Why you must spend some time learning the art of negotiation


Learning the Art of NegotiationYou have to ask for money because there’s always more money and they won’t give it to you because you’re a girl. ~Claire Danes

A new year is often a time when people decide that it’s the right time to change jobs. For whatever reason they decide it’s time to move on.

That’s fair enough; if you’re not enjoying doing whatever you’re doing or you no longer feel challenged by whatever you’re doing then it’s important to find something that really does get you feeling energised again.

However whilst finding a new job is one thing, getting fair recompense for the value you will add is quite another.

As a hiring manager I’ve always been amazed by how many people settled for the first figure offered to them. It’s surprising just how many people have little or no sense of their own worth relative to their skill-set and the real market value of jobs.

Now it’s important to remember that hiring managers work within budgets obviously and they have a duty to their employers to keep costs as low as possible.

When hiring managers are recruiting they’ll know the market rate for the job on offer, or at least the HR department will and they will have advised the hiring manager accordingly.

Nevertheless dear reader you must recognise that the market rate for any job is not a single figure. The market rate falls within a range and it’s the range that will have been supplied by the HR department.

So when the hiring manager decides that you’re the person they want to hire then in negotiating a package with you they will have that range in mind.

Naturally they’ll want to minimise the impact on their budget and so they will attempt to recruit you at the lower end of that range if that’s possible.

Yes, they’ll recognise that they have to offer you a premium on your current salary if it’s to make sense for you to leave your current employer. After all you’re always taking a degree of risk when you change jobs. And so a risk premium must be paid by the hiring manager.

That premium typically will be an uplift of around 10% – 20% above your current salary.

Beyond that, for the hiring manager, it’s all about securing your services for the lowest rate possible within the market rate range. And from a business standpoint that’s fair enough.

It’s the nature of business after all. If fact in our daily lives we’re all trying to purchase products and services for the lowest rate possible; so why should we expect businesses to be any different?

However as a jobseeker, you should be trying to sell your services for the highest price possible. That too is fair game. You must always look after your own interests because if you don’t then no one else will, that’s for sure.

Think about it. In selling products and services, businesses are trying to sell at the highest price the market will stand so they can generate the highest margins possible for their shareholders.

So why shouldn’t you get the best deal possible for yourself, relative to what the market will stand? You must know your own value and you shouldn’t just accept the first figure on offer.

Essentially it’s all a game of horse-trading. The company almost always makes a low offer, so you must try to negotiate a better offer.

To do that, before going into any negotiation, it’s important that you have some idea of the market rate for the role.

That means you need to have done some research to establish the likely range the hiring manager will be working within.

You also need to have a sales pitch available so you can highlight your own unique selling proposition and why you are worth a bit more.

The key message here is that you don’t just accept the first offer.

In today’s quote, originally recorded in the British newspaper the Financial Times, actress Claire Danes reminds us that there will be more money available and if you ask for more you might just surprise yourself.

In making this observation, modestly Ms Danes said that this was what she had learned from older actresses.

It’s a useful tip for every jobseeker, female or male.

Never be afraid to negotiate and when you leave the table make sure you’re taking away as much as you can within reason.

Once again I cannot emphasise this point too much. You must know your own worth, always.

Don’t be bashful; be business-like and make sure you get a fair share of the pie.

As I said earlier, if you don’t look after your own interests, no one else will.

In the year ahead I recommend that you spend some time learning the art of negotiation. It really is a very useful skill to develop.

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Habits of Success

Habits of successHave you ever wondered why some people are successful and others are not?

In this video Brian Tracy provides some useful advice on the habits you will need to develop if you really do want to be successful.

As always Brian provides us with some great insight into how successful people behave and the structured way in which they work towards turning their goals into achievements.

Whether you’re a fan of Brian Tracy or you just want to be successful, this video is well worth a few minutes of your time.

Watch and learn.

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Why your time is valuable

Time is valuableDo you want to make money from Facebook? It’s easy. Just go to your Account Setting; deactivate your account; and go to work! ~Author Unknown

Dear reader, if you’re not currently successful, would you like to be?

