Negotiation Skills:- what might affect a successful outcome?

Wittingly or unwittingly, from a running a grocery shop in Al Satwa to a multi-million dollar business in Jebel Ali free zone, negotiation plays an integral part in our everyday lives. Negotiation is also the fine line that distinguishes the outcome between war and peace, deal or no deal, yes or no and most of life’s key decisions. So it is important for us to consider what personal skills might play a part in the successful outcome of a negotiation.

art of the deal

Trump co-writer may have backed out of this particular deal by regretting penning this popular book on negotiation>

Expert Negotiation skills bring the best outcome out of a business deal for both parties. The ability to influence another in a professional and ethical way which would open avenues for profitable mutual understanding, are the core elements of successful negotiations.

Body language and attitude clearly have a strong role to play so here are a few simple tips you may want to keep at the forefront of your mind the next time you enter a negotiation.




Listening genuinely and vigilantly is an important factor in effective negotiations as it helps to understand the problem, offer, or demand the negotiation needs to be applied to. Listening requires a lot of patience, sharpness and a clear mindset that would not cloud judgments.

According to Dianne Schilling, writing for Forbes Women’s Media in 2016, a negotiation that is based on effective listening can help in resolving conflicts, understanding problems, and improving accuracy overall in an organization.

Maintain Eye Contact

One of the basic components of effective communication is eye contact. It is always pleasant and comforting to the conversational partner when we have the courtesy to turn and face them, put aside pens, papers, mobile phones and books etc. Even if the partner is feeling shy, guilty, ashamed, or demonstrates any other negative emotions that accompany cultural taboos, you need to excuse him/her but always maintain your complete focus as the negotiator.

Maintain attention with a relaxed composure

Once proper eye contact is achieved it is always important to maintain a relaxed composure and not stare at the conversation partner. This can lead to awkwardness in the conversation. The important thing to keep in mind is to give attention while paying attention. The negotiator should also refrain from getting lost and distracted in his/hers own thoughts and keep their negotiating partner at the forefront of all communication.

Keep an open mind

The negotiator should always maintain an open mind and listen without judging prematurely. Jumping to conclusions before grasping the true facts and contents of the situation could generate a seriously negative vibe and create discomfort in the dialogue. This could result in major setbacks in the negotiations. Many negotiations stall as a result of this.

Analyse and problem solve

It is very important for the negotiator to always be analytical. There is a difference between being judgmental and analytical. The negotiator should maintain his analytical stance at all times. When proper analysis is conducted, problems can be solved in an effective manner.

Be professional

From beginning to end of the negotiation process the negotiator should maintain superior professionalism. Controlling emotions is an important aspect in making rational decisions and comments. Irrational ideas and comments that result from not being able to maintain a professional fine line would affect a negotiation and cause it to stall immediately.

Another important aspect in maintaining professionalism in a negotiation is that the negotiator should not interrupt the communication partner. Negotiators tend to show off their knowledge and belittle the conversation which would lead to discomfort in the negotiation.


Having good communication skills is very important for a negotiation to be positive. When communication is considered, the negotiator does not necessarily need to have superior language and grammatical proficiency but rather clarity and concision. The language used should be as simple as possible and should not contain too much technical jargon which might confuse the communication partner.

Present yourself well

The negotiator should have flair and personality to win negotiations. To begin with, a pleasing personality would draw attention towards the points put forward. A pleasing personality does not necessarily mean good looks, but for instance a smile when greeting, smart attire and general likeability would be the factors that build a good impression. The negotiator should be assertive in what he says and should be positive at all times.

Of course most negotiations are not quite as simple as following these tips but it is always good to revisit the basics. ISM Training runs an “Art of Negotiation “ course which will step it up a notch or 5 , so if you would like to improve your own negotiation skills beyond measure please get in touch to receive our full course brochure. Email [email protected] or call our friendly team on 04 457 3814.

Being clever might get you the interview, but these six

soft skills will get you the job!


In 2015, a Talent Shortage Survey showed that nearly one in five employers around the world cannot fill job roles because they can’t find people with the correct soft skills. Specifically, companies say candidates were lacking in a few areas. These areas included problem solving, critical observation, teamwork and adaptability.

