Women have an advantage negotiating. According to the new book Women Lead, 85 percent of 200-plus women interviewed for the book thought women were effective negotiators.
In an ever increasing complex business society with a lot at stake the old style win-lose method is less effective. Women interviewed for the book noted that the word negotiating construes negative connotations of aggressive behaviors. However in modern business, negotiations are much more complex and are usually problem solving situations involving multiple stakeholders with a variety of needs. This is where women excel.
Why do women excel in complex business negotiations?
- Women expand the pie. Rather than compete to win women strive to find resolutions that all parties can buy into without losing sight of their own desired goals.
- Women think creatively. Women explore more options and expect negotiations to be participative collaborations where participants have a stake in the longer term outcome and in solving the problem.
- Women are flexible. Women are not rigid in their approach to negotiations and are more likely to listen and find a way to resolve the concerns of key stakeholders as part of the negotiation process.
- Women dialogue. Women are more inclined to dialogue during a negotiation rather than confront or debate. This increases trust and invites the other side to comfortably disclose pertinent information and explore options.
- Women understand the emotional underpinnings of negotiation. Women are more responsive to emotional cues and then balance that with data decisions. Women are also more likely to find out what the stakeholder's desires and concerns are so that they can work through logjams.
- Women see the big picture. Women have the ability to see the negotiation in a broader context rather than as a discrete event.
- Prepare in advance not at the table.
- Prioritize issues: Assemble the mix of issues that you want to bring to the table for discussion and those you do not.
- Know your own set points: where do you want to be; what is your starting point; what is your walk away point; what is the lowest price or terms to which you will agree.
- Know all the data and figures and have them ready for discussion.
- Research your negotiating partners in advance. Assess who are the decision makers, who are the negotiation participants and learn as much as you can about them.
- Determine in advance what questions might be asked and how you will answer them.
- Determine critical 'need to have' for each stakeholder, their priorities and walk away points.
- Lay the groundwork before you come to the table. Be prepared.
- Seek out opportunities to negotiate. With practice, negotiating will become natural and easy, not a stressful event.
- Aim high: Aim high but not unrealistically high as it may show that you are not prepared.
- Know your value: understand the value that you bring to the other stakeholders. For example, do you know if you are a critical factor for the other stakeholders? If so this raises your value.
- Control the physical setting- neutral locations, seating, and technology are all factors to be considered when determining a physical location.
The next time you have a key negotiation. Send a woman.
Dr. Tracey Wilen-Daugenti is a leading thought leader on women, the workplace, and careers. She is the author of ten books, a regular media contributor, and global speaker. Her most recent book is Women Lead. Tracey is a visiting scholar at Stanford University Media X program. Follow me @ Linkedin @ email @ website @ twitter @ Facebook
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