Dealing with People: Your Key to Success and Happiness

In a recent blog post, colleague Eric Barker, author of the blog Barking Up The Wrong Tree shared the well established fact, that there is a strong correlation between our life satisfaction and the quality of relationships within it.

Given the importance of these relationships, why do we often find ourselves in a situation where we struggle to establish new relationships or maintain or strengthen existing ones. According to Les Giblin, author of How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing with People:

One of the big reasons so many people lack confidence in dealing with others is that they do not understand what they are dealing with. We are always unsure of ourselves and lack confidence when we are dealing with the unknown. Watch a mechanic try to repair the engine of a strange automobile that he does not understand. He hesitates. His every movement shows lack of confidence. Then watch a master mechanic, who understands the engine he is working with. His every movement exudes confidence. It is the same for anything we are dealing with. The more we know about it—the more confidence we will have in dealing with it.

The key then to develop successful relationships is in understanding the laws of human nature:

The real key to successful human relations is learning as much as we can about human nature as it is, not as we think it ought to be. Only when we understand just what we are dealing with are we in a position to deal with it successfully.

Yet, we have to be careful that when being applied, these principles need to be contextualized to the specific individual we are dealing with:

Skill in human relations is similar to skill in any other field in that success depends upon understanding and mastering certain basic general principles. You must not only know what to do, but why you’re doing it.

Don’t be a Johnny-One-Note, As far as basic principles are concerned, people are all the same. Yet each individual person you meet is different. If you attempted to learn some gimmick to deal successfully with each separate individual you met, you would be faced with a hopeless task, just as a pianist would be up against an impossible task if he had to learn each individual composition as something entirely new and unique.

What the pianist does is to master certain principles. He learns certain basic things about music. He practices certain exercises until he develops skill at the keyboard. When he has mastered these basic things, he can then play any piece of music that is put before him, with some practice and additional learning. For although each individual piece of music is different from every other—there are only 88 keys on the piano, and only eight notes in the scale. Whether you are a pianist or not, you can quickly learn to strike a “pretty chord” on the piano. With more patience you can learn to strike separately all the separate chords that the concert pianist uses. But this does not make you a pianist If you tried to give a concert you would be a flop.

Influencing people is an art, not a gimmick. In much the same way, this is what happens when you try to learn a few gimmicks of “influencing people” and apply them in a superficial, mechanical way. You go through the same motions as the man or woman who “has a way” with people, but somehow they don’t seem to work for you. You hit the same notes but no music comes out. The purpose of this book is not to teach you a few “chords,” but to help you master the keyboard—not to teach you a few gimmicks of dealing with people but to give you “know-how’ based upon an understanding of human nature and why people act the way they do.

Les starts out by explaining some basic laws of human nature that we need to understand in order to influence others:

1. We are all egotists.

2. We are all more interested in ourselves than in anything else in the world.

3. Every person you meet wants to feel important, and to amount to something.

4. There is a hunger in every human being for approval.

5. A hungry ego is a mean ego. mean ego.

6. Satisfy the other person’s hunger for self-esteem and he automatically becomes more friendly and likeable.

7. Jesus said, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Psychologists now tell us that unless you do love yourself in the sense of having some feeling of self-esteem and self-regard, it is impossible for you to feel friendly toward other people.

8. Remember LS/MFT. Low Self-esteem Means Trouble and Friction.

9. Help the other fellow like himself better and you make him easier to get along with.

10. People act, or fail to act, largely to enhance their own egos.

Given the above laws, he goes on to explain that we have a virtually unlimited ability to add to the feeling of personal worth to others that we should leverage:

1. Don’t be stingy in feeding the hunger for a feeling of importance.

2. Don’t underestimate ”small courtesies” such as being on time for an appointment It is by such small things that we acknowledge the importance of the other person. Unfortunately, we are often more courteous to strangers than to home folks. Try treating your family and friends with the same courtesy you show strangers.

3. Remind yourself that other people are important, and your attitude will get across to the other person.

4. Starting today, begin to notice other people more. Pay attention to a man or a child, and you make him feel important.

5. Don’t lord it over other people, or attempt to increase your own feeling of self-importance by making other people feel small.

