One Minute Business Tricks That Really Work

July 9, 2013


How you spend even just one minute at critical times in your business, can make a huge difference. It can make or break an important negotiation, set you up to deliver the presentation of a lifetime, and help you close a big sale.

Let’s take a deeper look at how a minute can help you do those three things.

One Minute to:

… Become a Better Negotiator

What makes some people better negotiators than others? Research out of Columbia University reveals that top-notch negotiators naturally possess the ability to keep their eye on the prize. These folks have what’s called promotion focus.

Promotion focused people think about what they stand to gain from a successful negotiation. They hold a picture in their minds of their future self—how good the accomplishment will feel and what it will mean for the growth of their business. They naturally accept that risk is the dancing partner to opportunity.

Prevention focused people concentrate more on the risk—the opportunities to be lost should things fall through. These thoughts make them less likely to take chances and hold out for their ideal outcome.

If you find yourself in the risk averse camp, then you can take positive action when the stakes are high. Pay attention when worrying thoughts creep in and shut them down. Focus your thoughts instead on what it will feel like when things go well.

So, what can you do with this knowledge in one minute to make the difference?

Researcher Heidi Grant Halvorson suggests that before heading into your important meeting you take a minute to imagine your future self, celebrating the big deal. Go ahead and pop that imaginary champagne bottle. Take a moment to even write down the things that will positively change as a result of the win, so you can keep your thoughts focused.

Concentrating on the potential gains will help keep your head in the game.

… Deliver a Killer Presentation   

Harvard researcher Amy Cuddy recently gave a Ted talk that blew people away. And for good reason. Amy shared an unbelievably simple trick that could help you perform better in high-pressure situations.

Amy found that when people take on certain body postures it triggers the brain to release more testosterone, thereby improving performance.

So, before that key presentation, Amy advises people to take a minute in private to stretch into what she calls power poses. Stand up straight, push your shoulders back, hold your chin up high. Raise your arms and stretch them out wide. Stand with authority, taking up more space than you normally would.

Your brain will respond to these confident poses by releasing testosterone, the chemical linked to assertiveness and better performance under pressure, prepping you to perform at your best when you most need to.

So, in short: stand like a boss, and then go get ’em, tiger.

… Close a Big Sale

A previous colleague of mine, who I’ll call Colleen, once shared one of her best sales secrets with me: the moment of silence.

Most business people agree that great questions are a powerful tool, and Colleen was certainly good at asking compelling questions. But it was really what she did following her client’s answers that made all the difference.

After her client revealed something important, Colleen would resist the urge to say something and instead would remain perfectly quiet for at least a minute. She did this because she had learned from experience that when a client revealed important information, it was usually just the tip of the iceberg, and that the best way to uncover the rest of the iceberg was to let the client reflect on what they had said. More often than not, clients who had the time to reflect would reveal more, giving her additional insights into their problem than they would have had Colleen jumped in to speak.

This would allow Colleen to propose richer, better solutions for her clients—solutions that really spoke to their needs and made them eager to work with her.


about the author

FreshBooks is the #1 accounting software in the cloud designed to make billing painless for small businesses and their teams. Today, over 10 million small businesses use FreshBooks to effortlessly send professional looking invoices, organize expenses and track their billable time.