Welcome to The Broad Experience, the show about women, the workplace, and success. I’m Ashley Milne-Tyte.
This time on the show…the art of negotiation. Why it matters and how to do it well.
“Agility is really the skill of the negotiator. Not turning into something you are not, and trying to be a man. Because we’re women, we’re not.”
Coming up on The Broad Experience.
So a couple of months ago during the shows I did on pay, I asked if you’d like me to do an episode on negotiation. A lot of you said yes. So here it is. Actually there’s so much to say about this that again, I’m dividing the topic into two shows, each with a different guest.
As a business journalist I’ve done a lot of reporting on women and salary negotiation over the last 10 years or so – and it’s always fascinated me. Past studies have shown that women negotiate less than men. That young men right out of college are likelier than women to negotiate that first job offer – meaning their salaries get a bump right out of the gate. There’s also evidence that women who negotiate hard – they get backlash for it. That they’re perceived as just not very nice. All this sounds negative. But there’s plenty of other evidence to show that women are not worse negotiators than men – especially when they negotiate on behalf of someone else. We just tend to find negotiating for ourselves awkward and unpleasant.
And maybe it’ll always feel a bit awkward – but that doesn’t mean it can’t work in our favour.
Today’s guest is Natalie Reynolds. She’s the founder and CEO of Advantage Spring – they’re based in England but they train teams and individuals all over the world to be better negotiators.
And she’s the author of a book called We Have a Deal – how to negotiate with intelligence, flexibility and power.
Natalie trained as a lawyer but ended up having a career in public service in the UK – and her roles involved lots of negotiation. But she found public service to be really ageist – she was told she’d be brilliant for a job, but was too young to be considered. So she left and joined a big negotiation training firm...
“…but very quickly became disillusioned there because they did teach the ‘ballbreaker’ style of negotiation, it was very two dimensional, very scripted. They treat every client the same. And people are not the same, companies are not the same. So I tried to kind of own my role a little bit by looking at things like gender and negotiation and biases at the negotiation table.
However, despite this being very popular with clients, when I came back from maternity leave they told me, ‘as a business we don’t want to be seen to be doing the woman thing. So we want you to stop talking about gender and diversity.’ So I basically quit, started Advantage Spring, where we train men and women in equal measure. But I am able to still do the woman thing and talk about gender and negotiation, and the very human part of negotiation, which is incredibly important.”
Now you’ve heard me say this on past shows. I believe in negotiating. It gets you more of what you want. But as I told Natalie, since Sheryl Sandberg published Lean In, which advises women to negotiate for more pay, I’ve detected quite a backlash to the whole idea.
AM-T: “And what I’ve heard from some listeners in Facebook forums is well, why should I negotiate, because women are punished for negotiation. Or more strongly what I hear is, if I negotiate I am having to become more like a man, I’m having to change myself to become more like a man and why should I do that? And I’m hoping you’ll help me convince people that negotiation is a really useful skill that we should all hone. I know I could do with honing my skills, for sure.”
“There are so many things you just said that are relevant to all of this. The first thing you mentioned was something I call social penalty, that women receive more of a backlash when they negotiate. Unfortunately there is a lot of evidence that shows when women negotiate they are penalized for it. However, my advice is then to say to women don’t stop negotiating because of this, do not stop. The best thing you can do is learn how to negotiate as effectively as possible. That is what’s gonna help you. The world is built around being able to negotiate, it’s one of the oldest, most precious and important human skills there is. I say to people negotiation is the most important skill to get what you want, need or deserve. And you cannot rely on people to always have your best interests at heart. Even the people around you might not point out to you, you could have gotten more, you might have been able to do this. So it’s really important that you take ownership of your ability to negotiate and you do it cleverly and with agility. And agility is so important when it comes to negotiation.”
AM-T: “When you say agility what do you mean?”