Many readers will answer in the affirmative of course but then they don’t quite know how to realise their dreams. You may be one of them, perhaps?

Well today I offer you one tip that will be useful to you whatever it is you’d really like to do with your life.

If you’re not sure how to become successful then start by looking closely at successful people and you’ll find at least a few clues there.

However allow me to offer you one of those clues now. And that is that if there’s one thing all successful and wealthy people have in common it is that they don’t waste their time.

They know that time is a precious and limited resource and they recognise that they must use it wisely. And in using it wisely they avoid ‘time sucks’.

The biggest time wasters by far are television and social media. People waste hours of their time on both, particularly on social media nowadays.

Now don’t get me wrong, social media can be a very useful tool as a vehicle for communication both professionally and with friends and family.

However it can also be a distraction. And if it’s a distraction then it might just limit your earning power.

Social media really is just a tool. It might be a useful tool but it’s still just a tool.

Use it by all means but be disciplined in your use of social media.

Your time is precious and, if you want to be successful and make serious money, then you need to use your time wisely. That is today’s underlying message.

Spending your time on social media might be entertaining and informative but it’s unlikely to be profitable.

You can spend your time on social media or you can work hard, with a sense of purpose, on realising your goals and your dreams. The choice is yours; and the consequences will be too.

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Why you must know your why

know your whyIt’s the first day of a brand new year and our lives are full of possibility once again.

No matter how bad the old year proved to be for you dear reader, it’s gone now and so you start afresh.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably come up with a few resolutions already. And if you’re serious about your resolutions then perhaps you’re serious about being successful too.

However, what’s the real secret of success?

Why is it that some people are successful and others will never be?

In the embedded video, Hollywood legend, movie star, two-term Governor of California and former Mr Universe, Arnold Schwarzenegger shares his five secret steps to tackling life and achieving success.

Essentially these are his five rules to excel at whatever you choose to do.

He has an interesting story to tell and his story proves that no obstacle is too big to overcome and no vision, too big to achieve, if you’re determined enough and you’re prepared to work hard.

Change the world:

To summarise Arnold Schwarzenegger’s rules, they are:-

  1. Find your vision and follow it;
  2. Never, ever think small;
  3. Ignore the Naysayers;
  4. Work your ass off; and
  5. Don’t just take, give something back.

However if you listen to Arnold’s story, his burning desire was to move to the United States and become a big star. This was his reason why.

Initially he has no idea how to achieve that goal but a little piece of good fortune came his way.

Arnold happened to read an article in a magazine about a man just like him who achieved just what he wanted to achieve. The article explained how the man did it and Arnold used that success template as the basis for pursuing his own goal.

Identify successful people and do what they did:

Once he knew his why, Arnold Schwarzenegger just needed to work out a way to get there. Knowing your why will always, eventually, lead you to your how.

Once Arnold knew his purpose and his passion, he was always going to find a way. His determination and his willingness to do whatever was necessary saw to that.

Had he not been lucky enough to identify a role model through a magazine article, something else would have guided him because that’s the nature of life. When you’re searching for something you’ll tune in to all the little clues you need.

Once you know your why, you develop a keen sense of that subject and everyone else involved.

Trust yourself:

If you know your why then you’ll have the drive and determination to pursue your goal.

Nothing happens by accident of course. You must make it happen.

So figure out for yourself what it is you really, really want. What would make you happy? What would you regard as a real achievement?

Then find a role model.

Someone who’s done what you want to do. Identify how they did it and copy what they’ve done. If their approach worked for them, it can work for you.

Avoid distractions:

If you want to be successful then don’t allow ‘time sucks’ to throw you off course.

Television and social media are the biggest time wasters of all.

Time is a precious resource and successful people don’t waste it. So if you want to be successful, don’t waste yours. Put every minute to good use.

Know your why

The key message today, both from this article and the embedded video, is that you must know your why.

That’s the starting point for success.

So if you’ve yet to do that then I suggest that’s where you start in this brand new year if you want to be successful.

And remember this; if not you, who? If not now, when?

