6 Ways for Women to Master the Art of Negotiation
How to improve communication and negotiation skills
Unlike in the past, numerous women and men have now spoken up and fought for gender equality, not just in the workplace but also in the community. However, while there are tens of thousands of women who are negotiating for what they need and what is right for them, there are still many women who are disinclined to go through the process of negotiation.
The importance of negotiation
Just like what Anna, Gloria, and Carin went through in Perfect Clarity, women—even on this day and age—are sometimes treated unfairly and like second-class citizens, with many men finding it easy to break their promises with women. These societal conditioning and expectations are the usual suspects why there are women who have no or little interest in negotiations.
Society pictures women who negotiate negatively and are difficult to deal with, while their male counterparts are viewed as powerful and confident. In fact, Harvard Business Review writes, “In repeated studies, the social cost of negotiating for higher pay has been found to be greater for women than it is for men.” This fact alone holds many women back from going through negotiations.
Tips for improving negotiation skills
This shouldn’t be so. In today’s world, the art of negotiation is more important than ever. There will always be a clash of ideas or interests, and strong negotiation skills are the difference between compromise and loss, in both the business world and in social life.
Here are some critical things to build upon to improve your prowess in the negotiating table:
- Some people will try to intimidate others to be successful. Stepping into the negotiating table feeling unsure is a step toward defeat. Put on a brave face and be confident when presenting your ideas.
- Be ready. Another way to feel confident during negotiations is to be prepared. Preparation will allow you to be ready, even when caught off guard. Formulating strategies before the negotiation starts will enable you to present your case confidently and clearly.
- Be fair. The goal of any deal is to reach a beneficial comprise between two parties. Both sides have something good to offer, and each side has conditions that they can concede—with the right reasons. Be honest, fair, and open to gain the other side’s trust.
- People skills. Always be calm and learn to read messages by how other people say it. Be a good listener, and present your case in a positive demeanor and good sense of humor to gain an upper hand during the talks.
- Know when to concede. Always enter a negotiation prepared for all scenarios, one being where you can’t get everything you want. Don’t lower demands before the talks start; instead, start the talks and ask for a stronger or higher benefit on your end. However, always be ready to give in. Therefore, while winning would be great, it’s important to plan ahead, in case of concessions.
- Always offer an alternative. Going into talks without preparing other options, alternatives, and plans will almost always end up in a breakdown of negotiations. Be willing to compromise and offer alternatives that will benefit both sides.
It is high time for women to feel empowered and confident. One way to do that is asking for what it is you deserve. Which is why mastering negotiating skills is very important.
Do you know one woman who is a master of the art of negotiation? Share their story below. Reach me through Twitter, and Goodreads and grab a copy of my book, Perfect Clarity, to learn about the women’s struggle for equality.
Medvec, Victoria. 2018. “Five Ways Women Can Negotiate More Effectively.” Kellogg Insight, March 1. Accessed May 8, 2018. https://insight.kellogg.northwestern.edu/article/five-ways-women-can-negotiate-more-effectively.
Reynolds, Natalie. 2014. “Negotiation: Is It a Man’s Game?” The Guardian, April 29. Accessed May 8, 2018. https://www.theguardian.com/women-in-leadership/2014/apr/29/negotiation-a-mans-game.
Wong, Kristin. 2017. “Negotiating Is Trickier for Women. You Should Do It Anyway.” Life Hacker, April 4. Accessed May 8, 2018. https://twocents.lifehacker.com/negotiating-is-trickier-for-women-you-should-do-it-any-1793978437.