It determines the outcomes you achieve for your organization, your department, your team and yourself.
There's a popular perception that women aren't as 'tough' or as 'strong' at negotiations as men. I suspect anyone that has ever sat across the table from Hilary Clinton, Maggie Thatcher or many women who have led successful businesses would tend to dispute this common held view.
It's a skill. And a skill can be learnt.
You just have to be willing to do it, take some time to learn how and then, and this is the hardest part, actually be prepared to try what you learn and integrate it into what you do.
The thought of negotiating can be intimidating, conjuring up images of corporate mergers, industrial disputes and United Nations peace treaties. But it doesn't have to be scary. If you can get control of the TV remote control or influence the choice of restaurant with your friends - you can negotiate - you already are.
Once you recognize that negotiation is just the process by which you reach an agreement - you can develop and apply your skills in business too.
Here's 5 Fast Tips for negotiations at work:
1. Be willing to negotiate - whether it's for sufficient time to complete your work, budget or resources - you won't be successful if you don't get what you need. People aren't mind readers to know what you need or have the time to figure it out. You have to be prepared to ask. In the business world it is expected that you will do this - negotiating is a core career skill in business.
2. Consider the implications of not getting what you need - whether it be for yourself, your team or your customers there will be a cost if you aren't successful. When you understand the implications it can provide inspiration. And it will provide you with a persuasive discussion point for your negotiation.
3. Negotiate for yourself as you would for someone else - if you don't get the time, resources or whatever YOU need - other people are going to be impacted eventually. If you don't get the time off you need to spend with your family or the money you need - eventually your work and other people will suffer anyway.
There is no reason why your own negotiations shouldn't be your priority. Or that you should need any other justification. But if you reticent to negotiate for yourself and it gives you inspiration to negotiate a little bit harder for someone else and this approach helps - use it!
4. Ask for what you need - this is normal, expected and anticipated business behaviour. You are entitled and expected to negotiate - so do it! If you don't - others will wonder why.
5. Be confident - there's no need for your approach to be timid, apologetic or uncertain. Be clear, firm and true to your personal style. When you approach a communication confidently it promotes confidence that you know what you need and why. And that confidence is persuasive.
Think about what you need and why and ask for something this week. As they say, Practise Makes Perfect!
Thanks for the chat
P.S. See Chapter 10 of "Hot Tips for Career Chicks" for more tips on negotiation including the infamous "pony principle".