Business Negotiation For Women

Women often find it difficult to negotiate for more pay, better assignments, or an equal workload at home. One of the most important aspects of any negotiation is clearly and carefully identifying the type of person with whom you must negotiate. It is essential to determine who prefers to establish common ground prior to negotiating and who prefers to simply get down to business.

It is important to understand the party with whom you are negotiating so that you can develop the appropriate approach to the discussion. When dealing with a person face-to-face, begin the conversation by complimenting something about that person or commenting on something unrelated to the negotiation topic. Ask the person about his or her children or spouse, mention a picture or knick-knack on his or her desk, or comment on a tie or handbag. Then, note the response. If the person responds enthusiastically to your comment, work on building your rapport. Build a connection over unrelated conversation because this person’s response to you clearly identifies him or her who prefers to establish common ground in communication. Use that tendency to your advantage: Your ability to establish common ground will be directly related to your ability to inspire a positive outcome.

If the person with whom you are negotiating responds to your casual remarks with a perfunctory response, move on from casual conversation and begin the negotiation with very clear, linear, logical points to support your position. A person who is not interested in establishing common ground is much more interested in moving to the heart of the discussion; take the cue and guide the conversation there. Do not waste your time attempting to establish common ground; doing so will not help you reach a positive outcome and can in fact lead to a negative outcome. A person with little interest in establishing common ground will likely view someone who is interested in establishing common ground as flighty or scattered. Focus on the facts of the negotiation; your listener responds to logic.

When negotiating via email, pay careful attention to the wording. If your counterpart begins an email with something like, “It was wonderful meeting you at John’s retirement party. I enjoyed hearing about your ideas for our new marketing campaign,” then you are dealing with someone who wants common ground. If the email fails to include a relationship-builder like this one, you will know to simply move into your focused discussion that creates a clear, logical path for the responder without engaging in any traditional relationship-building communication. For this person, the negotiation is the relationship.

An essential step in any negotiation is identifying whether the person with whom you are negotiating prefers to establish common ground or simply move into the negotiation. Taking a few moments to critically examine the nature of the individual will increase the likelihood of a positive outcome.

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