How to Negotiate in the Workplace

Believe it or not, we negotiate on a daily basis. People, and in my opinion especially women, are great negotiators. We negotiate all the time, with family members, friends, on a host of topics. What is surprising is that we often find it difficult to bring these skills to play in the workforce. The key to unlocking this ability is to learn to not fear bringing these skills into the workplace.

Negotiation is simply asking for an amalgamation of our wants and needs to ensure you get what you deserve.

There’s a ton of research that women are less likely to negotiate at work. Whether it is asking for a pay rise, pursuing self-development opportunities, or simply negotiating to get their ideas heard.

Why, is this the case?

Because a lot of women are concerned about their reputations being damaged. The fear that they will be seen as too pushy, or difficult or that they be penalised in some way for attempting to get more out of their careers. Of course, this is a risk but as we know, if you don’t ask, you don’t get. You just need to be mindful of the strategies to deploy when asking for what you want, and that applies to both men and women.

Sell yourself

If you are looking to be considered for a new role or a pay increase, first of all take a step back and think about what you can offer in exchange for your new role or pay increase. Think about what you can offer that no one else can, and why you are deserving of getting what you want/need. In other words, support your negotiating position with facts and data. Be assertive and stick to your beliefs and most importantly back yourself.

Confidence is key. Make sure you’re feeling your best and you look the part! As silly as it sounds when you go in to negotiate, dress for success! How we look and feel makes a big difference to our psyche. Focus your mind on having a successful outcome, so that the doubts and nerves don’t get in the way

Fail to Prepare and Prepare… well, you know the rest.

When negotiating, ensure that you know exactly what you want. Having an ill-thought idea of what you would like to discuss will make you look disorganised, it also gives whoever you are negotiating with the opportunity to dismiss your request easily.

In an ideal world, negotiation should be a win-win, so preparing something that will benefit all parties will help achieve what you’re after. So think about how what you are seeking benefits the wider group; i.e. your team, your function, the company as a whole.

Positioned with a well-prepared negotiation plan, fully justified and a presenter with the ability to explain the benefits to everyone involved is immediately given a massive advantage.

We’re not just there to confirm stereotypes

From the moment we are born, women are lumbered with stereotypes to live up to. Professional women are not and should not be employed to confirm the biases that exist such as that men are smarter, or that women are inferior in some wat. Acknowledging the difference between men and women in the workplace and ensuring that they are offered the same number of opportunities to help them thrive should be a given, however in reality that’s not always the case.

This is why it’s so important for women to negotiate their way up the career ladder, because we’re already a step behind our male counterparts when we enter the workplace. I’d advise any woman to be aware of this ‘disadvantage’ and to let it spur them on and use it to their advantage. I found it highly motivating when I started my career, and although I was aware of it, I finally decided to never let it stop me from getting what I wanted and felt that I rightly deserved.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rita Trehan is a renowned business transformation expert with over 20 years’ experience and a self-confessed workaholic and ideas junkie.

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