In more ways than we realize, we control the actions and attitudes of others:

1. Whether you realize it or not, you control the actions and attitudes of others by your own actions and attitudes.

2. Your own attitudes are reflected back to you from the other person almost as if you stood before a mirror.

3. Act or feel hostile and the other fellow reflects this hostility back to you. Shout at him, and he is almost compelled to shout back. Act calmly and unemotionally, and you turn away his anger before it gets started.

4. Act enthusiastic and you arouse the enthusiasm of the Other person.

5. Act confidently and the other person has confidence in you.

6. Begin today deliberately to cultivate an enthusiastic attitude. Take a tip from Frank Bettger and act as if you were enthusiastic Soon you’ll feel enthusiastic

7. Right now, begin deliberately to cultivate a confident manner. Don’t mumble your words as if you were afraid to express them. Speak out. Watch your posture. A slumped figure signifies that you find the burdens of life too heavy for you to bear. A drooping head signifies that you are defeated by life. Hold your head up. Straighten up your shoulders. Walk with a confident step, as if you had somewhere important to go.

Your ability to influence others, and control the actions and attitudes in others depends in large part to how you start the conversation:

1. In dealing with other people, you yourself sound the keynote for the entire theme, when you begin the interview.

2. If you start off on a note of formality, the meeting will he formal. Start off on a note of friendliness and the meeting will be friendly. Set the stage for a businesslike discussion, and it will be business-like. Start on a note of apology and the other person will force you to play that theme all the way through.

3. When you meet someone for the first time, the impression you make then is very likely to be the keynote that will determine how he regards you for the rest of your life.

4. Other people tend to accept you at your own evaluation. If you think you are a nobody, you are practically asking other people to snub you.

5. One of the best means ever discovered for impressing the other fellow favorably is not to strive too hard to make an impression, but to let him know that he is making a good impression on you.

6. People judge you not only by the opinion you hold of yourself, but also by the opinions you hold on other things: your job, your company, even your competition.

7. Negative opinions create a negative atmosphere. Don’t be a knocker. And don’t be a sorehead.

8. The way, itself, in which you ask things, sets the stage or sounds the keynote for the other person’s answer. Don’t ask “no” questions if you want “yes” answers. Don’t ask questions or issue instructions that imply you expect trouble. Why ask for trouble?

For making and keeping friends, Les shares guidance in two areas, the first on how to attract others:

1. The real secret of an attractive personality is to offer other people the food they are hungry for. People are as hungry for certain things as flies are for honey.

2. Use the Triple-A Formula for attracting people:

Acceptance. Accept people as they are. Allow them to be themselves. Don’t insist on anyone being perfect before you can like him. Don’t fashion a moral strait jacket and expect Others to wear it in order to gain your acceptance. Above all don’t bargain for acceptance. Don’t say, in substance, “I’ll accept you if you’ll do this or that, or change your ways to suit me.”

Approval. Look for something to approve in the other person. It may be something small or insignificant. But let the other person know you approve that, and the number of things you can sincerely approve of will begin to grow. When the other person gets a taste of your genuine approval, he will begin to change his behavior so that he will be approved for other things.

Appreciation. To appreciate means to raise in value, as opposed to depreciate, which means to lower in value. Let Other people know that you value them. Treat other people as if they were valuable to you. Don’t keep them waiting. Thank them. Give them “special”, individual treatment.

The second on how to make others feel friendly:

1. Human relations often become deadlocked because each party is afraid to make the first move.

2. Don’t wait for a sign from the other fellow. Assume that he is going to be friendly, and act accordingly.

3. Don’t wait for a sign from the other fellow. Assume that he is going to be friendly, and act accordingly.

4. Assume the attitude that you wish the other person to take. Act as if you expected him to like you. Take a chance that the other fellow will be friendly. It is always a gamble, but you’ll win 99 times for every time you lose, if you’ll just bet on his being friendly. Refuse to take the chance, and you’ll lose every time.

5. Don’t be an eager-beaver. Don’t be overly anxious. don’t knock yourself out trying to make the other fellow like you. Remember, there is such a thing as being too charming and trying too hard.

