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Business Perspectives for Creative Leaders part 5 of 7

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My experience attending AIGA & Yale’s School of Management course Business Perspectives for Creative Leaders.

I’m exhausted. I really need some sleep badly. If you decide to take this course – which I highly recommend, don’t plan on blogging at night. It’s not really possible. At least, not without sacrificing something. I’ve been running on pure enthusiasm up until today. I was having a REALLY hard time staying focused in the accounting class today. So, I am going to keep this post VERY short. I still have important reading tonight and then desperately need to get a real night’s sleep.

No photos today. I’m too tired.

First the accounting. I’m really not going to be able to reasonably teach you anything here about what I learned today. However, we’ve been given some great reading recommendations. So, here’s what we were told to read on our own time:

  1. How to Read a Financial Report - free online pdf
  2. Financial Ratio Tutorial – free online pdf
  3. Analysis for Financial Management by Robert Higgins

The latest edition(10th) of Robert Higgins’ book is fairly expensive – around $100. But it’s extremely well reviewed. And is known as the book on finance that’s written for a layman. So, if you want to learn more about finance and the accounting side of your business but you’re not a “numbers” person. This is the book for you.

The second half of our day was spent on learning negotiations. I LOVE negotiations, so this class was particularly fun for me. And it translates well into practical pearls of wisdom. So, here are a few of them. Enjoy!

Negotiation Techniques

Negotiate with “friendly aggression.” Basically, most people do not push hard enough for what they want. But you must remain extremely friendly while you’re arguing for your side. Be courteous, don’t insult them and do anything you can to help them save face.

Start high. Your opening bid should be as high as possible without being insulting or completely unreasonable. This has a whole slew of beneficial effects. One is that people will perceive you as being more valuable simply because your high number has framed their perception.

Do research! This is a constant theme throughout all of the classes here. You need to invest the time and do the work. If you’re buying a new car you need to get as much information as possible before you start a negotiation. You should try to find out what the dealer’s cost is for the car. You need to find out which dealerships offer the best prices. You need to consider what other options you have available. Can you buy a used car for much less and be satisfied? You also need to figure out your walk-away price. It’s easy to get caught up in the emotions getting a new car and pay well over what you really want to.

Related to that last point is knowing when to take a break. If you’re caught unprepared for a negotiation or are feeling confused – then stop the negotiation, take some time and re-engage in the negotiation when you’ve had some time to gather your emotions and your thoughts.

Don’t be afraid to ask. The simple act of asking for more will get you more. You’d be surprised what you can get if only you’ll just ask.

The person you are negotiating against doesn’t have to lose in order for you to win. Sometimes you both want the same things. So asking lots of questions is key. And telling them absolutely everything you want is important. Because maybe they can’t give you some things, but they can give you more of something else. For instance… maybe the rules a human resources rep has will not allow them to pay you a salary over 50k. But maybe they have no limit on signing bonuses. So, if you want 60k, there IS a way you could make a deal. Just take 10K as a signing bonus! These kinds of solutions can only be discovered if both parties are sharing information.

Stay quiet. Don’t talk too much. Most people reveal too much. They negotiate with themselves. That’s not good. “But WAIT!” you say. “Bill! You just told me in the previous point to SHARE MORE. Now you’re telling me to share less! What gives?” Ok, here’s what’s important; you want to be sharing information, but it needs to be equally. If you tell them: “Hey, here’s what I’m really after.” Then you should follow that up with this question: “So, what are YOU really after?”

Make equivalent offers. By giving the other party two equivalent but different offers, it will give you information about them. For instance, from the previous point – a 60K salary and a 50k salary with a 10k signing bonus are the same to you – they’re equivalent to you. But when the HR rep says they can accept one offer and not the other, you’ve learned something! You’ve learned that their constraint is only on the salary, not on other items. Great, so now you can negotiate on other points – how about more vacation? How about a company car? Basically, you’re creating more value for yourself while working within the negotiating ability of the HR rep.

Practice your flinch. Huh? Flinch? What the heck are you talking about? Well, you practice a good handshake don’t you? A good handshake is a way of communicating: I’m strong, confident and decisive! Well, a flinch is also a great way to communicate. When someone gives you an offer and you FLINCH what are you saying? You’re probably saying: Holy f-ing heck! That’s too little (or too much depending on your perspective.) It’s a great way to communicate your dissatisfaction without insulting them. And it’s read as purely genuine. Who fakes body language? I’ll tell you who; a good negotiator.

Those are just the tip of a very large iceberg of what I learned today.

Recommended Reading

Ok… That should get you started. BED TIME!!!

About the Author, William Beachy

I grew up in Cleveland Hts. Ohio and was drawing constantly. As a child I took art classes at the Cleveland Institute of Art and eventually became known as the "class artist." I graduated from The Ohio State University's department of Industrial Design. I have always tried to blend my passion for illustration with Graphic Design. Go Media was the culmination of my interests for both business and art. I'm trying to build a company that is equally considerate of our designers AND our clients.
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Discussion

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  • http://twitter.com/EKuentz Eric Kuentz

    Great article on a very important (but frequently troubling) topic. Thanks! Hope you got some sleep!

  • http://twitter.com/maddyzero Liz Hunt

    This series is fantastic, Bill; every read has been informative and inspiring. One thing I was confused about in your summary of negotiation tips: is the idea *to* flinch, or *not* to flinch? I’m thinking you mean that you should flinch, but it’s not totally clear.

    • http://www.facebook.com/william.beachy William A. Beachy

      Hey Liz! Yes. The idea is to flinch – like you’re disappointed at their offer. Here is what you are communicating when you flinch at an offer: “Wow. This offer is shockingly low. It’s lower than I was expecting. I’m worth WAY more than that. And I’m VERY disappointed.” And you’ve communicated all of that without saying a single word. Of course, if they offer you way more than you’re expecting the goal may simply be to not look too happy. So, in that case, you’ll want to practice your poker face.

      I’ve always practiced the poker face, but the concept of practicing a flinch is new to me. It’s kind of fun/funny.

  • http://twitter.com/needthinkmake Need Think Make

    Fantastic capture Bill. Thank you. Great meeting you in person.

    • http://www.facebook.com/william.beachy William A. Beachy

      Nice meeting you too Paul!

  • Peggy Freelance

    Great article, very useful information