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Don’t Play With Your Emotions

“Exerting greater control over your emotions will allow you to exercise greater control of your life.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert

 When you engage in life, don’t play with your emotions. Anytime you’re unsure of which path you should take, don’t play with your emotions. That doesn’t mean that you should consider options devoid of your emotions, it means, attempt to think of your options without the emotional attachment that might saddle itself to those options.

By eliminating the emotional aspect that might go into your decision-making process, you allow your thought process to be driven by logic. After you’ve assessed a situation from a purely logical perspective, you can test your sense of direction by considering the emotions that might be the co-pilot of your decision.

Sometimes people allow their emotions to lead their actions. They toss logic aside. Allowing your actions to be driven by emotions alone can lead you into dangerous situations; “I don’t know why I did it; I must have been temporarily insane.” Those may be the afterthoughts you have if you don’t control your emotions before delving into a situation.

To maintain greater control of your life and those that surround you, always seek to control your emotions. Don’t play with them! Once you learn to have greater control of your emotions, you’ll have greater control of the environments you engage in. You’ll also find that your emotions serve you better. So, always seek to keep your emotions in check … and everything will be right with the world.

What does this have to do with negotiations?

In every negotiation (you’re always negotiating), emotions dictate how you’ll engage in the negotiation. Thus, your emotions will drive your actions if you don’t curb them. It may not be very easy to control your emotions at times when negotiating, but if the opposing negotiator senses that he can control you by controlling your emotions, he’ll play you like a drum. You’ll dance to any tune he decides to play.

Before entering into a negotiation, know the hot points that may cause you to lose control of your emotions; your hot points are also called triggers. Being aware of the triggers that may provoke different emotional reactions in you, allows you to prepare the demeanor you wish to display, versus one that would hijack your real-time display of emotions. Such displays can cause you to lose control of the negotiation. By not displaying a demeanor the other negotiator expected, you’ll initiate doubt within him about the strategy he’s employing in invoking such triggers to maneuver you.

Suffice it to say, controlling your emotions allows you to have greater control of yourself and the other negotiator, and everyone knows, he who controls the negotiation has a greater chance of controlling the outcome of the negotiation.


What are you thinking? I’d really like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com

To receive Greg’s free 5-minute video on reading body language or to sign up for the “Negotiation Tip of the Week” and the “Sunday Negotiation Insight” click here http://www.themasternegotiator.com/greg-williams/

Remember, you’re always negotiating.

#HowToNegotiateBetter #CSuite #TheMasterNegotiator #ControlEmotions #Psychology

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How to Use Reverse Questioning to Win More Negotiations

“The degree of success you experience in life and in negotiations is based to a degree on asking the right questions successfully.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert

You no doubt know what reverse engineering is, right? Reverse questioning in a negotiation is the process of identifying the questions you need to ask in order to obtain the answers that will lead to a successful negotiation outcome. It’s also a way to identify how you’ll control the flow of the negotiation.

As a quick example, if you wanted to exit a negotiation paying $1,000 for a product you’d work from the outcome sought back to the beginning of the negotiation; you might also consider working back from that point to how you would position yourself prior to entering into the negotiation. To perform the latter, you’d assess the requirements needed (i.e. how you’d position yourself) to have your persona projected in a certain light/manner.

The following is what the step-by-step process would look like.

