June 4, 2013

Negotiate Like a Girl: Take the Fear Out of Negotiation.

In Negotiate Like a Girl Part I, we covered the issues surrounding women and negotiating, and how many women are missing out on more than they realize.

Not to fear—there is hope!

This Part II of Negotiate Like a Girl outlines several strategies to help take the fear out of negotiation and help you engage in successful negotiations. I believe there are three pillars that can help take the fear out of negotiating and can lead women to more successful negotiations: a cooperative view of negotiation, negotiating on the principle of fairness and comprehensive preparation.

Pillars of Fearless Negotiation

I.  Cooperative View of Negotiation.

A cooperative view of negotiation is often one that leads to greater success for women.

Essentially, a cooperative view of negotiation places a higher value on enlarging the pie and finding a solution that is not a compromise, but truly a ‘win-win’ for both parties. Using a cooperative negotiation strategy has two major benefits: first, it is less competitive and scary, and second, it is a strategy where you are preserving the relationship and building trust that often leads to more successful and creative outcomes.

II.  Negotiating on the Principle of Fairness.

Fairness is a principle that resonates deeply with many women. While negotiating on fairness is often used successfully by women to advocate for others, it can also be used successfully to advocate for yourself. Advocate for yourself with the same passion you would in advocating for your child or a friend.

III.  Preparation.

Often it comes down to the party who is more prepared is the party who “wins” the negotiation. Preparation calms your nerves and arms you with facts.

Here are some tips for preparing for a negotiation:

Preparation Phase I: Gather DATA

Data gathering is the beginning of your negotiation plan, which should be a written document you use to prepare for the meeting. Preliminary data gathering begins with the following:

1. What are the issues to negotiate? What is the discrepancy or conflict?

2. What are your interests in the negotiation?

3. Where is the other party coming from—the other side’s interests, concerns, likely goals? Where do you interests align?

4. What is the situation? What are the negotiation precedents, the behavioral and process norms, the external concerns, the relationships among the players?

5. In your opinion, what would be fair outcomes? What would be the fairest outcome? What objections might the other party have to these outcomes? What might be fair compromises to the other party’s potential objections?

6. Where is the information you need? List all potential sources, including websites, trade publications, business press, professional associations, mentors, friends, the direct source. There are great negotiation planning documents online as well as in Ask For It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want.

Preparation Phase II: Know Your Power!

Reviewing the power you bring to the table will help you determine how much leverage you have in a negotiation and often brings to light areas of influence that may not be overtly obvious. If you are not used to thinking about your power, it can be helpful to brainstorm with a trusted friend or colleague.

1. Constructive Power. How do you satisfy the other party’s interests better than their best alternative?

2. Obstructive Power. How will you block the other party’s interests if you don’t get what you want?

3. Fairness Power. What is the “fairest” outcome you can realistically justify for your role?

4. Collective Power. The power of allies’ support. <

5. Walking Power (BATNA). BATNA means Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement. How willing are you to walk away from the table if you don’t like their offer?

6. Personal Power. Your willingness to solve the negotiated problem—your charisma/chutzpah.

Preparation Phase III: Set Goals

Don’t set your goals until you have solid information to go on.  As mentioned in Negotiate Like a Girl Part I, women tend to undervalue their worth and set lower goals. Here are a few tips to start your goal setting:

1. Aim High

If you never hear “no” you’re not asking for enough. Ask for the highest amount you can reasonably justify using all of the data you’ve gathered. In Ask For ItBabcock and Laschever describe the ‘giggle test’ which boils down to asking for ask much as you can with out giggling, blushing, stammering, etc. Don’t focus on your reservation value (i.e., the smallest amount you will accept before walking away).  If you focus on your reservation value, that’s what you will get.

2. Improve your BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement)

If your BATNA is very weak, it may be worth your time to improve it before the negotiation (but don’t let this be an excuse to keep delaying the negotiation).

For example, if you only have one job offer and your prospective employer knows you have been out of work for a long time, it will improve your BATNA if you have two job offers (or at least interviews lined up with your prospective employer’s competitors).


Negotiate Like a Girl Part I focused on the issues of choosing not to negotiate. This installment focused on strategies for creating a more successful negotiation. Part III of Negotiate Like a Girl will discuss the strategy and execution for your next successful negotiation.


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Ed: Bryonie Wise


{Photo 1: via Teresa on Pinterest}

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