2 Ways Living in the Past Can Get You Stuck in the Present

Have you ever wished that things were just as they happened to be once upon a time? Are you in the habit of spending much of your day regretting your mistakes and failures of months or years gone by? You are not alone if your answer is yes.

Millions of people around the globe find themselves in your situation. I must confess that almost every one of us, myself included, would at one moment or the other, find ourselves trapped in this self-defeating habit.

Yes, the condition of constant nostalgia or regret about what went right or wrong in the past is like a trap. It can get you stuck in the present moment in such a way that you’re rendered completely immobile, both mentally and physically. And you and I know that the moment we’re unable to use our mind and our body to do what needs to be done is the moment we begin to suffer lack of achievement and retarded personal progress.

Let me show you two ways in which your inability to let go of the past is undermining your desire to see an improvement in your circumstances – be it career advancement, personal relationships or educational aspirations.

1. Wishing for the return of the good old days will only make you stagnate for the rest of your life.

The basic truth is that the good old days were good only when they were good. If the same conditions of ten years ago were to return to you today, you’d quickly realize how incompatible they are with the current situation.

One reason for this is that humankind and the world in which we live are constantly changing either for the worse or for the better. Our tastes, our desires, our technology and our worldview of today have moved on. So must you.

You don’t want to be seen as old-fashioned or to feel like you’re still where you’ve always been. That is why you need to wake up to the reality of the moment and take advantage of all the positives it has to offer.

Stop allowing the shiny little things of the past to block your view to the wonderful possibilities of the present and the future.

2. Your persistent feeling of regret about what went wrong in the past is never an enabler.

A feeling of constant regret is rendering you incapable of moving forward with your life. The constant worrying is causing you health problems like stress and depression. It is the main cause of your current inability to think straight, plan and execute your life goals effectively.

The only way to begin to make yourself capable of putting your life back in order is to pick and use the useful lessons from your past mistakes and failures and for the last time, get rid of the bitter memories.

As for the good old days, trust me, they won’t feel all that good anymore should they come back today because so much has changed. So be thankful for what life presents to you today and be proud of what you achieved in the past. That’s enough.That’s the way to move forward.

Negotiate Successfully by Using Debating Techniques

In the last negotiation lesson, I expounded on the benefits that proper positioning has and the role it plays, before, during, and after negotiating. This lesson expands upon that theory and takes into account how any negotiator can enhance the outcome of a negotiation by using a few debating techniques.


First, I’d like to cite an experience I encountered at a conference at which I recently spoke. There was a very powerful speaker who spoke on the topic of leadership. I heard him speak in the past, but this time I was moved by his words to the point that I wanted to purchase the DVD set he offered for the continuation of the expansion of one’s mind. As luck would have it, a lady in front of me purchased the last set. She heard me exclaim how I couldn’t believe the bad luck I had to miss purchasing the set. Then, this well poised and well spoken women, turned to me and said, ‘you can have it’. I looked at her suspiciously for about 30 seconds and in my mind, I was wondering what she might want in return (read between the lines if you wish. she had already paid for the set and she was giving it to me for free). It was as though she read my mind when she said, ‘there are no strings attached’. She gave me her contact information and said I could send the set to her after I’d listened to it. As it turned out, this woman whose name is Tori really didn’t want anything in return, but due to her generosity, I’ll assist her in her endeavors in the future.

In the above example of positioning, Tori was not seeking anything from me, but think of what you can do before entering into a negotiation that can endear you to whom you’re negotiating.

After you endear yourself, how can you utilize debating techniques to enhance your negotiation position? The following are a few debating techniques and how they are related to negotiation tactics and strategies.

Debating Techniques:

When debating and negotiating, there are certain principles you should follow …

Clarity: When debating, you should understand the argument.

When you negotiate, you should always confirm your understanding of why you’re negotiating. You should also confirm the other person’s understanding, and get their perception, of what is being negotiated; the reason for doing so is to make sure everyone involved in the negotiation is ‘on the same page’.

Accuracy: When debating, you need to ask yourself if what you hear is true and can it be proven.

When you negotiate, you should at a minimum, mentally question the validity of information presented to you. You should also observe the body language and manner in which information is presented. If you observe the body language of the person you’re negotiation with, you could discern hidden or additional information in the message.

Precision: When debating vague assertions can be assumed to be true until exceptions disprove them.

When you negotiate, if the person’s words that you’re negotiating with are not synchronized with their body language, you can allow the person to continue to unveil their method of ‘bending the truth’ to the point that you’ve gathered enough knowledge of how they use their body when lying. In so doing, you’ll acquire insight into how they lie and you’ll be able glimpse the inner workings of their mind and the mannerisms displayed when doing so.

