The Precious Present

The Tibetans have a saying;

You will have to stand for a very long time

with your mouth wide open

before a roasted partridge will fly into it…

It is a rather droll way of expressing high levels of improbability, but nevertheless useful, in reminding us that some things that we may pine and hope for are simply ‘unrealistic.’

The fact is that we could stand outside ‘forever,’ with our mouths agape and there is no way in the world that a ‘roasted partridge’ will ever fly in!

The odds are completely against this ever happening and it is like this also with a lot of things that we may cling very vehemently to as aspirations, hopes, dreams and wishes.

This is not to say that we should not have any. It is only to point out that it is wiser to actually get out and take the needed steps that would enable an ‘outcome’ to eventuate.

We must measure our wishes against our ability to create the causes that will engender the hoped for ‘conditions.’

When we wait too long, the chances are we may miss out altogether.

If you are into ‘roasted partridges’ it makes more sense to scour the markets.

There is a huge advantage in learning to ‘surrender’ to life and accept what actually ‘is.’ Instead of dancing through our days like animated ‘puppets,’ tossed about here and there, in a relentless cycle of ‘hope and fear,’ we can simply learn to relax and allow our attention to fully greet exactly whatever arises before us.

Most of the time, we do exactly the opposite. Our ‘attention’ is fixed elsewhere; any where, but right ‘here’ and right ‘now.’

We need not live our lives as slaves to longings, hopes, desires or fear. We ALWAYS have a choice.

We can do ourselves the greatest possible favor and recognize the treasure of the ‘present moment.’

The ‘present moment’ deserves our closest attention, gratitude and even devotion.

Take the hint and look again more carefully at the very thing that you routinely take for granted. Things are seldom ever quite as they ‘appear’ to be.

This present moment, when it is just lived out for what it is, provides us with the supreme opportunity to discover an incredibly important truth.

If it were not for the present moment we could not exist at all.

Truly this present moment is precious indeed!

9 Ways In Which Presentations Are Like Meetings (And Not In A Good Way)

I spent many years in corporate life sitting through both presentations and meetings. I’ve also run a lot of courses on how to deliver effective presentations and how to organise and run successful meetings. One thing I’ve learned is that presentations and meetings tend to have a lot in common – and not in a good way.

  1. They’re often organised without any clear purpose or outcome in mind.
  2. They usually consist of one person passing on information to other people who have little interest in it.
  3. They usually take place because someone in authority decides they should happen, not because the people involved want or need them.
  4. The people who have to attend spend most of their time wishing they were somewhere else.
  5. Often, even the person delivering the presentation or chairing the meeting also wishes he or she didn’t have to do it but they had no choice in the matter.
  6. They nearly always go on longer than expected because no-one really knows how to bring them to an end.
  7. People are often expected to deliver presentations or chair meetings as part of their job but get no specific training in how to do it properly.
  8. There is technology available to help but most people have no idea how to use it effectively.
  9. Organisations develop a “culture” (which is a fancy name for “habit”) of how to run meetings or presentations and people copy what they see everyone else doing, which perpetuates the bad practice.

A cynical view? Possibly. Accurate? In my experience, definitely!

It amazes me how many organisations still allow poorly organised or badly thought-out meetings and presentations to take place, soaking up hours of people’s valuable time and costing huge amounts in terms of staff costs. They would see a great return on investment if they questioned the way they do things and just gave people some basic training to help them improve the situation.

How to Negotiate Successfully

Plenty of folks would certainly assert that the world operates on compromise. It can, at times, be very difficult to get two folks to agree on an issue, not to mention to somehow get the 6 billion individuals inhabiting the entire world on the same page. When people get into any disagreement, the only method to deal with it is to locate some middle ground where all parties can be relatively satisfied. That is when they will also be agreeable to start negotiating.

When talking about negotiation, or its more formal forms of arbitration and/or mediation, it is the process of solving disagreements with the intent of satisfying the interests of more than one individual or group. Talks develop everywhere all of the time, in the commercial world, in legal proceedings, and in some cases between the people in power of entire countries. Of course, negotiating likewise often occurs on lesser scales: going through weddings (and sometimes divorce cases), all through bringing up a child, and even during everyday living. It is not uncommon that a lot of individuals are not able to go a 24-hour period and not have to negotiate with a friend or relative over some problem or another.

There are many approaches to starting a dialogue. However, it’s imperative that all sides go in with an open mind. Truly being willing to compromise is the most essential element with regards to wanting to come to an decision with someone else. Given that the two sides really need to recognize the other party’s point to see what type of deal may be achieved, when someone is unable and / or reluctant to give any ground, then any attempt at discussions would most likely be completely wasted.

The most well-known approach of discussion may include three basic components: substance, process, and behavior. Behavior refers to how the parties treat and react to each other and how they actually communicate with each other. Process describes the way the interested parties genuinely set about the negotiations. It involves the parties that are interested in the outcome of the negotiations, how the parties go about reaching a decision, and how all of these things play out. Lastly, substance refers to the effects of the actual negotiations, covering such questions like what the issues are, what the options are, and finally what agreement is reached at the end.

A separate strategy for negotiations is based on tactics, process, tools, and strategy. Strategy refers to top level goals which are the desired outcome at the end of the negotiation process. Tactics include things like statements and actions in response to another party’s statements – as in, how another’s statement is responded to. Process and tools include the steps that are commonly followed in a negotiation session. Occasionally, persuasion is added to this method where one party persuades the others to agree on their own argument, which is one way to successfully complete negotiations.

Another often-used tactic is known as bad guy/good guy. One negotiator acts as a “bad” guy and it is tough during the session because they may openly express anger and use threats. In contrast, the “good guy” calls off the “bad guy”, which makes the other party feel more sympathetic to them and thus more likely to agree to their terms.

Negotiating is a regular part of life. Being respectful and wise is important so that all parties reach an agreement they’re content with.