Women are Born Negotiators

An excerpt from my article at Forbes Woman, Negotiation 101:  Gender War or Gender Peace and Prosperity.

The good negotiation news for women is that they are better negotiators than they think. As Babcock reports in her book, women are more likely to plan their negotiation strategy more carefully; to see the big picture more clearly; to work through impasse by sharing experiences more often; to concentrate more on what their negotiation partner needs to close the deal; and to create more options whereby both sides can get more of what they want than men do.


While these general tendencies of women (understanding that we all operate on a sliding scale of "femaleness" and "maleness") were previously believed to be negotiation deficits, they are now perceived as negotiation assets.

Professor Leigh Thompson of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and author of The Mind and Heart of the Negotiator, for instance, reports from her own controlled experiments conducted in 1991, that 93% of all negotiators fail to ask "diagnostic questions" of their bargaining partners when to do so would significantly increase the negotiation outcome for both parties. Asking diagnostic questions--what do you want, need or prefer and why--is something women are skilled at and that men too often avoid.

But let's not get all gender wars about this. Let's instead focus on male negotiation advantages that can be adopted by women and female negotiation advantages that can be adopted by men. The male advantages? Once again remembering that we are dealing with social and cultural stereotypes, they might include: believing you have the advantage, feeling entitled to rewards and compensation, having a greater sense of pride and self-importance, ability to speak up more aggressively, successfully pushing your weight around and simply seeming to know more than everybody else.

Read the entire article here.