Although we see these “soft skills” listed towards the end of every single job description, they really are important in the overall scheme of things. Employment experts agree that being a qualified techie will more than likely get you an interview and maybe even the job, but having these six soft skills will help you keep it.

Due to lack of soft skills, these are the Top 10 Hardest Jobs to fill (as of 2015):

  1. Skilled Trade Workers
  2. Drivers
  3. Teachers
  4. Sales Representatives
  5. Administrative Professionals
  6. Management/Executives
  7. Nurses
  8. Technicians
  9. Accounting and Finance Staff
  10. Engineers
web developer

Even Web Developers need soft skills!

Here are six soft skills we believe you should acquire or already have:

  1. Communication Skills

Communication skills you say? We all have these skills, we talk to people all the time don’t we? No, this doesn’t mean just talking to people or being a great writer, it means you have to be good at expressing yourself. Whether that means giving an attention-grabbing presentation, writing a strong memo or trying to sell something convincingly to a customer, it all comes under the expansive umbrella of communication skills.

  1. Teamwork and Collaboration

Recruitment scouts and employers desire employees who work and play well with others. They are looking for people who can effectively work with and contribute to a team. Overall this means being a good leader and sometimes even a good follower. You would also be expected to effectively track team members’ progress and make sure deadlines are hit.

This is how an employer would evaluate whether you are a good candidate and hiring you will help achieve the company’s common goal.

  1. Adaptability

This skill is really important for real seasoned professionals to demonstrate, in order to stand a chance of getting the job. One of the main reasons some companies tend not to hire older employees, is the fear that they are already set in their ways. If you are older and going for an interview, it is important to tell the employer on your resume, CV, and in the course of your interview why this is not the case and provide evidence as to why you can easily adapt.

  1. Problem Solving

From personal experience we all know interviews start to become painful when the employer starts asking the ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions. For instance, “Think of a specific example where you solved a tough business problem or participated in the solution?” You need to be able to explain what you did, how you involved everyone, how you approached the task and overall what the outcome was and how you measured the success achieved.

  1. Critical Observation

Unfortunately it just isn’t quite enough to just collect and manipulate data. You really must be able to also interpret and analyze it. What is all this data telling you? Has it raised any questions? Are there multiple ways to interpret all this data? You are being asked these questions as the person interviewing you is wondering whether you are the one that does all of the above, or simply hands them a spreadsheet and moves on. The more detailed the data and its interpretation, the better an employee you are, according to your managers and boss.

  1. Conflict Resolution

In order to ever become a manager, you need to be a good negotiator and persuader and be able to resolve conflicts effectively. Without being respected, knowledgeable, a professional and a good communicator, there is not much chance you will ever get that promotion.


So, take these six soft skills on board and develop before your next interview, otherwise you might as well just walk into the interview and when they say, “Where do you see yourself in five years from now…?” Your answer might sound something like, “In the exact same job, with the exact same pay, just lots more responsibility.”

We hope these tips help with your next job interview!

Good luck!

ISM Training Dubai

Leadership in Dubai and the UAE has never been in question. How is it that such a small country has leapt onto the world’s centre stage in such a short time? Well, there are lots of great books out there where you can read up on Dubai’s history and the Leadership skills that have catapulted it from a small trading port to a megacity but I will touch on one quality, namely creativity.

In 1999, when addressing a government award ceremony Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum gave a very interesting speech in which he said, “a leader does not necessarily need to be the most intelligent member of his group, although many of us think that this should be the case, rather he is the one with the clearest and most far-reaching vision.”

his excellency sheikh mohammed bin rashid al maktoum

His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum always has his eye on the future,

Leaders like Sheikh Mohammed do not stay still , they do not look at what their competitors are doing and try to mimic them rather they have the ability to create opportunities and go beyond the current mind-set.

Visionaries are willing to try new things and challenge the norm and have conviction and ability to execute their vision. They do things differently. Different is why they exist. The why they do it is important , it drives them to explore ideas and pursue their goals .

