthy workaholic, health and profession experts have suggested many techniques but to make it easy I summarized them in 5 key points…

  1. Sort out your priorities

 Australian marketer, Nigel Marsh has spent seven years studying and writing about work-life balance. Through his research he found that most people suffer because they choose jobs and “dreams” that are not compatible with the life they actually lead.

If you were raising a young family, for example, it would be very hard to dedicate your full potential to a 65hr/week job.

Work-life balance, in turn, becomes a very personal choice and depends on what you value most and how much you’re willing to sacrifice to get it.

This does not mean, however, that you can’t work and be a parent or an entrepreneur at the same time. It means you must be willing to divide your potential between tasks and give each one the time it deserves to be done right (not perfect).

To hear Nigel Marsh’s complete TedTalk, watch this video…

                                                                                             

Source: GoodTherapy.org

Source: GoodTherapy.org

2. Don’t judge yourself too quickly

According to Marsh, you can’t expect to be balanced in a glimpse or live 365 balanced days. Instead, it is recommended to set clear goals and follow a realistic timeframe to achieve them.

Say you don’t have time for your hobbies (and that’s very important to you) you can slowly work towards getting a part-time job and then transform your hobby into an extra source of income. To do that you may need weeks even months, but knowing where you’re going keeps you motivated to work for it every day.

  1. Source: SalesFocus.inc

    Source: SalesFocus.inc

    Communicate and stick with your choices

 If you choose to work and lead a personal life, it is key to communicate your choices to those around you, so they know what to expect from you and vice versa.

Say you’re working part-time, for example, your boss must know that after 1pm she cannot expect you to do what you would from 8-12. Whatever you do, respect the time you spend on every activity and try to live the present. If you are at work, don’t distract yourself with outside things. And, if you are with your family don’t take away their time by checking emails or answering work calls.

  1. Realism vs. Perfectionism

 Usually we spend endless hours on something because we strive for perfection. To find your balance it is important to perform with quality but not obsess with the details.

An article from Forbes suggest you seek to delegate or outsource some activities so you can spend less time worrying about the mess (at the office or at home) and enjoy more of life.

Source: www.7cups.com

Source: www.7cups.com

  1. Take advantage of all your resources

To save up time, try to get help from the people and technology around you.

You can take meetings over Skype if you need to stay at home, or ask your neighbor to help you with carpool. If you are raising a young family seek “flex-schedules” options or go freelance.  When you are clear on how your balance look like it is easier to build a support system around it.

To conclude, it is fair to say that work-life balance is all about priorities, time management, communication and commitment! And it can be a reality for you if you are clear on what you want and you work every day towards it.

Do not expect to be balanced in one day but also do not wait to start living until retirement comes along!

New Year resolutions banner

Write New Year Resolutions That Stick!

Trevor No Comments

According to experts, New Year resolutions have an average life spam of three weeks. In the euphoria of the moment we set ourselves to achieve the impossible and more often than not we end up abandoning the dream before it even starts.

So, how can we set resolutions that actually “stick”? These 8 tips will get you started in the right direction…

  1. Readjust the purpose

Often, we fail to achieve our resolutions because we set them for the wrong reasons.

First we see them as “musts”, which, in turn, makes the thought daunting. To make it work, psychologists and coaches suggest you see resolutions as something you “want” or “desire” to accomplish. That way you don’t become a victim of the process but the pilot of your growth.

And second, we often see resolutions as “absolutes” and believe that unless we achieve them we won’t be beautiful or successful or good. Truth is, you are already worthy and achieving your goals will only help you grow but not become “more of a person”. When we grasp this truth, we accept the challenge in a more relaxed and optimistic attitude.

  1. Narrow down the list

Instead of creating a long and intimidating list of “must-achieves”, try to be efficient and focus on the 3-5 things that will make all the difference.

For example, instead of telling yourself to diet, run, and prepare healthy lunches for work…focus only on the running part until you master it… and then move on to the next step.

Trying to tackle too many things at once can burn you out and discourage you to a point you abandon it all together.

  1. Set a realistic pace

It is better to go slow but steady. Don’t push yourself to become “more organized” in one week. Or reach an impossible target in one month.

Change (if is going to be sustainable) takes time and it is different for everyone.

This year, for example, I told myself I was going to focus on three goals and I was planning to achieve them in 12 months. By giving myself one year to improve, I was allowing my mind, body and schedule to align and create a lasting strategy.

If you know two weeks is an unrealistic timeframe to reach that $1M deal, then give yourself more time. In the end getting there is what matters.

