Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Knowing What You Want

In the excellent little book The Experts' Guide to 100 Things Everyone should know How to Do, Donald Trump says of negotiation:
"Know exactly what you want, and focus on that."
It sounds easy, doesn't it. But on a micro level as well as macro, it can be difficult in any given moment to know what you want.

Asking the right questions
Take, for example, the story I'm writing right now for Management Magazine. I've been given something of a brief, but to make it a really good article, I need to:

  1. Put myself in the shoes of the potential reader
  2. Decide what I - in those shoes - really really want to know about the subject
  3. Start digging - start asking questions - intelligent questions, because I've put myself so well in the shoes of my reader.
Of course, I could fake it and just ask people the question word for word from the brief, tabulate the answers and make into a half-decent article.

But here's the problem I find - people want to know what I want from them. They don't like vague.

And it's not just in interviewing people, either. Knowing what you want determines your attitude to information and opportunity.

For some time I've had the book How to Pass Exams on my shelf. It was one of those many books that you get because it might come in useful one day. I have a lot of books like that.

But when I showed it to my wife Marie, who is now a student, her eyes lit up. Suddenly, what was just another book became one of the most relevant and valuable books in the house.

Desire will do that to you. It will help light up the things you need to get what you want, and it will also help you filter out the things that are irrelevant, unhelpful or harmful to your goal.

Desire can be good or bad for you. And that's why it needs to be harnessed together with purpose. And when those two - purpose and desire - combine, you get focus.

More on Purpose tomorrow.

PS: Here are the rest of Donald Trump's pointers on negotiation:
  1. Know exactly what you want, and focus on that.
  2. View any conflict as an opportunity. This will expand your mind as well as your horizons.
  3. Know that your negotiating partner/partners may well have exactly the same goals as you do. Do not underestimate them.
  4. Patience is an enormous virtue and needs to be cultivated for successful negotiations on any level.
  5. Realize that quiet persistence can go a long way. Being stubborn is often an attribute. The key is to know when to loosen up.
  6. Remain optimistic at all times. Practice positive thinking - this will keep you focused while weeding out negative and detrimental people.
  7. Let your guard down, but only on purpose. Watch how your negotiating partners respond.
  8. Be open to change - it's another word for innovation.
  9. Trust your instincts, even after you've honed your skills. They're there for a reason.
  10. Negotiation is an art. Treat it like one.
From Experts' Guide to 100 Things Everyone Should Know How to Do, created by Samantha Ettus, Allen & Unwin 2004


Post a Comment

<< Home