Crystal and Glass Are Now Very Popular With Corporate Awards Presentations

By far the most popular awards with companies and other associations looking for prestigious awards at their award ceremonies are quality crystal trophies, claret jugs, and other crystal items. Crystal really seems to have taken over from other awards. A good reason for this is because a lot of the awards presented have enough room for good quality engravings. These engravings often contain artwork of various types like company logos and appropriate pictures with reference to the particular award category.

Why has crystal become so popular at company presentations? It cannot just be because of the engraving potential. Something that struck me at the last event I was at where crystal awards were being presented was how good the crystal and glass reflected the stage lighting shining on them. Glistening like a table full of fallen stars, the sight was breath taking, and must have been exciting for the winning recipients as they walked up to the stage to collect their trophy. Yes the artwork was good, but there was something about the crystal decanters and claret jugs that oozed class and quality. People were genuinely impressed at how good they looked, both the people winning them and those at their tables who were not so lucky that night in picking up any awards themselves.

Pewter and silver plated tankards and salvers still look good, don’t get me wrong. But even at golf club events where tankards and salvers were the staple award for presentations, crystal trophies, and indeed crystal tankards are now becoming more dominant out of all the awards presented. It could just be a phase, or a fashion. Maybe it will slowly become less popular, and once again the various metal awards will become more fashionable.

A golf club manager explained to me once as I drank in the bar after playing eighteen holes with my business partner that crystal trophies usually comes boxed in presentation cases and have a charm and presence not found in many metal and resin awards. He told me how golf clubs had moved more towards crystal to upkeep the image of high quality at their awards evenings and competition days. I suppose when other clubs are awarding a particular type of trophy or award, it doesn’t take long for most to follow suit. No golf club wants to be seen as offering inferior awards at their functions.

Will new materials take over from the current trend of crystal and glass? Most alternatives, like gold, silver and platinum are far too expensive to be presented in large amounts at a presentation evening or sporting function. I personally think that crystal and glass will lead the way for a long time. Many products are now cheap enough for football & rugby clubs now, and many associations look to present crystal awards instead of the traditional metal and resin ones. I suppose we will have to wait and see if things change back to the traditional resin and metal items. I am quite happy if they don’t.

Never Shortcut the Presentation

People Reject What They Don’t Understand

Many sales are lost, not because the product or service didn’t fit the customer’s needs nor as a result of an inferior product line- and regardless of what they say, not because the customer couldn’t “afford it” or “needed to think about it”- but because the salesperson lost the customer somewhere along the way. They confused them. And, when a customer is confused, they will not buy, because people reject what they don’t understand!
 
Customers are providing you with a clear indication that your message lacked clarity when you hear something like this: “Well, you really did a great job and you’ve given us a lot to think about. We’ll talk it over and get back to you”. After all, what are they suppose to say to you? They probably won’t be so candid as to say, “You know, we were actually ready to make this decision right now, but frankly, you confused us when you were talking about that drop-interest financing option. We’re going to need some time to see if we can figure out what you were saying before we make a mistake that could cost us money.” 
 
To the uninformed, the “we need to think (or talk) about it” response is an “objection”, so they leap into the objection handling mode and hope that that last seminar on closing they attended was worth the money. It seldom dawns on them that it may be something else- that they may have simply confused the customer or failed to make a compelling argument for buying their products or services.
 
If something is missing, or seems vague, customers simply will not buy. This is one really good reason why you should never shortcut the presentation. Clarity is important. Customers need to hear the full story in order to make a truly informed decision. If you shortcut the presentation, skipping over points that later you find out may have been important to your customer, it will be tough as nails, if not impossible, to effectively rewind the presentation and straighten out any confusion you may have caused in your effort to speed things along earlier. Basically, the customer awards you a single opportunity to get it right. You don’t want to waste it by attempting shortcuts. 
 