6. Just relax and take for granted that other people do like

7. Use the magic of your smile to warm up the other fellow.

8. Starting today, begin to develop a genuine smile by practicing before your bathroom mirror. You know what a real smile looks like when you see one. Your mirror will tell you whether your smile is real or phoney. Also, going through the motions of smiling will get you in the habit, and actually make you fed more like smiling.

To be successful at engaging others, effective speaking techniques are crucial, in particular: skill in using words, empathic listening, and persuasion. Les goes on to discuss each of these areas and offers practical advice within each.

On the importance of developing skill is using words, and how we can improve ourselves within that area:

1. Both success and happiness depend in large measure on our ability to express ourselves. Therefore, start today to study ways to improve your talk. Keep at it day after day.

2. Practice starting conversations with strangers by using the warm-up technique of asking simple questions or making obvious observations.

3. To be a good conversationalist, stop trying to be perfect, and don’t be afraid to be trite. Nuggets and gems in conversation come only after you have dug a lot of low-grade ore.

4. Ask questions to bring out interesting talk from others. 5. Encourage the other person to talk about himself. Talk about the other person’s interests.

6. Use the “me-too” technique to identify yourself with the speaker and his interests.

7. Talk about yourself only when you are invited to do so by the other person. If he wants to know about you, he’ll ask.

8. Use “‘Happy Talk.” Remember, nobody likes a Gloomy Gus or a prophet of doom. Keep your troubles to yourself.

9. Eliminate kidding, teasing, and sarcasm from your conversation.

On the importance of empathic listening:

When Oliver Wendell Holmes for advice on how to get elected to office, Justice Holmes wrote him: “To be able to listen to others in a sympathetic and understanding manner is perhaps the most effective mechanism in the world for getting along with people and tying up their friendship for good. Too few people practice the “white magic” of being good listeners.”

And some practical tips on how we can practice it:

Seven Ways to Practice Listening:

1. Look at the person who is talking.

2. Appear deeply interested in what he is saying.

3. Lean toward the person who is talking.

4. Ask questions.

5. Don’t interrupt; instead, ask him to tell more.

6. Stick to the speaker’s subject.

7. Use the speaker’s words to get your own point across.

On persuasion, Les cautions us about being fixated about winning the argument:

When you have a difference of opinion with someone, your object should not be to “win an argument,” but to get the other person to change his own mind and see things your way. Thus, you must avoid bringing his ego into play. You must slip your “logical reasons” past his ego, then clinch it by leaving him a loophole through which he can escape from his previous position.

The following six rules will help you accomplish this:

1. Let him State his case.

2. Pause momentarily before you answer.

3. Don’t insist on winning 100 per cent.

4. State your case moderately and accurately.

5.Speak through third persons

6. Let the other fellow save face.

In the last section of the book, Les covers three areas, which are particularly relevant for leaders and managers: cooperation, praise and constructive criticism.

On cooperation:

1. If you want other people to help you, and go all out. you must ask for then: ideas as well as for their brawn.

2. Make the other fellow feel that your problem is his problem.

3. Use the principle of multiple management, giving each member of the team a voice in how the team is to Operate.

4. When you want someone to do you a favor, make him a member of your team. Don’t just say, “How about putting in a good word for me.” Say, “If you were in my shoes and wanted to get favorable attention, how would you go about it?”

5. Set up your own brain trust, and make use of the ideas. suggestions, and advice of other people.

6. Be sure when you ask for advice you actually want advice. Don’t ask for advice if all you want is sympathy or a pat on the back.

On praise:

1. Sincere praise miraculously releases energy in the other person, perks him up physically, as well as giving his spirits a lift.

2. The person who is discouraged, doing sloppy work, or just hard to get along with is probably suffering from low self-esteem. Praise can act as a wonder drug to give his self-esteem a healthy shot in the arm, change his behavior for the better.

3. Give others credit for what they do. Show your appreciation of what they have done by saying “thank you.”

4. Be generous with kind statements. Gratitude is not a common thing. By being generous with gratitude, you make yourself a stand-out.

5. Increase your own happiness and peace of mind by paying three sincere compliments each day.

On constructive criticism:

Remember that criticism, to be successful, most be for <he purpose of accomplishing some worthwhile goal for both yourself and the person you’re criticizing. Don’t criticize just to bolster your own ego. And steer dear of the other fellow’s ego when you must correct him.