  1. Identify the most and least favorable outcome you’ll seek from the negotiation, along with why you’ve identified those points of juxtaposition. As a benefit, having that insight will help you identify exit points from the negotiation.
  2. Assemble a list of questions that might be asked of you as you would go through the negotiation.
  3. Create answers to the questions posed in step 2 that are needed to drive your efforts towards a winning negotiation outcome, while formulating questions you’ll ask to keep the negotiation on track; these will be your defensive questions. Identify points where you can answer a question with a question; remember, the person asking the questions is the person controlling the negotiation. That’s due to the fact, that person is gaining more information.
  4. Once you create and address step 3, create a list of questions that you might ask of the other negotiator that’s separate from the ones you might use to respond to his questions; these will become your offensive questions. Offensive questions are questions that move your negotiation efforts quicker towards the end of the negotiation; they are questions that the other negotiator has to agree with because they’re based on what he’s previously stated as his beliefs or truths; you’ll be weaponizing his thoughts and questions against him. Some of these questions will also come in the form of questions that answer questions.
  5. Assess how the opposing negotiator might respond to your scenario.
  6. Continue going over steps 1 through 5, in an attempt to uncover additional questions that you’d not considered that need to be included in the process.
  7. Once you feel you’ve honed the questions to a point that the other negotiator has to follow a prescribed path that you’ve created for the negotiation, test your hypothesis in a mock negotiation. This will allow your questioning process to become more refined and may uncover better/additional questions.
  8. Once you feel totally prepared to utilize your questions in a negotiation, do so. Engage with the confidence in knowing that you’ve created a stealthy way of capturing better information as you go throughout the negotiation.
  9. Save your questions in a repository to be used for comparison to past and future negotiation situations.


The wrong question asked at the right time in a negotiation may do incalculable harm. The wrong question asked at the wrong time in a negotiation may lead to a negotiation impasse. Create and test your questions before entering into a negotiation and you’ll have more of a chance to reach a successful negotiation outcome … and everything will be right with the world.

After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d really like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com 

To receive Greg’s free 5-minute video on reading body language or to sign up for the “Negotiation Tip of the Week” and the “Sunday Negotiation Insight” click here http://www.themasternegotiator.com/greg-williams/

Remember, you’re always negotiating.

#HowToNegotiateBetter #CSuite #TheMasterNegotiator #Bully #Question


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Don’t Hurt the Leader’s Position

“A leader is someone that possesses the ability to successfully lead others from the front or the rear. Always know the position of your leader.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert

When someone is serving as the leader of your team and you’ve agreed to give them your support, follow their lead; don’t hurt them or your team by engaging in intended or unintended subterfuge.

In the daily activities of everyone’s life, everyone follows someone. Thus, those that you follow have influence by the fact that you anoint them as someone to lead you. You embolden them with that privilege by the fact that you follow their edict/mandate/suggestions. That being the case, don’t undermine the leader by:

  1. Going off-point per a strategy that has been discussed and agreed upon (e.g. going around the leader to gain attention for yourself, etc.)


  1. Engaging with outside sources that have not been agreed upon – make sure the leader knows what you’re planning to do


  1. Creating ad-hoc strategies when you’re in the midst of interactions with those that are not on your team/group

When you subvert the direction of the lead that you’ve granted to someone, you forgo potential opportunities, and diminish your team’s ability to implement the plan that’s been agreed upon; that can be costly in time and opportunities. You may also be cloaking into darkness the light of opportunities that may have shown themselves to you in the future (i.e. if you prove not to be a team player, no one will want you on their team.)

If you’re going to be a team player, play follow the leader by supporting the person that you’ve chosen to follow. Do so to the degree that such returns are beneficial to you and the team. Once you decide that you no longer wish to engage, inform the leader of your intent and disengage. Don’t just drop out without any communication. If you restrict the flow of communications, you don’t know what potential door(s) you’ll close that might have offered opportunities that could lead you to higher heights.

As long as you’ve decided to follow the leader, don’t hurt her. You’ve made a conscious decision to allow her to lead. So, follow her lead as long as it serves you and her … and everything will be right with the world.

What does this have to do with negotiations?

In a team negotiation environment, the leader of the team can position and pose as any of its members; it doesn’t have to be the person that projects the image of a leader at the negotiation table. Depending on the strategy chosen by the team, the leader may pose as someone that’s in a strategic position for a particular negotiation. He may also be positioned as someone that a senior person on the team can replace once the negotiation has reached a certain point.

The point is, once you have a strategy in place, don’t undermine it by undermining the person that’s the lead for the negotiation. Not only will you be weakening her, you’ll also be weakening your team’s negotiation position and the perspective beneficial outcome of the negotiation for all of you.


What are you thinking? I’d really like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com

To receive Greg’s free 5-minute video on reading body language or to  sign up for the “Negotiation Tip of the Week” and the “Sunday Negotiation Insight” click here http://www.themasternegotiator.com/greg-williams/

Remember, you’re always negotiating.