Other people achieve success and so can you. Good luck.

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A Christmas Message 2018

Christmas Message 2018Today is Christmas Day and in churches around the world the Christmas message of peace and goodwill to all men and women will be one that’s repeated often. And everyone will nod sagely and agree to the importance of goodwill I’m sure. No doubt they’ll mean what they say too.

And yet all too often there seems to be precious little goodwill between people. I won’t stray into politics here but you don’t have to look very far these days to see animosity and discord between people, even those you’d think have enough in common to get along perfectly well without any disharmony at all.

Christmas actually comes in two forms I think.

The Mythical Perfect Christmas:

Firstly there’s the mythical perfect Christmas of the imagination.

When chestnuts are roasting on an open fire and Jack Frost’s nipping at your nose. When the snow gently falls and slowly gathers all around, deep and crisp and even. And everywhere there are decorations and coloured lights.

And an old man with a long white beard, dressed in a red suit manages to cover the entire globe in one night distributing gifts to every Christian child who’s been good throughout the year. Somehow he just knows who’s been naughty and who’s been nice.

This perfect Christmas is filled with the love of family and friends. The table is filled with the bounty of good food and fine wine and everyone is of good cheer and having fun.

Under a beautifully decorated tree there are perfect gifts to be exchanged and after dinner there are party games to be enjoyed, followed by relaxing in front of a television offering a wonderful assortment of entertainment. Oh happy day!

If this is your experience of Christmas then you’re lucky indeed. You’re also in a tiny minority. For most people, reality doesn’t come close to this mythical ideal.

Christmas Reality:

For most people, the reality of Christmas is somewhat different from the ideal. People may try to live up to the ideal of course but they never quite get there for whatever reason.

Spending time with family, far from being a pleasant experience, can often prove to be quite tense and miserable.

Petty jealousies and long forgotten slights can easily trigger hostility, having been ignited by the most innocent of remarks. The result can be arguments and the reopening of old wounds.

Gifts given, far from being appreciated, can often result in disappointment, particularly for children. Parents will hear comments like, “I hate you. Johnny got that really fantastic mountain bike and all I got was this lousy computer game that no one plays anymore.

And let’s face it; kids have no comprehension of how budgetary constraints can limit any parent’s ability to deliver the perfect Christmas.

And all too often we spend money we don’t have on things we could live without. We incur unnecessary debt which then adds additional pressure on us throughout the year ahead.

Parents can be worn down by the pressure on them trying to deliver the perfect Christmas of the imagination and eventually rows ensue and the result can be a very silent night.

Then there are those people who are lonely.

In fact there are actually people who will have no human contact with anyone throughout the entire festive season. That may be sad but I know it to be true, particularly for older people.

In the extreme, Christmas reality can be Hell. Albeit for most people the experience of Christmas is somewhere between the myth and the Hellish extreme, probably about halfway.

A Christmas Message:

I think the key to enjoying Christmas is limiting our expectations. The perfect Christmas is a myth. So don’t go chasing it in the first place. To do so can only result in disappointment.

Focus on doing something nice for others with absolutely no expectation of anything in return. Helping people less fortunate than you, in particular, can be extremely rewarding.

If you’re spending time with family, enjoy them for what they are and accept that they’re not perfect and neither are you. Try to see the good in them rather than how irritating they might have been as teenagers.

Work harder at getting along with other people. If we can focus on what we all have in common, rather than any differences between us, then that’s always a good first step, surely?

And let people have their own opinions. They may be different to yours but so what? You can always agree to disagree. They may be right. You may be right. You both may be right. So what? Nothing’s worth falling out over, surely?

Focus on showing common courtesy to other people. Show respect for others, whoever they are, and they’re likely to show respect to you too. It’s that simple, in my experience.

A message for you Dear Reader:

Wherever you are Dear Reader, if you’re celebrating Christmas today then I wish you a very merry Christmas and may it be peaceful and filled with warmth, abundance and the comradeship of family and friends.

However if for you today is just another working day, then I hope the environment in which you work is both friendly and peaceful. And I hope the world in which you live is peaceful too.