Memorize these Seven Musts and begin to put them into practice:

1. Criticism must be made in absolute privacy.

2. Preface criticism with a kind word or compliment

3. Make the criticism impersonal Criticize the act, not the person.

4. Supply the answer.

5.Ask for cooperation-don’t demand it

6. One criticism to an offense.

7. Finish in a friendly fashion.

On a closing note, remember:

Human relations can bring you both success and happiness. You should regard it as a skill that you are going to learn — a very rewarding skill. You should look forward to getting a real sense of satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment by improving your human relations. This positive outlook gives you an incentive to reach definite goals.

How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing with People is a must read, and a great complement to Dale Carnegie‘s classic How to Win Friends and Influence People.

On The Slight Edge

I recently finished reading The Slight Edge – Secret to a Successful Life by Jeff Olson.

Below are key excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:

1- “The Slight Edge is not just more good information. It’s not another self-help success book packed with some revolutionary “new best way” of doing things. You don’t need that. Nobody needs that. All the “new and better” information is already available and has been for years. This book is designed to help you use that information. This book is what I wish will help you take whatever information you want, whatever how-to’s or strategies or goals or aspiration you want.”

2- “A positive philosophy turns into a positive attitude, which turns into positive actions, which turns into positive results, which turns into a positive lifestyle. A negative philosophy turns into a negative attitude, which turns into negative actions, which turns into negative results, which turns into a negative lifestyle.”

3- “By and large, people are looking in the wrong places. They are looking for a breakthrough, looking for that amazing “quantum leap”—the philosophy of the craps table and roulette wheel. I don’t believe they’ll ever find it. I’ve had colossal failures, and I’ve had remarkable successes, and my experience is, neither one happens in quantum leaps. They happen through the Slight Edge…That the things you do every single day,  the things that don’t look dramatic, that don’t even look like they matter, do matter. That they not only make a difference—they make all the difference.”

4- “It’s easy to have everything you ever wanted in your life. Every action you need to take to make any and all of your dreams come true is easy. So why is it, then, that the masses are unhappy, unhealthy and financially bound? Every action that any of these goals requires is easy to do. Here’s the problem: every action that is easy to do, is also easy not to do. Why are these simple yet crucial things easy not to do? Because if you don’t do them, they won’t kill you … at least, not today. You won’t suffer, or fail or blow it—today. Something is easy not to do when it won’t bankrupt you, destroy your career. ruin your relationships or wreck your health—today. What’s more, not doing it is usually more comfortable than doing it would be. But that simple, seemingly insignificant error in judgment, compounded over time, will kill you. It will destroy you and ruin your chances for success. You can count on it. It’s the Slight Edge. That’s the choice you face every day, every hour: A simple, positive action, repeated over time. A simple error in judgment, repeated over time. You can always count on the Slight Edge. And unless you make it work for you, the Slight Edge will work against you.”

5- “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. “Progressive” means success is a process, not a destination. It’s something you experience gradually, over time. And here’s how real success is built: by the time you get the feedback, the real work’s already done. When you get to the point where everyone else can see your results, tell you what good choices you’ve made, notice your good fortune, slap you on the back and tell you how lucky you are, the critical Slight Edge you actually made those choices, nobody noticed but you. And even you wouldn’t have noticed—unless you understood the Slight Edge. Invisible results.”

6- “The right choices and wrong choices you make at the moment will have little or no noticeable impact on how your day goes for you. Nor tomorrow, nor the next day. No applause, no cheers, no screams, no life-or-death results played out in Technicolor. But it is precisely those very same, undramatic. seemingly insignificant actions that, when compounded over time. will dramatically affect how your life turns out. So, where’s the drama? It comes at the end of the story, when the credits start to roll—which comes not in two hours but in two years. Or, depending on what Slight Edge and what particular story we’re talking about, perhaps twelve years, or twenty-two.”