#HowToNegotiateBetter #CSuite #TheMasterNegotiator #Leadership

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How to Really Overcome a Bully Before Negotiating

“A bully is a misguided person with perceived power. Extinguish his sources of power and you extinguish the bully.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert

Do you know how to really overcome a bully before negotiating with him? There you are. You’re negotiating against a bully! He’s someone that’s willing to lie, cheat, and steal to come out ahead in the negotiation. You think to yourself, ‘what can I do? This son-of-a-gun is not playing fair and I don’t know how to overcome him!’ The answer to, ‘what can I do’ was hidden in what occurred before the negotiation began.

The following insights will allow you to position yourself better to overcome a bully’s ploys before you negotiate with him.


In every negotiation, positioning occurs. It’s shown in the way the negotiators perceive each other and themselves. Thus, positioning is important because it determines how negotiators will interact with one another.

If you know you’ll be negotiating against someone that has bullied others in the past, before entering into the negotiation, attempt to discover the demeanor of those individuals. In particular seek to define whether they were perceived to be weak by your opponent due to their short-comings, or if your opponent felt empowered due to some other factor(s) he had going for himself at the time of the negotiation(s). That information will allow you to best position yourself from a position of strength. A bully’s loathing for weakness is the reason he only picks on targets that he perceives to be weak.

Leverage: (ploys you can employ when negotiating with a bully)

  • Using Other people
    • All bullies look up to someone. If you can find a way to curry favor with the bully’s icon, you can supplant his bullying efforts against you. After all, the bully wants an easy target. If the bully’s icon has favored you, that makes you less of a target to the bully.
  • Bully’s weakness
    • All bullies have an Achilles heel. It may be how they wish to be perceived by others. It may also appear in the form of the bully being perceived in one light versus another. Whatever it is, discover it and be prepared to exploit it during the negotiation if such is called for.
  • Bully’s Persona (his vanity)
    • If you’re aware of the pride a bully takes in having himself perceived in a certain light, attempt to alter that light; have it shine on someone or somewhere else. You will have taken away his source of motivation. Hold it hostage until he dismantles his bullying ways. The point is, hit him where you’ll get the most attention and where it will hurt him the most. Remember, he despises weakness and applauds strength.

Be Stealthy:

Every good negotiator gathers information about the opposing negotiator. When you know you’ll be negotiating against a bully, drip misinformation into places that he seeks to gather information about you. The better you can use such information to misguide him, the more difficult it’ll be for him to assess the type of negotiator you are; always be willing to display a different negotiation demeanor based on the opposing negotiator.

When engaging a bully in a negotiation, there are all kinds of mind games that occur. Utilize the insights above and you’ll be in a better mental state than the bully. The better you play the game, the greater the chance that you’ll be able to overcome a bully when negotiating … and everything will be right with the world.

What are you thinking? I’d really like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com

To receive Greg’s free 5-minute video on reading body language or to sign up for the “Negotiation Tip of the Week” and the “Sunday Negotiation Insight” click here http://www.themasternegotiator.com/greg-williams/

Remember, you’re always negotiating.

#HowToNegotiateBetter #CSuite #TheMasterNegotiator #Bully

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Life is Always Testing You; A Negotiation Inspirational Insight

“Tests are meant to measure your improvement. Life’s tests are meant to improve you!” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert

“Life is Always Testing You”

“This is a test. For the next 60 seconds …”

“Fear not the passing of time. Fear instead your lack of ability to use the gifts that time gives you.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert

Life is always testing us and thus, life is always a test. Be thankful for that because it means that you’re alive, with the ability to go higher in life.

We plan for one thing and something else happens. We set our expectations upon what we’ve planned for and life zags when we thought it was going to zig. At times, it can drive you nuts! But, you shouldn’t let it. Consider it as just another test that life is putting before you; it’s doing so to make you stronger. It’s doing so to see how quickly you can adapt to unexpected occurrences. To the degree that you don’t let such occurrences create mental angst within you, you’ll become infused with more resiliency in life, for your life. That can serve as a source of motivation to fortify your mental attitude and enhance your aptitude to achieve more in life.

