Sad Sales Negotiators Do a Bad Job

In the quest to do a better job at negotiating deals, sales negotiators have been known to do some pretty wild things in order to condition themselves to perform at a high level – extreme exercising, exposure to hot / cold temperatures, and even eating some pretty weird things. However, is it possible that they’ve been overlooking the most important thing – how happy they are?

The Power Of Sad

Dr. Robert Cialdini has spent a lot of time studying how we can persuade others and how they can persuade us. In fact he’s written a popular book on the topic titled Influence: Science and Practice in which he talks about what causes us to do things that we may not be giving a lot of thought to.

When it comes to sales negotiations, Dr. Cialdini and his peers have done some interesting studies that should cause all of us to sit up and take notice.

The Big Guess

The social scientist who were doing the research started with the hypothesis that when we get sad, we get motivated to do something to change our current circumstances in order to get out of our sad mood.

They took this thinking one step further. They also guessed that sad buyers would be willing to pay higher prices for a given product and sad sellers would be willing to sell a product for a lower price.Ã’Â Do I have your interest now?

The Experiment

The cool thing about being a social scientist is that you get to test your hypothesis on people, not rats. In this case the scientists had their (human) test subjects divided into two groups. One group watched a sad movie and then wrote a paragraph about how the movie made them feel. The other group watched a movie about fish (!) and then wrote about what they had done that day.

Next, both groups were once again divided into two groups and one group was asked to mark on a piece of paper what price they would sell an item at and the other group was asked to mark on a piece of paper what price they would buy an item at.

What the scientist discovered just might scare you. It turns out that their original guess was right: sad buyer ended up being willing to spend 30% more for an item than emotionally neutral buyers. Likewise, sad sellers were willing to sell an item for 33% less than emotionally neutral sellers. The really spooky part of all of this is that the sad buyers and sellers had no idea that their sadness had affected them so much.

Final Thoughts

Although we often get caught up in preparing for our next sales negotiation, what the social scientists have discovered is that we bring everything else that is going on in our lives to the table with us. On a similar note, the other side of the negotiating table does the exact same thing.

Before you start your next sales negotiation, you need to take a minute or two and evaluate how you are feeling. If there is anything that is bringing you down or making you depressed, then you have got to try to find a way to resolve it or at least make it better before the negotiations start. Learn to do this and it will allow you to close better deals and close them quicker.

History and Evolution of Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property may sound like a modern-world invention, but it has actually been around since the development of civilization. Many sources pin the origins of Intellectual Property rights to the year 1421 when the world’s first modern patent was awarded to an Italian inventor. However, according to Former Lord Justice of Appeal Robin Jacob, the history of Intellectual Property law can be traced back to as early as 600 BCE. This article explores the documented string of events that eventually led to our modern understanding of Intellectual Property laws, and elevates the conversation to answer a more pertinent question: So what?

Expert Insight: Many people shy away from studying history in general, believing that it is just tedious memorization of events based on evidence. While partly true that historians are essentially walking historical records, a significant portion of the practice involves many social applications, sociological methods, and anthropological theories.

Recognition, But Not Quite Possession: 600 BCE

The earliest records relating to Intellectual Property dates back to the 6th century BCE, from Sybaris in Ancient Greece. It supposedly granted a yearlong exclusivity for bakers to make their culinary invention. In a manner of speaking, the rise of Intellectual Property originated from the rising of bread.

Granting exclusive rights is a culture our modern society was born into. However, knowing that it has existed for millennia tells us of our valuation of individual talents. Although the ancient Greeks still considered their inventions as gifts from the gods, recognizing the human part of the innovation process proves that we are very similar to our distant ancestors.

Expert Insight: In the absence of written texts from prehistory, we can learn social values through artifacts. For instance, remains of animals bearing early forms of branding indicate that early humans attributed produce quality with the method of growing. This idea of adding a separate value on the maker – and, in extension, on how they care for their animals – starkly emulate the modern trademark and patent virtues.

Backstep Into the Dark Ages

However, the resemblance of our values to ancient views would pause for a long time with the rise of the Roman Empire. Religion came to the fore, and so the individualistic view on creatorship took a backstep and remained there since. At around 480 CE, Emperor Zeno overthrew the whole concept of sole proprietorship on artistic and agricultural produce. The Church gained absolute control over the entire Empire.

