by Maria Marc
Negotiation — Did you know that women negotiate less than men? 57 percent of men negotiate their initial employment offer, while only 7 percent of women attempt to do the same, says Linda Babcock from Carnegie Mellon University.
Do you, like most women, avoid negotiation because it is adversarial?
Maybe you see negotiation only in terms of $$, but in life you might want more than just money. You might want more control of your schedule, better relationships with your colleagues, or maybe more influence in the decisions your organization is making. All of the above are values that you can create and claim through negotiation.
So, why we don’t negotiate? Very often because we don’t know it’s an option, and because it makes us feel uncomfortable. We feel uncomfortable with negotiation because people might think we are greedy, demanding, socially incompetent, or simply not nice.
But, what would your life be like if negotiations were almost as common as social interactions? Think about an average day for you… how many opportunities would you have to negotiate?
The goal of negotiations is to create value, claim value, win, or get the deal done and move on. Before going into a negotiation, don’t forget to evaluate your goals on why you should negotiate. Regardless of your goal, you want a good deal.
Here are some ways to look at negotiation differently:
1. Approach negotiation from a problem solving perspective, rather than winning at all cost.
2. Set your expectations by defining:
- Your safety net – alternatives (lowest): what you believe is a ‘reasonable’ outcome
- Reservation price – tipping point (lower): know when to reveal your bottom line
- Aspiration – what is possible (much higher): optimistic assessment of what you could achieve
3. Figure out what you want from a negotiation
- Set your goal: what do you want?
- Identify the issues
- Rank the relative importance of these issues
- Identify potential settlement options for each issue
- Set a common metric and assign points to each issue depending on the importance of each issue
- Divide those points assigned to an issue to its settlement options.
4. Create a daily journal of your interactions. Pay attention to how your interactions during the day could be better addressed as negotiations. Reflect back on each day as you start observing yourself. Did you miss opportunities to get more of what you want?
5. Assess what you did well and what you did poorly in your planning process. Focus on process, not the outcomes.
Margaret Neale, Professor of Management at Stanford University Graduate School of Business, states that good negotiators are very systematic in their approach.
- Is this an opportunity to negotiate?
- If yes, can I improve the status quo?
- Is there information that I have that opens up new alternatives/or that makes me better off?
- Determine the real issues in dispute
- Know what you want: find your alternatives, set your aspiration and reservation prices
- Gather information about your counterpart’s interests
- Propose creative solutions that meet the interests of your counterpart and make you better off than the status quo
- Unbundle or add issues; don’t negotiate one issue at a time when multiple issues are at stake
- Frame the package within the context of a joint, problem-solving concern.
Negotiation is not easy! Resist the desire to prove that you are a great negotiator. You can negotiate like an expert and still lose out if the negotiation you’re in is the wrong one. As a woman, remember to negotiate carefully. Maintain a sense of perspective!
Meet the Author: Maria Marc
Maria recently launched her own consulting practice, www.OptimummCoaching.com, through which she offers support in the areas of organizational change, continuous improvement and career transition.
Learn more about Maria: http://leadershipgirl.com/about-maria-marc/
Maria is a regular contributor for Leadership Girl.