REAL-WORLD INSIGHTS

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Published: Nov 28 , 2013
Author: Robin Copland

Scotland’s first minister, Alex Salmond has announced 24 March 2016 as the date for the country’s exit from the United Kingdom, should the Scottish people (or rather, those people resident in Scotland at 18 September 2014) vote for independence. It is a date redolent with historical significance for the historically-minded, for on that date in 1603, the union of the Scottish and English crowns took place and later, in 1707 on the same date, the Acts of Union were signed creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain...

Published: Nov 14 , 2013
Author: Stephen White

After the failure, albeit perhaps temporarily, of the negotiations in Geneva last weekend between the Iranian Foreign Minister and representatives of the superpowers over the future of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, US Secretary of State John Kerry gave an interview to the BBC. The transcript can be found here . My interest was drawn to this extract...

Published: Nov 07 , 2013
Author: Alan Smith

Remember, remember… In many aspects of life one of the most important aspects is, wait for it, timing. A good gag, the perfect time to hit a volley, the lightest of soufflés, all require a mixture of patience, confidence and skill to get the best reaction from your audience, competitor or diners...

Published: Oct 10 , 2013
Author: Mike Freedman

Before working with a powerful FMCG company in Europe I asked of the thousands of points of sale they have how many client relationships they lose every year to competing companies. The company proudly announced that last year they lost less than 1% annually to competition. I dared to suggest that 1% is probably not enough and that they need to lose more business. This did not deter them from working with us and here’s why...

Published: Sep 26 , 2013
Author: Alan Smith

Being nasty has no place in my view in life or business, not only because it is wrong, it also makes bad sense. Treading gently does not mean being soft, but it does mean having integrity.

Published: Aug 22 , 2013
Author: John McMillan

It is said that the two happiest times in a sailor's life are the day they buy a boat and the day they sell their boat. I have a third occasion which beats even these...

Published: Aug 15 , 2013
Author: Alan Smith

I want you to try a little experiment. Think of a simple tune, something like Happy Birthday. Now find a colleague, friend or partner and tap out the song for them without telling them the name of the song. Chances are they will have not got a clue... You have just witnessed for yourself the concept of the curse of knowledge.

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Be Specific With What You Want

You are out for a drink and the bartender asks you – “What would you like?” to which you reply “Guess!”. “Alright then” he says, “How about a red wine?”. You shake your head to this and say “No, that’s not what I want. Guess again.” After much back and forth, the bartender is justifiably irritated and through gritted teeth he tells you “I have other customers I need to serve, you look like someone who would enjoy a refreshing Sauvignon Blanc so I’ll pour you one of those. Enjoy your night.” This is a silly analogy to what I observe every week in most negotiations. Often there is a lack of specific disclosure as to what it is that the party wants or they take a long time to bring this information forward...

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