“So you mentioned many women feel like they have to become like a man to be effective when they negotiate, and I am always giving people advice, please do not think of it like that. The best negotiators are like gymnasts. They are agile, they are flexible, they can recognize a different situation they are in and move between it flexibly. Some negotiations do require us to be tough, to be firm, to stand our ground. Others require us to sit back, listen, to build relationships, to try and understand eachother. Negotiations will look very different – a negotiation could be you and I having a coffee after this recording, downstairs, trying to negotiate when it will go live. It could be as simple as that, it could be at home negotiating who does what it terms of housework, it could be about negotiating a supplier agreement or your salary. And all those things are different, feel different and all require different planning, preparation execution. And so agility is the skill of the negotiator. Not turning into something you are not, and trying to be a man. Because we’re women, we’re not. So let’s play to our strengths. That’s what the best negotiators do.”
Natalie says she wants to demystify negotiation. It frustrates her that it’s come to be associated with aggression.
“That to be a good negotiator you’ve gotta be a ballbreaker – I’ve gotta be aggressive. He or she who shouts the loudest or bangs their fist the hardest will get what they want. It’s simply not true. A large part of what my company does and what I do on an individual basis is challenge that perception. And when we’re teaching both corporations and individuals we show them the error of this approach. You can get what you want in a more sophisticated way, you don’t have to be aggressive or behave in a way like we believe a man should in order to negotiate effectively. There is another way and a way that can garner less backlash. And a lot of what we do when we coach women is show what that other way is. And how it might be difficult at first but there are coping strategies you can adopt, there are methodologies you can implement. And you can get what you want.”
She says getting what you want isn’t about you getting one over on the other person. It’s just like in any relationship – part of it is about looking at things from the other person’s point of view.
“Women are good at seeing the world through the other person’s eyes. That’s not to say we’re all naturally good at it…I think it’s something everyone needs to work at. But even the other evening I was speaking at an event and I gave men and women the advice, when you’re planning for a negotiation sit there and plan from your perspective what you want to achieve and then physically get up, go to the other side of the table. Look back at where you were sitting and be them for a moment. Who are they, what do they want, how do they want it, how does the world now look to them? Because the more you make them feel like they’re winning the more effective you’re gonna be. But then ego kicks in. This is true for men and women. There is this view women are more collaborative, my view is that men and women are all naturally competitive, it’s how human beings have evolved. We’ll always try to win, if we can. And it’s about using that and understanding that, that if you want to win they probably want to win too. So the best negotiators put their ego to one side and think, what’s gonna make them feel happy? What’s gonna make them feel like they got what they needed? And how can I engineer this negotiation so I get what I want and they get what they want too, or at least they get something where they can go back and say ‘guess what, I got this.’ It’s all about process, it’s all about planning, but if you can help them feel like they’ve won you’re gonna get a far better result in the long run.”
You will hear Natalie mention planning again and again. She cannot emphasize this enough. To get a result you’re happy with in any negotiation you must do your research. With a salary negotiation you need to know what others in similar roles are getting paid. You need to take stock of your own achievements so you can talk them up. In short, you have to know your market value.
And this is another thing I wanted to discuss with her – the fact that a lot of women find talking about their worth and their achievements really uncomfortable. I certainly have. We’re often nervous because a lot is riding on this. The whole process just doesn’t feel like ‘us’. But Natalie says that’s no excuse to duck out.
AM-T: “You say in the book, look, just get comfortable with the idea of being uncomfortable. I think that’s really worth talking about.”
“I think a lot of people strive to feel comfortable when they negotiate but I would never advocate that. An element of nerves is useful, it keeps you sharp, it keeps you focused, it keeps you wondering what’s coming next. So I will spend a lot of time with male and female clients getting them to understand why they feel like they do and getting them to own that feeling. I talk a lot about the little voice in the head, a lot at the start at the book, and this idea that we become overwhelmed by feelings of, ‘I just want to get out of here.’ If you can listen to where is this discomfort coming from? What am I afraid of? If you can embrace that discomfort and channel it in a different way, you stay sharp and focused and aware, but because you’ve prepared properly you’re ready to deal with that. You should never want to be so laid back you don’t want to worry about these things. I think nerves and anxiety exist for a reason and if you can harness them properly they will work to your advantage.”