Nevertheless, through the centuries, religious influence over society waned as humanism reemerged through ancient texts. This movement, which in many ways is traceable to Aristotelian and Platonic worldviews paved the way for the Enlightenment. During this period of human appreciation, the first genuinely recognizable iteration of Intellectual Property appeared.

Let There Be Light

As we collectively emerged from traditionalism during the Renaissance, our appreciation of scientific and technological developments overtook the prevailing dogma. With the influx of revolutionary models of thinking came radical advancements in the field of engineering.

Expert Insight: There was a more significant premium placed on innovations with industrial applications. This is evidenced by the first patent with legal protection granted in 1421 to an Italian inventor. The 1421 license also closely resembles our current patent protections.

However, equal recognition towards works of art would receive legal protection much later during the European Reformation. While publishing guilds were already present before the Reformation, licensing of the written word was an often lopsided agreement.

In 1623, the Statute of Monopolies emboldened select groups of individuals to control their industry. Thus, publishers owned most of the rights associated with authored works. And with the author assuming the losing position, amendments were placed to arrive at the modern version of written word license: the copyright.

It was the year 1710 when the Statute of Anne empowered writers with renewable 14-year protection for their original works.

Polarizing Intellectual Property

Free thinking gave our society the agency to return ownership of inventions to inventors. But it also opened doors for other schools of thought, and often with cascading ideological implications. For instance, as we learned to value individual talents, we also saw how these talents are made through, and for, society. Whereas previous beliefs invalidate ownership by virtue of religious faith, newer ideologies either:

call to consign the rights to the general public, thereby removing profit from the inventor; or
advocate for private ownership of an invention.
While equally valid in their own right, these polarized approaches to Intellectual Property are to become the pillars of modern debates. The latter eventually evolved into legislation, while the former defined alternative social ideation.

From History to Current Reality

During the early 1800s, the idea of global protection of Intellectual Property rights floated among legislative bodies. And it was in the year 1883 that the Paris Convention brought clarity and cooperation among international jurisdictions. Three years later, the 1886 Berne Convention extended the same protection to written expressions. Within half a decade, trademarks were also granted international protection through the Madrid Protocol.

Resulting offices from the conventions later merged into a central governing body, the United International Bureaux for the Protection of Intellectual Property. This then became a United Nation office we now know as the World Intellectual Property Organization.

The transformation of Intellectual Property from Divine providence to valuable human talent took complicated detours and pitstops. However, the history of Intellectual Property reveals an imprint of how we evolved as a society. It tells us of our past values, of our collective thought, and of our remarkable capacity to strike a balance among individuality, society, and spirituality.

Although the roads we passed were pockmarked with glaring mistakes and surrounded by dark alleys, the fact that we do recognize the imperfections and reinvented today’s Intellectual Property tells another thing about us: we can change.

From History to Herstory

And we do change. As we diverge from misinformed beliefs we inherited from our old world, our growth accelerates on all fronts. Modern philosophies enable us to see past the borders and beyond colors. The movement is to take down the great walls dividing us as a society.

Being a bastion for innovation, the Intellectual Property industry also aims to bridge the gaps between sectors of society. World Intellectual Property Day in 2018 addressed the disparity between men and women in the field. This led to world organizations consolidating empowerment efforts for women in the field of innovation and development. Within a few years, the involvement of women increased by over 53%.

After all, the law protects equally. Hence, this move toward equality. Learning the history of Intellectual Property law highlights the value we place on innovations. And this value can be transformed into economic value.

How To Grab And Keep Audience Attention During A Presentation

One of the most important challenges for a presenter is first grabbing and then keeping the attention of an audience. If the presenter is unable to do this, the presentation might not succeed, no matter how valuable the content might be. When a presenter is waiting for his turn and slyly looks over the crowd before having to step in, panic tends to overwhelm. This is a familiar feeling for many.

Audiences might seem intimidating or too chaotic at first but there are ways to grab and keep their attention. We must remember here that grabbing their attention is not enough. We must hold their attention during the entire length of our presentation. Many speakers try to grab attention in numerous ways, e.g. by telling the latest joke or by making a flamboyant entry. This can grab attention but does not establish relevance, so after some time people might wander away or fall off.

This kind of attention grabbing trick, which is not actually relevant to the topic or theme of the presentation, may be effective in grabbing attention for the presenter momentarily, but then people see these as tricks and seldom remember the actual presentation or the message it had for them. Jumping on the table or landing on the stage from a helicopter would definitely catch the audience, but if your presentation is not as flamboyant and gripping the effect wears off quickly.

