Yours truly speaking at Essence Digital. Photo by Jackie Harshman.
I love watching TV because it allows me to see various, sometimes outrageous negotiation situations play out, all from the comforts of my couch.
I began to watch TV shows with a deeper appreciation for this after a conversation with Julie and Casey of Vital Voice Training. (Go check them out!)
They told me how, in every scene, characters with opposing viewpoints engage in dialogue, each vying to achieve their own goals. Often that dialogue is a negotiation (and you know how I love a good negotiation).
Recently, my life partner Charlie has been re-watching cult-favorite science fiction show Battlestar Galactica on Hulu. Last week I joined him on the couch for episode 7, titled “You Can’t Go Home Again.”
Near the end of this episode, there is a pivotal scene in which one of the heroes, President Roslin, speaks truth to power and negotiates with difficult people to affect positive change. I really enjoyed this and wanted to share the nugget of negotiation wisdom in this scene with you.
First, let me set the scene.
Yours Truly Speaking at Baystate Health Women’s Empowerment Summit
Every time I talk about negotiation, I encounter the 3A trap.
What I mean is, someone in the audience invariably describes the 3A Trap — as defined by William Ury in The Power of Positive No — as her experience of negotiating in the workplace.
The 3A’s stand for:
Accommodate: You give in.
You say yes when you don’t want to. You take on the extra workload, but without the recognition or reward. You don’t speak up to address your needs, because you’re afraid of upsetting your boss, your partner, or your colleagues. You accommodate out of fear of losing the validation and approval of others. This is a trap I personally have a lot of experience with.
It’s the path of least resistance when you want to make sure they still like you, even when you hate yourself for having undervalued yourself.
Avoid: You put up walls.
You avoid having the awkward and difficult conversation altogether. It upsets me when other people do this to me. For example, have you ever had an important discussion postponed, only to be postponed again…and again? “Yeah, sure, we can talk about compensation next quarter / next review cycle / next year.” (Might as well be next lifetime!) Or have you ever sat in icy cold silence at the table after a topic of contention was mentioned, only to be ignored?
It can be as convenient to avoid as it is to accommodate. Why brave a difficult conversation, when you can easily hide behind a wall?
Attack: You lash out.
Earlier this week, I had the delightful privilege of leading Negotiation Prowess workshop for women grad students at Columbia University.
It was fun, and I dare say a success!
The individual questions from attendees were specific and challenging, and I’ve been mulling on them ever since.
Which made me see that there were two key recurring themes. Allow me to explain…
1. Should you negotiate for the sake of negotiating?
No and yes.
Let’s start with no. Don’t negotiate for the sake of negotiating. Don’t negotiate because I told you to. Don’t negotiate because your friends or parents tell you to.
Which might sound bonkers to you, especially if you’ve heard me talk or have been reading this newsletter where I stress how YOU SHOULD ASK FOR MORE.
How could you do this to me?
I slammed the door shut.
NO! I’m not coming out of this room!
I was sixteen years old, holding myself hostage in the bedroom, wailing and crying.
Mom brought her boyfriend home, unannounced, late at night, when I wasn’t ready to accept any of that.
It was a tough year. My parents separated. Mom, sisters and I moved to a new place. I had no friends, no money, no car. I felt powerless, trapped and hurt.
The wounds were still too raw.
So I resorted to stonewalling, barricading myself behind a locked door, wailing loud enough for my outrage to be heard.
Credit Getty Images/iStockphoto
By now you know you need to make bolder asks for bigger opportunities and better compensation packages. You’re ready to work hard and negotiate for the resources, support, and money you need to achieve your ambitious dreams.
Which is all well and good, but perhaps you’re wondering: Exactly how do I do that? What are the appropriate strategies and words to use in a negotiation?
May you be a rising star in 2015!
Photo by the talented Melissa Maples
Thanks for publishing Negotiating at Work webinar on The Muse. I’m not sure if it’s appropriate for me to say that a raise would make me happier and want to work even harder. How can my getting a raise make the company tangibly better, given it takes money from the company?
Space to breathe, by the talented Melissa Maples.
As the year draws to a close, things are getting more hectic. Deadlines loom. The pressure grows. Shopping lists and to-do lists grow, the days shorter.
Earlier this evening, I walked behind a petite woman holding four shopping bags, clomping down on NYC street as she talked on the phone. She said, “yeah, so now I just need to go pick up another gift, go home, shower, change, write a few emails, then head out again.”
Love this recap article by Koa Beck, Senior Editor at DailyWorth. DailyWorth is a leading online publication focusing on women’s financial health.
When you negotiate, remember that it’s a discussion.
Jamie Lee reminded us that when negotiating anything, both parties have their objectives. While it’s imperative to prepare for negotiations, the point is not necessarily to blurt out a rehearsed script and then clam up and wait anxiously for your prize. Negotiation is about listening as much as it is about being clear on what you came for — but pivot appropriately based on the response.
Remembering that negotiating is a conversation is also helpful if you stumble into some pushback. “No” doesn’t necessarily mean no until the end of time. “No” is not a rejection of you, Jamie says. Sometimes it simply means “not right now.”
Read more on DailyWorth