AM-T: “And you also say with this discomfort thing, not only we should not feel comfortable in a negotiation, but when it comes to this business of ‘ooh, that’s not me, it’s not authentic.’ You point out we’re all sorts of different things and different people at all sorts of different times.”
“I talk about the many Natalies I am over the course of a day. I’m a mum to two children, I’m a boss of a team in an office, I’m a friend, I’m a wife. And I’m slightly different in those roles at any one time. I was trying to reason with my son putting on his sun cream this morning, and trying to reason with my son to do that, I was quite different to how I will be later on when I’m negotiating on behalf of an energy client for a supply agreement that’s costing them billions. I will behave differently. I never stop being Natalie, I just turn on a different version of her. In the same way that my husband is quite surprised by how I am in a corporate environment, so I don’t like him coming to see me speak. I can’t stand it because I feel like I’m less able to play Natalie on a stage, because he’s used to seeing Natalie at home. And they’re still Natalie, just slightly different versions of Natalie, there’s nothing inauthentic about that. We don’t go through life robotically behaving the same to everyone at every single moment. So how can we channel that when we negotiate?”
AM-T: “How did you persuade him to put his sun cream on?”
“Well my mum arrived and he does whatever my mum says. And there’s another lesson. Sometimes you have to bring other people to the negotiation table to help you out.”
AM-T: “And we’d all love to do that in a salary negotiation but that’s the thing. We’re on our own in a salary negotiation. I wanna go back to the voice in our head. This is a huge thing with women. You’ve got that voice saying, ‘I’m not worth that, who do you think you are asking for that? Ooh, you’d better scale that back.’ And it’s…what do you tell people about that because I think feeling like we do not have value, whether it’s monetary value or value as a person, this goes really deep inside women.”
“First of all I’d say to listeners, please don’t think men don’t suffer from it. Some of us are just better at controlling it than others and women do seem to struggle with it, particularly around the self-worth and how we value ourselves. The little voice in the head is an interesting one. So many of us think, oh right, don’t listen to it, it’s telling us negative things so don’t listen to it. And the problem with that approach is if you ignore it in the run up to the negotiation that little voice will rear its head right when you least need it to. Right at crunch time when you need to ask for what you want. And this is the problem, that you can pretend it’s not there and you sit down, open your mouth to give your number to your boss and then it kicks in. And then the little voice says, ‘you’re not worth that, they’re gonna think you’re greedy, don’t be ridiculous, say this instead.’ So you do, you say a lower number, or you say very little and let them take the lead.
Instead I advocate a completely different approach which kind of seems counter intuitive but to me makes perfect sense. Which is, that little voice actually represents our innermost fears, inhibitions and anxieties and also weaknesses in our position or argument. So actually what we should be doing is long before we get to that negotiation table, take a moment a few weeks beforehand to step back and think, how am I feeling about this? What am I dreading them saying to me when I ask for this? What do I think the weaknesses are in my case? What do I think they’re gonna point out is a reason why I don’t deserve this salary? You should start then accessing that voice in your head in advance of the negotiation, because it’s actually a safety mechanism. If you access it before the negotiation you can start to mitigate against what it’s saying.
So if it’s saying to you, well, you can’t prove you’re worth this, what you should then do is go away and build up a business case about why you are worth this. If it says, you can’t prove other people are being paid this, at that point go away and establish what other people are being paid. If it says, what are you gonna do if they say no, go away and start to plan your responses if they say no. So maybe they say no, we don’t think you’re worth this, you then say OK, so what do I have to do within a 3-month period to be able to access that level of salary? So if you can own that voice in advance it helps you be more robust when you get to the negotiation table.”
