An Inspirational Presentation – Negotiating Success for Women in Business

McKinley Carter Wealth Services was delighted to co-sponsor The Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence’s Center for Women in Business event on Tuesday, July 10 and I was honored to introduce the speaker, MJ Tocci.  I am fortunate to sit on the advisory board of PROGRESS (Program for Research and Outreach on Gender Equity in Society) with MJ and she has become a valued friend.

The event titled “Let’s Make a Deal: Effective Negotiating Strategies for Women in Business”, featured MJ Tocci, Co-Founder and Director of the Heinz Negotiation Academy for Women at Carnegie Mellon University.  MJ delivered a rousing and thought-provoking presentation to over 140 women from the corporate, small business, and nonprofit sectors.

The presentation focused on the major behaviors that limit women’s ability to successfully negotiate for what they want in their personal and professional lives.

First, women do not recognize negotiable opportunities to the same extent as men.
Women “just don’t ask” as often, which can impact their lives in both small and big ways.  MJ gave a real life example of being extremely surprised when she learned that her male partner on a business trip got a plush bathrobe delivered to his hotel room because he asked for it.  She also quantified the negative impact to lifetime earnings as being high as $500,000 by age 60 when you do not negotiate the salary for your first major job.
Secondly, women create barriers to successful negotiating.
One barrier is having limited and negative thinking.  Thoughts like “I don’t deserve this” or “I will appear greedy if I ask” commonly sabotage success.  Another barrier is experiencing anxiety about negotiating due to being unprepared, or due to the ambiguous nature of some negotiations.  She provided a variety of strategies and tactics to help overcome these obstacles.
MJ encouraged women to frame the negotiating process differently and think of it as creative problem solving. She also described men as being more inclined to view negotiating as a game thus not taking the process or its outcomes as personally.  She stressed that negotiating is something that is best learned through practice.  And she reminded the audience more than once that a response of “No” does not necessarily signify the end of the negotiation.  “No” is merely a position from which you negotiate.
Guests learned about resources to improve their negotiating skills. Linda Babcock, Economics Professor at Carnegie Mellon and Co-Founder of the Heinz Negotiation Academy for Women has authored two books on women and negotiating.  Women Don’t Ask explores the uncomfortable truths about gender and negotiation and exposes the obstacles that keep women from negotiating effectively for themselves. Ask For It provides practical advice; real-world negotiation stories from the authors, and a detailed four-phase program with exercises for preparing for and succeeding in life’s negotiations.