Empowering Negotiations: Achieving What You Deserve in Your Career and Beyond
Negotiations. Just the word alone can send shivers down the spine of even the most seasoned professionals. But here's a fact: negotiations are a critical part of our personal and professional lives, whether we realize it or not. In the realm of leadership and career development, mastering the art of negotiation can make a profound difference. In this blog, based on a webinar hosted by Women in Toys, Licensing, and Entertainment (WiT) and salary negotiation expert Ashley Cash, we'll delve into the world of negotiations. You’ll learn how women in leadership roles can navigate these crucial conversations to strengthen their positions, secure fair compensation, and ultimately bridge the gender wage gap.
Understanding the Gender Wage Gap
Before diving into the intricacies of negotiations, it's essential to acknowledge the persistent gender wage gap that affects women across various industries. On average, women earn only about 85% of what their male counterparts make. This disparity can be attributed to a variety of factors, including biases in hiring and promotions, lack of representation in leadership roles, and the historic undervaluation of work predominantly performed by women.
The wage gap is not just a statistic; it has real-world consequences. Over a career, women can lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in earnings due to the gender wage gap. Moreover, the gap is even wider for women of color, with Black, Latina, and Indigenous women experiencing greater disparities. Addressing these inequities is crucial for achieving gender equality in the workplace.
The Landscape for Women in Leadership
In leadership roles across different industries, women are breaking barriers, shattering glass ceilings, and inspiring future generations. However, their journey is not without its challenges.
A lack of representation is one of the most significant hurdles women face in leadership positions. Women hold only a fraction of leadership roles in various industries, making it vital for those who do to advocate for themselves and others. As industries evolve and diversify, the importance of diverse leadership cannot be overstated. Women bring unique perspectives, innovative ideas, and valuable skills to the table, enriching industries and propelling them forward.
The Psychology of Negotiation
Many people experience nerves, self-doubt, and fear when entering into a negotiation. The fear of confrontation, imposter syndrome, and the worry of appearing ungrateful are just a few of the emotions that can hinder effective negotiations.
To conquer these psychological barriers, you must shift your mindset. Take the time to acknowledge the true goal of any negotiation. It's not about one party winning and the other losing. Instead, the goal is for both sides to achieve as much as possible, if not
everything they desire. This shift in perspective can alleviate nervousness by reframing the conversation as a collaborative effort rather than a battle.
Additionally, recognizing that negotiations are an expected and routine conversation in various aspects of life, from work to family, can help you feel more at ease. Negotiations occur when you're accepting a new job, renewing a contract, or even deciding who takes out the trash at home. They're not confrontations; they're expected exchanges.
The Power of Asking Questions
A key strategy in mastering negotiations is the art of asking questions. Preparing to negotiate or create a compelling offer doesn't solely rely on presenting your terms; it starts with understanding the other party's desires and needs. Asking questions is the linchpin to gathering essential information for a successful negotiation.
Some questions that can help you navigate negotiations effectively include:
What's the budget for this? — This question can anchor the conversation and set the stage for further discussions.
What's worked or hasn't worked in the past? — Understanding past experiences can help tailor your offer to align with their needs.
Who will be paying close attention to this? — Identifying key decision-makers and stakeholders can help you leverage your position in the negotiation.
What's the alternative for you? — Knowing the alternatives they're considering can help you address their concerns effectively.
How does my rate or proposal compare to others?— This question helps you gauge where you stand in the competitive landscape.
These questions provide valuable information and also demonstrate your genuine interest in meeting the other person’s needs. They shift the focus from you to them, fostering a more collaborative atmosphere.
Who Are You Negotiating For?
A powerful hack for dealing with nervousness in negotiations is to consider who you're negotiating for. While it might be challenging to advocate for yourself, you can often find the courage to negotiate when you're doing it for someone or something you care deeply about. For example, consider the courage you find when negotiating on behalf of your children, parents, clients, company, or community.
Knowing that your actions can positively impact others can provide the necessary confidence to ask for what you want and need.
Shifting Mindsets for Success
Negotiations are not just about money — they often tap into our emotions and self-worth. It's vital to dispel certain mindsets that can hinder your negotiation success. Here are three mindset shifts to consider:
Cancel the fear of being perceived as ungrateful: Negotiating for what you deserve does not equate to ingratitude. You can be appreciative of an opportunity while still advocating for your needs.
Embrace the expectation of negotiations: Recognize that negotiations are a common and expected part of various aspects of life, including work, family, and business.
Build resilience against rejection: Don't let the fear of rejection deter you from asking for what you want. Rejection is part of the negotiation process, and it doesn't diminish your value or potential.
By internalizing these mindset shifts, you can boost your confidence and become more adept at navigating negotiations effectively.
Negotiation isn't just about presenting your case and hoping for the best. To increase your chances of reaching a favorable outcome, you need a comprehensive strategy.
This blog is inspired by WiT Webinar “Navigating Negotiations: How to Ask For (and Get) More”. Watch it on WiT’s Video Library HERE.