Read More: Start 2017 Successfully
  1. Don’t be afraid to readjust mid-way

Your resolutions will be as dynamic as you are. If you find in two months that you can’t commit to three calls a week with your long-distance clients, try to make that 1 call you can commit to the best quality call ever.

In the end resolutions are more about the objective than the tactic. As schedules get crazier and work gets harder, you can’t expect to run five times a week, yet you can still continue to improve your health using “in-office” exercise plans or by walking to work, etc.

  1. Create a friendly yet effective “accountability” system

Don’t be too harsh on yourself but don’t let yourself down either.

While some accountability systems are very precise (keeping track of your sales, weight or new client accounts), others can be more abstract. The key is to find one that keeps you motivated and pushes you without wearing you out.

Exercising with friends is a great one. Adopting a reward system could work as well. Imagine how great it would be to buy yourself a new laptop if you hit that sales target by the end of the trimester!

Be as creative as you want but make sure the system keeps you on the right track!

  1. “Dissect” your resolutions

Sometimes goals seem unachievable because we don’t really know what they actually mean or how to approach them.

Instead of telling yourself “I want to have better work-life balance”…ask yourself: what would be the best work-life balance look like? What characteristics does it have?

Based on your answers you can start thinking of the steps you must follow to achieve it and then plan an accountable strategy!

Knowing exactly what you want and how to get there will make the process clearer and easier to follow.

  1. Keep it hidden, keep it safe 

Have you every heard people say “if you say it, you may jinx it?”. Well, truth is, there are studies that prove this right. Experts suggest that people are less likely to complete a plan when they constantly share it.

And why is that? Well, according to Peter Shallard, the unconscious brain cannot distinguish between imagined success and real success…so when you share your plans with others your brain rewards you for that success and you feel amazing! This phenomena, however, makes you want to share it again and again before you actually do something about it. Simply, because sharing takes less energy than executing and pretty much has the same euphoric effect.

So bottom line…share less, do more!

      8. Enjoy yourself

And finally…have fun!

 Yes growth is supposed to hurt but it is also supposed to be exciting. And you can always make it as joyful as your creativity allows.

So dig deep, think outside-the-box and push your limits (in a healthy way). And remember to never be afraid to fall and try again! Learning is part of the game!

 

If you found this post useful, please let us know in the comments!

International Business Academy Guatemala | Starting 2017 Successfully

Starting 2017 Successfully

Trevor No Comments

The new year is upon us and with that it means that it’s time to set the goals we’ll accomplish in the next 365 days. Most New Year’s Resolutions are set at the beginning of the year, but are quickly forgotten in the next few weeks.

Since there are many facets to our lives, the best way to establish goals for the year is for each dimension. One for our business or work, one for personal achievement, one for the social landscape, one for our relationship dimension, etc. In order to ensure that we accomplish all our objectives, maybe what we need is a new perspective on New Year’s Resolutions:

1. 100 –Day Plan

First coined in Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930’s to measure the effectiveness of his presidency, it is now a commonly used milestone across presidencies in various countries. In the same manner, while setting your 2017’s goals consider what the milestone or short term goal will be on the first hundred days. By the time mid-April rolls by you will be able to feel a sense of accomplishment or make the necessary adjustments to put your objective back on track.

2. Declutter

Although a busy desk is a sign of a busy mind, it is always helpful to improve your workspace by decluttering. If there are papers and documents that are no longer needed, shred it. If you are doing this on a company wide scale, dedicate a big portion of a slow workday to throw out all irrelevant documents and files that are just taking up space.

3. Remove toxic people

If you wanted to fire somebody, stop delaying and do it while following legal procedure. This is also applicable for your personal life; if there is somebody that always strays you away from your goals negatively, it’s time to move away from therm.

Whichever your goal, this will be the year that you accomplish them all.

 

Sources: Entrepreneur, US News

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The Skills To Have In This Era

Trevor No Comments

As the world enter the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”, humans must adapt their skill sets to meet future demands. With robots threatening to take over our jobs, we’ve found ourselves in a position to “prove” our potential and to develop valuable competencies no robot could replicate.

Considering research from the World Economic Forum and LinkedIn, let’s take a look at 6 skills you must have to thrive in this era…

 

  1. Complex Problem Solving
problem-solving

Source: tonex.com

This skill comes hand in hand with human-centered R&D. According to LinkedIn, to solve complex problems you must learn to ask tough questions. Be quick and accurate when framing a problem and learn to evaluate multiple alternatives at the same time.

