Prepare Yourself While Presenting Your Proposal to Take Flexible Work Arrangements

One of the most popular offerings in the United States is workplace flexibility for employees. It is a low-cost and low-barrier initiative that is successfully implemented among small to large companies. Even if an employer is taking his own sweet time to propose you flexible work arrangements, you can propose your flexible work options to make a balanced equation for both the sides.

Moreover, an employee has to look for a perfect way to discuss his proposal with the manager. One thing which he must remember is that wrong way of approach can lead his request to be overruled. There are many alternatives in which you can approach your manager but here under is one alternative that can work for you.

You can put your flexible work request in the form of a written proposal. This proposal will have details regarding the type and nature of your job and how will you be able to perform the assigned work under the new arrangement. You can highlight the bottom line benefits to your employer so that he cannot refuse your offer. You must also be prepared for objections and how to overrule them with satisfactory reasons.

Once you have submitted your proposal, you can arrange a meeting with your manager to discuss it personally. You must be well-reversed for your proposal presentation so that you can prove each point mentioned in your proposal. The rest of the decision will obviously be taken by your manager.

You have to be calm, patient and confident while presenting your idea of adopting flexible work arrangements. If your manager will be satisfied by your proposal, he will never force you to work against your wishes. So, prepare yourself well and go ahead to meet your request.

Lessons Learned From a Roman Street Vendor – Even the Smallest Business Can Negotiate Effectively

The word negotiations often conjures up visions of
opposing teams of professionals, countering tactic with tactic
to reach an agreement acceptable to both sides. In reality,
every businessperson uses effective negotiation skills on a
daily basis.

For example, when I visited Rome many years ago, I
found that the smallest of operations can practice good negotiating
skills. I had just toured St. Peter’s Basilica and, having
been raised Roman Catholic, wanted to purchase a souvenir
for my mother.

On the street, I met a vendor who held up a
lovely cut-glass rosary. “How much?” I asked.
“It’s my last one,” he said. “When I sell this, I can go
home. So – special for you – 12,000 lira.” (About $20 at the
time.) It was my third day in Rome and I had found that
everything was negotiable to a much greater degree than
Americans assume.

By then, I understood the “game.” The first mention of
any price in Rome, no matter how reasonable, is met with a
flinch. So, I flinched. The vendor, having seen this many
times before, responded with, “How much you want to pay?”

I started by low-balling my offer. “I’ll give you 1,000
lira,” I said. He looked at me, opened his eyes wide in
apparent disbelief, rattled off a litany of facts detailing the
quality of the rosary and said, “How ’bout 11,000?” I had
learned that to meet a street vendor half-way is to lose. I stuck
to my position. “1,000 lira.”

He then told me about the large family he had and how he
wanted to buy his children new shoes. “I’ll take 10,000,” he
countered. My self-talk said, “You’re on a roll!” I made my
offer again, “1,000 lira.”

He next bemoaned the price of food and the cost of
feeding his family. “But, you look like a nice guy,” he said
sincerely, “I’ll give you a deal – 8,000 lira.”

This point-counterpoint lasted a good 10 minutes. Each
time, the price was lowered. Finally, he said, feigned desperation
on his face, “Okay, 2,000 lira and it’s yours, and I’ll even
throw in this plastic rosary case.”

“Fine,” I said. “I’m a fair man.” I gave him 2,000 lira and
put the rosary in my pocket. About a block down the street, I
encountered another street vendor selling rosaries which were
identical to the one I had just purchased.

To verify my negotiating prowess, I asked, “How much?”
“2,000 lira,” he said. My self-image shattered, I turned to
walk away. As I did, he grabbed my arm and whispered
softly, “But for you, 1,750.”

This true story illustrates seven points that are as appropriate
to the businessperson as they are to the professional
negotiator. Whether it’s pricing a project or determining a
package deal, these principles apply to your negotiations.

1 – State an opening position that is perceived to be reasonable and that will
achieve the greatest advantage for you:

The perception of being reasonable is key. Our
realities are not based upon how things really are, but on how
we believe them to be. Try to objectively determine if your
position is fair when compared to previous negotiating

If you were the other party, would you feel
that you had a basis for continuing the negotiations?
The first rosary vendor took a calculated risk. Because I
had just come from St. Peter’s, he viewed me as a prospective
rosary buyer. Running through the situation in his mind, he
reasoned that I may already have bought one.

If I had, he would move on. If I hadn’t, I might not know
the normal asking price of the merchandise. He decided to
start much higher than he realistically should have. Because I
was not familiar with the price, I truly felt the merchandise
was worth 12,000 lira.

I took the opportunity seriously. Had I known that others
were selling the same merchandise for a much lower price, the
opening position would have been considered unreasonable. I
would have refused to bargain and walked away.

This tactic may be all right for a Roman street vendor, but
it will, in most cases, meet with failure for the businessperson.
Prospective clients today are shoppers. They talk with several
suppliers before arriving at a buying decision. Opening positions
which are unreasonable are quickly found out and disregarded,
along with the organizations that made them.

2 – Expect a counteroffer that will detail the other side’s most favorable position.

Your perception of that offer will help you
determine whether or not the other side is approaching
the negotiations in good faith. If you feel
that too big a gap exists between the two positions,
it could be worthwhile to walk away and determine the
advisability of continuing.

Had the rosary vendor’s opening position not been so
inflated, he might have viewed my counteroffer as being way
too low. He expressed his surprise, then waited for a response.
When I didn’t budge, he knew that the final sale price would
be closer to my number than to his. However, that was okay
with him, so he continued.

3 – Develop a firm picture of the type and value of concessions you are considering.

