Tuesday, August 8, 2017

David Mark Decherd Joins Aflac Agent Force

Congratulations on qualifying for the Aflac Agent Force! We are excited to welcome you to this exclusive community based on your experiences as an Aflac field agent.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Trash Drying Assembly


The inventive concept avoids the use of any heating medium which by its nature increases the cost of operating any machinery including the separation of fluid from trash. The disclosed and claimed system is a compact system in that trash “as is” is introduced at the beginning of the process. The trash is fed into a shredding device and then fed into a tapered tube having a rotating fluid expulsion tube therein. With the introduction of the shredded trash into the rotating mesh tube, high velocity air is also introduced which is instrumental in the forward movement of the shredded trash while at the same time any prevailing fluid is expelled from the tapered and rotating wire mesh tube. The expelled fluid is collected and fed from the system by way of pipeline. The dried trash is also expelled from the rotating mesh at its other end.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Lesson 9 Secrets on Really Listening

Multitasking the Right Way
Your natural inclination to multitasking can be redirected to make you a better negotiator.  Track mentally within the 7:38:55.  Here's how.
Consider the following: there are a variety of sources that provide that people roughly speak at the rate of about 125 - 160 words per minute and our brains have the capacity to process about 400 - 600 words per minute.  Therefore, if you are keeping track of only the contentthen you have excess mental capacity that's not being used.  If you don't know what else to keep track of, your mind is invited to wander (or multitask).
But if you accept anything resembling the 7:38:55 ratio, or any ratio that places an emphasis on tone of voice and body language, then there may be as much as 5x more information to process from the tone of voice alone.  This begins to stretch the capacity of the brain without even adding in the brainpower necessary to construct verbal responses or take good notes. 
Even More Overload
Additionally there are estimates that equate the amount of visual information being given off by a person's body language to be approaching the equivalent of 1000 words per minute.  If this is anywhere near true, the visual data alone, without asking the brain to do anything else, stretches your mental capacity to keep up.
Therefore, the advice here is for you to use the negotiation skills being provided to bring your full focus to bear on the negotiation at hand.  Use the skills to clarify and dig more deeply into what's being said in order to discover the value.
Here's what the best practice is:
Compare how something is being said to what's being said.  Gently react to any perceived incongruence - use a label.  Whether consciously or unconsciously, your counterpart will leave you clues as to hidden problems by their tone of voice and body language.  A lack of clues is no guarantee of either veracity or problem free implementation, but a presence of clues correlates very highly with problems.  It then becomes your job to gently uncover them.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Lesson 8 Reading Between the Lines

Content, Tone, Body Language
You've been given what might be the most versatile tool in your arsenal - labels (Lesson #4). In Lesson 5, you were given more insight on the application of this tool.  Now in Lesson 8 we're going to delve even more into what to look for to label. 
Person-to-person communication (while you're in each other's presence) is described as being carried by three means:
  1. the content (the literal meaning of the words),
  2. the tone of voice (this includes inflection, pacing, etc.)
  3. and body language (how the person stands, the look on their face, how they placed their hands and arms, etc.). 
There was a famous study by UCLA Professor Albert Mehrabian that came up with the ratio for these three components regarding how much the recipient of the communication "liked" the components, and that ratio was 7 - content, 38 - tone, 55 - body language.  The meaning of this study has been widely interpreted, contested and debated.
Do they line up?
The Black Swan Group advocates that you look at this ratio for relative importance of differences in the communication.  This means paying very close attention to tone of voice and body language so you can see how they match up with the literal meaning of the words.  If they don't match, it is quite likely the literal meaning of the words is not the truth of the sender's message.  By this ratio, tone of voice is five times more important than the literal meaning of the words.  Body language even more (8x).  How tone of voice and body language align with the literal meaning of the words is critical in understanding the meaning.
You can take the sentence "I think you're very smart", and change its meaning entirely based on which words you choose to emphasize, your inflection and the tone of voice you choose.
There is a great cartoon of two small children walking down the street talking and one says to the other "My mom says to me she hopes I have kids like me when I grow up, but I just don't like the way she says it."
Insight is Rewarded
Please keep in mind, that if their tone of voice signals hesitation, they know it.  On one level or another they are well aware they have indicated this to you and are probably unsure as to how to come out and say whatever it is that doesn't quite line up.  Your act of recognizing this and gently dealing with it via a label will be greatly appreciated by them.  They will feel respected and consequently, your relationship of trust will be improved.  They will be grateful for your insight.
This is interpretation process is a two-way street.  The person you're communicating with will interpret you in much the same way, whether consciously or unconsciously.  (Lesson 2).
Here's what you do with this knowledge: label tone of voice and label body language. 
You: "So we're agreed?"
Them: "Yes....."
You:  "I heard you say yes, but it seemed like there was some hesitation in your voice." 
Them: "Oh, it's nothing really."
You: "No, this is important, let's make sure we get this right."
Them: "Thanks, I appreciate it."
This is the way you make sure your agreement get implemented with no surprises.  Use the ratio of 7:38:55 as a guideline to line up what someone says with how they say it.  When someone's tone of voice or body language are not congruent with the meaning of the words they say, use the communication tool of labels to dig in and discover the source of the incongruence.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Lesson 7: The "F" Word in Negotiation

Law of the Universe #6: People will walk away from deals that would otherwise make them better off, if they feel they've been treated unfairly.