7- “No success is immediate. Nor is any failure instantaneous. They are both products of the Slight Edge. The truth of quantum leaps is that they are not larger than life: they’re submicroscopic. The actual term “quantum leap” comes from particle physics, where it does not refer to a huge, epic jump. It refers to the fact that energy, after a period of time. epic jump. It refers to the fact that energy, after a period off time. will suddenly appear at another level, without our having been able to observe how it got there. It is an exact description of how the water hyacinth moves from day twenty-nine to day thirty. An exact description of how the frog’s certain death by drowning was suddenly transformed into salvation by butter.”

8- “No matter in what arena in life or work or play—the difference between winning and losing, the gap that separates success and failure, is so slight, so subtle, most never see it. Superman may leap tall buildings at a single bound. Here on earth, we win through the Slight Edge.”

9- “One of the quickest and most direct routes to getting yourself up and onto the success curve is to get out of the past. Review the past, but only for the purpose of making a better plan. Review it. understand and take responsibility for the errors you’ve made, and use it as a tool to do differently in the future. And don’t spend a great deal time doing even that!—the future is a far better tool than the past. m the past. Devote some serious, focused time and effort into designing a crystal-clear picture of where you’re going. In the second part of this book, we’ll take a look at specific ways to help you do exactly that. For now, I’ll just say this: when you do have a clear picture of the future and consciously put time every day into letting yourself be drawn forward by that future, it will pull you through whatever friction and static you encounter in the present—and whatever tugging and clutching you may feel from the past…You can’t change the past. You can change the future. Would you rather be influenced by something you can’t change, or something you can?”

10- “In my line of work, I talk a lot about success in financial terms. But genuine success is a far greater issue than purely financial health. A genuinely successful life means your health, your family relationships, your career, your spirituality, your sense of fulfillment, your legacy and the impact you have on the world. It’s all these things and more. And the best thing about genuine success is that it spreads! Success in any one of these areas begins to affect all the others, too. Improve your health and you improve your all the others, too. Improve your health and you improve your relationships; work on your personal development and you have an impact on your career. Everything affects everything.”

11- “Book smarts, street smarts. Learning by study, learning by doing. Read about it, apply it, see it in action, take that practical doing. Read about it, apply it, see it in action, take that practical experience back to my reading, deepen my understanding, take that deeper understanding back to my activity … it’s a never-ending cycle, each aspect of learning feeding the other. Like climbing a ladder: right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot. Can you imagine trying to climb a ladder with only your right foot? The two work together. What’s more they not only work better together, each amplifying the other, but the truth is, they really cannot work separately. At least not for long. You can’t go to the top based purely on knowledge learned in study; you can’t go to the top purely through knowledge gleaned through action. The two have to work together. You study, and then you do activity. The activity changes your frame of reference. and now you are in a place where you can learn more. Then you learn more, and it gives you more insight into what you experienced in your activity, so now you re-approach activity with more insight. And back and forth, it goes. This back-and-forth rhythm is worth noting. It is the rhythm of success.”

12- “Having compassion and having direction are not mutually exclusive: they just take careful thought and discernment. You’re not judging those people; you’re simply asking yourself to be honest about whether or not those relationships are empowering you and helping to support your purpose and realize your dreams.”

13- “For a goal to come true: You must write it down, make it specific and give it a deadline; You must look at it every day; You must understand and pay the price; You must have a plan to start with.”

14- “You Start with a plan, then go through the process of continuous learning through both study and doing, adjusting all the time through the kaizen of plan, do, review and then adjust—like a rocket to the moon, off track ninety-seven percent of the time. your gyroscope feeding information to your dream computer to bring you back on track … You need a first plan so you can get to our second plan, so you can get to your third plan, so you can get to your fourth plan…Your starting plan is not the plan that will ultimately get you there … but you need it so you have a place to start.”   

15- “Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do; they put the Slight Edge to work for them, rather than against hem, every day. They refuse to let themselves be swayed by their feelings, moods or attitudes; they rule their lives by their philosophies, and do what it takes to get the job done, whether they feel like it or not.”

16- “Successful people never blame circumstances or other people; instead, they take full responsibility for their lives. They use the past as a lesson but do not dwell in it, and instead, let themselves be pulled up and forward by the compelling force of the future. They know that the path that leads to the success curve and the one that leads to the failure curve are only a hair’s breadth apart. separated only by the distinction of simple, “insignificant” actions that are just as easy not to do as they are to do—and that this difference will ultimately make all the difference.”