And speaking of rejection – a lot of us, when we hear no, we immediately pull back. We accept their offer, lamenting that our attempt at negotiation failed. We take that no as final. But Natalie says that is a mistake.
“How to deal with the no is so important. I talk about perseverance as being one of the most important skills of a negotiator, particularly in relation to salary negotiations by the way. Which is why at end of every talk I do I’ll say how you respond to a no defines you as a negotiator. Most of us hear a no and we go, ‘oh right, sorry, what were you thinking then?’ Or we just completely concede. What we should do when we’re hear a no is go OK, now I’m negotiating, now we’re actually exploring what could be possible. Now they’ve told me they can’t accept that, so what will they accept? The best negotiators hear a no and they view it as an invitation to keep going. What I say to people is when life shuts a door, open it again. It’s a door, that’s how they work, and the point is that in negotiation people will shut doors on you. They’ll tell you they can’t agree to something, they’ll tell you you’re not worth that. And they’re doing it because they are also trying to get the best deal they can for themselves or their boss. And if you can remind yourself of that and go back and try and open the door again, that is what makes you a brilliant negotiator. And opening that door might mean taking someone else with you, it might mean pushing a bit harder on that door or pushing more gently on that door. But it’s about having the resilience and being able to persevere to go back to a no and keep going.”
So perseverance is important in a negotiation. And part of that is not dropping down too much from the amount you’re going for. In her book Natalie gives an example that reminded me a lot of me as a past negotiator. I would bottle at the first sign of a challenge. The example here is about the price of a shirt. So I have a shirt I want to sell; I want 20 pounds for it. A friend spots it, says, gosh, I really like that shirt. I’ll give you 6 pounds. I immediately think, gosh, maybe 20 was too much to ask – and I go, how about 14?
So right there just because the other person surprised me with a low offer, I have dropped way below the number I was aiming for. And my chances of getting close to that 20 pounds are now slim.
“So this goes to my favorite aspect of negotiation, which is anchoring.”
I wasn’t that familiar with the term anchoring. It’s basically when you glom onto that first bit of information you get and base subsequent decisions around it. Just like in the shirt example – that first mention of 6 pounds torpedoed my idea about getting 20. Natalie says too many courses teach that we should let the other party make the first move in a negotiation. I always thought that myself.
“So many people give people the advice, let them go first in the negotiation so you can see what they might be willing to give you, and it’s rubbish. It’s absolute rubbish. That first number they give you is in no way an indication of what they’re ultimately willing to give you. What it is, is them giving you a number to test you to see the best they can get from you. And then because of anchoring, which is essentially the phenomenon whereby we become overly influenced by the first piece of information presented to us when we make a decision, we anchor to that first proposal. We fixate on it. We think about it. We wonder why have they said that, have I misunderstood things, why have they gone so low? Maybe they’re right and I’m wrong. And we doubt ourselves and then we adjust our opening position to more closely match theirs.”
And then we’re on the back foot. She always tells her clients that the power of going first cannot be overstated.
“Saying that, you don’t always have to always make sure you go first and if you don’t, it’s the end of the world. So we get people coming to us and saying, ‘so in this negotiation scenario I MUST put my number out first’…and I go, ideally yes, if you can, but we don’t always have the confidence or the scenario that allows us to go first. The beauty of anchoring is that it’s about the awareness of the phenomenon – be aware the first number put on the table can disproportionately affect what we respond with.
So the best thing you can do is, if they go first and it’s far lower than you anticipated, take a deep breath, thank them for that proposal, and say ‘thank you for that proposal, but for the following reasons my proposal is this much.’ The reason that’s important is the more you can talk about what you want, the more likely you are to get it. The more you focus on what they want, the likelier you are to end up closer to their number. So re-anchoring has been proven to be just as powerful as anchoring. So in the shirt scenario they’ve offered me six, I was thinking 20. The worst thing I can then do is then say is ‘oh God, OK right, well I’ll give them 14. How’s 14?’’ The best thing I can do is hold my nerve, take a deep breath, thank them for that 6 pound proposal but say, look, it’s actually a really high quality shirt, I’m looking for 20. Start then bringing it back to you, anchoring to what you want from your perspective.”
