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How to position yourself to negotiate

Pic_negotiation Negotiating has never been one of my strong points. But I've gotten better at it over the years. I recently felt my negotiation skills kick when I needed my teenage son to help me with a work video, pointing out what was in it for him (master new technology and use his sister's new computer). Of course, in business negotiations are more difficult, especially if you don't have the upper hand. If you made a resolution to improve your work life balance in the new year or if you want to get ahead in business, good negotiation skills are going to get you what you want. Apparently fewer women have this skill.

To take part in a successful negotiation, a woman needs to tie in what she needs—whether it be salary, maternity leave, flex time, or recognition—to how it can benefit the organization, says  Ruth Schecter of  Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University.

“In fact, women who link their needs to the good of the organization tend to receive better performance reviews, are more likely to be offered leadership opportunities, and are less likely to leave the organization,” said Deborah Kolb, PhD, the Deloitte Ellen Gabriel Professor for Women and Leadership at the Simmons School of Management and a Clayman Institute Faculty Research Fellow, who discussed the topic at a presentation called “Too Bad for the Women or Does it Have to Be? Gender and Negotiation Research over the Past 25 Years."

Step 1: You need to positioned yourself right to negotiate: "Often a negotiation is not solely about money but about the opportunity to take on a role or to be acknowledged for ‘invisible work.’ Many organizations sustain exclusive networks at the higher levels, so women need to negotiate just to get to that place,” said Kolb.  “If a woman does not have access to insider information that is embedded in the organization, she loses a position of power in the negotiation process.”

What's stopping women from getting to the position of power?

Schecter says women maneuvering through an organization can be hampered by factors ranging from expectations of lower goals to cultural and institutional mechanisms that create a gendered context—dynamics that women must learn to navigate.

Step 2: Women need to feel like we deserve to ask for whatever it is we want. We also need to learn how to deal with resistance —to expect to be put into a defensive position.

“It’s important that women understand their value to the organization, are prepared to deal with pushback, and can be creative about addressing new opportunities,” said Kolb. “When more attention is paid to the nuanced ways that gender can play out in negotiations, women can find subtle ways to deal with these dynamics.”

I've seen firsthand that negotiating successfully at work and home means showing the person you are negotiating with what's in it for them. But I think Schecter is right that women often underestimate their value when negotiating.

Do you see yourself negotiating differently in the new year?


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Pat Katepoo

For a long time, I wondered why the accomplished professional career women I advised were so apprehensive about asking for a flexible work arrangement. Then in 2003, I read the book Women Don't Ask (now a favorite), and I got the eye-opening explanation. Understanding the social influences that drive our negotiation behavior is a powerful first step to improving it.

Brahim Derder

A wise person said: “TIP is an acronym that stands for Time, Information, and Power. If you’re laid off or demoted you can lose position negotiation power, for example. If new technology is introduced, you can lose your expertise power. Because the dynamics of power are so changeable, a negotiation is never dead. Be patient; the power dynamics may shift.”
People engage in negotiating with each other every day. Negotiation is part of living, and it can lead to a successful and happy or a miserable life, depending on your skills.
Here are few tips: 1- Do Your Homework:
Know who you’re negotiating with before you begin. What’s his or her reputation as a negotiator? Win/Win model or Win/Lose model? Does the person want to negotiate with you, dread the negotiation, or is this a neutral situation.
2- Practice Double (put yourself in the other party’s shoes)
It s not enough to know what you want out of negotiation. You also need to anticipate what the other party wants.
3- Build Trust
Negotiation is a highly sophisticated form of communication. Without trust, there won’t be communication. Instead you’ll have manipulation and suspicion masquerading as communication. Be trustworthy. Honor your commitments. Tell the truth. Respect confidences.
4-Develop External Listening
Most people carry on an inner dialogue with themselves. When you’re trying to communicate with someone else, this inner dialogue becomes a problem because you can’t listen internally and externally at the same time. When you negotiate, turn off your inner voice and only listen externally. You won’t miss important nonverbal messages, facial expressions of voice inflections, when you listen externally.
5- Own Your Power
Don’t assume that because the other party has one type of power, that he or she is all-powerful. That’s giving away your power. Balance power by assessing the other parties source(s) of power, and then your own. While there are many sources of power, they all break down into two categories; internal power and external power. The former no one can take away from you and includes your personal power, level of self-esteem, and self-confidence. External power fluctuates with your situation. TIP is an acronym that stands for Time, Information, and Power. If you’re laid off or demoted you can lose position power, for example. If new technology is introduced, you can lose your expertise power. Because the dynamics of power are so changeable, a negotiation is never dead. Be patient; the power dynamics may shift.
6- Know Your BATNA
BATNA stands for Best Alternative to A Negotiated Agreement. The acronym comes out of the research on negotiation conducted by the Harvard Negotiation Project. Before you begin a negotiation, know what your options are. Can you walk away from the deal? What other choices do you have? What are the pros and cons of each choice? Don't stop here. Also consider the BATNA of the other party.
7- Know What a Win Is
What is your best case scenario? What is your worst case scenario? The area in between is called your settlement range. If you can reach an agreement within your settlement range, that’s a Win! Don’t drop below your bottom line; you’ll feel bad about yourself and the deal afterwards, and you may not follow-through on your commitments.
8-Enjoy the Process
Negotiation is a process, not an event. There are predictable steps: preparation, creating the climate, identifying interests, and selecting outcomes that you will go through in any negotiation.
Check more articles by Brahim Derder at www.iuniverse.com or http://RYSE.WETPAINT.COM.

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