3 Key Negotiation Strategies for Women

Can women ever know enough negotiation strategies and tactics to ensure they get what they bargain for?

In this article, I share three negotiation strategies that women can use to get what they bargain for.

The gender pay gap is real and pervasive, and it affects all women. On average, full-time workingwomen earn just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. Though Asian women are also impacted, for Latinas and most women of color is a lot worse.

Negotiation quote by Lily Benjamin - 'Generally speaking, while men negotiate salary, women compromise to avoid being stereotyped."

Being aware of your subconscious need to avoid being stereotyped, will help you improve your negotiation outcomes.

Latinas make 54% of what a white male makes. African-American women make 64%. This substantial gap persists even after education, industry, and work hours are taken into account.

Why women don’t negotiate salary offers?

Research shows that women are more reticent than men to negotiate salary offers. Women may fear being perceived as “pushy,” a social stereotype attributed to women who advocate for themselves in the workplace. This is interesting because studies show that the opposite occurs when women advocate for others; they are rewarded! Generally speaking, while men negotiate salary, women compromise to avoid being stereotyped.

Several studies reveal that the difference in men and women’s propensity to initiate negotiations may be explained by how each gender is treated when they attempt to negotiate. In other words, the propensity to negotiate salary is not necessarily linked to a lack of confidence or negotiation skills on the part of women, but to avoid being stereotyped as pushy.

Three key negotiation strategies that women can consider to successfully advocate for themselves

1Be aware of your personal negotiating style

Because I am a big advocate of self-awareness, I will first suggest that you become aware of your personal negotiation style. There are many negotiation style assessment tests, but a very common one looks at two dimensions: concern for the relationship or cooperativeness and concern for the outcome or assertiveness.

Negotiation diagram by Lily Benjamin

By identifying your negotiation style you’ll be able to devise negotiation strategies that suit you best

Look at the diagram and try to identify your negotiation style. Learn as much as possible about it, and learn different strategies on how to flex it depending on the situation. No one style is superior to another. What is important is that you know the style you are most confident with, and ideally that you have a sense of your counterpart’s style as well. Being able to identify a counterpart’s preferred style and to adapt your own style accordingly can be incredibly helpful in building productive relationships.

The Red Shoe Movement has an online Negotiation Style Quiz. Take it now!

2Know your BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement)

Knowing your own BATNA is basic to negotiating salary an anything else you wish to negotiate. But knowing your counterpart’s BATNA is also critical to the success of your negotiation. After you know both parties BATNAs the best way to aim for a Win-Win is to find the Zone of Possible Agreement (ZOPA.)

BATNA diagram

Finding the Zone of Possible Agreement (ZOPA) is your best negotiation strategy for a win-win outcome

 

Here’s a great Harvard Business Review article about BATNA

3“Think personally, act communally”

After you identified your negotiating style and both parties’ BATNAs what is left is the dialog where you negotiate. Let’s learn from Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, and one of the highest paid executives in Silicon Valley, who once suggested that during negotiations you should “think personally, act communally.”

Sheryl Sandberg negotiation quote- Of course you realize that you're hiring me to run your deal teams, so you want me to be a good negotiator

When negotiating salary, make the value you will add to your organization known

This means that you should communicate your intent to negotiate and the value that this skill will add to the potential employer. For example, after stating her counteroffer, during her negotiations with Facebook Sandberg told them, “Of course you realize that you’re hiring me to run your deal teams, so you want me to be a good negotiator. This is the only time you and I will ever be on opposite sides of the table; I am clear that we are on the same team here.”  This was a persuasive “think personally, act communally” approach of her negotiation process.

Don't miss this earlier post on Salary Negotiation Strategies.

Another way of paraphrasing this dialog is, “This is a very appealing and competitive offer, and this part (be specific) of the compensation is short of my expectation by X amount. (Thinking personally.) Please understand that negotiating is one of the skills I will add to your team and one of the contributions I’ll make in the best interest of the company. (Acting communally.)”

Woman and Man shaking hands cartoon by Natchie

Aim for win-win situations. Drawing by Natchie for Red Shoe Movement. – www.NatchieArt.com

This “think personally, act communally” or “I-We” strategy will help you not only reach the ZOPA, but also show your confidence and leave a strong impression. Remember, preparation is the key to success. Prepare thoroughly, be clear about your choices, practice your pitch, and celebrate your success!

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Lily Benjamin

A Global Talent, Organization Development and Change Management Executive by trade. Innately, a conceptual architect because of my commitment to build people and organizations.
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