When we think about good negotiation skills, we often think in terms of salary and promotions. For sales people and buyers, it’s negotiating terms and price. But if you really think about it, you are probably negotiating with someone about something every day.
Let’s look at some different situations.
- Negotiating as an employee. This is certainly not an everyday event. You may be negotiating salary as part of a new job offer or a promotion with your current boss. Keep in mind that you can negotiate more than just the salary and any potential bonus. Most companies have a standard set of non-negotiable benefits that the HR representative explains. But there are other components you can negotiate before accepting an offer. One example may be a remote work option or relocation benefits. Consider the “value” of other benefits beyond the base salary as you negotiate. The key to success is to do research on what might be possible, be ready with your ‘ask,’ and be clear on what you’re willing to compromise.
- Negotiating as a buyer. This is not an everyday event either. You may be negotiating with a vendor for a product or service. Or you may be buying a new house or car. There may be some situations where there is no room for negotiation, but it’s more likely that you be able to. Again, it’s not just the core price, but other terms as well. The key to success will sound familiar – do your research, be ready with the ‘ask,’ and be willing to compromise.
- Negotiating as a team member. This could involve a new assignment you have been asked to take on, or a due date you have been asked to meet. Neither are set in stone. You should make sure you understand the need and what room there is to modify the scope or timing. The key to success is being honest about what you can reasonably do, by when, and what support you will need from others.
- Negotiating as a family member. This could be any number of things, and it is an everyday event. It may be working out who is doing which task such as groceries, dinner, daycare pickup and drop-off, or fun stuff like choosing a TV, movie, or restaurant. As someone who has been married 40-plus years, I believe the key is in being honest with each other, sharing the work, and taking turns on the fun decisions.
And if you think negotiating is just for adults, a young mother reminded me that’s not true. She told me that she negotiates with big people who have big egos all day long, and then goes home to negotiate with little people with big opinions all night.
The best negotiations are when both parties believe they have gotten a good deal – a win-win.
When I asked my daughter what advice she’d give other women about negotiating, she simply said tell them that they can. Too often women think there is no room for negotiation and accept what they are offered.
“Negotiating for Success – Negotiation Skills and Crucial Conversations” is just one of the many topics I will be covering in the upcoming online course, “Equipping Emerging Leaders for Success” aimed at women early in their careers. We’ll explore the challenges of negotiating and what holds women back from getting the best deal they can, and discuss tips to use as you develop your negotiating muscle. This course is just one of the offerings of C-change – a new service from StarBridge Advisors aimed at developing women leaders in health IT (learn more about C-change and this course here).