"That's not fair"

"Fair" is the "F" word in negotiations. It comes up in almost every negotiation.
It’s directly related to feelings of worth and loss. This can often become very personal.   The automatic implication is that the person it’s being used on is being unfair. If your counterpart uses this word you have a problem. People will walk away from deals that would otherwise make them better off if they feel they've been treated unfairly.
“Fair” comes up in three contexts, two of which are accusatory.

1. The Defensive

The "F" word can be used by someone not meaning to make an accusation against you, but simply intending to defend themselves. This might take the form of "We just want what's fair."
This accusation will immediately trigger emotions of defensiveness and discomfort in you. These are often very subtle, almost invisible to you. Accusations tend to create emotional defensive reactions
Example: A homeowner was selling his home. The market prices of houses in the area had dropped. Consequently, the offer for the house was much lower than what the owner hoped for. The owner responded to the potential buyer – "We just want what's fair". The buyer raised his offer. Yet, how is that fair to the buyer? Was it the buyer's fault that the market dropped?
The word can also be highly manipulative.

2. Manipulation

"We've given you a fair offer", "We've made a fair offer” or "What we put on the table is fair." Anytime a negotiator self-describes their actions or offers as being "fair" it's likely an intentional manipulation to get their counterpart to give in. It also can be an irritant for the other side and may well consequently diminish the working relationship.
Example: Remember the last National Football League (NFL) lockout? During the impasse the Players Association was trying to get the team owners to completely open their books. The team owners responded publicly that what they had offered the players was "fair". Note the timing of the "F" word with the refusal to disclose information.

3. Proactive (Recommended)

You can be proactive with the "F" word. It's acceptable to tell someone at the beginning of a negotiation that you're going to try very hard to be fair and that you want them to tell you if they think you're not being fair. (Note the timing of this: before you made any offers.)
Be both conscious of the "F" word and cautious with it. Understand its implications. Please do, in fact strive to be very fair and understand what your counterpart perceives to be fair. If they feel you're being unfair they could well walk away from a deal that would make them better off.

Lesson. 6: How to Leverage Encouragers

Law of the Universe #5 is “Ignore human nature at your peril.”
Necessary, Effective, Invisible
Encouragers are simple small words needed during a conversation/negotiation to lubricate the flow of information. They are a great mercenary and missionary skill. They work and they are good for the relationship. They are one of those small effort skills that leverage larger results. People like to be encouraged. Remember Law of the Universe #2: “You are 6x more likely to make a deal with someone you like.”
Encouragers are words typically “uh-huh, yeah, ok, m-hmm, go-on, and really?” They let your counterpart know you are there and listening.  They encourage people to continue talking, especially through extended thought.
If you are in their presence or they can see you, physical gestures are effective as well, especially head nods. Interestingly enough, the head nod is one of the most appreciated physical gestures you can give someone.
Encouragers are a necessary and critical conversation/negotiation skill.  Misuse of them is easy and they can become counterproductive. They are often referred to as minimal encouragers because effort to use them amounts to minimal effort.  
Some communication methodologies refer to these as “amplifiers” because of their effectiveness in getting people to amplify their thoughts.  That concept alone should help you appreciate how effective they can be when properly used.
Use, don’t abuse them
It is very easy (and frequently done) to keep someone talking without actually listening at all when using this skill.   It is in fact very easy to let your mind wander while using encouragers.  As always, focus is required to effectively communicate. (This is a good time to listen to tone.)
It is also very easy to use encouragers to keep someone talking, giving them the impression you agree when you don’t agree at all.   The uses of “ok” and “sure” as encouragers are examples.  You have to be especially cautious of using these encouragers when you know you’re not in agreement.  Doing this sets a trap that your counterpart will resent you for walking them into.
“Ok” is particularly problematic and the user of it often has great expectations of the listener to interpret their tone. Please think back to Lesson #2 and look at tone of voice from another perspective.
Example of an effective use of encouragers:
Counterpart:  My boss is killing me with these new requests.
You:  Really?
Counterpart:  We have a new contract and he’s scared we’re going to mess it up.
You:  Uh huh
Counterpart:  I think he’s worried about his end of year bonus. He’s constantly coming into my office to check on the status of things.  I can’t get anything done with him interrupting me all the time.  It’s driving me nuts!
You:  Go-on
Counterpart:  So, yesterday…
Use encouragers! They are effective and helpful. Please remember, they are only effective when used in support of other skills.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Lesson 5: How To Be A Smooth-Mirror

