A surgeon getting ready to operate
We all have insecurities or qualities of ourselves that we’d like to improve, right?

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Well, I’m no exception. One of my skill sets that I’m always trying to take to the proverbial next level is my speaking skills.

I’d love for the day to come when I could get through a day of speaking without uttering a single “um.” Or being able to speak at a quick pace for a long period of time without pausing to collect my thoughts. Or without meaning one thing while saying another.

I work on these shortcomings. Especially as an instructor of the art and science of procurement negotiation, I strive to be the best communicator I can be because verbal communication skills are so critical when negotiating.

I admit it. I get jealous when I speak with someone who can gracefully go through a highly-technical conversation without filler words, stumbles, and mistakes.

Such was the case last week when I took my daughter to have ear surgery. When I spoke with her surgeon, I was so impressed that he was able to rattle off all of these facts confidently while speaking at such a quick pace.

Question about healing time? Bam – quick, intelligent and confident answer.

Question about pain? Bam – quick, intelligent and confident answer.

Question about medication side effects? Bam – quick, intelligent and confident answer.

“Darn,” I thought to myself. “I wish I could communicate like this guy. He’s brilliant!”

Then it dawned on me.

This doctor probably performs dozens of ear surgeries every single day. He gets asked the same questions every single day. He tells parent after parent the same exact thing.

If he was stumbling through his advice and answers after all of that practice, he would have to be an idiot! If you don’t know your stuff after doing the same thing every day for decades, you probably shouldn’t be wielding a scalpel.

While procurement negotiation may not be an “assembly line” type of task, certainly if you’ve been in dozens of negotiations, there are plenty of common and similar elements. So, when you run into common situations, do you “wing it” and make up what you say as you go? Or do you say things that you said (or practiced) before so that they come out smoothly and you brand yourself as a powerful, intelligent professional in the mind of your supplier counterpart?

Too many of us don’t plan or practice our negotiation communication. And then, when we do negotiate, the words come out sloppily. When we let this happen, we are failing to take advantage of our ability to drive an advantage in the negotiation.

The bottom line is this: good communication gives you power, and repetition breeds good communication.

Are you using repetition to make yourself a better communicator and skilled negotiator?

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
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Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3 is an internationally-recognized business expert, legendary procurement thought leader, award-winning entrepreneur, and provocative blogger. Charles founded the Next Level Purchasing Association in 2000, oversaw its incredible growth, and successfully led the organization to its acquisition by the Certitrek Group in 2016. He continues to blog and provide advisory services for the NLPA on a part-time basis as he incubates his upcoming business innovations. Charles is also the co-author of the wildly popular, groundbreaking book, "The Procurement Game Plan: Winning Strategies & Techniques For Supply Management Professionals."

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