The way we perceive and interpret what occurs in our life determines how we’ll adapt to those occurrences and how well we interact with them. Thus, if you view an occurrence from the perspective that it’s a test from which you can improve your abilities, the new/altered occurrence from what you expected can be viewed in a more positive light. That positive perspective should allow you to deal with the unplanned, unexpected occurrence easier and with less apprehension.

When something doesn’t serve you, don’t let it disserve you a second time. Occurrences will come to you from many different sources. Let the positive things that come from such sources support you. For those that detract from you and your goals, be thankful for their insights as you say goodbye to them, knowing that they too add value to your life.

Once you look at your life’s occurrences as being a value-add to your life, you will have adopted a mindset of openness, acceptance, and a mental state of ease. Once you do that … everything will be right with the world.

What does this have to do with negotiations?

Negotiations are fraught with occurrences that challenged your preconceived plans based on the plans you assembled for the negotiation. Again, to the degree you’re flexible in the flow of the negotiation and you’re adaptable to the changing flow that occurs in/during it, the better a grip you’ll have on determining its outcome. That means you should manage your emotional state during the negotiation, constantly be thinking of any hidden meanings in unspoken and spoken words and any additional insight that body language gestures convey. That assembly of insights will make you a more formattable negotiator, which will lead to better negotiation outcomes for you.

What are you thinking? I’d really like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com

 To receive Greg’s free 5-minute video on reading body language or to  sign up for the “Negotiation Tip of the Week” and the “Sunday Negotiation Insight” click here http://www.themasternegotiator.com/greg-williams/

Remember, you’re always negotiating.

#HowToNegotiateBetter #CSuite #TheMasterNegotiator #Lifetest

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Crypto Currency Explained by Currency Expert

As part of my nationally syndicated radio show, Take the Lead, I interview top leaders and successful individuals who share their success stories. Bitcoin and cryptocurrency expert and CEO of FIREapps Wolfgang Koester, sat down for a live interview with me.  He was named as one of the “100 Most Influential People in Finance” and is regularly included in Global Finance’s annual “Who’s Who in Foreign Exchange”. To hear the entire interview, you can go tohttp://drdianehamilton.com/episodes and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMm8R6WJObU&t=1105s.

The following are highlights of what he discussed in our interview:

  • What is crypto currency and Bitcoin
  • The security and traceability of crypto currency
  • Block chain technology or ledger technology and digital mining
  • Supply and demand of Bitcoin and why the price changes
  • 130 cryptocurrencies out there – creating a market for currency
  • How many crypto currencies there should or will be
  • Countries like Russia and others going with crypto currency soon
  • Chinese raise to beat others to become dominant currency and displace the dollar
  • Millennials interest in crypto currency
  • Criminal activity hiding transactions
  • Winklevoss Bitcoin marketers will never spend their money
  • How much is in circulation
  • Difficulty getting out of digital currency
  • Rules getting made up as we go and scamming
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How to Get a Charitable Tax Deduction for Remodeling Your Properties

If your home or rental property needs remodeling, consider getting a charitable tax contribution by helping a worthwhile cause. Many charities build and renovate homes for the needy. The tax law allows you to take a charitable deduction for donating used building materials removed from your house or rental property when they are used by a qualified organization.

How much you can deduct depends on the fair market value (FMV) of the materials you donate and when you donate them.

Amount of Your Charitable Deduction

  • For property held for more than 1 year, you will usually get a deduction of the FMV of the materials donated. If the property was used for business or rental purposes, you must reduce the FMV by any gain (if you sold the property) that is considered ordinary income. This is a simple calculation if you ask your tax advisor.
  • For property held less than 1 year, you will usually get a deduction of either the FMV or the cost basis (less any depreciation allowed) of the materials donated, whichever is less.
  • There may be limits depending on how much you contribute and your adjusted gross income, but the good news is, you can carry forward any unused deduction to later years.

Steps Needed to Get a Charitable Deduction

Before you begin your remodeling process:

  1. Get your licensed contractor to give you two bid quotes. One for deconstructing the space that you are remodeling and another one for demolishing it. Deconstructing the space is more expensive than demolition because fixtures, sheetrock, wood studs and more are taken apart slowly and carefully by hand to recycle every last piece as opposed to demolition where they rip out the materials without any consideration for reusing them (e.g. they just go into the dump).

