Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Research shows that women face a multitude of barriers when seeking a pay raise or promotion at the negotiating table. 

Negative perceptions mean they're likely to end up with less than they want, and even if they do succeed, their colleagues might dislike them for it. But women who learn to sidestep the pitfalls can achieve great outcomes.

Here's how to be a better negotiator in everyday life—especially if you're a woman.

1. Build confidence with body language

When you're at the negotiating table, it's essential to project confidence so the person or people you're meeting with won't think you're a pushover. The right body language can go a long way in helping you to do this. Some ways to do this include:

  • Avoid crossing your arms and legs, as this suggests you're nervous or closed off. Instead, project confidence with a relaxed and open stance.
  • Make eye contact with the person you're negotiating with—looking down or away suggests you're ill at ease.
  • Don't fidget; touching your face and wringing your hands reveal nervousness. Instead, sit or stand still, keep your chin up and lean toward the person you're speaking to.

2. Speak precisely

Many women are socialized to wait their turn when speaking, and to speak quietly and politely. They may use hedging words and phrases like "maybe" and "almost," which can make them seem less assertive and weaken their negotiating position. Instead, be bold and direct, asking clearly for what you want. You can also pause strategically to buy yourself thinking time and give the other person time to respond.

3. Understand your value

Research shows that many women struggle to place a dollar value on their skills and services, and even when they do, that value is too low. That can put them at a disadvantage when negotiating.

One way to solve this is to check the data on compensation from places like Glassdoor and Payscale. Once you know the pay others get for the role you're doing or applying for, it means you'll be more confident in asking for the same, with the data to back you up.

4. Determine your “wish, want and walk" goals

There's nothing worse than coming out of a negotiation feeling like you've ended up with far less than you wanted. The best way to avoid this is to know your “wish, want and walk" goals. For example, you might wish for a 20 percent salary increase, want a 15 percent salary increase, and be ready to walk—or abandon— the negotiation if you don't get at least 10 percent. Knowing this in advance ensures you don't get talked into settling for less than your minimum, and leaves you primed to implement the final tip.

5. Be ready to walk away

That “walk" goal is important, because you must be prepared to really walk away (not just threaten to and come back). A good time to do this is when it's clear there's no common ground. If the person you're negotiating with knows that something is a deal breaker for you, then they have the choice of whether to come back with a better offer.

As a woman, if you plan ahead and successfully avoid some of these common pitfalls, you are more likely to get what you want from a negotiation. And every time you succeed, you'll be even more confident about using these tactics in the future.

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