During the last month we spent a good amount of time working with a client in advance of a pending negotiation. Rewinding the experience I found myself thinking I wished the client had gone to acting school and not business school.
Entrepreneurs, for the most part, are by nature confident, independent and rounded individuals. They know their expertise, product and service well and spend time over their careers honing their business skills. Many aspire to learn more about accounting, finance, marketing, and sales. But it must always be remembered that often the difference between success and failure is the result of our interaction with people. Irrespective of our business: customers, employees, vendors/suppliers, intermediaries like bankers are people. Although often representing another company or entity the evaluation of these people of us is the difference.
Libraries are stocked with scores of books on negotiation, employee counseling, the protocols of business interaction and industrial psychology. A Google search of negotiation will avail you to a multitude of great articles about techniques, strategies, and tips. However, in the end effective execution is the key and that more often than not involves acting!
If you have ever witnessed a director working with an actor in preparation for a scene you would have noted that the director starts by establishing the tone, style and intensity he/she wishes the actor to convey. Great actors have range and a capability to effect and demonstrate multiple tones, styles, and degrees of intensity. The same is true for entrepreneurs in business interactions.
Before important interactions take the time to consider the audience! Map out the tone, style, and intensity that will best yield the result you wish to achieve. The image/tone you want to convey may be situational but some consistencies generally apply!
For Employees Unemotional, controlled, considerate, sensitive, consistent, and fair.
For Customers: Knowledgeable, helpful, flexible, controlled, and confident.
For Bankers: Confident, knowledgeable, and controlled.
For Vendors: Considerate, receptive to change, and direct.
This simple guide can lead one to believe that controlled confidence is the approved solution. It is true that many people become uncomfortable when intense emotion is displayed in any interaction. But passion is also a positive image to convey. Does anyone really want to interface with “Spock” all the time? Can you display passionate confidence without creating an image of arrogant cockiness? Should you go to acting school?