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Are You Missing Your Biggest Opportunity?

We asked “Which could you improve to create a significant difference?” Our poll results showed that 50% said it was a business contact and 29% a friend/family member. Deborah Brown-Volkman pointed out, that it could be all four.

Here’s The Deal, when you are negotiating long-term professional or personal agreements, the key is strengthening your relationships.

You want your name to be mentioned for opportunities. You need people to support your interests when you aren’t around. And, you want advocates who know your integrity to say “That doesn’t sound right. Let’s ask and check.”

Durable deals are built on trusted relationships. Here’s a question to ask those with whom you want to strengthen your connection: “How could I be a better _____ to you?” (Fill in the blank with your role — leader, employee, service provider, volunteer, parent, sister, brother, spouse, etc.)

You may be surprised at the answer(s). If the relationship is important to you, do your best to consistently improve in those efforts.

Don’t know who to ask? Scroll through your pictures on your phone and see who you need to connect with or who is missing. Look through emails from a few months back.

As a “recovering” attorney, people ask me all the time how to avoid lawsuits. It’s not stronger contracts, better handbooks, or background checks. While those things can mitigate some risks, the true secret is strengthening those relationships that matter. Who will you ask? What will the response be?

You may be surprised.

Ask. Ask Often. Ask Outrageously.


About Linda Swindling

A recognized global authority on negotiations, workplace issues, and persuasive communication, Linda Swindling, JD, CSP speaks and writes for meetings organizations including Small Market Meetings. She has authored or co-authored 20 books, including Ask Outrageously! The Secret to Getting What You Really Want and Stop Complainers and Energy Drainers: How to Negotiate Work Drama to Get More Done. Follow her on LinkedIn or visit