May your life be all you’d like it to be, now and in the year ahead.

Editor’s Note: Readers are advised that the next article will be published on this website on Tuesday, 1st January 2019.

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25 funny facts to entertain and amuse you

If you want to amaze people with the variety and depth of your knowledge then it’s always useful to have a few weird and funny facts at your disposal.

So here are 25 funny facts to entertain and amuse you. I found them all fascinating and I hope you do too dear reader.

See how many of these facts you can work into your conversations today.

Funny Facts:

  1. China has censored their word for censorship.
  2. Cows moo with regional accents.
  3. The female lion does 90% of the hunting.
  4. It is impossible to lick your elbow.
  5. Over 75% of people who read Fact No 4 will then try to lick their elbow.
  6. 50% of all doctors graduate in the bottom half of their class.
  7. Dolly Parton once lost out to a drag queen in a Dolly Parton look-alike contest.
  8. The blob of toothpaste you put on your toothbrush is called a nurdle.
  9. Putting Viagra in a vase will make flowers stand up straight for a week beyond when they would normally wilt.
  10. One quarter of the bones in your body are in your feet.
  11. A man once wore 60 shirts and nine pairs of jeans on a flight from China to Africa to avoid paying for excess baggage at check-in. 
  12. There’s a village in Norway called Hell and it freezes over every winter.
  13. It would take 76 work days to read every online privacy policy we agree to in an average year.
  14. Rats multiply so quickly that in 18 months, two rats could have over a million descendants.
  15. In an average lifetime, while sleeping, people will eat 70 assorted insects and 10 spiders.
  16. 27% of all food produced in Western nations ends up in garbage cans.
  17. If you went out into space, you’d explode before you’d suffocate because there’s no air pressure.
  18. Wearing headphones for just an hour will increase the bacteria in your ear by 700 times.
  19. A chip of silicon a quarter-inch square has the capacity of the original 1945 ENIAC computer, which occupied an entire city block.
  20. Because metal was scarce, the Oscars given out during World War II were made of wood.
  21. You can tell the sex of a horse by its teeth. Most males have 40, whilst females have 36.
  22. If you have three quarters, four dimes, and four pennies, then you’d have $1.19. You’d also have the largest amount of money in coins without being able to make change for a dollar.
  23. Celery has negative calories! It takes more calories to eat a piece of celery than the celery has in it to begin with.
  24. Right handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people
  25. Months that begin on a Sunday will always have a Friday the 13th.

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15 funny quotes to gladden your heart

I’ve said is before and I’ll say it again. I love quotes.

I’m always on the lookout for great quotes. Many have influenced my own personal philosophy. Others have been really useful as a means for reinforcing messages in presentations. And then there are those that just make me smile. I refer to those funny quotes that resonate with me, whilst offering a germ truth within the underlying wit.

So here are 15 funny quotes to gladden your heart and make you smile.

Enjoy them all. Certainly I did.

Funny Quotes:

  1. In my defence I was left unsupervised.
  2. I used to think I was indecisive but now I’m not so sure.
  3. Life is short. Smile while you still have teeth.
  4. Dear Math, Please grow up and solve your own problems, I’m tired of solving them for you.
  5. If I won an award for laziness, I’d send someone else to pick it up.
  6. I want to be like a caterpillar. Eat a lot. Sleep for a while. Wake up beautiful.
  7. My bed is a magical place where I suddenly remember everything I forgot to do.
  8. The early bird can have the worm, because worms are gross and mornings are stupid.
  9. I don’t want to sleep like a baby. I want to sleep like my husband.
  10. Unless your name is Google stop acting like you know everything.
  11. Life has no hands but it can still give you a slap in the face sometimes.
  12. Silence is golden, unless you have kids. Then it’s just suspicious.
  13. Having great power is wonderful, until you get the electricity bill.
  14. I hate it when you have to be nice to someone you’d like punch in the face.
  15. Write a wise saying and your name will live forever. ~Author Unknown

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37 funny comebacks for dealing with rude people

We all have to deal with rude comments and mean and spiteful people occasionally. That’s all part of human existence.

