The Art of The Ask
With the changing nature of work and the rapid-fire pace of professional and personal change, negotiating is no longer an option: it is the currency of business and a basic survival skill.
Here is the good news: most negotiating is no longer considered a battle of wills, a competitive, adversarial activity based on the notion of “winning”. That has been replaced by a more collaborative, problem-solving approach, based on the premise that the best outcome happens in an exchange that makes mutual gains possible – using positive communications, collaboration and the power of relationships – all things women excel at!
So here are some keys for you to consider on your way to becoming a successful and confident negotiator:
• GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY: Many women have a tendency to focus in their weaknesses, to start a negotiation with an apology: “You are probably too busy to talk about this now”, or “I probably don’t have the right skills for this”. Watch out for self-defeating behavior that will undermine your ability to negotiate the best possible outcome
• KNOW YOUR VALUE: So many of us underestimate our skills, strengths and the value we bring to our employer. Take the time to inventory your skills and accomplishments so that you can clearly articulate your value and have the information you need to present a solid case and have a successful outcome
• DEFINE YOUR GOALS & OPTIONS: You can’t be a successful negotiator if you are not clear about your interests. Be prepared to state what you want (Think Big. You might not get everything you want but you will be starting your negotiation with the right frame of mind), and also be prepared to discuss and consider a range of options
Remember: the best negotiations are exercises in two-way communication. There will likely be differences in feelings, needs and perspectives on both sides of the table. By engaging the other person and showing an appreciation for these differences, you will reach a shared understanding – and start working together towards a mutual, satisfactory solution.