Omar Halabieh

The Slight Edge

On Developing the Leader Within You

I recently finished reading Developing the Leader Within You by John C. Maxwell.

Below are key excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:

1- “Leadership is developed, not discovered. The truly “born leader” will always emerge; but, to stay on top, natural leadership characteristics must be developed. In working with thousands of people desirous of becoming leaders, I have discovered they all fit in one of four categories or levels of leadership: The Leading Leader…The Learned Leader…The Latent Leader..The Limited Leader.”

2- “Management is the process of assuring that the program and objectives of the organization are implemented. Leadership, on the other hand, has to do with casting vision and motivating people.”

3- “Listed below are some characteristics that must be exhibited with excellence before advancement to the next level is possible:  Level I: Position/Rights…Level 2: Permission/Relationship…Level 3; Production/Results..Level 4: People Development/Reproduction….Level 5: Personhood/Respect.”

4- “Success can be defined as the progressive realization of a predetermined goal. This definition tells us that the discipline to prioritize and the ability to work toward a stated goal are essential to a leader’s success. In fact, I believe they are the key to leadership.”

5- “Integrity is not what we do so much as who we are. And who we are in turn, determines what we do. Our system of values is so much a part of us we cannot separate it from ourselves. It becomes the navigating system that guides us. It establishes priorities in our lives and judges what we will accept or reject.”

6- “1. Integrity builds trust.2. Integrity has high influence value. 3. Integrity facilitates high standards. A. Integrity results in a solid reputation, Not just an image. 5. Integrity means living it MYSELF BEFORE LEADING OTHERS.6. Integrity helps a leader be credible, NOT JUST CLEVER. 7. Integrity is a hard-won achievement.”

7- “The more you change, the more you become an instrument of change in the lives of others. If you want to become a change agent, you also must change.”

8- “WHY PEOPLE RESIST CHANGE? The change isn’t self-initiated…Routine is disrupted…Change creates fear of the unknown…The purpose of the change is unclear…Change creates fear of failure…The rewards for change don’t match THE EFFORT CHANGE REQUIRES…People are too satisfied with the way things are…Change won’t happen when people ENGAGE IN NEGATIVE THINKING…The followers lack respect for the leader…The leader is susceptible to feelings OF PERSONAL criticism…Change may mean personal loss…Change requires additional commitment…Narrow-mindedness thwarts acceptance of new ideas…Tradition resists change.”

9- “People change when they hurt enough they have. to change; learn enough they want to change; receive enough they are able to change. The leader must recognize when people are in one of these three stages. In fact, top leaders create an atmosphere that causes one of these three things to occur.”

10- “Great leaders understand that the right attitude will set the right atmosphere. which enables the right responses from others.”

11- “My success in developing others will depend on how well I accomplish each of the following: Value of people: This is an issue of my attitude. Commitment to people: This is an issue of my time. Integrity with people: This is an issue of my character. Standard for people: This is an issue of my vision. Influence over people: This is an issue of my leadership.”

12- “Successful people developers give THE RIGHT ASSISTANCE TO PEOPLE…I need to work out their strengths and work on their weaknesses…I must give them myself…I must give them ownership…I must give them every chance for success.”

13- “My observation over the last twenty years has been that all effective leaders have a vision of what they must accomplish. That vision becomes the energy behind every effort and the force that pushes through all the problems. With vision, the leader is on a mission and a contagious spirit is felt among the crowd until others begin to rise alongside the leader. Unity is essential for the dream to be realized. Long hours of labor are given gladly to accomplish the goal. Individual rights are set aside because the whole is much more important than the part. Time flies. morale soars upward, heroic stories are told, and commitment is the watchword. Why? Because the leader has a vision!”

14- “The process for developing personal discipline…Start WITH YOURSELF…Start early…Start small…Start now…Organize your life…Welcome responsibility…Accept accountability…Develop Integrity…Pay now, play later…Become character driven instead of emotion driven.”


Omar Halabieh

Developing the Leader Within You

On You Can Negotiate Anything

I recently read You Can Negotiate Anything by Herb Cohen.