Steve Jobs was regarded as a visionary leader and Apple’s success can be attributed to his creativity in imagining new markets for emerging technology (coupled with of course Steve Wozniak’s technical programming skills). So why do they do it?

George Mallory, the great climber in answer to why he attempted to climb Everest, stated, “because it is there.”

Jobs said, “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”

Sheikh Mohammed, Dubai’s leader is quoted as saying, “If we have achieved everything, should we stay hand folded, just to eat and drink?”

They all strive to look beyond the present into what could be, they don’t stand still. Innovation is born from chaos not status quo, so next time you see a leader of industry resting on his laurels that is when the competition will gain advantage. Likewise business will cede competitive advantage when they lack vision and mimic the best practice of successful companies. The businesses that are leading the market are the ones creating not best practice but ‘next’ practice and embrace the philosophy of ‘what if’.

So who do you think is a visionary leader? If political leaders are not meeting the mark who is? Which business leaders epitomise creativity?

For information on ISM’s game changing Leadership course in Dubai please contact [email protected].

Starting a new business, or trying to turn around an old one, takes courage – and a great business plan. Not all plans are created equal though. Some are a mix of waffle and reiterations of previous mistakes. So here are five tips to help you create a better business strategy.

Don’t pad the business plan

It can be tempting for a start-up to feel the need to go into every little detail, but this can lead to confusion for everyone reading it. Instead of getting a crisp overview of where you want the business to go, the waffle can obscure your true purpose.

By using a lean approach, you can focus on what is really important in an easy to assimilate format. Lean business strategies (or plans) keep to the essentials; only delving deeper into areas that truly require more explanation – and even then, ensure those are kept to a minimum.

Let it evolve

If a business strategy doesn’t evolve over time it will stagnate and ultimately fail. As your business needs change, the plan has to have the flexibility to help you make effective change. A plan that is set in stone with immovable sales targets and growth forecasts doesn’t allow for economic downturns, or gives you the ability to scale up production if demand requires it.

Build agility into your business strategy and go back to it regularly to ensure it’s still working for the business you are running today, not five years ago.

Have a plan b

For most businesses the strategy is all about being positive about the future, with no room for considering the bumps along the way. Yet by identifying potential problems long before they happen you can build an alternative route to steer your business towards success.

Your plan b doesn’t necessarily have to be part of the main strategy document, but thinking through this separate document will save you time, and reduce panic levels, later on.

Find the best people

The greatest business strategy will fail without a great team to implement it. It’s very easy to get lost in the grandeur of the plan and lose sight of who will actually be working with you to make it happen in the real world.

Within your plan identify the people you will be working with or the characteristics you need to make the plan work. Not only will it help you see what you really need from your potential team, it’ll show up the flaws in your current team.

Don’t aim for perfection straight away

Getting your business off the ground, or setting a new strategy in place, can be daunting, but don’t get mired in making it perfect before implementation. Get the core values established and then put your plan into action. Without action you can’t tell if your plan is really going to work or just an exercise in conceptual thinking.

Again keep it lean. This way anything that doesn’t work can be ditched earlier in the process, giving more breathing space to the more successful aspects of your business strategy.

Today’s rapidly changing knowledge economy has caused a seismic shift in career development. No longer can we passively follow pre-destined career paths. We have to become active participants – developing personal, as well as commercial skills outside our original educational sphere.

“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.” Helen Keller

Our career choices are often based on childhood experiences. Through growing up in Africa and South America, I wanted to become a Doctor of Tropical Medicine. However, after achieving my bachelors in Microbiology, I went on to obtain a Master’s in Education.

Today I work as a marketing manager. Next year, who knows? With a career spanning 15 years in secondary and adult education, I view a working life as a dynamic, constantly evolving journey; influenced by shifting personal events, and the constantly changing economic environment.

If, like me, you have changed careers, have teenagers that have no idea what to do with their lives, or an employee who lacks direction; you may find yourself nodding in agreement.

Career development is dynamic, whether it meanders or is a clearly defined, linear progression. It concerns the whole person, not just their role, and their concepts of self, as well as changing, external factors.