AM-T: “When you’re saying ‘thank you very much, I’d like to propose X,’ would it be a mistake to say why I think I’m worth X, in a salary negotiation?”
“No, I don’t think so. I think in the same way that if we were pitching for resources for a project we would outline why we think the project is worthy of those resources, we need to get more comfortable with talking about why we are worth what we are worth, and actually I have a new VP of North America starting today and she is a very big advocate of this advice. You know, you need to view yourself in the same way you would if you were negotiating for anyone else.
So you need to draw up a business case of what have you achieved in the last six months, what have you generated. What have you delivered for the team as a whole? And you need to talk about that. You shouldn't be embarrassed about talking about what you're worth, but what we do is we get we get shy or we get overwhelmed or we get embarrassed or we get, you know, just full of dread about the idea of communicating why we think we're worth what we’re worth. Which is why objective preparation beforehand is so powerful, because you could even just present them with a business case – ‘and just to back up where I'm coming from, this is a list of my achievements over the last 12 months.’ And hand something over to them physically.”
AM-T: “These are the targets I've hit, or whatever happened to be?”
“Absolutely, you know, we need to get more comfortable with that whole process. We need to own it, you know, effective negotiation is about the ownership of a conversation and you can either get in the driver's seat and steer it or you can sit in the passenger seat and try and reach the steering wheel but you’re never really going to reach it. And in the salary situation, advance preparation, advance outlining of your achievements or your expertise or your experience or your education is of incredible value. If you don’t point out what you’re worth and why, then who else is gonna do it for you?”
So again, preparation is vital. But what if the other person is difficult, belligerent even? It can happen sometimes. Natalie says when she preps for a negotiation she always starts by preparing for the situation she least wants.
“So I will often imagine going into a large corporation, sitting down and them saying, ‘right Natalie before we begin, just to be clear, we don’t like you, we don’t like your product, we don’t like your training courses and we never want to work with you again.’ And I force myself to think about that. That level of hideousness. So I can then start to think, and what would I say to that? How would I deal with that? Because if you can start to think about and embrace that worst case scenario and how you would respond, anything after that starts to feel far better.
The other thing I would say is that if someone is being particularly rude or aggressive to you or refusing to move or undermining you, please remind yourself that that kind of behavior is often exhibited for a reason. Either because they want to make themselves feel more powerful or because they feel intimidated by you or because they actually don’t have that much room for maneuver and they feel disempowered by that. Or there’s a weakness in their position or they think you’re more powerful than they are and they’re trying to de-stabilise you by behaving in that way. You know most of the people we negotiate with who are rude or aggressive or underminers, they don’t behave like that all the time. They don't go home to their friends and families and behave like that, they’re just normal people often. So you’ve got to ask yourself, why are they now choosing to behave like this? Now, with me. And sometimes just reminding yourself of that can be quite empowering.”
And she has several tips in the book about how to deal with that kind of behavior if it arises.
But what about dealing with a more common situation where the employer makes you an offer first, and it’s far below your expectations. Another thing any negotiator should do before the interview – is know your walk-away point i.e. the number you absolutely must get or you’ll walk away from the offer. So say you’re going for a job and you want 80 thousand pounds, ideally – but you’ve decided you could walk away with 75 thousand – no less. Only you will know this in your particular situation after you’ve done your research on the market and your place in it.
But you’ve got your number…and then the other party offers you something that seems ridiculously low. It shocks you and again it can be hard not to start to move down to meet it. But, Natalie says…
“The best negotiators would go, okay, so before I before I let you know what it was I'm going to ask for I'd be really keen to understand why this is so low. You know actually get them to start to explain themselves. But again all the time understanding that you still need to be able to stand your ground. Don’t be swayed by what they're saying necessarily, because if you've done your research, if you know your worth, if you feel confident, you should be understanding where you want to end up.
