As a negotiation trainer and consultant, I often run negotiation workshops for women who want to know what the secret is to reaching better outcomes in meetings, formal negotiations, and conflicts with partners and friends. The research proves what we may anecdotally know to be true: women get less in negotiations than their male counterparts. So what do I tell them? I have three pieces of advice that are not only supported by the best research in the field but also informed by my work coaching and training women from all different industries and fields.
The Problem: Women attain less in negotiation when the situation encourages ambiguity. The Solution: Do your best to learn as much as possible before entering a negotiation. A key element of success in negotiation is to know what is objectively fair: what is a fair salary for this? What price are others getting? Is there precedent that exists elsewhere? What standards can I call upon?
The Problem: Women achieve less than their male counterparts when negotiating for themselves and more than their male counterparts when negotiating on behalf of others. The Solution: This research shows us that women are great negotiators! But some of us may be more comfortable negotiating for others than we are negotiating for ourselves. What are some tips for disrupting this frustrating cycle? First, prepare with others and talk through your strategy with those you trust. They may be able to help you see when and how to better advocate for yourself. Second, know who your people are. We usually don't negotiate in a vacuum and reminding yourself who you represent – even if they are not physically with you – can help you be a better advocate, for yourself and others.
The Problem: Women perceive fewer opportunities as negotiable. The Solution: Everything is negotiable until proven otherwise! Seek out negotiations, have curiosity about what other people want, start to ask more questions, and learn more about the skills and strategies behind negotiation! To start, check out the webinar Negotiating for Women: Overcoming Negotiation Barriers to learn a few fundamental concepts such as the importance of knowing your best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA), the zone of possible agreement (ZOPA), and anchoring, as well as practical skills like how to set a reservation and target value before you enter a negotiation. Cheers, and happy negotiating!
About Me: I am a trainer, consultant, and mediator specializing in negotiation, coalition management, and multi-stakeholder disputes. I am also the Program Director at the Harvard Kennedy School Negotiation Project (KSNP). I have been fortunate to work with the Manufacturing Institute (and meet many of you!) including as a speaker for the 2018 STEP Forward: Twin Cities event and the 2019 STEP Ahead Awards. I'm looking forward to presenting again at the 2019 STEP Forward: Twin Cities Event in just a few weeks!
Please feel free to contact me at [email protected] for more information on partnerships or negotiation workshops.