7 Ways to Be a Better Negotiator

Asking for more scares many people into worrying they'll end up with less but there are effective ways to make your case.

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By Yvonne Gu


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Sooner or later, you will have to negotiate with somebody who is in a power position. It does not matter if you're a woman or a man, younger or older, wrong or right. Negotiating is a way of reconciling the various visions and needs of two parties, as well as an inevitable stepping stone to an improved future.

Unfortunately, studies show that women often times face extra trouble in the process of negotiation. They are penalized for deviating away from gender stereotypes of nurture and inclusiveness, whereas men are permitted more leeway in order to express their qualities of leadership, and are rewarded better as they assert themselves.

Although it might take many years for some workplaces to grow and change, and there is not any proven way to successfully negotiate, if you are a woman, and considering negotiating for something, the tips that follow might help. This article is relevant for raise requests, a new project, a transfer, and more. Similar advice might be applicable to additional minorities in the work environment.

Conversely, if you are a company that is seeking to attract more females to leadership positions, these tips might help you improve your company.

1. Negotiating is another method of asking.

Step one that a negotiator has to take to attain a successful negotiation includes deciding to negotiate in the first place. Female candidates often are hesitant to make requests because of potential repercussions. But, in spite of the odds, women must recognize that part of the situation always is negotiable. Asking for change is a step closer to implementing change. A single action may lead to more equality in a whole company.

Related: 5 Negotiation Tactics You Can Learn From Kids

2. Remember your competence and power.

One Harvard researcher proved that by implementing a small two-minute task before the negotiation dramatically can improve your performance and confidence. Just before your discussion go somewhere private and stand straight and tall with your hands upon your hips or arms spread open in a power position. This boosts the endorphins that provide you confidence and place you at ease. Don't strike dramatic poses that differ from the norm during your discuss but squaring your shoulders, maintaining good posture and looking the interlocutor in the eye (depending upon the cultural context), communicate to the other person that you believe in your competence and skills. With a bit of time, you'll be convinced, too.

3. Imagine how your success impacts company and colleagues.

Studies have proven that mentally connecting the good impact of the negotiation upon their organization or colleagues makes females want to negotiate, and become better performers.

4. Advocate for the group.

Moreover, scientists have discovered that females are better perceived as they're advocating for a bigger group, as it is aligned with the image of females as nurturers.

Related: 17 Tactics for Reading People's Body Language

5. Bring in someone with authority.

This point is not meant literally, yet figuratively. Because females are expected to be community-focused and be nurturing, an outside authority source could assist in contextualizing the negotiation, and make it look to be less self-serving.

6. Understand the organizational nuances.

All organizations are evolving. Somebody may be lucky to be in a company in which she or he may honestly discuss her or his future without having to preface the request with a contextual fact, replacing pronouns, or referring to someone who is an authority figure. In this instance, this individual should do so, and take great pride in this. Conversely, somebody might be in a more conservative atmosphere in which invoking compensation rates of the competition would be poorly received. Negotiators ought to mentally prepare for a pushback, without having to over think it.

7. Be persistent.

Many women will to sacrifice salary to be liked, and for various reasons, do not actively pursue more responsibility, compensation or visibility. If somebody decides to pitch, contest, negotiate, propose, modify, advance, change, improve, or alter something at their place of business, congratulations are, in fact, in order. However, that is just the beginning. The majority of negotiations are complex and long; therefore, focus, smiles and perseverance are not to be forgotten!

Related: Be Calm, Flexible and Speak Up in a Negotiation, and Everyone Can Win

Yvonne Gu

Business strategist

Yvonne Gu is a business strategist, who advises companies on performance improvement objectives across various industries. She has worked for different Fortune 500 companies in the technology space as well as a business adviser.

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