So it's about understanding that the power of anchoring is real, it exists. It can negatively impact where you end up if you become overly swayed by it, but it's always about thinking, right, what do I want? Why do I need it, what am I going to ask for, and then actually getting that number out there. So you might say to someone, ‘that's very low, for the following reasons I was going to ask for X, so we do have a gap - how are we going to bridge that gap?’ And make it a shared problem, make it a conversation rather than a kind of a battle mentality. And of course go beyond the price. That's the other thing: what else do you want from that salary package and what else matters to you? And bring that to the table as well.”
Whether it’s more vacation or working from home 2 days a week or something else.
Now just quickly here I want to acknowledge something else I’ve heard women say about the whole idea of going back and forth over a new salary.
AM-T: “What about women who say ‘look, companies should just pay everyone fairly. I shouldn’t have to negotiate.’”
“If only life were like that, that's my simple response to that. You know in an ideal world life would be like that. I mean interestingly we're doing a research project with a company who are removing salary negotiations. I can't mention the name of the business yet until the research is completed, but they're exploring whether or not removing traditional salary negotiation processes will actually help in creating a flat structure and make people feel empowered and we’re working with them to see if that is actually the case or whether actually removing salary negotiations disempowers people, people start to feel resentful like they're not valued, like they're not able to put forward their case for why they are worth what they're worth. Yes, so very interesting. But yeah, in an ideal world fairness would prevail and you know we would all be given what we deserve. My point is, and I talk about this in the book and on every session I ever run, that fairness is actually subjective of course. And what's fair to the business owner or to the hiring manager with finite resources is often very different to the employee who has certain expectations and a lifestyle they want to maintain. You know fairness isn't universal, we'd like to think it is, but on a very simple level often what's fair to a buyer is not fair to a seller.”
So for everyone who is gonna negotiate…something to bear in mind about your choice of words. Again, this is a trap I know I’ve fallen into.
AM-T: “You also talk about the language that we use when we negotiate, and sticking to clear, non-waffly language. You say there can be a tendency to use words like, ‘I was thinking of something in the region of X.’”
“I'm really glad you brought this up because earlier in this recording I actually caught myself using some of this language. And actually I would like people to take from that that the lesson is, never get complacent. Because this isn't a negotiation I haven't planned for it, so I've allowed that language to slip into my vocabulary. So I said earlier on, I am looking for 20. You shouldn't say that. You should say, my price is. So I always say that when you're negotiating for something that's important to you, don’t say you're looking for or hoping for. Because then all they hear is you don't expect to get it.”
AM-T: “So what do you say, ‘I’d like’ or ‘I want?’”
“My proposal is. There’s a difference between me saying, I'm looking for around about 20,000, and me saying ‘my proposal is 20,000’ and here's why. Same message, different impact. Completely different method of delivery. So it's about being clear about what you're asking for. I also use the example of ‘roundabout’ and ‘somewhere in the region of.’ If you're asking for somewhere in the region of 20,000 they're going to hear 15,000. People hear what they want to hear. We look for what we want to look for. You know I talk about biases in negotiation. You know we bring all these biases to the negotiation table and confirmation biases is a really important one, but so is, if you ask for ‘round about 20,000’, they hear the lower end of that. Which is why we also say don't use a range. If you say, I'm looking for 15 to 20,000, they hear 15,000 if that's what it works in their interest to hear, they hear 15. And then you've got a hell of a job to get them up to 20. I mean interestingly there is research to suggest that sometimes ranges can be helpful, but as a general rule I think you need to be clear, you need to be concise, you need to be specific. You need to own that conversation, and it's not about demanding it, it's not about going, ‘I need 20,000 and I am refusing to budge!’ It's about saying, ‘for the following reasons my proposal is 20,000.’ Of course the clever negotiator will have built in wriggle room to that. They will be opening ambitiously but credibly, so that they can then actually drop down a little bit, but they're actually only then dropping down to what they wanted anyway.”