Deconstruction usually is 1.5 to 2 times more expensive than a demolition process. However, since demotion is only a small part of your remodel, it should not add a large cost to your overall remodel.

  1. Find an appraiser that can appraise the reusable materials that result from the “deconstruction” process. Usually they can give you an idea of the FMV per sq. ft. of real property you are remodeling. Appraisal costs range but typically are around $2,000-10,000. They will need to see the materials before they are donated to a charity so they can issue an appraisal report.
  1. Consult with your tax advisor. They usually know a qualified appraiser you can use in your area or one can be recommended by the charity to which, you are going to donate the materials.

Your tax advisor should also be able to determine whether it is cost beneficial to consider getting a charitable deduction. For example, if the appraisal cost is $5,000 and the additional contractor cost of deconstruction is $5,000, the donation you must receive must exceed $35,000 to give you a net tax benefit. Some of our clients have obtained charitable benefits of over $100,000.

  1. Pick a 501(c)(3) US charity in your area that has as their mission to use the materials in their programs such as Habitat for Humanity.

After your remodeling process:

  1. The appraiser will give you a signed appraisal report and an IRS form 8283 signed by both the appraiser and the charity to which, you contributed the material; both must be attached to your tax return.

If these steps are followed correctly, then there is an excellent chance that much of the costs of your next remodel can be claimed as a charitable contribution.

For more information about this and other tax strategies to help you pay only your fair share of taxes email him at ssinger@groco.com

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Accountability – I Want to Count on You!

Accountability is defined as an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility for one’s actions. Without it, you would live and work in a world without confidence. It would be almost impossible to plan a day if you had no reasonable confidence that, at the very least, people would show up and complete their tasks. Envision a workplace where no one did what they said they would do. A place where no one felt responsible for themselves or their team. Is that where you want to work?

If you want people around you to be accountable, then you must do what you say, too. You don’t live in a vacuum; you work with a team. Following through on your own obligations creates a better work environment for all the stakeholders.  Take 10% of the time that you worry about others doing their job and concentrate on yourself. Take being judgmental attitudes and take a good look at your own behavior.  How are you contributing to a more successful workplace? If you say you will get it done, do you?  If not, do you take responsibility or find blame?  Replace blame with understanding how you may have created a situation that went awry. Make sure you are setting an example that you want to be followed.

What do you need to do to ensure that your culture breeds accountability and removes the fear of admitting when errors are made?

“It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do for which we are accountable.”

—John Baptiste Moliere

Excerpt from Blueprint for Employee Engagement – 37 Essential Elements to Influence, Innovate & Inspire. (Coming December 2017)

Julie Ann Sullivan’s focus is on employee engagement and creating workplace cultures where people want to come to work.  Julie Ann works with companies to develop people who are engaged, productive and appreciated. She hosts the Mere Mortals Unite and Businesses that Care podcasts on C-Suite Radio .  For more information go to http://julieannsullivan.com/


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7 Questions You Can Ask That Will Make You a Better Negotiator

Questions form the foundation for the exchange of information in a negotiation. To the degree you ask better questions, you’ll achieve greater negotiation outcomes. The following are 7 questions you can ask that will make you a better negotiator, and enhance the probability of your negotiation outcomes.

  1. Did you hear what you just said?

This question can be used to draw attention to a point that you wish to highlight. It can also serve as a distraction away from a point that doesn’t serve you.

  1. What’s the best outcome you’d like to see us reach?

This question gets at the heart of what the other negotiator would like   to see as a ‘best outcome’ situation, which gives you insight into his thought process.

  1. What’s most important to you in this negotiation?

Similar to question number 2, you’ll gain insight into the thought process of the other negotiator, which will give you a glimpse of how to negotiate with her. You’ll also get an idea of her priorities.