Skill 2: Mirrors
Mirror, mirror
Mirrors (or mirroring) may be the simplest of all the skills. And it is smoooooooth. 
You simply repeat the last three words your counterpart has spoken, or repeat a word or selected three words that you want to amplify/clarify.
Sounds ridiculous, right? Please do not underestimate the power of this skill. Mirrors pull responses out of people even when they know you’re using them. They trigger an almost unconscious reaction.
Be aware - when you first start mirroring other people it’s going to feel awkward. Very awkward. Discomfort with a new skill is the biggest barrier to learning it. Please don’t let that get in your way. Don't worry, mirrors are truly invisible, compelling, and even a surgical at times.
A skeptical colleague was once protesting whether or not mirrors were a valid skill. He said, "I just don't see how mirrors would work. I just don't see how it would be useful to repeat the last three words." My response? - "The last three words?" And he said "Yeah, I just don't see how it would work…Hey wait a minute! You got me!"
Mirroring is great when you are at a loss for words. No matter how blank your mind may feel, somewhere in the recesses of your memory you can pull out the last three words of what someone just said. It's great for helping you get on track.
One member of the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team (SWAT) who went through the hostage negotiation course would use mirrors to sharpen his ability to label. He would always start each negotiation with two or three mirrors. As he mirrored, you could watch him hone in and he would come up with an extremely effective label. With each mirror his mind focused even more and his listening became more in-depth.
Clarifying powers
You can use mirrors for "surgical" clarifications. We don't even ask the question "What do you mean by that?" anymore. Instead when someone says something you don't understand, mirror it with an upward inflection (questioning tone). The counterpart will automatically reword what he/she just said instead of repeating the exact same words in a louder tone of voice (very similar to the way many Americans overseas try to get people to understand them).
You can use mirrors effectively with assertive types. This is an actual conversation between a CEO and his Director of Operations (DOO) over a misunderstanding regarding 3-ring binders for a training session. The CEO wanted 3-ring binders but kept referring to them as notebooks.
CEO: “Are the notebooks ready?”
DOO: “What do you mean by notebooks?”
CEO: “Notebooks.” (Exasperated.)
DOO: “What do you mean by notebooks?”
DOO: “Notebooks?”
CEO: “Yeah, 3-ring binders.” (Bingo! Clarity!)
Here are a series of mirrors with Wendy the airline employee that got Ryan a seat on an airplane when he was stranded by weather in an airport with a host of unhappy travelers:
Ryan: “Hi, I’m Ryan. It seems like they were pretty upset.” (Note the Label – Lesson #3 & #4).
Wendy responded about how they had missed their connection and then said something along the lines of “we’ve had a fair amount of delays because of the weather.”
Ryan: “The weather?”
Wendy explained to that multiple airports in the Northeast had experienced delays due to weather conditions. “It’s rippled through the system.”
Ryan: “It seems like it’s been a hectic day.” (Label.)
Wendy opened up about a lot of “irritated customers” (like the ones before). She said a lot of people are trying to get to Texas for the two big college games.
Ryan: “The college games?”
Wendy answered about the UT vs Ole’ Miss football game and that “every flight into Austin has been booked solid.”
Ryan: “Booked solid?”
Wendy went on to explain that every flight was sold out through the weekend, but that the weather was likely to “reroute a lot of people through a lot of different places.” She finally gets around to asking, “So, how can I help you?”
Ryan: “Look, it seems like you’ve been handling the rough day pretty well. I was also affected by the weather delays and missed my connecting flight. It seems like this flight is likely booked solid, however, it also might make sense that someone affected by the weather might miss this connection. Is there any possibility a seat will be open because of this?”
At this point Wendy said nothing and began typing on her computer. Ryan kept silent, as he did not want to talk himself back out of what might be done deal. After about a minute, Wendy printed a boarding pass and handed it to him. She explained that there were a few seats that were supposed to be filled by people who would now arrive much later than this flight’s departure. She also placed Ryan in Economy Plus setting (which generally has an upcharge) and mentioned that it was “all taken care of.” (Boom!)
Ryan: “Thank you so much Wendy, I really appreciate it.”
Please begin using mirrors immediately and become comfortable with them. Have fun with them. You’ll find they're effective and powerful. They will serve you well. Make some rain