Many things will influence the path of a career. Gender, family, social class, ethnicity and cultural, as well as changes in macro level policies, environment and economy. A career integrates work as well as the impact of social, familial, technological and political aspects on an individual’s life.

Interlacing between these factors is a series of coping behaviours we adopt during our career journey. The highly regarded career psychologist, Donald Super, deeply influenced the modern day approach to career development. An early proponent of lifelong learning, his behavioural theories (where he moved away from traditional career theories, which fit traits to career and are somewhat static) resonate significantly with today’s fast moving job market.

In Super’s research into young adults he found clearly defined types of behaviour: drifting (just moving with the tides), stagnating (where there’s no internal drive or external circumstances), floundering (lacking a good method to get where we want to be), exploring (having an objective with an idea of how to achieve it), systematic (taking steps to achieve a goal), and stabilising (cementing a career).

In each of our roles in life we may be in any one of these different stages. What’s important is recognising which stage we’re in, and understanding how we can move forward to the next stage.

With the constantly changing advances in technology, even the most rigid roles demand a more diverse range of skills. Employees are not necessarily looking for purely knowledge-based skills either. Literacy is obviously still relevant, but high on the employer’s list are creativity, adaptability, flexibility and an innovative mindset. After all, as a company they have to sustain their business in the future as much as you need to sustain your career and employability. Embrace learning, it’s your friend for life.

The article above appeared on the front page of the Gulf News educational section on July 14th. Since there is no online version I thought you may like to see it here too.

A marketing sound bite can shake us out of old ways of thinking and look at problems in a different light. The following inspirational marketing quotes are great motivators. They’re excellent for personal reflection, or to kick off a brain storming session with your marketing team.

1. “You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.” Steve Jobs, Apple

2. “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.” Peter F. Drucker

3. “Instead of one-way interruption, web marketing is about delivering useful content at precisely the right moment when a buyer needs it.” David Meerman Scott, author of The New Rules of Marketing and PR

4. “Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.” Seth Godin, author of Permission Marketing

5. “Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.” Mark Twain

6. “If you have more money than brains you should focus on outbound marketing. If you have more brains than money, you should focus on inbound marketing.” Guy Kawasaki

7. “Focus on the core problem your business solves and put out lots of content and enthusiasm, and ideas about how to solve that problem.” Laura Fitton,

8. “The aim of marketing is to get customers to know, like and trust you.” Unknown

9. “We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in & be what people are interested in.” Craig Davis, Founder of Brandkarma

10. “Affiliate marketing has made businesses millions and ordinary people millionaires.” Bo Bennett, Adgrafix

11. “In today’s information age of Marketing and Web 2.0, a company’s website is the key to their entire business.” Marcus Sheridan, author of The Sales Lion blog

12. “Transforming a brand into a socially responsible leader doesn’t happen overnight by simply writing new marketing and advertising strategies. It takes effort to identify a vision that your customers will find credible and aligned with their values.” Simon Mainwaring, founder We First

Vivienne Westwood

Her first shop was called "SEX" which certainly caught the public's attention...

13. “But, the thing is, since I always had my own little shop and direct access to the public, I’ve been able to build up a technique without marketing people ever telling me what the public wants.” Vivienne Westwood, fashion designer

14. “Pop culture is not about depth. It’s about marketing, supply and demand consumerism.” Trevor Dunn, Composer

15. “Your culture is your brand.” Tony Hsieh, CEO

16. “I avoid clients for whom advertising is only a marginal factor in their marketing mix. They have an awkward tendency to raid their advertising appropriations whenever they need cash for other purposes.” David Ogilvy

18. “No matter what, the very first piece of social media real estate I’d start with is a blog.” Chris Brogan, New Marketing Labs

19. “Increasingly, the mass marketing is turning into a mass of niches.” Chris Anderson, author of the Long Tail

20. “There are no magic wands, no hidden tricks, and no secret handshakes that can bring you immediate success, but with time, energy, and determination, you can get there.” Darren Rowse, Founder of Problogger

21. “Give them quality. That’s the best kind of advertising.” Milton Hershey, the Hershey Chocolate Company