Go from Nervous to Natural at Your Next Negotiation

One of the reasons women get nervous about negotiating is that they see the encounter as “me vs. them.”

Go from Nervous to Natural

“It makes me uncomfortable to ask—to initiate what feels like might be a confrontation.”

“I know I am worthy, but I already make a lot and don’t want to come across as greedy or confrontational.”

These are typical responses from my survey which queried women about their biggest fear around asking for a raise.

When seen as a confrontation, it’s no wonder avoidance is the strategy of choice. That perspective is known as “positional bargaining,” essentially a battle of the will.

And it's outdated.

How to Go from Nervous to Natural

It's time for you to adopt the modern mindset about the negotiation process. It one which reflects current views and practices of how deals get done.

  • What if agreement was based on a search for shared interests and mutual goals instead of an adversarial win-lose stance.
  • What if we understood that the most effective negotiations use collaboration, not confrontation.
  • What if we embraced conversation and problem-solving as the more potent paths to agreement than a debate or a fight on whose position is right. (We women are naturals when it comes to conversation and solving problems, right?)

Wouldn't that make negotiating easier? More natural?

All that's possible and it’s called principled negotiation. It’s also known as “negotiation on the merits.”

Equipped with this perspective, you won't be so nervous to negotiate your next raise.

Getting to Yes

Principled negotiation is a method developed decades ago at the Harvard Negotiation Project and subsequently described for the masses in the hugely popular book, Getting to Yes, first published in 1981.

I was about 25 years old when I read that first edition of Getting to Yes, and it’s a book I still recommend today. (At this writing, the latest edition was published in 2011.)

When I re-read the book recently, it renewed my vision and mindset of what’s possible with this approach. The authors are very specific about the tactics you can use to get favorable results, and include practical examples of the tactics in action.

You can use these same tactics in a pay raise negotiation.

The four main points of the “principled negotiation” method to focus on are these:

  1. Separate the people from the problem. 
  2. Focus on interests, not positions. 
  3. Invent multiple options for mutual gain. 
  4. Insist on using objective criteria.*

*Roger Fisher, William Ury and Bruce Patton, Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, Third Edition (Penguin Group, 2011), 11 (affiliate link)

Too busy to read the book? Watch the four-minute video at the end of this post to give you a fast-track look at the principles in action.

Principled Negotiation is Proven

Principled negotiation is a proven, time-tested method of negotiation that is less intimidating and more effective than how you might currently perceive it.

If you’re intentional about it, you can learn and employ its tactics—and others specific to women that you're learning here—to get better negotiated outcomes at work, at home, and in the marketplace.

Recognize that you're more than capable of mastering the negotiation conversation. In principled negotiation, that’s all it is—a conversation.

Watch the Getting to Yes video below to learn more about "principled negotiation." 

Then let me know if it makes a difference in your perspective about negotiating and your confidence to ask for a raise.

Watch Getting to Yes (<5 minutes)