November, 2016

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Montgomery way- Diversity, Inclusion, and Respect for All

On Sunday Nov 20, 2016, Montgomery County organized a rally under the theme “Standup for the Montgomery Way”. A couple of thousands of Montgomerians beat the cold and windy afternoon to standup for Montgomery way, that is Diversity, Inclusion, and Respect for All.

The event was fitting to what we do at Success Pathways. We facilitate interactive workshops on the theme Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace.

This event reminded us that we should also expand our service to offer similar workshops for our community to empower them with insights, processes, and tools they can use to promote diversity, and embrace inclusiveness wherever they live, work, and do business.

Below are some pics from the event:




With Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez


With Senator-elect Chris Van Hollen


With County Executive Ike Leggett


Becoming an Impactful Communicator

PresentationMany people think that communication is all about talking. They presume that the more they talk and articulate their ideas, the more they win the support of others. That is half of the equation. Becoming an impactful communicator requires more than that.

What so ever golden words you may use as you communicate in person, people may not connect with you because of your mere wordsmith skills. We are humans. Our brain is wired to gather, analyze, add meanings, and reach conclusion at the speed of light, so to speak. Our brain takes in data both verbal and non-verbal cues through our eyes and ears (intuition too) to reach quick conclusion about the messenger (his/her credibility, authenticity, trustworthiness, etc.).

If you’re only depending on your words alone you can only transmit a fraction of your message. Don’t get me wrong. Your words (and contents) are important. However, you should also be aware that your voice’s tone, bitch; and most importantly, the way you dress, gesture your hands, move your body, and so on play the lion share in transmitting your message to the intended audience and in turn to meet your goals from a given presentation.

You could be perceived as credible and trustworthy who is worthy of their time or you could be counted out as not worthy of their attention. In the latter case, they won’t make any change as a result of your presentation. What is the use of standing in front of people unless you meet your goals?

In order to win people’s heart, influence, and inspire them to take the action you want them to take, you need more than just uttering powerful words. You need to display passion, exude energy, use your voice and body in your favor and to communicate effectively.

Hope, these tips are helpful. Otherwise, our workshop that empowers professionals, business owners, managers, and leaders to develop impactful presentation skills takes two days. I’m not ambitious to think that I could coach you here virtually on how to excel in your presentation skills but I’m sure the tips you got from this blog inspired you to invest more on your presentation skills if your desire is to have impact in your communication.

By the way, impactful communication also entails active listening. I’m not talking about giving your ears alone. Active listening demands giving your heart too. You need to listen both what is said and what hasn’t been said in a given conversation. For that matter, Management guru Peter Drucker emphasized, “The most important thing in communication is to hear, what isn’t being said”.

You should also work on your cross cultural communication skills if your audience are diverse. You should also make sure to excel at communicating using various media. This is especially important in the 21st C. You need to be skillful in communicating effectively virtually using email, phone, social media, etc. Let me stop it here…

Assegid (AZ) Habtewold is the owner and a lead trainer at Success Pathways, LLC. He facilitates business, managerial, and leadership interactive workshops. Here is the link to learn the learning objectives of our Presentation Skills workshop:, Facilitation Skills: and Communication Strategies: If you’re interested, he can also design and facilitate for your team a customized 2-days intense workshop if your desire is to empower your people to take their communication and presentation ability to the next level.

Avoid being dragged into a negotiation blindfolded

NegotiationWhen people think of negotiation, they mainly think of formal and big scale negotiations such as between nations (Egypt vs. Israel) or political parties (Democrats vs. Republicans), corporate management vs. labor union leaders, and so on. Many neglect the fact that we all enter into negotiations on a consistent basis at home, on the road, in the office, marketplace, almost everywhere. This negligence has denied many of us from honing our negotiation skills on a consistent basis. Many of us leave great stuffs on the negotiation table because we haven’t mastered negotiation; we lack this important soft skill.

Yesterday, I had a wonderful opportunity to facilitate a one-day workshop in VA for a client. Participants came from diverse cultures. Some were local in the DC metro area while some from other states, and still others from out side of the US such as from Argentina, Spain, East Europe, and so on. We had a wonderful time. I was truly delighted to hear- at the end of the workshop, participants sharing the major lessons they learned, and some of the immediate actions they would take when they go back to their workplace.

Let me just give you one quick tip if you have a desire to develop and master your negotiation skills. A number of people that I talked to undermine the significance of preparation: the importance of the meetings before the actual negotiation in the boardroom. The problem emanates from a misunderstanding. Many good and smart people think that negotiation begins when they ask and make concessions at the heart of the negotiation. Successful negotiators, on the other hand, do their homework well before they enter into the negotiation room.

Here are some of the things you should do as you prepare for both formal and informal negotiations, if your desire is to get what you need (not necessary what you want) from a win-win negotiation. Know:

1.    With whom you are dealing with

2.    What your and their wants, and also needs are

3.    Yours and their best and worst case scenarios

4.    Yours and their walking away points

5.    And more…

If you fail to answer these questions adequately prior going to the negotiation table, you’re allowing yourself dragged into the room blindfolded.

One last point I’d to make is that if you’re not prepared to walk away, you’re not in a true negotiation. But, make sure to be clear of the conditions that may lead you to walk away. Hope these help…

Assegid (AZ) Habtewold is a trainer and workshop facilitator at Success Pathways, LLC. He provides leadership soft skill workshops on themes such as Negotiation Skills, Conflict Resolution, Diversity and Inclusion, Problem Solving and Decision Making, Leading Change, and other leadership related topics. Here is the link to checkout the learning objectives of our Negotiation Skills workshop: If you are interested to checkout our Business and Managerial Skills Trainings, here is the link: To learn more about the other available Leadership Workshops, you may checkout this link: