3 Negotiation Skills All Women Can Master
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You’ve worked hard, you’ve put in the time, and now you feel you’re ready for a promotion and/or a raise. Not every employer will reach out with the package you’re hoping for, however, so it’s up to you to negotiate for the pay you want.
“I have always loved negotiating but never really thought about it formally as a skill,” Daniella Kahane, founder of production company Front Runner Films and executive director and CEO of Women in Negotiation (WIN), tells CircleAround.
WIN is a female-focused negotiation skills training company that aims to empower women professionally and personally by helping them develop negotiation skills. WIN provides corporate workshops, individual and group coaching, and puts on an annual summit. There is also an e-learning membership program called WIN Woman where members can receive resources virtually.
“I get to work on telling women's stories, or helping women tell their own stories, and speak their truths,” she tells CircleAround. At her first WIN summit, Kahane says she spent the day listening to why women were there, what negotiating meant to them, and why it’s such a hugely important life skill. “A few weeks later, the company’s founder asked me to come aboard to run the operation, and I said yes.”
With the art of negotiation being such an integral part of the association and the summit, CircleAround asked Kahane for some words of wisdom. Here are three things she suggests every woman keep in mind when starting the negotiation process, whether it be for a raise, a promotion, or another time in your life when you need to express your worth.
1. Don't Be Scared of the 'No'
Fear of rejection is one of the main reasons people feel uncomfortable negotiating. It can be disappointing to be denied something you want, but Kahane approaches this two-letter word in a different way.
“One of my favorite sayings vis-a-vis negotiation is to learn to embrace the 'No.' So many people get stuck in their lives because they are simply afraid to ask for something they want. I have learned that the more you can grow your threshold for getting a ‘No’ and for messing up and making mistakes in general, the faster you will be able to reach the (eventual) ‘Yes.’ ”
2. Show Up in Service and in Gratitude
“Traditional thought is that to win in a negotiation you need to play hardball, have aggressive discussions, etc.,” Kahane tells CircleAround. For many, negotiation becomes a back-and-forth dance with little consideration for the other party when it comes to getting what you want.
A higher salary helps you, and that’s important. Just as important, however, is providing reasoning as to why your company should invest further in your work. It doesn’t mean you need to come prepared with a laundry list of justifications, but Kahane emphasizes that the outcome of your negotiation can be vastly different if you enter a negotiation with an empathetic theory of mind.
“Come to a situation/conversation/negotiation with the attitude of, ‘What can I do to help the people around me?’ ‘What do they need?’ ‘Why and how can I address that in a way that meets my needs too?’” she adds. “You will find that you get way further and feel much better about the process too.”
3. Keep an Open Mind
If negotiation doesn’t go as planned, it’s okay to be discouraged, but Kahane knows your dreams and desires don’t have to end there.
“Don't let people tell you what you can or cannot do,” Kahane says. “I was told early on in my career that I had to pick one lane in film and pursue it to the exclusion of anything else. Now looking back, I realize how wrong I was to listen to that advice.”
If your negotiation involves expanding your career or personal plans in a way your employer can’t understand, think about ways you can create the life you want within the confines of what’s provided. Maybe it means negotiating a four-day workweek to have one day where you can pursue your passions, or negotiating full-time remote work privileges to focus more on family.
The Bottom Line
Negotiating for something you want can feel scary at first, but sometimes the best way to approach the situation is to shift your mindset. Learning to feel comfortable with the ‘no’s’ that come along, while supporting your own abilities and passions, will set you up for more success when it comes to negotiating.