As the title indicates, this book is about negotiation, which the author defines as: “What is negotiation? It is the use of information and power to affect behavior within a “web of tension.” If you think about this broad definition, you’ll realize that you do, in fact, negotiate all the time both on your job and in your personal life.” Herb then summarizes the three pillars of negotiation, the main premise of the book: “In every negotiation in which you’re involved—in every negotiation in which I’m involved—in fact, in every negotiation in the world (from a diplomatic geopolitical negotiation to the purchase of a home)—three crucial elements are always present: 1. Information. The other side seems to know more about you and your needs than you know about them and their needs. 2. Time. The other side doesn’t seem to be under the same kind of organizational pressure, tune constraints, and restrictive deadlines you feel you’re under. 3. Power. The other side always seems to have more power and authority than you think you have.”

Below are key excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:

1- “Within reason, you can get whatever you want if you’re aware of our options, if you test your assumptions, if you take shrewdly calculated risks based on solid information, and if you believe you have power. ”

2- “You have more power sources at your fingertips than you realize! 1. The power of competition…2. The power of legitimacy. Legitimacy can be questioned and challenged. Use the power of legitimacy when it’s advantageous for you to do so and challenge that power when ifs advantageous for you to do so…3. The power of risk taking You must be willing to take risks while negotiating. Risk taking involves mixing courage with common sense…4. The power of commitment…By syndicating your risk you put yourself in a position to exploit the favorable opportunity because the risk is only moderate for you…5. The power of expertise…Establish your background and credentials early in he confrontation. If you do, your statements may not even t challenged. In other words, cash in on the fact that in complicated negotiations, participants often lack specialized knowledge of certain aspects of the matter being discussed…6. The power of the knowledge of “needs” for: for: 1. The specific issues and demands, which are stated openly. 2. The real needs of the other side, which are rarely verbalized…7. The power of investment…My point is this: If you have something difficult to negotiate—an emotional issue, or a concrete item that can be stated numerically, such as price, cost, interest rate, or salary-cope with it at the end of a negotiation, after the other side has made a hefty expenditure of energy and a substantial time investment…8. The power of rewarding or punishing…If I’m aware of your perceptions and needs, and if I know you think I have power over you, I can control your behavior…9. The power of identification…You will maximize your negotiating ability if you get others to identify with you…10. The power of morality…11. The power of precedent…12. The power of persistence…Persistence is to power what carbon is to steel. By gnawing through a dike long enough even a rat can drown a nation. Most people aren’t persistent enough when negotiating…13. The power of persuasive capacity…even if you present me with overwhelming evidence that I understand, should the conclusion depress me, I will remain unconvinced. Your facts and logic may be unassailable, but their acceptance will not meet my existing needs and desires…14. The power of attitude…Try to regard all encounters and situations, including your job, as a game, as the world of illusion. Pull back a little and enjoy it all.”

3- “1. Since most concession behavior and settlements will occur at or even beyond the deadline, be patient. True strength often calls for the ability to sustain the tension without flight or fight. Learn to keep your automatic defense responses under control. Remain calm but keep alert for the favorable moment to act. As a general rule, patience pays. It may be that the thing 5 do, when you do not know what to do, is to do nothing. 2. In an adversary negotiation your best strategy is not to reveal your real deadline to the other side. Always keep in mind that since deadlines are the product of a negotiation they are more flexible than most people realize. the benefits and detriments that will ensue as you approach, or go beyond, the brink.3. The “other side,” cool and serene as they may appear. always have a deadline. Most often, the tranquility they display outwardly masks a great deal of stress and pressure. 4. Precipitous action should be taken only when ifs guaranteed to be to your advantage. Generally speaking you cannot achieve the best outcome quickly; you can achieve it only slowly and perseveringly. Very often as you approach the deadline a shift of power will occur, presenting a creative solution or even a turnaround by the other side. The people may not change, but with the passage of tune, circumstances do.”

4- “Watch the increments of concession behavior, since they send a strong message about the real limits of authority.”

5- “A negotiation is more than an exchange of material objects It is a way of acting and behaving that can develop understanding, belief, acceptance, respect, and trust. It is the manner of your approach, the tone of your voice, the attitude you convey, the methods you use, and the concern you exhibit for the other side’s feelings and needs. All these things comprise the process of negotiation. Hence, the way you go about trying to obtain your objective may in and of itself meet some of the other party’s needs.”