To solve these types of problems, however, solutions can’t stay on paper. You must prototype as you go and think ahead to be able to scale the solution.

  1. Critical Thinking
critical-thinking

Source: Global Digital Citizen Foundation

 We’ve heard so much of critical thinking. Yet, every day you see employees who can crunch the numbers but lack the ability to analyze them. Or people who can read an article but cannot associate the information to draw conclusions.

To think “critically”, individuals must be able to properly conceptualize, apply and evaluate information, to later build well-thought judgments that will guide their actions or beliefs.

To thrive, now we must learn to ask questions about what we do and why we do it. It won’t be enough to crunch the numbers, now we must to draw conclusions from our work and propose courses of action.

  1. Creativity
Source: University of Cambridge

Source: University of Cambridge

 This skill has been incredibly underrated in previous years. Often attributed only to artists and artisans, we lost the real meaning creativity and banished it from the workplace unconsciously.

To be creative in this era means to think outside the box and requires being able to craft many solutions to one problem and to gather information in the least conventional ways.

Creativity, in turn, comes hand in hand with education and eagerness to learn new concepts and not be afraid of failure. Creative individuals often see many possible courses of action for one issue; they are quick thinkers and can achieve a lot using very little.

With new technologies coming out and globalization knocking at our doors, companies need creative thinkers more than ever. And as the World Economic Forum puts it, “robots may help us get to where we want to be faster, but they can’t be as creative as humans (yet).

  1. People Management
Source: PRP Solutions

Source: PRP Solutions

 People management is all about empowering individuals to be the best version of themselves both professionally and personally.

To “manage” your people is to give them access to development opportunities that will unleash their potential and show them the best way to thrive. It is creating an atmosphere or culture that supports employees and challenges them to perform at their best.

Robots can’t yet listen to others and form critical judgment on how to help them thrive. They are not yet fully empathetic or have the ability to coach humans on how to unleash their top potential.

Companies, in turn, are looking for individuals that can transform their teammates into more productive people by effectively attending their human needs.

  1. Emotional Intelligence
Source: Sessioncam.com

Source: Sessioncam.com

 Many believe intellectual intelligence means everything and throw emotional intelligence under the bus.

Truth is, when things get complicated, no matter how smart someone is if that person can’t deal with his emotions, the entire project, task or negotiation can go down.

Emotional intelligence, however, goes beyond controlling your anger or depression. To have a high EQ means your able to detect, control and express your emotions freely. You are not a slave of “how you feel” and you can separate subjective from objective.

On top of this, emotionally intelligent people are able to build better interpersonal relations since they can detect, guide and influence other’s emotions as well as their own.

That said it is no surprise companies are going crazy for people with higher EQs. They want people who can build more objective judgments but won’t lose empathy for others.

       6. Service Orientation

Source: Hotelogix

Source: Hotelogix

 And finally, service. Companies are looking for people that can recognize and meet client’s needs even before clients express them.

These people must be always ready to help and able to draw quick conclusions based on observation and research.

Machines can help us deal with data more accurately but people still hold their place when it comes to “customer service”.

Sources:

  1. http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/defining-critical-thinking/766
  2. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/01/the-10-skills-you-need-to-thrive-in-the-fourth-industrial-revolution/
  3. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/skills-world-need-future-infographics-enrique-rubio

 

 

 

 

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Seal That Deal!

Trevor No Comments

Some say it takes a lifetime to become a master negotiator. But, you’ve got to start somewhere, right?

To help you get started or just to refresh some concepts, we’ve put together a short list of 5 things experts consider vital to conduct a successful negotiation and close that deal!

  1. Do not confuse people with interests

 Negotiation experts Roger Fisher and William Ury, emphasized in their bestseller “Getting to Yes”, the need to treat people softly but tackle problems the hard way.

Usually when people negotiate they take one of two positions: they’re either the “hard” negotiator (all or nothing) or the “nice” guy (let’s just agree on something we both want). The problem with the first one is that you may shatter relationships, but the second one may not lead towards the optimal outcome.

Fisher and Ury then propose a third position: the “principled” negotiator. In this scenario, participants are not friends or adversaries; they are problem-solvers that have come together to reach an optimal outcome that is both efficient and amiable. Negotiators take emotions into consideration but act unbiased, they propose several scenarios and reach a result based on objective standards not mutual “agreement”, being influenced by reason and not pressure.

