What do you want?
Linda Descano, CFA®, President and CEO,
When it comes to the question of whether men or women are more effective negotiators, I believe negotiating skill has more to do with one’s personality, self-confidence, and style than it does with gender. And, as one member of Citi’s Connect: Professional Women’s Network on LinkedIn pointed out, just because men are more likely to “make an ask” doesn’t mean they are better at negotiating: these are two different things. A very important distinction indeed!
With that said, though, women often are less inclined to engage in negotiation when it’s for their personal benefit—something that award-winning entrepreneur and Forbes contributing writer, Bonnie Marcus, M.Ed., is looking to change as the President of Women’s Success Coaching, an organization that assists professional women to successfully navigate the workplace and position and promote themselves to advance their careers.
What do you want?
Drawing on her 20+ years of sales and management experience, Bonnie has identified four cardinal rules to observe when preparing for a negotiation, whether it’s over an everyday encounter or a high-stakes situation, such as a new job opportunity or strategic alliance with another business:
1. Set your intention.
Ask yourself honestly what your mindset is around negotiation. Do you see yourself getting what you want or need? Or do you set yourself up to be disappointed because you don’t believe that you can successfully negotiate for yourself? Clearing your head of unnecessary clutter around this issue is vital.
2. Define a clear objective for the negotiation.
What do you want? How much are you willing to compromise? What are you willing to compromise?
3. Communicate directly what you want and need.
Women have difficulty with assertive communication so they tend to soften the “ask.” As a result, they don’t come across with conviction, and can even confuse the other person with what it is that they want.
4. Be quiet.
Make the request and wait for the response. This can be the most difficult part of negotiation. The silence can be uncomfortable, but when you start to back off and assume that the other person won’t agree to your terms, it takes away your power in the negotiation process.