However how often do you wish you had a suitable response ready to go to put such people firmly in their place?

If only you had a stock of funny comebacks to choose from when situations dictate?

Well here are 37 funny comebacks that you find useful when you’re faced with dealing with rude, mean or difficult people. How many of these can you work into your day?

If there are any of these that you particularly like then do let us know via the comments but not before you’ve enjoyed all these funny comebacks.

And should you know any funny comebacks not included here then please share those via the comments too. When you share, everyone wins.

Funny Comebacks:

  1. You know you really should buy some breath mints? 
  2. I have better things to do than listen to you.
  3. Whoever told you to be yourself has given you bad advice.
  4. I don’t care what everyone else says, I don’t think you’re that bad.
  5. Stupidity’s not a crime, so you’re free to go.
  6. I believed in evolution until I met you.
  7. Have you ever wondered why people don’t like you?
  8. I accept I’m not perfect but at least I’m not you. 
  9. If ignorance is bliss, you must be the happiest person on the planet.
  10. You always bring me so much joy, the minute you leave the room.
  11. I don’t need to be a proctologist to recognise that you’re an asshole.
  12. I’m not a cactus expert but I do know a prick when I see one.
  13. I would explain it to you but I have neither the time nor the crayons! 
  14. Sorry buddy but I don’t have the energy to pretend to like you today.
  15. Look, if I wanted to hear from an asshole, all I had to do was fart.
  16. If only your dad had used a condom, the world would be a better place.
  17. You have your entire life to be a jerk. Take a day off and give the rest of us a break.
  18. Everyone said you were unpleasant but I didn’t believe them ……. until now.
  19. Sorry but you’re confusing me with someone who actually cares about what you think.
  20. Are you always such an idiot or do you just like to show off when I’m around?
  21. I understand what you’re saying but if I agreed with you then we’d both be wrong.
  22. Everyone’s entitled to act stupid once in a while but you’re abusing the privilege.
  23. Remember when I asked for your opinion? Well, me neither.
  24. No wonder everyone talks about you behind your back.
  25. It’s better to keep your mouth shut and give the impression that you’re stupid rather than open it and remove all doubt.
  26. Mirrors don’t lie, and lucky for you, they don’t laugh either.
  27. I don’t remember asking for your opinion.
  28. I was going to give you a nasty look but you’ve already got one.
  29. I’m busy, you’re ugly. Have a nice day.
  30. Why don’t you check eBay and see if they have a life for sale.
  31. I hope you step on a Lego in your bare feet. 
  32. You only annoy me when you’re breathing, really.
  33. Of course I talk like an idiot. How else would you be able to understand me?
  34. You can keep rolling your eyes if you must but you’re unlikely to find a brain back there.
  35. I don’t know what your problem is but I’m guessing it’s hard to pronounce.
  36. Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful. Hate me because your boyfriend thinks so.
  37. You sir are a human version of period cramps.

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10 memorable lines from the movies

I love the movies and I love all the clever lines that are so memorable. Here are 10 memorable lines from the movies that I think are some of the best of all time:-

Memorable lines from the movies:

I’ll Have What She’s Having. ~When Harry Met Sally (1989)

It’s not the years, honey. It’s the mileage. ~Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life. ~Animal House (1978)

Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here. This is the War Room! ~Dr Strangelove (1964)

There are only three ages for women in Hollywood: babe, district attorney and Driving Miss Daisy. ~The First Wives Club (1996)

There’s only two things I hate in this world: people who are intolerant of other peoples’ cultures and the Dutch. ~Goldmember (2002)

I was married. My husband cheated on me left and right. He made me feel like I was crazy all the time. One day he tells me it’s my fault he saw other women. So I picked up a knife and told him it was his fault I was stabbing him. Yeah, I did a little jail time but it was worth it. ~Living Out Loud (1998)

There’s no reason to become alarmed, and we hope you’ll enjoy the rest of your flight. By the way, is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane? ~Airplane! (1980)

Looks like you’ve been missing a lot of work lately. I wouldn’t say I’ve been missing it, Bob. ~Office Space (1999)

Roses are red, violets are blue. I’m a schizophrenic and so am I. ~What About Bob? (1991)

And a bonus memorable line from television:

I’m not great at advice. Can I interest you in a sarcastic comment? ~Chandler Bing, Friends

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© Roy J Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2018. All Rights Reserved.

