Negotiating When You’re the Only Woman Around the Table


The February 16 Women Leaders in Conversation interview was with Vijaya Kaza on the topic of Negotiating When You’re the Only Woman Around the Table, and showcased her grounded experience, humility and wisdom, and her focus on generating collaborative, win-win results.

To her, negotiating is about being clear on your intentions and expectations, doing the necessary homework beforehand, and understand your passions and goals and that of the people you’re working with, and communicating in the kind of convincing, fact-based, persistent, manner which builds consensus. It’s about building relationships, earning credibility, finding a win-win, and building on successes. It’s about speaking and acting with confidence, being fully informed and fully transparent with others.

And negotiation is always about the give-and-take. Know what you’re not willing to compromise on, and the areas where you are willing to give in. Be flexible in your negotiations.

Taking the initiative is another secret to negotiating successfully. Don’t just wait for an opportunity to present itself. Make your case for what’s best for you, your team, your company, and position yourself to succeed in negotiating that outcome. Then deliver results when you get there, increasing the likelihood of another opportunity for success!

Whether you are negotiating for yourself, for your team members, at home or at work, here are some top ten tips for negotiating, whether or not you’re the only woman around the table:
1.Know your signature strengths, passions and abilities.
2.Build your credibility with your educational background, your proven, measurable results.
3.Do your homework and understand the opportunities, the stakeholders, their motivations, etc. Then come up with a plan to negotiate a win-win.
4.Negotiation is always about the give-and-take, so collaborate, compromise and create alignments with other people, teams and organizations to achieve common goals.
5.Negotiate before and following meetings, offline, face-to-face, one-on-one, speaking person to person, focused on shared objectives.
6.Be clear in all your communications, both verbal and non-verbal, written and spoken, and persistent and passionate and convincing when you’re negotiating your position.
7.Always point to your results, rather than trying to play political games.
8.Invite influential and strategic others to your cause through convincing, data-based, passionate communications.
9.As an acid test, always make sure that you can stand on your own outside your current company, that your work will have value elsewhere, and that it’s not necessarily the relationships or politics alone facilitating your successes.
10.Never make a rash decision. Make sure that you consult those that you trust and give yourself time to ensure that you’re agreeing to do the right thing for you and your team and company.

The bottom line is that negotiating effectively is about knowing yourself, your objectives and working collaboratively with other parties to serve a common, mutually-beneficial purpose.


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