Ever hear that rumor that women are bad at negotiating? Yep, me too.
To round off this week discussing Knowing Your Worth, we’re digging in with an expert who says not only is that not the case, but we also tend to possess an innate set of skills that can help us be quite good at that dreaded task. We might even—gasp—learn to ask for what we want without any discomfort.
As a woman who’s only now starting to learn how to ask for what I’m worth, I hope you enjoy the wisdom of expert mediator and attorney Erin Gleason Alvarez as much as I did. Let’s dig in!
“Actually, it does come naturally to most of us, especially women. The trick is in how we think about it.
If you reflect on your day, and all of the times you’ve had to find some way to strike an agreement with your partner, your kids, co-workers, clients, other drivers, etc… you begin to see how often you negotiate and how many of those negotiations are easy and successful.
But if you run an internet search using some iteration of the terms “women” and “negotiation,” you receive a litany of responses that we don’t know what we are doing when it comes to negotiation. So I am here to assure you – you do.
Mindful negotiation is the practice of conferring with others to develop solutions to a shared problem, while staying present and proceeding without judgment.
There’s so much hype about what we do wrong. So, it makes sense to feel intimidated or frustrated when this comes up. Mindfulness helps to put all that aside and focus on what’s really important to you.”
“We do. But we can also work on cultivating and honing our negotiation skills. When you start paying attention to the everyday negotiations, look for your style. Are you open minded? Do you look for creative solutions? Or maybe you’re able to understand both sides of the story?
The skills you use in negotiating every day with yourself, your kids, your friends… they all translate over to your work life negotiations too. If you can cultivate patience in negotiating with toddlers, you will likely be a true expert when it comes to patience in the boardroom, etc.”
“Good negotiators know how to listen.
When the conversation is stressful or anxiety inducing, this can be really hard. But it’s so important to stop yourself from retreating into your own mind in these situations. Otherwise, you might miss out on key information or even signal to the other person that you’re not paying attention to them.
It’s also important to be open-minded. You may have a firm idea of what you want at the outset, but as the conversation unfolds, that might change—good negotiators are always on the lookout for opportunities (not obstacles!).”
“Do your homework in advance. Understand what is really important to you and why. And think about where the other people are coming from as well – what’s important to them and why?
Recognize that you have power. Make time to identify what you bring to the table and why they need you, too.”
“There can be a fair amount of judgment at the negotiation table—about the other people, about our own abilities, and even about the negotiation process itself. Learn to let that go; it doesn’t serve anyone well.”
“Pay attention to the negotiations you have everyday, who those conversations are with, how you feel when you’re in [them], and how those negotiations conclude. In doing this, you’ll begin to see your attributes as a negotiator and where you may need to do a bit of work to up your confidence.
To help get you in the right mindset, please help yourself to the free resources on my site, including a guide with practical tips for incorporating mindfulness in negotiations and a planner to help get you organized. For more details, visit my website.”