When he met me, the Roman street vendor knew how low he was willing to price the
merchandise. That’s why my intransigence didn’t
dampen his enthusiasm for the potential deal. As long as his
asking price remained higher than the lowest price he was
willing to accept, he continued to negotiate. He had a number
in his head that satisfied him. Any amount in excess of that
number was an additional benefit to him, a sort of windfall

By clearly defining your anticipated concessions before
beginning the negotiations, you keep yourself on-track with
what is happening and with how much further you are willing
to go to reach an acceptable compromise position.

4 – Pace concessions and make them only after an explanation is given for each one.

Even though you have allowed yourself room
to make them, you will want to explain why a
particular concession is being made. The reason could be as
simple as, “I really want your business and I’m willing to go
further than I normally would if you can assure me that you’ll
give me a chance to bid on future projects.”

This type of statement implies that you are also getting something of value
from the concession – the potential for future business.
The rosary vendor explained his price reductions, hoping
that I would make my own concessions. But because his
initial position was so high, he didn’t ask me to raise my offer
each time. This is not the best tactic as the next principle indicates.

5 – Make a concession only if a concession is given in return by the other side.

This give-and-take adds value to each move
because, in effect, each concession is being paid
for. As both sides move closer to a mutually
agreed-upon position, each feels that specific conceded items have intrinsic value because of what was given
in return.

This brings to light a basic caveat: If an opening
position is set too high and concessions are made without
receiving something from the other party, the value of the
concessions is lessened.

After the first few unanswered concessions from the
vendor, I expected the concessions to continue. I wasn’t
certain how low the final price would be, but I felt he would
continue to lower his price because it was relatively easy to get
the price reductions and he asked for nothing in return.

However, in his mind, I had made a concession – I stayed
to bargain further. By not walking away, I was giving him
something in return for his price adjustments. The vendor felt
that if he kept me interested long enough, I would buy.

6 – A small, unexpected concession will often prompt the other party to act.

Frequently, the bargaining on a particular point
becomes routine and static. Both parties develop
mindsets regarding the validity and scope of the
final position.

When one party introduces an unexpected, unrequested
concession, the other may see this as a bonus and be willing to
make more of a concession than has initially been anticipated
or thought possible. In my situation, the street vendor offered to include a
small plastic case. Its value was little, but its impact caused
me to finally increase my offer.

A businessperson must also adhere to a final principle that
was unimportant to the street vendor.

7 – If it can be shown that a significantly
better deal is available elsewhere, the
value of the final agreement is

The lifeline of any business is repeat and
referral customers. All negotiations must be
approached as win/win situations. If the other party loses the
battle, you could lose the war.

Once again, it is the perception
that takes forefront. If the other party’s initial “win” begins to
look like a “loss,” it is the loss that will be retold to others who
may have been your prospects.

The Roman street vendor exited my life as soon as the
rosary went into my pocket. He wasn’t concerned about how I
would feel later. Your reputation, though, depends on others
perceiving they have been part of a fair and equitable

If so, they will return to you and tell others of your flexibility
and willingness to meet their needs. If not, word will
quickly spread that you deal only when you can outdo the
other party, a negative categorization that will affect your

As with any skill, negotiations must be practiced and
refined. Remember the lessons I learned on a street corner in
Rome, then use the strategies discussed in the next chapter to
make you even more professional in your negotiations.


Copyright, 2008 Management Strategies, Inc.

Get Acquainted With Southeast Asia As You Discover Her Capitals, Both Past and Present

Get a comprehensive insight into Southeast Asia. How to do this, you may ask? One such method is to visit its capitals. Not only is it a great way to experience each country’s culture but you’ll also get to live it up in each country’s biggest cities and most yearned sites. So, pack up and bring yourself to some of Southeast Asia’s capitals, both present and past.

First, we’ll jet you off to Bangkok, the hub for your Southeast Asia travel adventure. It is also a great place to start as the city is one of the world’s great metros, combining tall shimmering skyscrapers and glittering temples. You’ll visit the country’s most famous structures at the Grand Palace, a network of temples and traditional buildings which serves as the official residences of the Royal Family since the 18th century. Nearby Wat Pho, the birthplace of traditional Thai massage and home of a large reclining Buddha image will also be visited. The city is also open for recreational time. Be sure to enjoy Bangkok at leisure as well.

Prepare for a complete change of scenery! Let the laid back Lao atmosphere soothe you at Luang Prabang, Laos’ former capital. This UNESCO Heritage Town is known for its beautiful mix of temples, colonial structures, tree-lined streets and overall cleanliness. See it all on Phousi Hill during sunset before individually inspecting the town yourself. Yes, Luang Prabang feels more like a town than a city. While here, you’ll have the opportunity to cruise the Mekong and experience the Buddha-filled caves of Pak Ou and the majestic falls of Kuang Si.

From past to present, head to Vientiane, the current capital of Laos. Again, another town-like Lao city with the renowned Lao laid-backness sprinkled in. Stroll along the river and just soothe in the environment. Learn about the city’s history at the famed temples of Wat Sisaket and That Luang as well as through the capital’s quiet neighborhoods and local markets. You’ll also partake in a special Lao ceremony called the baci, which is deeply rooted in Lao history and culture (it was around even before Buddhism arrived in the country), giving you luck on your travels.

From capital to capital, you fly onwards to Phnom Penh for the Cambodian section of your Southeast Asia tour. Once called the Pearl of the East, you will venture through the tree-lined streets, explore temples and visit the Royal Palace, Wat Phnom and the National Museum.

A Cambodia trip wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Siem Reap and its Angkor temples. Yes, in case you were wondering, this is where Angkor Wat is. But this is just one many temples you’ll see. Some are even covered in jungle, just like how explorers first saw them. Vary your touring experience a little bit with an optional helicopter flight over Angkor Thom. We promise a spectacular and breathtaking experience.