Meditation Techniques – The Joy of Being Present

Quite often, our thoughts and memories play tricks on us. When we think of a situation that has occurred, it is generally the same no matter how many times we run through it in our mind. Now, try taking a walk in a familiar place. One of the things you will notice is that it is not the same as you remember it. The world has changed, and it is constantly changing.

Being present in the moment develops awareness of your surroundings and inspires flexibility of mind and heart. It is a well known fact from neuro-science that your eyes only capture a partial impression of the external reality; the rest of what you perceive to be reality is actually filled in by your mind. To have a fresh perspective and to see without assuming and expecting is the goal of being present in the moment. 

Take notice of these changes and become aware of the liquidity of life. A heightened awareness can inspire you to become more flexible and pliable in all aspects of your life. Born, we are soft and supple, dead we are hard and stiff. Movement and change is the way of life, rigidity and stiffness is the way of death. To be present, truly present, is a joy that is beyond words. Once you become aware that you are living a real moment, a unique moment given specifically to you, no matter what it is, you can appreciate it and be grateful for being alive. Be grateful that you are having this breath, having this food, having this ache, because if you don’t, you will miss it forever.   

Salary Negotiation Tactics – 6 Practical Tips

I firmly believe no matter what the circumstance is for your initial job offer, you should negotiate for more (as long as you do it right)! It does not matter whether the economy is booming or not, once you get a job offer – negotiate.

Just two months ago, a friend got an 20% increase in his contractor rate after he negotiated. In this case, his client low-balled him as many would do during the recession because it’s an employer’s market. Many people are so thankful that they were offered anything that they forget to ask for a fair compensation. It’s still smart and okay to negotiate even in a tough market.

Here are four salary negotiation tactics that have worked for me and my clients over and over again. There are also two tips on what not to do during salary negotiation. Being tactful is key.

Four salary negotiation tactics

  1. Be creative with what you negotiate. Your compensation is much more than just salary. There is also signing bonus, performance bonus, moving expenses, car stipend (if you have to drive far for work), 401K matching, title, vacation time, or pay grade. For example, even if the company can’t pay you a good salary now because of caps set in place due to the economy, if you have a higher pay grade setting, then your future salary and increase could be higher.
  2. Be specific and reasonable - tell the company what you actually want (a 10% increase, a guaranteed 5% bonus based on performance, a VP title, etc…) and make sure it’s not ridiculous. I was hiring someone who actually asked for 30% more in her salary when I know she was already getting a 15% increase from her last salary. We almost rescinded her offer.
  3. Tell them at least one and preferable two plausible reasons why you are negotiating for more. It’s no good and could even be offensive if you just said you want more money and can’t say why. Some good reasons are:
    1. you have a better offer (whether you want to bluff about this is up to you as just like Poker, there is a chance they won’t call you on it);
    2. your market rate is higher (meaning the average paying rate right now for this level is X% higher than your offer);
    3. your current offer is a big step down from past compensation;
    4. sometimes the sympathy card could even work and say “I have a new baby and I am just trying to make sure I can get by and 10% more could really help!” You would be surprised at what you can leave on the table if you don’t ask.
  4. Express your enthusiasm to work for the company when negotiating. No employers wants to give you more unless they know that you are almost certain to take it if they agreed. Also, it doesn’t hurt to convey that you have very good reasons (other than compensation) why you want to work for the company.

Two things to avoid during salary negotiation

  1. Don’t ever give an ultimatum – or anything that could be construed as an ultimatum. Salary negotiation is an art form and takes practice. Don’t ever back yourself into a corner because you most likely still want to take the job if they said no.
  2. Don’t be arrogant or an a__ when negotiating: Remember the person you are negotiating with is mostly likely your future boss or someone who can influence your future boss’ opinion of you. This salary negotiation should be a good experience for both sides

More people have been surprised at what they can get when they used the right salary negotiation tactics. It doesn’t hurt to ask if you do it right. With that said, there is no guarantee anything will change with your offer. If the company declines your proposal, be sure to thank them for their consideration and make your decision on whether to join based on existing offer. Either way, you would have gained more experience on how to approach negotiation in the future. We will change jobs many times in our careers. The experience you gain in mastering these salary negotiation tactics will pay off again and again in the future.

Good luck out there! I am always in your corner

- Lei

Five Ways to Make Video Presenting Easier

Every time someone presents on camera, the experience is unique. But you may notice recurring obstacles that prevent you from concentrating, or enjoying the process.

Presenting on camera is something that you can learn to do with confidence and ease. You can learn the skills from books, audio courses, online courses, classes and boot camps.

Here are some challenges people have shared from me, as well as some practical ways to overcome them.

1. Getting Started
Making the commitment to practice video presenting is often the biggest hurdle for busy professionals.

“I’ll do it someday,” becomes the ever-present item on your To-Do List.

Solution: Start experimenting today. The next time you have a flip cam in your hand, don’t shy away. Eventually, try to get on camera for a few minutes every week…if not every day.

2. Getting Over It
Chasing after the perfect image is hard work for every presenter.

“I hate my hair…I hate my wrinkles…I should lose 10 pounds.” These are the kinds of comments that keep you from standing in front of a camera and making an impact.

Solution: It’s a common problem–but once you start providing valuable content, your focus shifts. Your viewers are much more concerned about what you are offering than judging your appearance. They will value your ideas, tips and learning points. If you start sharing now, you’ll find the rewards of video presenting will out number the concerns about how you look.

3. Finding Time To Improve
Your crazy-busy day and urgent demands of your business make it challenging to find time to improve your video presentation skills.

“My day is already overbooked and I’m running as fast as I can!”

Solution: Schedule time with an expert coach. If I don’t work with an expert, I tend not to do it at all. Remember, presenting on video is a critical skill for professional success. Remind yourself why you want to gain confidence in this medium. Make the call.

4. Moving On Purpose
Fidgeting, shifting weight, and pacing distract from your professional presence on camera.

“I don’t know what to do with my hands, feet; how to stand, when to move and when to stand still.”

Solution: Stand tall and deliver your key point. Move on purpose. Then stop. Deliver your next point. Focus on purposeful gestures, emphasizing key ideas. If you aren’t sure how to move or are concerned about body language, take a video presentation class. You’ll get the attention and personal feedback to take your skills to the next level.

5. Presenting For Today
Your body, speech, and delivery are unlikely to be radically different from one day to the next. Avoid starting off with unrealistic expectations.

“I need to be like a talk-show host or professional television star.”

Solution: Accept that the most important thing about video presenting is this: starting! Realize that your skills will develop gradually, with training, coaching and practice.

With steady steps, you can realistically expect improvement. With a steady commitment, you will be able to reap the benefits of video presenting. It’s the fastest way to reach more clients and grow your business.