Here are some of the most commonly used methods for successfully getting and keeping audience attention.

1. Asking a question.

You can ask a rhetorical question or something that involves everyone by getting him or her to think about the topic.

  • How many of you in this room have hated filling up tax returns?
  • How many of you drive a German car?
  • Are our competitors driving us out of the market?

You can wait a short time after the question to get some information about your audience, but don’t wait too long as members of the audience feel stupid if no one knows the answer. Avoid open-ended questions and ask only questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no unless you are confident in skilfully using such questions. If you ask too general questions like “What is the purpose of life?” people might form an impression that your presentation is very general.

2.State an impressive fact.

Begin with a shocking, unusual or impressive fact connected to the theme of your presentation.

  • We are going to be out of business in six months if we allow our competitors to outrun us like this.
  • The demand in the market has doubled in the last three years and our market share has risen by only 1%.

3. Tell a story.

Telling a personal story closely connected to the theme of your presentation is a great way to begin. People usually like to hear personal stories, which are not too long or try to glorify the narrator too much.

Example:

Dear colleagues, before I begin I would like to tell you a short story about how our service got its name. Don’t worry, it’s not too long“.

A Tale from India

Three fish lived in a pond. One was named Plan Ahead, another was Think Fast, and the third was named Wait and See. One day they heard a fisherman say that he was going to cast his net in their pond the next day. Plan Ahead said, “I’m swimming down the river tonight! Think Fast said, “I’m sure I’ll come up with a plan.” Wait and See lazily said, “I just can’t think about it now!” When the fisherman cast his nets, Plan Ahead was long gone. But Think Fast and Wait and See were caught! Think Fast quickly rolled his belly up and pretended to be dead. “Oh, this fish is no good!” said the fisherman, and threw him safely back into the water. But, Wait and See ended up in the fish market. That is why they say, “In times of danger, when the net is cast, plan ahead or plan to think fast!

4. Cite a quotation.

Quotations are much used for presentations and they add a colourful touch to your personal style.

A short saying often contains much wisdom.” Sophocles (496 BC – 406 BC)

No culture can live, if it attempts to be exclusive.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Though they may be impressive, quotations do not have much shock-value and could be forgotten quickly. So they should be augmented by other methods of gaining audience attention. Remember also that use quotations sparingly. If you use too many quotations, people start to think that you have nothing original to say as you’re always borrowing other people’s sayings.

5. Narrate a joke.

Jokes are wonderful for relaxing the audience and setting a cheerful mood. Relaxed audiences tend to be more interactive. This might make the presenters work somewhat easier.

The joke must be appropriate. People have very different senses of humor and you have to be very careful with jokes. What might produce rolls of laughter from one audience might cause stunned silence in another.

Experiment with the joke first with people you know to check how it works and if poor language skills hinder understanding of the joke. It is very embarrassing if you are the only one who gets the joke and no one can laugh for the right reason. Some jokes to avoid are sexual, religious, ethnic and political issues as people are very sensitive in these areas.

One thing to be careful about is the cultural relativity of humor. In many cultures the locals crack jokes about many things and everybody rolls in laughter, but the moment a person from another culture or overseas head office makes the same joke, it can cease to be a joke and become a cultural affront.

6. Go among the audience.

Presenters usually keep to the area in front, near the laptop or the transparency projector. This creates a comfort zone for many people in the audience. Some courageous presenters disturb this comfort zone of the audience by walking closer or going absolutely to one side. Then the primitive instincts of the people in their comfort zone start waking them up. “The presenter is so close and next he’ll even ask me something, so I better be alert“.

Attention-grabbing skills are important for establishing relevance to your audience. Most of the people in the audience are often not mentally present or with you when you begin to speak. Even if they are physically present there and are trying to look interested, in reality, they are in their own worlds. They are thinking about work matters, planning the rest of their day, thinking about a problem of their own or just daydreaming. You have to bring them into your world and get them interested in your subject.

Attention-grabbing skills are your tool for helping the audience tune in to your subject. These skills for grabbing audience attention is not about your ego, you’re just helping them to tune in. When you have something worthwhile saying, and your audience feel that you’re actually guiding them and helping them focus on your topic, they will appreciate this and reward you with eager attention and active participation. Then at the end you will feel elated as they clap to show their appreciation.

The best place to keep a presentation is a prison; they already have a captive audience.

Enjoy your presentations!