Christmas Presents: How To Buy Gifts That Will Be Treasured

Buying Christmas presents can be a very daunting task. After all, no one wants to come across as thoughtless or unappreciative of their relationships with people.

Here are some tips to help you come up with more thoughtful Christmas gift ideas, so that your presents will be cherished and treasured.

First off, you should definitely plan early. As Christmas gets closer and closer, stores sell out of merchandise and last-minute shoppers are stuck with leftovers. You don’t want to come across as thoughtless or unappreciative of your relationships with people, so planning your Christmas gift ideas ahead of time is an absolute essential.

Another one of your primary thoughts to consider should be your relationship towards the gift recipient, and what your budget is going to be. It might sound simple, but it really will help you focus on your Christmas gift ideas.

Think about your recipients’ interests. If you’re not sure, then pay attention when you talk with them. Put effort into listening to the little things that they casually say, and you might come up with some amazing Christmas gift ideas.

For example, if they offhandedly mention that they are going to a basketball game, take note of it. Basketball-related merchandise might be a great present choice that you would have otherwise not thought of.

If possible, go shopping with the recipient. Even if they are shopping for somebody else, this can be very beneficial. Take stock of the things that they look at and mentally mark them in your head. This is one of the easiest ways possible to come up with Christmas gift ideas.

Ask people. To begin with, you can ask the recipients’ friends or family. They might be able to tip you off to some great Christmas gift ideas, or possibly even want to pool their time or money together with yours and upgrade the present.

You can also ask salespeople. These are the people that deal with the public on a daily basis, and likely know the Christmas gift ideas that are popular with certain demographics. Even if you want to get a personalized present, this can be a great way to get some Christmas gift ideas.

There’s also the option of asking your recipient. Have you ever heard the saying, “A good surprise lasts for five seconds, but a good gift lasts forever”? A lot of people will appreciate being asked; not only does it make things easier for you, but they know that they are getting something that they actually want.

When you put some of these ideas into action, it will become a lot easier to come up with more thoughtful Christmas gift ideas. After all, you do want your gifts to be cherished and treasured by the ones you love.

Prepare for Your Next Salary Negotiation

Entering into a salary negotiation can be one of the most intimidating parts of the job search process. Knowing the correct questions to ask and the proper way to handle the situation easily can be the difference maker between thousands of dollars on your annual salary. Being able to approach the negotiation in a professional and informed manner can make the process not only profitable but also stress-free.

I entered my first salary negotiation extremely unprepared. It was my first job after college, and I was excited to have simply received an offer. Prior to my interview, I focused on honing my skills and responses. I spent little time thinking about my salary, let alone the necessary knowledge I needed to enter into a professional negotiation.

I quickly realized that I had overlooked a major component of my job search process. I felt clueless when the employer asked me about my salary expectations when offering me the position. I realized I should not have spent all my time researching possible interview questions; instead, I should have also devoted energy to investigating the position’s average salary and some negotiation tips. Although I felt confident with my responses during the interview, I knew my inexperience during the salary negotiation led me to accept a much lower salary.

Although this early blunder most likely cost me thousands of dollars, it helped me understand the importance of salary negotiations during my next job search. I quickly understood that employing a few simple tips would provide me with the necessary tools to confidently discuss my salary during my next job search.

When preparing for a salary negotiation, a perspective employee should begin by researching the average salary for the position. Luckily, there exists multiple websites that that provide salary information to perspective employees. I found of a number of these resources helpful, particularly when interviewing for a position outside my traditional field of employment. These websites allow perspective employees to not only research the average salary for a given profession but also the average salary for an array of companies-primarily large corporations. Having a basic understanding of the salary range for a given position allows for a perspective employee to develop a starting point during the negotiation process.

Knowing when to discuss salary requirements is also crucial to the negotiation process. Although an interviewee might be eager to enter into a discussion about the position’s salary, it is inappropriate to discuss during the interview process-unless the employer brings the topic up first. Instead, a perspective employee should wait until they are offered a position to begin negotiating their salary.