An interview with 700 Club and to Chris Voss helps explain this negotiation strategy:

 

  1. Develop a solid negotiation strategy months before the meeting

Sanders, Lewicki & Barry outline the ideal strategy in their book “Essentials of Negotiations.” And although I can’t cover it all in this post, here are some highlights:

  • Define your issues & interests: Issues define what you will be negotiating. To outline them you can make a list of all the things you want to cover during the negotiations. If you’re selling or buying stocks, for example, make sure to cover price, transfer costs, legal implications, etc. Then proceed to evaluate all your interests. Why are you negotiating? list your interests and make sure you can differentiate between objective and subjective interests to plan a better strategy.
  • Build your bargaining scenarios – based on your issues and interests proceed to build your scenarios, combining all desired outcomes from best to worst. Build different packages and offers you can give your adversary, always taking your adversary’s interests and possible bargaining mixes into consideration.
  • Pick objectives and opening offers –. Experts suggest you set your starting offer higher than expected to give enough room to negotiate all the way down to your desired outcome.
Source:

Source: Stattys.com

  • Define your best alternatives to the desired outcome (BATNA) – define what would be the last offer you can take before you leave the negotiation. Be ready to walk away if what’s being offered doesn’t appeal to you.
  • Analyze your adversary – this involves understanding your adversary’s agenda, their bargaining scenarios, their interests and needs and of course to understand their walk-away points and best alternatives. (Pretty much, seek to learn your adversary’s strategy before the negotiation).
  • Write down your meeting’s protocol – make sure both you and your adversaries know who is attending the meeting, where will it take place, at what time and what will be negotiated. Set common rules and share the meeting’s agenda.

It is vital that the negotiating team takes time to conduct research, review the proposals, go over the different scenarios and know their walk-away points by heart. The best negotiations are reached after long months of studying and hard work.

For more strategy techniques visit the following link.

  1. Beware of the cultural and social context

When handling a negotiation is very important to understand the culture and context in which you’re negotiating. People in Asia value different things from those in Latin America or Europe. Many cultures seek to start meetings by addressing each adversary’s personal life. Others consider it inappropriate.

Beware of social structures, the value of hierarchies, the value of honor and reputation and different negotiation styles. Pay attention to those at the negotiating table. What and why are they negotiating? Is it for them or their boss? What does winning mean to them? Are you dealing with prestige interests? Or simple financial interests?

Knowing where your adversaries come from and what they value as people and citizens, will give you a better standing point in any negotiation.

Source: Stanford.edu

Source: Stanford.edu

  1. Do not fear emotions, take advantage of them

For years it’s been said emotions are detrimental to negotiations. To contemporary negotiation experts, however, this couldn’t be more false.

Nowadays, the best negotiators do not only have a high IQ but also a high EQ (emotional intelligence). Great negotiators know how to regulate and manage not only their emotions but also those of the other party and steer conversations towards a desired outcome.

Emotionally intelligent individuals can adjust a message and share information like others would like to hear it. Hence convincing the other party to feel the way they want about an offer, issue or interest.

Good body language and gesture reading is key to the topic. Usually it is your adversaries’ physical behavior that gives away their emotional state towards any given informaiton.

And finally, although this seems like a “manipulating” game, make sure you don’t stray from protocol to ensure an ethical interaction.

Source: Sessioncam.com

Source: Sessioncam.com

  1. Rest & Relax

And the last piece of advise: give your team time to rest and relax before and during the meeting. To ensure that your team is sharp at all times, make sure they get a good night sleep thenight before, plan for small breaks every 20-30 minutes and, If protocol allows, have drinks and snacks available for the teams.

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For more information on the topic I recommend the following books and articles. And remember you can learn all the theory in the world, but to become a great negotiator you need a lot of practice!

 Resources:

  1. Essentials of Negotiations by Roy Lewicki, David Saunders and Bruce Barry
  2. Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher and William Ury
  3. Top negotiations Books, Videos, Exercises and Simulations
  4. How to Talk Anyone into Doing Anything with Chris Voss
  5. Harvard Business Review:  Negotiations

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Young Guatemalan Entrepreneurship

Trevor No Comments

The Lucky Attitude describes millennials as the “Startup Kids”, the generation that wants to be their own boss and the ones that see more value in creating something for themselves than climbing the corporate ladder.

Although such is a general statement, millennials in Guatemala are proving it right. With 40.3% of adults between 18-64 intending to start a new business and 60% of them believing they have the right capabilities to do so, you find yourself facing a country that ranked #107 in the Global Entrepreneurship Index.

But why are Guatemalans so special when it comes to business? My visit to the annual “Product Fair” sponsored by “Empresarios Juveniles” and “Universidad Rafael Landívar” gave me a good idea.

