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Published: May 04 , 2017
Author: Alan Smith

Lots of people see negotiating as a series of tricks, tactics and levers, something of a game designed to undermine confidence and wrest control. They can be creative, innovative even, and against the unskilled often effective. The problem with a tactical approach, though, is when you come up against a skilled opponent. Anybody who watched England play Italy in the recent six nations rugby championship will have seen the Italians adopt a tactical approach that Eddie Jones, the England coach suggested was not rugby, but basketball. A crazy aberration.

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Published: Jul 21 , 2016
Author: Richard Savage

I was rather intrigued by a restaurant in North London, which I heard about recently. Mostly because some friends of mine, who were recommending it, were particularly excited about the fact that it was ‘all you can eat’. Now I don’t know about you, but ‘all you can eat’ in my book reminds me of brightly lit windows promising more cholesterol and MSG than one thought possible or healthy. And indeed the preserve of worn out Leicester Square tourists and hungry students...

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Published: Jun 09 , 2016
Author: Alan Smith

Been a very bad year for my heroes so far. The loss of David Bowie, Prince, Glenn Fry, Victoria Wood and now the sporting legend that was Muhammad Ali. Tragic. If you have not read the Fight by Norman Mailer, you should. The description of the legendary fight between Ali and George Foreman has to be one of the best books ever written about sport. Even for a non-fight-lover it is a brutal study of the pugilist’s skill. Mailer describes the dynamics of the battle in graphic detail comparing it to a chess match and to a piece of art.

Published: Aug 07 , 2014
Author: Robin Copland

Recently, I found myself in Cork in Ireland. Beautiful place and well worth a visit if you have never been. Its weather (we don’t have a climate in these parts; we just have the weather. Indeed, we spend a lot of time talking about the weather and if we didn’t have it to talk about, then this would a quiet place, let me assure you!) is balmy; never too hot and never too cold. For a man from northern climes it is well-nigh perfect; this does not mean to say though that, from time to time, it does not get hot, because believe me, it does and I happened upon one of the weeks in the year when it was hot, hot, hot...

Published: Jun 20 , 2013
Author: Robin Copland

Britvic plc is a big company. Last year, it sold 1.9bn litres of soft drinks and it employs approximately 3500 people. Brands include Tango, J2O, Robinsons as well as its eponymous mixer drinks. It has a Scottish-based rival called A G Barr plc, makers of the iconic Scottish drink, Irn Bru (made from girders!), as well as Tizer and other well-known brands. A G Barr is also a big player in the soft drinks market with a turnover last year of £237m...

Published: Apr 25 , 2013
Author: Robin Copland

BMW used to do it. So did Mercedes. Porsche and Ferrari still do as far as I am aware, though it’s been a while since I checked. Then along came the so-called “budget” airlines and the tactic is back in vogue with a vengeance. It starts with a loud - gaudy even – welcome page on which there is loudly displayed a low figure. At the time of writing, the figure is £10. The word “cheap” appears and you are tempted along to the “flights” window. “£10” and “flights” together; it’s a heady mix that conjures up the golden age of travel together with cheap air fares, so you delve deeper. Mind you – the words “golden age of travel” and “Ryanair” are not comfortable bedfellows, but never mind; I live in Edinburgh – where could I go? What could go wrong?...

Published: Sep 28 , 2012
Author: Robin Copland

There is more and more emphasis on the bottom line. Negotiators are getting ever more ruthless in their search for a “better deal” and sometimes the old “win-win” mantra is lost in the stampede. One of the tactics we see most often used by – and sometimes against – clients is the late introduction of a procurement specialist to a negotiation. In many cases, this person is introduced rather shamefacedly by the regular negotiator; the excuse is given that they are just there to cast a paternal eye over proceedings and check that the deal is watertight....

Published: Jul 13 , 2012
Author: Alan Smith

A mother passing by her son's bedroom was astonished to see the bed was nicely made, and the room clean and tidy. Looking more closely she saw an envelope propped up on the pillow. It was addressed, 'Mum'. With trepidation, she opened the envelope and read the enclosed note with trembling hands. Dear Mum, It is with great regret and sorrow that I'm writing to you. I have had to elope with my new girlfriend because I wanted to avoid a row with you and Dad. I am crazy in love with Stacy, and she is so nice, but I knew you would not approve of her, because of all her piercings, tattoos, her tight Motorcycle clothes and because she is so much older than I am....

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Bad Behaviour (From The Good Guys)

I’m fascinated by how brands can make us feel. The intensity of that feeling, what drives it and how long it can last. The infamous ones in my experience include IKEA. Nothing makes my blood curdle more than the indignity of being herded around the labyrinth of their Wembley store, before you land in the cattle market of the queuing system. Great for your...

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