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How Women Can Negotiate Strongly and Secure More Wins

A battlefield.

A place of conflict, where strength is flexed, and only the aggressor survives.

Earlier in my career, this was the image I conjured when thinking about negotiations.

A zero-sum game; if your opponent won, you lost.

As I gained more experience, my perspective shifted. Contrary to the traditional, "I win, you lose approach," I found I had the ability to create more value...for myself and my counterpart!

This surprised me at first. Then I leaned in.

They key lies in reframing what negotiation means and how we approach it.

four executive women in armani suits
Are women better negotiators?

More Wins - Redefining Negotiation

Rather than viewing negotiation through a traditionally masculine lens - as a battle, a quest for power, or a contest of winning and losing - imagine if we redefined it entirely.

What if we approached negotiation as a learning conversation?

A collaborative dialogue where both parties come together not as adversaries, but as problem solvers.

In this reframed scenario, negotiation becomes a joint effort to find solutions, share knowledge, and understand each other's perspectives and needs. It's about working together towards a common goal, rather than competing against one another.

More Wins - Gathering Information

Imagine initiating the negotiation process well before formally sitting at the table.

What if we started with informal conversations, reaching out to our counterpart to understand their expectations and goals?

This initial dialogue sets the stage for a series of discussions, where we take the time to dig deeper; understanding what each side aims to achieve. These conversations don't have to be limited to just the immediate parties; they can also involve stakeholders, bystanders, and other interested parties who might influence or be affected by the negotiation's outcome.

The goal of these discussions is to comprehensively understand the other side's needs, preferences, and constraints. This knowledge is critical to predicts outcomes or understand probabilities of success; allowing well-informed decisions. And crafting proposals that address the concerns and aspirations of all involved.

Such an approach transforms negotiation from a singular event into an ongoing process of engagement and understanding.

It paves the way for outcomes that are not just mutually beneficial but also sustainable and respectful of each party's interests.

If framed, in these terms, does negotiation sound like something we, as women, already do? In our day to day interactions? I hope the answer is a resounding yes.

We know that anxiety about negotiation often leads women to accept lower offers. However, by reframing the concept of negotiation, the likelihood of feeling anxious diminishes. This shift allows for negotiations to be conducted from a position of self-assurance.

More Wins - Building relationships

Negotiation is fundamentally about building trust and nurturing relationships.

Most deals often extend well beyond the short term. You may negotiate X this year, but due to market changes, you may need to negotiate X + 2 the following year. Similarly, the one thing that was most critical to you this year might be an easier "give" in the next year. Things change in the market, and you remain adaptable.

When you infuse empathy and collaboration into the negotiation process, chances are you will get a peek behind the curtain. This approach opens the door for ongoing collaboration, allowing both parties to continuously refine solutions and tackle new challenges together, ultimately benefiting everyone involved.

Women, in general, possess a natural inclination towards empathy and active listening. These qualities make them particularly adept at negotiations.

In summary, women already possess the most critical skills needed for effective negotiation. Social conditioning and books, often written by men, have traditionally portrayed negotiation as a power play, a game of victors and the vanquished. However, there's a significant opportunity to achieve great success if we reframe our approach to negotiations and lean into our natural strengths.

There's absolutely no need to break into battle cries.

Instead, engaging in simple, meaningful conversations can lead to substantial wins. This approach aligns more authentically with women's innate abilities, opening the door to negotiation strategies that are not only effective but also empowering.

Ready to learn how to negotiate better? Book a mini-coaching call!

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