6- “Let me now elaborate on how the negotiating process and reconciling opponent’s needs can be used to bring about collaborative Win-Wm outcomes: I. Using the process to meet needs 2. Harmonizing or reconciling needs…In general, the reason we are at odds on an issue may stem from three areas of difference: 1. Experience 2. Information 3. Role…3. Role…Successful collaborative negotiation lies in finding out what the other side really wants and showing them a way to get it, while you get what you want.”

7- “Accomplishing mutual satisfaction using the collaborative Win-Win style involves emphasis on three important activities: 1. Building trust 2. Gaining commitment 3. Managing opposition.”

8- “How can you ensure that you do not make visceral opponents? My two rules are stated in terse negative terms: 1. Never forget the power of your attitude 2. Never judge the actions and motives of others.”

9- “Much like a great chess master, a winning negotiator needs to know every possible strategy from the opening gambit to the end-game play. Then he can enter the event with confidence that he is prepared for every possible eventuality that might occur. Nonetheless, he strives for the best outcome that can give everyone what he wants. And he knows that compromise may be acceptable, but it’s not mutually satisfying. It is a back-up, a concluding strategy that he may ultimately have to use to avoid the consequence of a deadlock.”

10- “Characteristics of Phone Negotiations: 1. More misunderstanding 2. Easier to say no 3. Much quicker 4. More competitive 5. Greater risk  6. Advantage—caller…The following are some suggestions that can be effortlessly customized to help you achieve success: 1. Be the caller/ not the callee 2. Plan and prepare 3. A graceful exit 4. Discipline yourself to listen 5. Write the memorandum of agreement.”

11- “To maximize your impact as a negotiator— no matter whom you are dealing with—you must personalize both yourself and the situation…Try not to negotiate on behalf of an institution or organization, no matter how large or small. Negotiate on behalf of yourself, representing the institution.”


Omar Halabieh

You Can Negotiate Anything

On Super Competent

I recently finished reading Super Competent – The Six Keys to Perform at Your Productive Best by Laura Stack.

The main premise of the book as Laura best describes it is summarized as: “Success will come to those who can accomplish more in less time and consistently perform at their productive best. The people who achieve their fullest potential are not simply competent; they’re SuperCompetent.” The book then goes on to outline the main areas that SuperCompetents excel in:

“SuperCompetent people are better in the following areas than everyone else:

Key 1: Activity – SuperCompetent people are driven by intense focus on priorities and have a clear sense of direction. Value determines priority; priority determines goals; and goals determine activities.

Key2: Availability – SuperCompetent people control their schedules, so they can make time for important activities. They know they can’t be available to everyone every day, so they learn how to control their time and protect it.

Key3: Attention – SuperCompetent people are masters of focus and concentration. They develop the ability to pay attention to the task at hand and tune out distractions that aren’t related to their activities.

Key 4: Accessibility – SuperCompetent people are well organized. They have systems in place to find what they want when they want it and can quickly locate the information needed to support their activities.

Key 5: Accountability – SuperCompetent people possess self-discipline and self-control. They eliminate time wasters, strive for constant improvement, and don’t blame other people when things go wrong.

Key 6: Attitude – SuperCompetent people get the requisite skills and training when they lack ability. They have the motivation, drive, and can-do positivity to make things happen. They’re proactive, decisive, and fast.”

A very direct, practical and direct book. It includes personal assessments and action planning worksheet.

On a closing note, an organization related concept presented in this book that I found particularly helpful is:

“To effectively organize your time, you need several different types of lists. Daily to-do list. Essentially your daily plan or marching orders, this list captures everything you truly intend to get done today…A daily to-do list is the first thing you see in the morning and the last thing you see before leaving the office. It keeps you focused and on-target throughout the day. Master to-do list. This is a running list of everything you need or want to do. Think of it as your memory list; you need one for work and one for personal items. Every time you think of something you need to do, capture it on your master to-do list…A master to-do list is an ongoing list to keep track of things you might want to do someday that aren’t ready to move to your daily to-do list.”


Omar Halabieh

Super Competent

Super Competent