Published on WIN SUMMIT:
Time and time again research proves what we already know: women face more obstacles than men when it comes to negotiating, be they internal, self-imposed barriers, socially-conditioned norms, or external biases and stereotypes. A study by Glassdoor found that 3 in 5 women say they’ve never negotiated salary. The same study found that men initiate negotiations about 4 times more often than women and that 72% of women would rather switch jobs to get a pay raise than negotiate with their current employer. Researchers Beverly DeMarr and Suzanne de Janasz found that by not negotiating at the start of their careers, women forgo an average of $7,000 — just in their first year! And by the end of their careers, women lose between $650,000 and $1 million. This negotiation gap makes it that more important for women to start putting themselves out there and start negotiating. But we know that negotiation can be overwhelming. To demystify the process, we compiled a list of the 4 most common negotiating mistakes —and how to avoid them. Mistake #1: Not being confident enough to negotiate A lot of the time it is the lack of confidence that dissuades women from even considering negotiating. Women need to stop underestimating their abilities and strengths and proactively engage in a conversation about their worth. Negotiating a job offer is as expected by a potential employer as you bringing a copy of your resume for a job interview. Although one may not realize, organizations set aside a budget with the expectation that employees will ask for a higher salary. Salary.com found that 84% of employers expect prospective employees to negotiate salary after the interview process. Mistake #2: Not doing the prep work: researching and rehearsing The most important thing you can do when getting ready for a negotiation is to research the numbers, list your accomplishments and practice what you’re going to say. You need to come into a negotiation armed with research on the organization and on what an adequate salary is (what people with similar titles and experience are getting paid). You also need to have a clear set of your main objectives (what would the perfect outcome be?) and what your BATNA is (if you can’t get what you hoped for, what’s the best alternative?). Another crucial thing you need to have ready is your brag sheet -- aka a one-pager where you list concrete examples of your wins and accomplishments. When possible, try to quantify your wins, for instance, Increased company sales by 10%. Why write them down? Many times in high-pressure situations anxiety gets the best of us, with your brag sheet you’ll have quick and easy access to all of your accomplishments and you’ll be ready to advocate for yourself with concrete justification when negotiating. Mistake #3: Not being comfortable with silence “Silence can be your best friend in a negotiation,” says WIN Executive Director and CEO Daniella Kahane. “We tend to feel uncomfortable with silence and rush to speak, often negotiating against ourselves in the process,” she says. “Instead, say your piece and then be still and silent, and wait for the other person to speak.” Mistake #4: Pressure to “act like a man” Sometimes in an effort to be more assertive —and to be taken seriously— one can take it too far and become combative. Journalist Kiernan Snyde warns of the “abrasiveness trap” and how tone can undermine one’s career. It’s of the utmost importance to remain cordial and calm during a negotiation. Although nerves might be in overdrive, a negotiation should just be a conversation between two parties with the main goal of finding a result that’s suitable for both parties. A lot of people feel overwhelmed when tackling a negotiation, it's never easy to summon the courage to advocate for ourselves, yet it is vital for our self-worth that we know that we are being justly treated and justly remunerated for our skills. It takes a lot of preparation, self-awareness, and practice, but it is attainable! The best way to get more comfortable with negotiating? Just practice. Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate!