Guest post – Charlie Warshawski on “getting the message across”

Charlie Warshawski is a professionally qualified and accredited business coach - I've spent some time with him to learn the basics of coaching skills and he's a good guy and excellent trainer and coach. He was interested in our recent post on NLP and negotiation (we'll come back to that soon as well) so I asked him to write us something. You can read more about him and his company,  "Think Feel Know" here.

Peter’s post on the NLP myth in negotiation has drawn out some interesting comments from subscribers. Views are mixed, from the defenders of behavioural techniques to those who dismiss it.

There seems to be consensus that behavioural techniques alone will not be a successful negotiation tool, but planning, preparation and a well rehearsed delivery are fundamental to getting the correct message across.

What is also clear is that, once the presenter or negotiator is well prepared, they can use their understanding of human behaviour to ensure that the message they are putting across is heard in the way that they intend.

As an example, in a debrief following a procurement presentation, a potential supplier (and client of mine in my coaching role) noted that the procurement team seemed to disconnect from him and his colleagues. Upon analysis, it turned out that he, an IT specialist, was focussed on providing detailed and comprehensive answers, full of facts and figures. “How else could they see that I knew what I was talking about”, bemoaned our IT man.

But that didn't seem to be what the other party wanted.  And the fact is that in a panel of procurement officers and perhaps other stakeholders,  some will want lots of detail, some will want just the headlines, and yet others will want to warm to the presenter as an individual. Merely presenting in the way that we want to will inevitably lose one of the three.

So what’s the answer? In brief, give all three what they need. Start with the headlines, showing that you have an overview of any topic. Ask how much detail they are looking for, and give that much but no more. And be personable, authentic and self aware - which is where an understanding of behavioural issues is important.

Being in front of a procurement panel is no different to any other situation involving other people, including negotiations, so the skills needed to be a good leader or team player mustn’t be left at the door. People who are successful at getting their message across will achieve this in  procurement presentations and negotiation, as well as they do in the rest of their lives.

Charlie Warshawski

Leadership and communication coach

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