Towards the end of our conversation we talked a bit about books we’d read on negotiation. One of the most famous of recent years – that really got people talking about the idea that women negotiate less than men and that that hurts us long-term…is Women Don’t Ask.
AM-T: “You mention Women Don’t Ask, I actually haven’t read that one but I’m a big fan of Ask For It, Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever’s second book, which is all about the way women are perceived when they negotiate and how to get around that. And they would say, it may sound icky, but women probably have to smile more, we have to play up the pleasant in these interactions. Do you balk at that or do you agree?”
“It's difficult because in the same way I wouldn't tell women to play up to stereotypes of how men negotiate or we think men negotiate, because not all men are aggressive when they negotiate by any stretch, I also feel a little bit uncomfortable about kind of saying, ‘Ladies behave in that kind of way to get what you want.’ I think we all have to be the best versions of what we can be of ourselves and actually the same is true for anyone, not just women.
You know some people that you negotiate with are going to respond better to smiles and questions and talking about where they've been on holiday…it's about understanding people. And this is really the real focus of everything I teach. Negotiation is about people and people are all different.”
AM-T: “Thank you so much for doing this. Is there any anything you'd like to say that you haven't said that you think is particularly important for women to bear in mind that you want to go away with?”
“I mean I've said to you at the start that I am a big one for demystifying and making things simple and I'd like really like listeners to leave with a toolkit. So just very quickly, the four steps of brilliant salary negotiation are as follows. I call it ‘the reap approach’ because you reap what you sow in relation to salary negotiation.
So the first part is R, which is research. Do your research, know the marketplace and know your worth and know what other people in similar roles are paid. See the world through their eyes. What does your employer want to achieve, are they looking to boost their market share or are they looking to increase more sales? Understand what they want and start to think about things from their perspective.
Then you need to establish. E is establish. Establish boundaries. What will you accept, what won't you accept? Establish what else matters to you. So is it vacation? Is it access to different projects, is it time abroad? And establish what you're going to start by asking for and what your walk away points are going to be. Then it's the Ask. So this is about being aware of anchoring. Think about the power of anchoring and if you can't go first just make sure that you stick to your plan, that you ask for what you plan to ask for. It's also about making sure you're not the person who goes into a negotiation with your opening proposal, a rough idea of where you want to get to and no plan as to how to bridge that gap. Plan multiple proposals in advance, don’t just wait for them to respond and then come up with something. Instead have all your different requests planned out, every step you might make mapped out.
And then P is persevere. How are you going to respond if they say no? What questions are you going to ask? Learn how to become more resilient. Use breathing, use rehearsal, use friends and family to practice with, but persevere. You might get a ‘no’ straightaway but the best negotiators will go back. Try and keep that conversation going. I used the example earlier on, let's say you say, Natalie, I can’t pay that, you don’t yet have that level of experience. My response shouldn’t be oh, okay, thanks anyway. Instead my response should be, ‘thank you for that. So I am very ambitious and I do want to access that level of salary, so I would be really grateful for you to outline if not now, in writing after this meeting, the steps I need to take within a defined period to be able to get that, and if we can’t talk about money now I'd be really keen to discuss vacation days or whether or not I could maybe work on a project in a different part of the of business to increase my exposure.”
Got all that? If not, I have your back – you can find a transcript of this whole conversation at TheBroadExperience.com. Just head over to the page for this episode.
Thanks so much to Natalie Reynolds for meeting me in London last month. She is CEO of negotiation consulting firm Advantage Spring and author of the book We Have a Deal.
Next time…after some early disappointments, a reluctant negotiator presses ahead.
“So there was just a little bit of back and forth and in the end I got very close to what I ultimately asked for.”
Look out for that episode soon. And let me know what you think of this one in the meantime.
I’m Ashley Milne-Tyte. Thanks for listening. See you next time.