How do women negotiators roll? with girltalk!

As I was role-playing with an attendee at a recent live negotiation seminar, I realized that we women too often forget that a negotiation is a conversation.  And conversation is what we're really really really good at.

Whether or not its true that women talk more than men, it certainly feels that way.  The biggest difference between "guy-talk" and "girl-talk" is subject matter.  And the subject matter we're not talking about that's killing us is our market value.

How do we open a conversation about what our knowledge, skill, education, experience, wisdom, savvy, social networks, products and services are worth in dollars and cents?


The fact that we resist opening conversations with talk of money is the good thing about us, not the bad.  As I noted in a post on Small Talk in the context of mediation

Recent research confirms that the miserly not only spend more time thinking about money than their more generous peers, they are also more socially withdrawn.  Although Dickens nailed the personality type on the headwhen he created the friendless and miserly Scrooge, it seems that all of us are anti-social and penny-pinching when focusing primarily upon money. The confirming research?  Recruiting the usual cadre of beleaguered undergraduates, scientists at the University of Minnesota found that when students have their minds on money, they tend to be both selfish and withdrawn.

So how does a negotiation conversation between women go?

It usually starts with shoes.  Or men or children.  Elderly parents.  Whether we all hated Sex and the City 2 equally as much.  Whose kids are in rehab and whose are graduating from Ivy League schools. 

(we'll do the negotiating with men conversation later)

Then after the shoes and the men and the children and the parents and the clucking and comparing and judging and judging ourselves for doing the judging and laughing,

then it goes something like this . . . . .

G1:  I'm thinking of doing business with you.

G2:  Me too! You.

G1:   (resisting the urge to say what she needs or being self-deprecating)  I'm (starting a business)or (thinking about my value in the organization and feeling that I'm not being compensated well enough) or (thinking about how much you could use my services) or (how much I could use the benefit of your wisdom)

G2:  Let's talk about what we each could bring to one another in terms of value.  Let me start by asking you what your goals, plans, dreams, etc. are for the next year . . . .

If you're with me here, continue writing this conversation.

And make it fun!