Salespeople often have a tendency to want to speed through the presentation to get to the more exhilarating part, the close. Rushing through the delivery (essentially shortcutting the presentation) is a dangerous practice that risks confusing the customer; which in turn leads to substantially lower closing percentages, lower sales averages, and higher cancellation percentages. 
 
The solution is to s-l-o-w-d-o-w-n! Always keep in mind that no matter how many times you’ve given the presentation, it is the customer’s first time hearing it. Make sure that your message is clear and your customers will have less to “think about” at the end of your presentation!  

Negotiate From Both Sides of the Table

The fourth chapter of “Done Deal: Insights from Interviews with the World’s Best Negotiators” by Michael Benoliel, Ed.D with Linda Cashdan opens with a quote by former Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, “Nine-tenths of the serious controversies which arise in life result from . . . one man not knowing the facts which to the other man seem important, or otherwise failing to appreciate his point of view.” There is a lot to this quote and the idea that a negotiator, to be successful, must know the needs of the other party.

Sometimes during a negotiation it may appear that your interests are fundamentally incompatible with those of the other side. Regardless if some interests really do coincide, becoming biased or trapped into the thinking that they are not will most likely result in a failure to reach agreement. Successful negotiators not only seek out areas of compatibility that lead to agreements, but strive to overcome areas of incompatibility once identified. Negotiating from both sides of the table, or knowing what the other party needs, assists in accomplishing this.

During my opening statement during mediations I often remind the parties that they came to the mediation looking for something, and that it is the people at the table who have the ability to give them what they came for. I explain that while it may be helpful or persuasive in a courtroom to say a person’s a liar and try to discredit them, for the mediation purposes it’s sometimes helpful to remember that the people sitting at the table are the people who have what they came for.

This is the same for any negotiation; you are looking for something only the other side can provide. As I wrote in the last column on BATNAs, the only reason to negotiate is to produce a result better than you can obtain without negotiating. Therefore, the negotiator must be able to bridge substantive differences in order to accommodate the needs of both parties to structure proposals and finally agreements. In order to do this, and I’ll repeat myself here, the successful negotiator must know the needs of the other party.

While this idea seems fairly simple and uncomplicated, in practice, it can be just the opposite. Often during a negotiation it is difficult to step outside yourself, and your issues, to focus on those of your counterparts. It is quite easy to ignore your opponent’s point of view entirely. I specifically use the term “opponent” because that is how many negotiators view those they are negotiating with rather than a partner in a collaborative process toward mutual benefit. And while this latter view is the ideal, it is certainly a bit optimistic and maybe unrealistic for every negotiation. However it can be a goal to strive toward. Getting back to my main point, according to Benoliel, there is substantial academic research supporting the notion that negotiators tend to ignore even readily available information about the other side.

Because understanding the issues of your counterparts on the other side of the negotiation table is so important, the successful negotiator should work toward developing the mindset that will enable the learning and understanding of those issues. One way to do this in your preparation stages is to mentally bargain from both sides of the table. You can think of it like preparing for a debate without knowing what side you will be chosen to represent. You prepare arguments for both sides. While negotiating, mentally bargain for both sides. Doing this will help you explore their issues and positions and help your understanding. Doing this can assist you with creating win-win situations.

This is not necessarily easy. In fact, it can be very difficult at times to develop an accurate picture of your counterparts across the table. This is especially true in conflict situations, and the more heated the conflict, the more difficult it can become. During these times, we need to step back and remember that skilled negotiators invest in finding out as much about the other side as possible, especially what the other side’s interests are, so they can work toward agreements together.

There is more than one side in a negotiation, and to pursue your goals successfully, you need to enter the negotiations with a clear sense of your own objectives and bottom line and an understanding of your counterpart’s reality as well. Learn their goals, their interests, and their constraints. Try and determine what their BATNA may be. Mentally sit on their side of the table for a while and determine that you are going to work with, and not against, the other side. Do this and accomplishing your goals through successful negotiations will be much easier.