There was a time when women weren’t believed to have what it takes to succeed in business. They were expected to stay home, take care of the kids, cook, and clean, because that was their place in society. Business was considered a man’s world – too harsh for females.
Things have certainly changed over the years. The consistently growing number of woman-owned businesses has proven that women can be successful. The thing that was perhaps the most surprising to subscribers to the old school of thought was that women didn’t have to emulate men to achieve that success. They had their own way of doing things, and it worked.
Still, there are misconceptions about women in business. One that persists is that women are not good negotiators. Just like men, some businesswomen find that negotiating isn’t their strong point. But more often, women simply negotiate differently from men. Not less effectively, just differently.
When women negotiate, they tend to focus more on maintaining a good relationship between the negotiating parties. At first glance, this may seem like a weakness, but it’s not. By striving to remain on good terms with the other party, you can keep the negotiations civil and respectful. You’re also more likely to reach a mutually agreeable outcome.
Another talent that women bring to the negotiation table is the ability to effectively interpret non-verbal communication. Body language and tone of voice can speak volumes, and knowing what they mean can be a great asset in negotiations. These signals can give us a glimpse into someone’s subconscious, and we can adjust our negotiation techniques accordingly.
In general, women may be less aggressive than men in negotiations. That’s not always a bad thing, because hardball tactics can backfire in certain situations. It can sometimes put them at a disadvantage, however, particularly when they’re up against a highly aggressive party. So it’s important not to be afraid to get a little aggressive if the situation warrants it.
All in all, given the exact same situation, a woman can negotiate just as effectively as a man. A bigger concern is the amount of experience one has in negotiating. New small business owners in particular may not be as informed as they should be about things like the going rates for salary and standard terms for agreements. It’s important to do your homework before entering negotiations, because if you don’t, they’re less likely to turn out favorably for you.
Women often utilize different skills in negotiations, but those skills are just as likely to get the job done. And the end result is what’s important.