The WIB-Atlanta chapter met at the office of Kilpatrick Townsend for a workshop entitled “Negotiating – The Key to Getting More at Work and Beyond,” led by Dr. Elizabeth M. Boyd, an Assistant Professor of Management & Entrepreneurship and Research Director for the Women’s Leadership Center at Kennesaw State University.
After some networking over wine and snacks, Dr. Liz Boyd started her talk by defining negotiation – a process involving two parties working to come to an agreement. She stressed the fact that we are always negotiating, perhaps poorly, whether we ask for something or not. There are two aspects to the negotiation process: 1) the issue at hand; and 2) the psychological factors. An effective negotiator quantifies the issue and is aware of all options before walking into a negotiation. Knowing your BATNA, or “Best Alternative To the Negotiated Agreement,” is critical to the outcome. Quantifying your BATNA, or what you are left with if you don’t come to an agreement, is important so you do not mistakenly agree to something that is worse than what you started with.
Using salary negotiating as an example, Boyd demonstrated a number of strategies to help us get more out of our negotiations. She explained that you should try to be the first to suggest your starting salary, so you can use the “anchor and adjust” principle: request a high salary (to anchor the conversation) to intentionally steer the counter-offer (the adjustment) by the employer to a higher level. If the employer is the first to provide the offer, he or she will anchor the conversation at a lower level and you will have the harder task of adjusting the salary to a higher level.
Also, the principle of reciprocity can help advance your job offer: agree, with disappointment, to lose a benefit (whether or not you are bothered by losing it), so you can “compromise” for another benefit. Another strategy discussed was using silence after receiving/making an offer and being willing to leave the negotiation table without a deal. This tactic leaves the other party uncomfortable and more inclined to compromise. It is also important to make sure that all issues in your negotiation are settled as a package and not one at a time. Know that individuals tend to differ in their negotiation styles and that you should adopt tactics and choose a style that suits your personality or it won’t work effectively.
The women that attended the workshop were interactive with the speaker and asked questions specific to their experiences, the answers to which were informative for everyone. The strategies suggested left us better prepared to handle our next negotiation.
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