“Tessa, we’d like to make you an offer.”
Tessa holds her breath on the other end of the phone. “Here it comes,” she thinks, “finally, the opportunity I’ve been waiting for!”
The person on the other end of the phone continues to talk—about salary, benefits, vacations and other assorted perks. But Tessa is silent, lost in her own thoughts and disappointment.
She has done the research and knows that the job being offered warrants a higher salary, about 15 percent higher than the number that was just quoted to her on the phone. But she wants the position, so she’d better just say yes. “After all,” she consoles herself, “I’ll do a good job, so there will be an increase down the road… right?”
Yet the moment Tess accepts the offer her excitement drops, and a lead ball sits in the base of her stomach. She doesn’t quite know why.
Much is made of the fact that women are paid less than men. But in many cases there’s a logical and compelling reason why this occurs. Women don’t negotiate.
Negotiation is the art of asking for what you want and being willing to make concessions and adjustments in order to achieve the desired result. Women are adept at being flexible, but are they equally adept at asking what they want?
Two Reasons Women Are Less Likely Than Men to Negotiate
- Women are socialized to place the needs of others first and their own second,
- Women believe that they will be recognized and rewarded for their hard work and dedication.
Women are not trained or socialized to ask for more, while men have been groomed not only to ask, but to negotiate. The socialization process is completely different for men than for women and their level of confidence in negotiation is far greater.
Here’s how to set yourself up to negotiate for what you truly want:
Do your homework.
Do the research to learn what the job pays for your level of experience and one level beyond. If it’s a consulting opportunity, establish a benchmark for the type of project you’re after.
• Seek wise counsel.
Talk to people who have been in similar situations and can share their experiences. Real-life experiences are far more helpful than well-meaning opinions.
• Practice makes perfect.
Practice asking for what you want. Get comfortable responding when the person with whom you are negotiating comes back with a counter proposal. Many women fear coming across as pushy, bitchy, or too aggressive. Practice will help you allay those fears and refine your approach.
• Know your bottom line.
Know what makes sense for you fiscally and personally. Decide in advance where there’s wiggle room to negotiate.
• Believe in yourself.
I don’t think I need to say more than that. This variable is completely within your control. Be ready, able and willing to step up to the plate and ask for what you want. Doing so may determine whether or not you get it.
Maria Gamb served for 20-plus years as an executive in businesses valued at upwards of 100 million dollars. She is founder/CEO of NMS Communications, where she helps executives and entrepreneurs claim their ability to lead profitable, innovative and effective businesses. Maria is also the Amazon best selling author of Healing the Corporate World. She’s the host of the Value 2 Vision Retreat. Find out more about Maria Gamb at www.mariagamb.com