Depth: When debating, you should observe the comprehensiveness of an argument. In essence, listen for that which is not stated that could prove to be a benefit to your position.

When you negotiate, you should listen for the unspoken word, observe body language, and take note of how unspoken words are used (this is not an oxymoron). In a lot of negotiation situations, that which is not said can speak more loudly than the words that are spoken. You should also take note of words used that could contain dual meanings. Keep in mind when negotiating, just because someone offers a comprehensive rebuttal to a request, doesn’t mean you have to subjugate your position to theirs.

Breadth: When debating, give consideration to whether the argument covers all of the possibilities.

When you negotiate, initially, you should not display your full intentions until you’re somewhat sure that you can get that which you seek from the negotiation. In essence, you cannot allow yourself to become enveloped in a haze when it comes to disclosing your intent of the negotiation less you lose your negotiation advantage.

Logic: When debating you should consider the impact of fallacies in an argument.

When negotiating, a good negotiator can make a plausible argument using false or invalid inferences, the purpose of which may be to heighten the appearance of red herrings. It thus behooves you to be very cognizant throughout all phases of the negotiation.

When negotiating, the more strategies and techniques you’re aware of, and can utilize during negotiations, the better you’ll be at negotiating … and everything will be right with the world.

The Negotiation Lessons are …

- Before negotiating, consider the tactics you’ll employ. Proper planning will give you an additional edge as the negotiation progresses.

- Understand the illusion and value that red herrings can create. When used effectively, they create the opportunity to give something that has perceived value to the person with whom you’re negotiating, but that which has little value to you.

- When negotiating, as is the case when debating, a synchronized plan, aligned with the path that you’ll take to achieve the outcome of the negotiation you seek, will allow you the insight of more maneuverability throughout the negotiation.

Are Your Presentations Improving Communication?

Are your presentations truly working? Great presentations inspire people, improve communication and help people create great things together. Learn 7 must-have tips to give awesome presentations.

In today’s market, busy professionals are looking for tips and tricks to answer common challenges in business communication. With not enough hours in the day, it’s still important to expand on your skills or improve your existing communication skills.

Keep these 7 tips in mind to improve, strengthen and deliver powerful presentations.

1. Focus on What’s Relevant
Strive to focus on highly relevant content, topics and discussions. By keeping this a top priority, also keep an open mind. You may need to adjust, adapt or realign your message-at the last minute.

If you are focused on relevance, you’ll spot news, trends, statistics and information in the days and hours prior to your presentation. This kind of attention will help you instantly refine your message to match the moment.

2. Immerse In Key Issues
While striving for relevance, be certain to immerse yourself in your client’s world and key issues. Far too many business professionals believe they are doing this…but their audiences don’t agree.

If you’re presenting to a target group, do informational interviews prior to building your presentation. This will save hours of work and loads of headaches.

3. Face Your Audience
There’s nothing worse than a presenter who is reading his or her notes, facing the equipment instead of the audience.

Whether you’re working with an in-room audience or a virtual one, make eye contact. If you’re selling at a whiteboard, write, draw, and then turn. Talk directly to your audience…not to the board.

This takes some practice-and working with an executive coach and video taping rehearsals is the fastest way to improve.

4. Improve Interaction
Highlight opportunities to discuss, interact and invite participation. Practice your skills of thinking on your feet, responding to questions, and feeling confident for impromptu discussion.

If interaction is a challenge, get specific pointers in a presentation skills training. Within a matter of minutes, you’ll learn exactly how to respond with ease and poise.

5. Show evidence
While stories, quotes and statistics are terrific credibility builders; nothing is as strong as physical evidence. Make sure to weave tangible evidence such as props, physical objects, and prototypes into your delivery.

While this may seem obsolete or old-fashioned, don’t knock it until you try it. Nine times out of ten, participants will want to get a closer look, hold the object, and ask questions about the evidence.

This is one of the fastest ways to build connection and improve communication.

6. Be Authentic
Put simply, be yourself. Much like dating, if you start out being yourself, you won’t have to be artificial or false in the future. Use your natural strengths and talents to be a unique and easy-to-understand communicator.

7. Add Human Touch
In presentation skills training, there are many tips, techniques and steps to improve. Yet you must look deeper. What is the heart of communication? Human touch.

Keep this in mind as you’re growing skills to be the world’s best communicator. Add human touch. Speak from your heart. Show that you care. Take an extra step. Reveal a little more to show that you’re human.

As the world grows increasingly complex, it is up to communicators to go the extra distance. Challenge yourself to not settle for ‘alright’ or ‘so-so’ in presenting. Up your expectations and go for awesome.

Then, when everyone wants to know your secret, let them in on this. By keeping human touch at your heart, you’re making a difference…one awesome presentation at a time.