Image Credit: Katia Arias

Image Credit: Katia Arias

The program “Young Enterprises” is a semester long workshop where first and second year students from the business department come together in groups to build a functioning small-scale enterprise from scratch. Throughout the workshop, students must adopt different managerial roles, develop a product and create a business/marketing plan to launch their final concept at the product fair, where they are judged based on how well they developed and presented their idea.

As I walked by “grading” the stands, I couldn’t help to notice four prominent trends:

  1. Taking advantage of what’s local and traditional

The new generation of Guatemalan entrepreneurs has rediscovered the power of tradition and is exploiting it right!

Why are traditional products so attractive?

Because they not only offer a useful piece of clothing or accessory, but also a culturally valuable piece that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. By printing the Guatemalan identity on bags, shirts and wallets you’re giving these products a level of authenticity and “exoticness” clients inside and out of the country find very attractive. When clients buy traditional products they’re buying a story, a piece of the country and an “authentic” pass into global citizenship (which many people find extremely desirable and valuable).

Local products, however, have another advantage. While you’re promoting your country’s uniqueness you are also helping the artisanal community both socially and economically. Since entrepreneurs rely on indigenous craftsmanship to create their pieces, they embark themselves in a journey to better understand their people and roots. Also they keep the money within the local economy helping the country grow.

So, when clients see “local and traditional” they are sold. They see artisanal (which is “cooler” than commercial), they see cultural value and they see social impact (which makes them feel good about the purchase, and as I mentioned before, almost 90% of purchases are made through the emotional brain).

 

Image Credit: Katia Arias

Image Credit: Katia Arias

  1. Using social causes as marketing tools

 Speaking of the emotional brain, young Guatemalan entrepreneurs have also learned to take advantage of the country’s critical situation to create marketing campaigns with social aspects.

With the huge spectrum of social and economic gaps in Guatemala, people have many “causes” to choose from when they think of Social Corporate Responsibility. I was surprised of how many students chose to support a cause as part of their marketing. Their products were simple, almost useless to the eye but buying them helped someone, so suddenly the products had a social value impossible to ignore.

There was a stand selling bottle openers. The products didn’t have anything special on them, but if you bought one (for very cheap) you would be helping a kid’s shelter. So technically you bought the cause not the product.

Another stand offered bracelets to support breast cancer. I liked their approach when they said to me; take a bracelet for a meaningful donation of Q.20. Notice they didn’t say the words price or cost. Although they had adopted the structure of an nonprofit, I was happy to see that the salespeople prepared themselves to offer their products using the right vocabulary and approach.

Image Credit: Katia Arias

  1. Targeting Millennials

 According to PFS, “millennials may only comprise 26% of the population, but they contribute to approximately 35% of retail spending. That said, new and old businesses must seek to understand what millennials value to properly market to this generation; and, in consequence, their baby boomer parents.

The World’s leading research and insight platform, Qualtrics divided millennial values in four: relationships, socio-ecological impact, easy-grab and high-tech.

Most of the stands did offer products that fell in one of these categories: from fashionable iPhone chargers to eco-friendly bottles, one-step make-up removers, traditional clothing and artisanal jewelry.

Image Credit: Katia Arias

Image Credit: Katia Arias

  1. Employing charismatic salespeople

 The category of “relationships” in the millennial value circle refers to how well the company seeks to relate with the customers before they sell them a product.

Latin America is comprised by what sociologists call “primary cultures.” Where most people rely on inter personal relations to meet their needs. These cultures value extended family systems and social connectivity as well as oral forms of communication and natural-spiritual concepts.

These cultural traits have helped Guatemalan entrepreneurs become natural salespeople (at least some). “4Her” was the small business that captivated me the most. They had incredible traditional products and they knew the story behind them. But, what really helped was the team’s customer service. The only reason I didn’t buy from them was because I didn’t have any cash on me!

image4

Image Credit: Katia Arias

Conclusion

 In conclusion one could say that Guatemalans are growing to become great entrepreneurs because they are taking a proper advantage of their local resources and causes as well as their natural sociability. On the improvement side, I youngsters still have a long way to go when it comes to understanding their customer and sharing their story. The products I saw at the fair were great but I left wanting more information from each one, I left feeling as if students didn’t do enough research on their market and as if they were doing it “just for the class”.

Overall, however, visiting the product fair was a very enriching and insightful experience to see what young people value and believe is important. I was impressed by the quality of the products and marketing material (given they only have a semester to plan everything) and would definitely recommend the activity to anyone interested.

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