More importantly, they should try to begin the discussion by inserting what they feel is an amount appropriate for their skills and experience. By initiating the first offer, an interviewee is able to control the negotiation from the beginning and causes the employer to work around the presented offer-a crucial tactic during any negotiation. From my own experiences, making the first offer allows me to feel in control and significantly boosts my confidence during the process.

If an employer brings up the salary requirement first or responds to an initial offer with a lower counter-offer, it is appropriate for a perspective employee to reiterate their initial offer. This response should be framed in a proactive manner that highlights the specific skills, experiences and goals that qualify the candidate for the position. I have found that by reiterating my skills and discussing perspective goals, I was able to not only remind the employer why they had offered me the position but also was able connect clear, concrete examples of why I deserved my requested salary-a win, win situation.

While many employers may accept the salary requested by the interviewee, some might wish to discuss the offer with their human resource department-a common occurrence. A perspective employee should honor this request but also ask that the employer respond within a specific deadline. Stating that an answer is time-sensitive due to the presence of other offers positions a candidate as sought after and competitive. Furthermore, a perspective employee should restate their interest in working for the company to make them feel like their first choice. I have found employing this approach allows the conversation to end on a positive note and without any damaging miscommunications-such as leaving the impression the position is not your initial choice.

Finally, an interviewee should always remain professional during the negotiation. Making an aggressive demand or offering an ultimatum to a perspective employer rarely works. Being assertive is expected but being rude and pushy can cost a perspective employee the job. I always make sure to keep my voice level and ensure I am not taking an aggressive tone that would offend the employer.

As you prepare for your next salary negotiation realize it is normal to feel overwhelmed or intimidated. By following a few simple steps, such as being prepared and remaining professional, you can ensure the process is not only positive but also a confidence builder. It is impossible to build skills overnight, so understand mistakes are expected; however, being able to minimize those mistakes can add thousands of dollars to your annual salary.

The LURES Of Negotiating

One of the most important skills each of us need to develop and enhance is to become a truly effective negotiator. In nearly every aspect of our lives, business, personal, organization, etc., we very often discover ourselves in a situation that rerquires negotiating skills. Since there are very few, if any, scenarios when there is total and complete agreement, we end up in some sort of negotiations if we wish to get things accomplished. Imagine family situations, especially either between siblings, between spouses, or between parent and children, and think about how often there is a need to negotiate? Most businesses need to make certain choices and/ or decisions on a daily basis, if they are to progress in a meaningful basis. Perhaps one of the biggest stumbling blocks that occur in politics is that there are a dearth of political leaders that are effective negotiators. Those desirous of becoming effective and meaningful negotiators should prioritize the LURE of negotiating: listen; understand; repeat; empathize; and seize control of the situation.

1. It all begins with being an effective listener. This means that you not only pay attention and hear what others say, but commit to acquiring all necessary facts and information that will make you have more clarity.

2. While listening is an essential first step, unless it is followed by understanding what is both being said, and what is left unsaid, there is little opportunity to communicate in a manner that accomplishes one’s goals and aspirations. This requires follow up questions that probe as deeply as possible, so as to realize the nuances and meanings that the other person is implying.

3. Once one feels that he has a clearer understanding of the needs, wants and position of the other person, there is a need to repeat what one believes is being said, doing so in the form of a question, in order to get agreement as to what needs to be discussed, and the issues involved.

4. While the first three steps are quite important, perhaps the most essential component and often overlooked one, is being empathetic. An individual must be empathetic without appearing sympathetic. Empathy may simply be considered as putting yourself in the other person’s place (so as to better understand both how they feel and the needs), while sympathy is merely feeling sorry for someone (which may be appropriate in short doses in certain scenarios, but almost never in negotiating situations).

5. All of these preliminary steps need to culminate in a position where an effective negotiator is able to seize control of the situation. It is important to understand, however, that gaining control is far different than trying to negate the other party’s needs. Rather, when you are able to maintain control, you can move the negotiation forward in progressive manner, striving for the goal of win – win results.

Since negotiating skills are so important, doesn’t it make sense for each of us to become better at them? Therefore, doesn’t it make sense to proceed in an orderly and organized manner, effectively utlizing these five steps?