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The Art of Negotiation

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The Art of Negotiation

The Art of Negotiation

Jane Pauley has been an amazing role model for many women hoping to make a big impact on the world.  She was a household name for four decades of work at NBC, now is a contributor to CBS’ Sunday Morning, and is a New York Times bestselling author of Your LIfe Calling: Reimagining the Rest of Your Life.

Like most women, Jane says during most of her career she “wanted to be liked” more than be considered a tough negotiator.  This can make us women lose our bearings when we navigate the waters of tough negotiations.  How do you hold your boundaries and achieve your objectives while hoping to be “liked”.  Jane Pauley explained at last years Texas Conference for Women that she “started with an impression of fairness and collaboration.”  She said she would establish the justice of her cause, be willing to listen to the other side, and had a strong desire to find a solution where everyone felt satisfied.  Pauley calls this “a feminine way of negotiating.”

This is one of the most important facets of being a successful female in the world–to not hide your feminine nature, but capitalize on it.  Women have been working so hard to compete in a man’s world and prove ourselves as good as a man in our jobs that we have become far too likely to emulate masculine strengths than bring our own.

In everything you do, from career to relationships, when you show up as your genuine self–instead of who you think others want you to be–you bring more strength to what you do.

So whether it is interviewing heads of state, like Jane Pauley did, asking for a pay raise or negotiating a contract with a supplier, find your authentic voice. By being yourself (female and all) it is easier to be clear about what you want, listen for what the other person needs and look for solutions.  Posturing, pretending and power-grabs all reduce your ability to get what you want, and all come from an insecurity in your own strength.

One thing Jane pointed out to attendees worth noting is “a study that found that women, when negotiating on someone else’s behalf, achieved results that were 16 percent better than what men achieved.” Rather than beat yourself up for not being able to do for yourself what you might do for others, take this information to remind yourself of times you successfully took the cause of someone else and let it also remind you you have in you what it takes to win.

In her interview, Jane Pauley noted four leadership qualities in a “woman’s negotiation toolkit” that she advised we acknowledge and leverage:

  • empathy
  • collaboration
  • listening
  • avoiding conflict

I challenge you to list your own strengths from past experiences where you achieved something you wanted.  Look at your personal successes and those in your professional life.  Really challenge yourself to notice the skills you bring to the table of life.  Start to be your own best advocate.  As you start to notice the skillset you excel in you will stop trying to mimic others.

I love one of the last things Jane shared with us was a story about Madeleine Albright’s  granddaughter asking her if you had to be a woman to be Secretary of State because before John Kerry the three of the last four had been women!  (Hillary Clinton, Condolezza Rice, and Madeleine Albright)  “These women were global negotiators,” Pauley adds. “Each has a different style and each style worked. Many roads will take you to Rome.”

Which brings me back to my contention that to succeed you have to be yourself, your best self; however, fully you.  As Jane points out each of these women were incredibly different in their styles, yet very successful. Find your own strengths and let them shine.  You will be amazed at how easy your success will become with you stop pretending to be someone you are not.



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