A woman can lose up to $2 million over the course of her life by failing to negotiate at the start of her career, according to a Salary.com survey supported by Linda Babcock, author of “Women Don't Ask: The High Cost of Avoiding Negotiation — and Positive Strategies for Change.”
The survey found that 55& of women are apprehensive about negotiating, compared to 39% of men, and only 30% of women negotiate their salary after receiving a job offer, compared to 46% for men.
But Babcock also found that when women do negotiate, they perform just as well as men. Here are five negotiation strategies that work for both women and men that you can use to improve your negotiation skills, whether it's asking for a salary, negotiating a client contract, or running a meeting.
Start with Your Outcome in Mind
Setting goals for the outcome of your conversation is the first step towards preparing for a successful negotiation, says linguist Susan Verner. You should clarify what goals you're not willing to give ground on, as well as which ones you are. You should also think about what leverage you have to influence the other side's position. Getting clear on this in advance will help you know where to steer the negotiation and how you're going to move it in the right direction.
Know What the Other Party Wants
Understanding what the other side wants is another key to successful negotiation. By understanding what the other party wants, you can present your side of the argument as a solution to their problems rather than as something you want. This will help you make the other party more willing to see things your way.
Ideally, you should already know what the other side wants before negotiations start, but if you don't know this, plan discovery questions you can ask to find out this information.
Demonstrate Why Your Side of the Argument is Better for Everybody
When Steve Jobs was negotiating an e-book deal with publisher HarperCollins, he successfully employed a number of negotiation strategies which he used regularly. One of these was demonstrating why his proposition was the best option available for the other party, instead of just insisting on what he wanted. To do this, Jobs laid out both sides of the case, showing both how the other party would benefit from going with his offer and what they would lose if they didn't.
Don't Take Arguments Personally
One of the biggest mistakes a negotiator can make is taking disputes personally, says Vantage Partners negotiation consultant Jeff Weiss. Reacting to the other person defensively or threateningly weakens your position. Instead, Shirli Kopelman, author of “Negotiating Genuinely,” recommends making emotions work for you during negotiations.
Pay attention to your emotions as well as those of others around you. Notice which triggers trip emotions that steer conversations in the wrong direction, and take steps to shift the focus away from those triggers towards something that drives the conversation in a better direction. For instance, if someone's tone of voice rubs you the wrong way, you might try focusing on analyzing what their words tell you about their own emotional state and why they're saying what they're saying, which can lend you insight into their side of the argument.
Always Be Willing to Walk Away
Negotiation expert Ed Brodow, author of “Negotiation Boot Camp,” says being willing to walk away is critical to a successful negotiation that he calls this principle “Brodow's Law.” By this, Brodow means that you should never go into a negotiation without having options. If you are too invested in a positive outcome to the negotiation, you lose the leverage to say “No.” Firmly resolving to walk away from negotiations if certain conditions are not met lets the other party know you mean business and makes them more likely to make concessions.