Negotiating a Great Severance Package

For those of you who are staring a layoff in the face, or if you want to be prepared for a possible separation of employment in your next position, I’d like to add my advice on negotiating a severance package. And yes, this is something you can negotiate. As career strategist and job search coach, and I’ve helped dozens of clients successfully negotiate severance packages.  

 I advise my clients to use many of the same tactics as you would in a salary negotiation.

First of all, you need to have clear in your mind what you want, and what’s important to you. For example, if paid health insurance is a must, make that your priority.

Secondly, throughout the process, you want to be genuine and sincere in discussing severance agreements, not cold and calculating. You will get a lot further that way. I understand you most likely angry – ok, furious – and hurt, but don’t let that get in the way of making the best out of a decidedly awful situation.

Next, use vulnerability to your advantage; it can be very powerful. Describe your financial situation to the employer, and the personal difficulties this separation will cause. You will find that when you use this strategy, it plays to your employer’s desire to make you happy - and dare I say - their guilt over letting you go. For instance, “I do have some impending financial needs… Perhaps the company could approve a slightly higher package. Is there any way we can pursue this together?” Or, “Can you see your way clear to adding 3 more months to the severance agreement? That would easy my family situation immensely.”

Also, in negotiating, it’s a great rule of thumb to use questioning, rather than demanding, in your discussions. You will find the most persuasive negotiators use questions. It will allow you to gain control of the situation by getting valuable information from the employer. For example, you wouldn’t say, “That severance wouldn’t be any good for me.” Instead, you might say, “Robert, could you tell me how you think this can work for me?” Or, “Is there a chance you could extend the length of the severance (or the health benefits) a little longer?”

In both of these examples, see how there are only questions – no demands. By inviting your soon-to-be-former employer to explore the situation, you are giving them the freedom to reach their own conclusions on whether or not their separation offer is unreasonable. With this approach, you come across as sincere, realistic, and slightly vulnerable; never as cold or calculating, or as an employee who is “forcing their hand.”

And there’s one last piece of advice I’d like to offer: When you do find a new job, by all means negotiate your “exit strategy” before signing an employment contract. I advise negotiating for at least 6 month’s severance (and 12 months for six figure professionals), including benefits. It’s much easier to get a fair separation agreement when the employer is excited about hiring you than it is when things go south and they’re put in a position where they have to let you go. And make that separation clause be effective due to any change in your job, and not just a lessening of responsibilities or a lay off. In other words, there might be a company reorganization, and yes, you can still have your same position, but you’ll have to do it in Detroit. If you don’t want to move, you should be able to receive the severance you negotiated at the start of your employment.

 In my experience, I have found my clients have been able to easily negotiate 1 to 3 months more in compensation, or a 10-15% higher increase during the severance term using these techniques. I’ve also found that my higher paid clients and those in higher positions in the company have an easier time negotiating the terms of their severance packages.However, I’ve seen these techniques work successfully at all career levels.

With whatever position you’re leaving, it is always best to gain as much control of your situation as possible. It will not only serve you financially, but emotionally as well. Most people don’t know they have any influence in a severance package once they’re laid off, especially when feeling devastated about the loss of their job. However, you may find a few brief conversations with your employer will pay off great dividends.  

How to perfectly roast a Thanksgiving turkey?

Whether you are dining in at home with family and friends, or going out for a meal for Thanksgiving, roast turkey is certainly the staple of the day. So how can you make the perfect roast turkey that would be the envy of all your dinner guests?

If you are going out for a meal, then it would no doubt be cooked by a professional chef, decked out in his or her fancy chef coat and apron (chefs prefer to wear hardy denim aprons for tasks such as these!), but how can you get the same taste and effect at home? Here are some tips from professional chefs on how to perfectly roast your Thanksgiving turkey.

The perfect turkey should be both well roasted, flavorsome and juicy as well, as well as being extremely aromatic., after all, it is the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving dinner table, right?

One piece of advice given by professional chefs is to plan out your cooking process early on, because you don’t want to overcook your bird as that would dry it out. Don’t forget to let it sufficiently thaw before you start your preparations, and this thawing time will need to be added to your timing for roasting the turkey.

A frozen store-bought turkey does not need brining, as it would simply be a waste of time, all you need to do is take it out of the packaging and dry it with some paper towels. Never wash a turkey or chicken because it causes contamination. Once your turkey is dry, rub seasoning and herb-butter all over it, so that the skin becomes nice and brown. Don’t forget that you should never cook the stuffing inside the turkey, but make it separately and then stuff the bird.

The bird should be kept on a low heat in the oven for approximately 5 hours, and you can keep checking it with a thermometer to see if it is cooked through. Once completely done, let it rest before serving.

Ten Major Causes of Powerless Presentations, According To Your Strategic Thinking Business Coach

Every day in the business world there are millions of presentations made. Unfortunately too many of those presentations are “powerless.” In fact, we may even be so bold as to say a majority of those presentations are “powerless” due to one or more of ten major causes. In the opinion of Your Strategic Thinking Business Coach, the major causes of “powerless” ineffective and non-persuasive presentations are:

1. The presentation has no clear focused point. The point of the presentation is obviously “missing in action.”

2. The presentation lacks a logical and clear flow of ideas and the audience becomes lost, confused and unable to follow what is being presented.

3. The presentation is so detailed, fact filled and so overcrowded with technical terms that the meaning of the presentation is lost in what has become known as a “data dump,” which is an excessive and meaningless recital of data without a purpose or a plan.

4. The presentation is too long and not sensitive to the audience’s span of attention.

5. The presentation totally fails to indicate and convince the audience of some benefit from what is being presented. It fails to tell the audience what is in it for each of them and how they will benefit from what is presented.

6. The presentation is void of enthusiasm and persuasion. There is no call to action for the audience.

7. The technology with all the bells and whistles used in the presentation overshadows and overwhelms the content of the presentation.

8. The presentation totally ignores the needs of the audience. There is no consideration for what are the interests of the audience, what do they care about, what problems do they have, what frustrations they have, etc.

9. The presentation focuses on features rather than benefits.

10. The presentation environment has serious flaws related to the technical equipment, sound system, projection screen, lighting, timing, and the attire of the presenter.

Ten Major Causes of Powerless Presentations, According To Your Strategic Thinking Business Coach
By: J. Glenn Ebersole, Jr., Chief Executive of J. G. Ebersole Associates and The Renaissance Group (TM)