  1. What concerns do you have about this negotiation, this point, etc.?

This serves as a way to probe deeper into the mindset of the opposing negotiator per what he fears the most about the outcome of the negotiation. Observe his body language. If he says he doesn’t   have any concerns. Note if he sits back or leans forward as he’s speaking. If he leans forward, he’s more likely not to be concerned at that time. If he leans away, that could indicate he does have concerns, he might not want to share them with you at that time.

  1. What can we do to get past this impasse?

By getting his perspective, you gain a sense of how you might unravel the impasse. If you can adopt his suggestions, to the degree they serve you, you’ll be granting him the outcome he wants. That means he’ll buy into it. Remind him that you’re following his suggestions if he balks later.

  1. Why is that so important?

First, be observant of your tone when posing this question. Your tonality might be perceived as the matter being trivial. If it possesses true value to her, you don’t want to give the impression that it’s not a big deal, especially if it is to you. By doing so, she could say, okay, then give it to me. That would leave you in a weakened position.

  1. What can I do to make things right?

Be very cautious when asking this question. You don’t want to open the floodgates by allowing the other  negotiator to ask for the moon and you not be able to grant the request. On the opposing side, once again, you get a sense of what it might take to make it better, which means you can choose to grant some or none of the requests.

As you can see, the questions you pose during a negotiation set the tone and pace of the negotiation. The questions above can be strategically used during a negotiation to direct or redirect the negotiation in a particular direction that serves your purpose. To do so, use the questions in the order that are best suited for your purpose based on when a particular question is needed. If you do this masterfully, you’ll leave the negotiation with more gains than you otherwise might have had … and everything will be right with the world.


Remember, you’re always negotiating!



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The Most Powerful Skill You Need to Succeed in the C-Suite

Demetri Argyropoulos Avant Global CEO and Founder

Whether you’re CEO of a multi-billion-dollar brand, or a start-up working towards Series A, there is one thing every executive has in common; you want to get to the next level and expand your customer base. Unfortunately, for most companies, it can be extremely challenging to keep up with change.

At the speed of light, corporate cultures are transforming and innovative technologies call for new leadership skills.

The upside is, regardless of how fast the world moves around you there’s one thing that will always stay the same, the most important skill you need to master to prosper in business.

Visionary entrepreneur Demetri Argyropoulos is well-known from New York to Silicon Valley as the king of connections.

His investment firm, Avant Global, has generated over $10 billion in revenue for clients and created strategic relationships for the world’s wealthiest, including Bill and Melinda Gates, Lady Gaga and Bill Clinton.


Argyropoulos was an early investor in Twitter, RedBull and DocuSign, and his Venture Capital fund, AG Venture Capital & Investments, has seeded over 50 diverse start-ups.


Argyropoulos credits his success to one invaluable skill…Networking.


C-Suite TV Correspondent Nicole Sawyer caught up with Demetri to talk about the most powerful skill you need to master to succeed in the C-Suite, and the biggest mistakes executives make when trying to build a strategic relationship.


Nicole Sawyer: What is the most powerful skill to have at the C-Suite Level?
Demetri Argyropoulos: The ability to bring value to your clients and your team. Typically, this value is brought forth through introducing and fostering unique relationships. All businesses and CEOs, despite how powerful they may be, depend on access to strategic relationships. These strategic relationships should monetize the company’s ecosystem, strengthen its platform and give a competitive edge over others with sustainable differentiation in the marketplace.


Sawyer: What personality traits do successful C-Suite Leaders have in common?
Argyropoulos: The most important trait we all have in common is the ability to know what the market wants before it actually happens. This comes from an innate understanding of one’s customers or clients. From there, you must be able to make decisions quickly, execute that vision, while staying one step ahead of the rest. All great CEOs are forecasters and firefighters.


Sawyer: When it comes to managing your own career, how do you prepare yourself to reach the next level?
Argyropoulos: I always have my ultimate end goal in mind. If you understand your end-game, you are able to manifest that into a reality. I always measure progress against this end goal and quantify it along the way with revenue, timelines and objectives.


Sawyer: How do you know who the right connections are for different types businesses?
Argyropoulos: The key here is to understand the objective at hand – what are you trying to accomplish? What is the client trying to achieve? Once you understand that objective, you need to dig deeper to understand the context. This is done through research and by understanding the current behavior at hand to figure out the next important introduction to make. And always remember, relationships only work if there’s equal or greater value on both sides.


