Don't Assume Women Won't Negotiate with You

Does she look innocent to you? Maybe . . . but don’t count on it.

Don’t think she’s not negotiating with you.

Last week we warned men that flirting with women while negotiating is a quick trip to buyer’s or seller’s remorse. Today, we provide you with a second warning - don’t think she’s not negotiating with you.

Don't Think She's Not Negotiating With You

Seasoned negotiators will tell you that the most dangerous negotiation you can conduct is one you don't know you're having. People in general, but particularly men, are used to women not negotiating on their own behalves. Women have repeatedly been warned that it falls outside their gender role to ask for anything for themselves and research has established that they negotiate far less than men do, particularly when it comes to compensation.

But women have been aware of this “negotiation hesitance for more than a decade” and all the best business schools and women’s organizations have been busy all that time preparing women to negotiate.

So please don't rely on high performing women's supposed hesitance to negotiate. Not only is the new generation - schooled in negotiation strategy and tactics - beginning to break out of this particular gender role, but women of all generations are getting it together to learn the most effective negotiation skills, including those that avoid or lessen the impact of gender bias.

It may seem to you as if you're simply having a pleasant conversation with a woman applicant, a lawyer seeking equity partnership, a business woman angling for the C-suite or even a clerical employee seeking to move into management. If she's bold enough to be negotiating on her own behalf, assume that she knows what she's doing.

No one ever got hornswaggled by over-estimating their opponent but many is the negotiator who didn’t know what hit him when he underestimated the preparation, skill and savvy of his bargaining partner.

Does she look innocent to you? Don’t buy it. You’ve just met a member of Gen-Y who the local sheriff has ordered to check her spurs and weapons at the county line.

Victoria PynchonComment