Why is my life so bad right now?

Why is my life so bad right now? Have you ever asked yourself that question dear reader? Perhaps you feel you deserve something better from life? Your life’s not all you’d like it to be, possibly?

Does the headline question resonate with you? You look around and you see people enjoying the sort of life you’d like and you can’t help wondering how it’s all working out for them but not for you?

If you feel this way then you’re not alone, that much is certain. Plenty of people feel this way. However, if you do feel this way, do you ever wonder who’s at fault for your life failing to meet your expectations?

Maybe you feel the fault lies with your parents or the teachers you had at school, possibly?

Perhaps you feel the fault lies with your boss or your employer?

They didn’t provide you with the right training or you didn’t get the breaks when there was an opportunity for promotion? Someone else got the promotion simply because they were well in with the boss, right? You feel that you were a better candidate than them and yet they got the job? Life can be so unfair, right?

Well my friend I have to tell you, if your life sucks then there is only one person you can blame. Just look in any mirror and you will see that person staring right back at you.

We’re responsible for our own lives and our lives will always be what we choose to make of them.

Yes, you may have had a few bad breaks in life. Yes, perhaps your parents and/or teachers could have been better. So what? Life is still what you choose to make it.

You have to decide what it is you want; you have to work out how to get what you want; and then it requires determination and a lot of hard work on your part to get where you really want to be.

Life is an endless stream of opportunities you can choose to take or not. For the eagle-eyed and fleet-footed, opportunities are there for the taking every single day.

By providing a service and adding value to the lives of others, there’s always money to be made. Keep educating yourself and learning new skills and you’ll be able to add more value to people. Add more value and you’ll get paid more. Manage the money you make wisely and you can always create your own wealth over time. It can be done and people do. Why not you?

However there are no shortcuts. Nothing ever happens by chance. On very rare occasions you might get lucky and something will fall into your lap. However mostly you’ll have to work very hard to get what you want. You have to go out and make things happen I’m afraid. That’s life, unfortunately.

It’s the same with relationships too. Find someone who you’d be happy to have as a friend, even without sex, and you have the basis for a healthy relationship. Friendship and trust underpin a good relationship. As does commitment and a willingness to put in as much as you take out.

It all starts with really knowing what you want. If you know your ‘Why’ then that will give you the motivation you need to keep going until you get to where you want to be. If you want it badly enough, you’ll find a way to make it happen.

That said, you have to be positive; you have to be prepared to make a few mistakes; and you have to be prepared to learn from those mistakes.

On the road to success, a few mistakes are inevitable. However as learning opportunities, mistakes are invaluable. You’ll learn much more from any mistakes you make than you will from any successes you enjoy.

However, never allow yourself to be driven too far off course. Keep your eye on the prize you want; and never accept an answer unless it’s the one that you want.

Above all, never, ever let people discourage you from pursuing your dreams and ambition.

It doesn’t matter what other people think; the only thing that matters is what you think. It doesn’t matter whether they believe you can do it, as long you believe you can do it.

You can be whatever you want to be, as long as you really, really want whatever it is you think you want.

Everything is possible for those who never give up until they get to where they want to go. Life really is what you make it.

You must also remember this though, life’s not a rehearsal. You only get to go round once. So make it the best you can and make the most of being you. You’re as good as anyone and better than most.

You can have the life you want but not without hard work and commitment. There’s a price to be paid and that price will be paid in blood, sweat and tears. You never get anything for nothing and the price must be paid first.

If you don’t want to pay the price then the life you lead will always fall short of your expectations. Sorry if that bothers you but it’s a fact.

So, what actions will you take now to start improving your life? Make a list and get going. It’s never too late to improve your situation. It’s never too late to make life better.

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