Sawyer: You’ve worked with anyone from Bill Clinton to T-Boone Pickens, what is the secret to get their attention and maintain a business relationships with well-known people who are in high demand?
Argyropoulos: When you bring value to a relationship, even if it’s the busiest CEO on the planet, he or she will still make time for you. However, following-up is key, especially for those who are extremely busy. Most people don’t follow-up, which in business, can lead to distrust. You have to always do what you say you are going to do. It’s that simple.


Demetri Argyropoulos, Avant Global Founder with client T-Boone Pickens, Chairman and CEO of Hedge Fund BP Capital.


Sawyer: Where do business leaders fail when trying to create a relationship?
Argyropoulos: Oftentimes, their approach may be too aggressive and their message may not be clear enough.


Every successful relationship and every failed relationship is a consequence of one thing: how well, or poorly, you communicate. Clear communication is important to set from the beginning.


Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and ask the question, “Why do I want to work with this person?” Again the answer comes down to the value you can bring. Deliver value and these problems go away.


Sawyer: What are some of the biggest mistakes people make when following up?
Argyropoulos: They’re not entirely truthful. Be impeccable with your word. Just do what you say you’re actually going to do. This is so important when building trust in an influential relationship and so few actually do it.


Sawyer: What’s your advice for dealing with people you don’t like? Difficult people ?
Argyropoulos: Try not to. Seriously. I have a no a-hole rule. I’ve fired billionaire clients before because it just wasn’t worth it. At the end of the day, a billionaire is not better than someone starting out, and vice versa. You have to always respect others and the unique qualities and differences we all have.


Sawyer: If your personality is more of an introvert and networking doesn’t come natural to you? How can an individual make connections if they really don’t like talking to people?
Argyropoulos: For starters, that’s where companies like ours, Avant Global, come in handy. Sometimes we partner with, or get hired by executives who are not very social so we help to manage new relationships and introduce them to the businesses they need to get in front of. Let’s be clear, we’re not a social firm! But for those who are more introverted, we simply want them to be the best at what they excel at and we’ll do the rest. We can’t all be great at everything.


Sawyer: What’s one example of a major acquisition Avant Global made that transformed its valuation and what can business leaders learn from this example?
Argyropoulos: In the case of Owl Biomedical, we took its technology that had been developed and in existence for ten years and formed a new company with this technology in mind and capitalized on it. We sold it to a multi-billion dollar medical device company in Germany called Miltenyi.


From this example, business leaders can learn that if you know how to assemble the pieces of a company/deal: IP, human capital, and usually a combination of both, you then have all the key pieces … it becomes about execution and creating value to the market.


Sawyer: Your investment portfolio includes more than 50 diverse startups. What sectors are you watching to find value now?
Argyropoulos: We want someone who is ahead of the curve in terms of where the market is heading- who is that next big game changer? Right now we like the sectors of machine learning, data science and big data for startups. We’re also always looking for disruptive investments in high-growth companies in tech, energy, real estate and consumer products.


Sawyer: What qualities do successful entrepreneurs have that make them stand out from the herd?
Argyropoulos: All successful entrepreneurs are tenacious and never give up. Stay focused on your mission with your goal in mind. Successful entrepreneurs also aren’t afraid to fail because they have the ability to see things others may not. It’s okay to have bumps along the way, but that fresh perspective is what’s going to set you apart.


Sawyer: What advice do you have for a startup to break down barriers when approaching a well-known brand about a strategic partnership?
Argyropoulos: It’s a great time to be a startup. We’ve never seen so many large corporations working with startups. I’d advise a startup to think about how its technology could actually benefit the large brand it’s approaching. Many big companies realize that if they don’t change quickly with the times, and evolve, their number may be up. Startups should appeal to the larger brands to evolve with them.


Sawyer: You run a very successful VC Fund, what’s the best way for an entrepreneur to network with you if they are seeking funding?
Argyropoulos: Think to yourself “Why would Demetri and the Avant team want to meet with me? How can I bring value to their firm?” If you can clearly answer those questions, you’re already ahead of the curve.


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