Closing the Gender Gap: Strategies to Help Women Negotiate with Greater Confidence

Closing the Gender Gap: Strategies to Help Women Negotiate with Greater Confidence

Closing the Gender Gap: Strategies to Help Women Negotiate with Greater Confidence


Empowering Women in Negotiation

Almost everyone knows the statistics and research associated with women not doing as well as their male counterparts in most negotiations; therefore, I don’t need to repeat the less-than-desirable challenges facing most women regarding negotiating and results.  Negotiating is an essential life skill for everyone.  People negotiate all the time – in their personal, social, and especially in their business lives.

Regardless of gender, there’s no such thing as a “born negotiator” – some people have a natural feel for the process and practices.  In contrast, others must work to acquire, learn, and practice their negotiation skills to improve outcomes in any negotiation.

Whether women are just beginning to engage in an upcoming negotiation or would like to continue to improve and refine their negotiating skills, the following are FIVE KEY STRATEGIES AND SEVERAL TIPS that women need to understand and utilize when they’re negotiating.

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Strategy One: Always Prepare and Plan for Negotiations in Advance

To minimize feeling pressured during a negotiation, women should try to play out potential situations and scenarios in their minds before negotiating.  People need to determine the relevant information required to negotiate successfully.  Before any negotiation, women must also assess and establish their opening negotiating position, desired outcome, and walk-away position.  By carefully and thoroughly preparing and planning for negotiations, women will improve their self-confidence and performance during most business, personal, and social negotiations.

Strategy Two: Use a Proven Negotiation Process – Don’t Take Shortcuts

Successful negotiation is based on using proven, fundamental negotiation principles, strategies, and tactics.  Women must remember to apply the three rules that can affect the outcomes of every negotiation and to ensure that they follow the three stages of every negotiation that can influence the outcomes.

Women shouldn’t take shortcuts or attempt to personalize the process.  Some women are generally prone to overcomplicating and overthinking a negotiating situation.  Instead, they should simplify their preparation and planning by remembering to focus on the following three rules and the three stages for every negotiation:

Strategy Three: Learn and Apply the Three Rules That Can Affect Most Negotiated Outcomes:

  1. Never Narrow the Negotiation to One Issue – If You Do, There Can Only Be a Winner and a Loser
  2. People Do Not Want the Same Things in a Negotiation – Never Assume You Know What the Other Side Wants or Needs in a Negotiation
  3. Price/Money Is Not Always All-Important – Learn How to Broaden the Scope and Look at Alternatives in All Your Negotiations.

Strategy Four: Learn and Apply the Three Stages of Every Negotiation:

  1. Establish Opening Positions – Get the Other Side To Reveal Its Position – Before You Reveal Yours
  2. Gather and Exchange Information – Make Sure You Have All the Relevant Facts
  3. Reach for Compromise – Negotiating Between Two Positions Helps To Ensure a Win-Win Outcome

Strategy Five: Understanding Negotiating Personality Types and Corresponding Negotiation Styles – Avoid the Perception of Being Perceived as a Difficult Person

A mistake that women often make when negotiating is to try to be overly amiable and to attempt to create a “friendly environment” with customers, clients, suppliers, coworkers, colleagues, and even family members – hoping that doing so will assist them in attaining their goals.

Some women’s goal in the negotiation is to be liked rather than respected.  When women are unsuccessful during a negotiation, their behaviour often changes, resulting in their being characterized and perceived as “difficult.”

This is not to suggest that women build relationships by creating a different personality type – they should look for “clues” concerning the negotiating personality type and the corresponding negotiating style of the other side and adjust their negotiating style to manage the negotiation and create win-win outcomes.

Try To Keep Emotions Out of Negotiations

Never allow negotiations to become too personal.  Effective negotiating is based on a proven process, methodology, strategies, and tactics covered in our Negotiating for Success presentations, seminars, learning workshops, or one-on-one or group coaching sessions.  Emotions for women often come from a perceived loss of control.  Women should be confident in using one of the eight available power bases to reduce the feeling of losing control. Women should not be intimidated by the perception of power that the other side may portray in a negotiation.

Make the Conscious Decision to Become Fully Engaged in the Negotiating Process

This is the most crucial point for women to remember during negotiations.  Women are less successful at negotiations than men for a straightforward reason – women don’t ask nearly as much as men.   Some women don’t even try to negotiate, resulting in women coming away with a “lose-win” outcome – the other side wins!  Some of your negotiations may be successful (unconscious competence), and some may be less than successful; however, negotiation is the essence of progress.  Negotiating is not about a person getting everything they want from a negotiation.   Women should learn to ask for what they want and need by creating a sound opening negotiating position – by doing so, their outcomes will improve accordingly.

Remember, asking for what you want must be based on Maximum Plausible Position (MPP) – which means the other side in the negotiation must see plausibility in the request.  In our negotiating skills training programs and negotiation coaching sessions, we often see people make unrealistic and unreasonable requests in their opening negotiating positions.   Doing this will most likely doom your negotiation.

Negotiating is a process and skill set essential for women to be more successful and confident.  Nothing affects the bottom line of your company more – or your income more – than having good negotiating skills.  You can’t make/save money faster than when negotiating effectively!


Take Action and Invest in Our Expert Negotiating Training and Negotiation Coaching Packages, Negotiation Tools, and Online Course to Become a Better Negotiator.

» Negotiating Skills Training: Book a tailored in-house presentation, seminar or learning workshop for your organization.

Speaking Engagements – Industry Associations and Companies: Book a tailored, engaging, and impactful 60-minute to two-hour presentation at an upcoming meeting, conference or convention.

» Negotiating Coaching Packages: If your company is facing a challenging high-value negotiation and you need an expert to help you or your team – or you own a small business – or you’re an individual who needs practical negotiation advice, you can benefit from my investing in one of my three proven, results-producing negotiation coaching packages for individuals, small business owners or corporations.

» Digital Negotiation Learning Products: You can purchase my three E-books containing powerful strategies and tips.  E-books: Forensic Blueprinting Questions For Effectively Selling and Negotiating Price or Fee Increases and Managing the Price-driven Sale, Selling and Negotiating Price or Fee Increases in Any Economic Environment, and Strategies and Tips on How to Effectively Manage the RFP/RFQ/RFI or Bid/Tender Process to Optimize Results and Outcomes.

You can also purchase the Negotiating Personality Type and Corresponding Negotiating Style Self-Assessment Questionnaire and Interpretation Results and my NEW Digital MP3 “Greatest Hits” Verbal Negotiating Phrases, Scripts, Questions, and Questioning Techniques.  These helpful tools are in digital format and can be easily downloaded.

I provide a discounted Master Negotiator Bundle with all my Digital Learning Products.

» Online Sales Negotiation Course: If you’re in sales, sales management or a cross-functional role that supports sales, you can benefit from enrolling in my NEW self-paced Negotiating for Sales Success online course.

» Meet Negotiating Coach® Michael E. Sloopka

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