How to Negotiate Authentically When You Have No Idea What You're Doing

It's no secret: women do not like to negotiate. We equate negotiation with root canals.

When we wake up from our negotiation slumber, we start recognizing that we've been negotiating all our lives and doing a pretty bang up job of it. When we REALLY wake up and learn the basics of negotiation, we become toddlers again. We run into things, bang up our shins and bonk our negotiation noggins. We struggle to find ways to authentically negotiate and put our new negotiation toys into practice.

Authentic negotiation begins with knowing ourselves. Truly, madly, deeply. If we know who you are and what you want, our next logical (or illogical) step is to wonder how you're going to ask for and get what you truly, madly, deeply want.

How do we ask for and get flexible work? Clean drinking water? New clients? A stop sign at that bad intersection on the corner by your house? Higher hourly fees? A month in Africa?

When we start asking how questions, our everyday negotiations begin to reveal the connection between our values and purpose and our vision of the life we're living into and our choices start to make sense. We begin finding the authentic WHY—the purposefulness in our daily choices.

Notice the question marks?

If you're just waking up to negotiation and realizing that you have no idea what you're doing, start by becoming an expert question asker in a way that resources your values:

  • What's this $50 service charge for? (Authentic spending)
  • Who do I need to talk to about reducing my interest rate? (Conscious money management)
  • If you were to put a price tag on my value as a writer to the company, how much would you raise my hourly rate? (Self worth)
  • Tuesdays I'm booked; what other days/times do you have available? (Self care)
  • I want to work with you, but I can't afford your fee. What can we do to make things more affordable? (Getting real)
  • What do you notice about your grades? What would you like to do about them? (Autonomy, empowerment)
  • What qualities and skills do I have that would be valuable to you in this management role? (Mastery)
  • How can my services benefit you? (Fearlessness)

Authentic negotiation begins by turning opinions, judgements and assumptions (all the usually inaccurate stuff going on in your head) into open-ended questions. You become curious. In turn, negotiation moves from an adversarial process to a simple, human conversation. A conversation that leads to agreement.

Any questions?