Why Women Need to Learn the Art of Skillful Negotiation?

Image courtesy – Freepik.com

Article by :Ankita Awasthi

I have been freelancing for the last 4 years. I came to write recently for a cryptocurrency website which shut down within one month of my hiring. Along with me, an in-house editor who was hired at the same time as me was also fired. This job was her first job after 3 years of maternity break. While I was pretty cool with the website shutting down, she took it rather badly. Reason: it broke her confidence even further down than what she was already feeling. She felt dejected and rejected after her break and one chance she had to prove herself had also fallen flat.

Her talk left me feeling rather upset that we as women do not like to take failure in our stride. Till the level of academics, we strive to perfection but forget that we have to step outside in the real world of uncertainty.

Persuasion and Negotiation

This is the reason why on a personal and professional level, it is essential to learn the art of persuasion and if I may say negotiation. One might ask what’s the difference – well I always saw persuasion as a jolly and light-hearted manner in which women handle a difficult spouse or child or any other family member. Somehow we all have been taught this by our mothers to certain degrees. Yet, when it comes to seeking out things professionally, we cower and bend over backwards to make way for what the boss or the company wants. This is where cold nosed negotiation has to come in play. Both parties are aware that bargaining is on the table and you have to prove yourself more worthy than the other to gain what you need.

Keeping your Self-Worth Intact

During my conversation with the said lady, she kept on saying the business had shut down, so what could they do? I, on the other hand felt she should have asked for compensation till the time of her notice period. After all, if she had resigned she would still be required to serve a notice period. Why is it that we women feel the need to ingratiate with everyone? Is it the image play too strong on our minds that we allow people to walk all over our rights? While feminism is one part of it, I feel it has more to do with the unwillingness of women to demand the rights, especially in the workplace.

I have personally seen bosses not giving adequate compensation hikes to female subordinates on the pretext that let the men have the bigger chunk as they have families to feed!! What about the woman who leaves her child in daycare and pays for expensive babysitters so that she can make time to be at work with complete dedication? Is her time not worthy enough? You have to keep your time-spent and self-worth parallel to a male colleague. While I preach all this, I also assume you have given equal and appropriate dedication to your work and not slacked off in the name of a woman and a mother!

Holding Your Ground

I myself learned a lot on negotiation after becoming a freelancer and haggling with clients who would not pay me my efforts’ worth. I realized few golden rules and sticking to them even while feeling unsure inside, helped me achieve better rates for my work. The real world learning was much more valuable than the corporate cocoon.

Following are few tips on preparing yourself for a hard-nosed negotiation –

  • Think through the possible scenarios before going into a negotiation. Initially, I used to write down the scenarios on a piece of paper and what my choice should be for each scenario.
  • Do not let your senior/boss corner you into a negotiation. If you are in a surprise meeting for this, do not confirm YES or NO and ask for time to get back,
  • The rule of haggling for shopping applies in corporate life as well – Start with a 2X price for yourself and get the other side to the right price finally. And start with -2X price when you need to make payments,
  • Only in this haggling/negotiation, you need to be ready with your skill-set and what you bring to the table.
  • Be respectful, polite and always sound resourceful.

All in all, learning the art of negotiation will only help you create your own standing professionally whether in a company or your own venture. It is important to create a good example not just for other young female employees but also for your own children who will learn this interesting art by watching you.