Your Own Terms

A Woman's Guide to Taking Charge of Any Negotiation

 Your Own Terms

Author: Yasmin Davidds
Pub Date: August 2015
Print Edition: $16.95
Print ISBN: 9780814436028
Page Count: 256
Format: Paper or Softback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814436035

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Chapter 1: Empower Yourself

This is not a book about how to become a barracuda at the bargaining table. It’s definitely not a book about how to negotiate more like a man, or how to win by making others lose face or power. It is a book about leveraging those feminine strengths, such as nurturing and collaboration, that all people, men and women, respond to positively.

We women frequently feel like we’re placed in a no-win situation before a negotiation even begins. If we make concessions to further the deal, we’re viewed as weak; but if we go in strong for what we want, we’re called unflattering names that often begin with “b.” Either way, professional working relationships sustain damage. Where’s the middle ground?

I live and work in the middle ground. I am an internationally known, bestselling author, a women’s empowerment and negotiation specialist, and an expert in the world-renowned Karrass negotiation program. As one of the leading female negotiation experts in the United States and Latin America, I have trained thousands of corporate leaders in more than two hundred blue chip companies in twenty-two countries in the art and skill of negotiation. My clients range from senior judges to tribal leaders, from unionized prison guards to accountants, and from railroad officials to diplomatic trainees.

Based on these personal experiences and successes, I will teach you what I’ve taught others—how to be both a winning and a graceful negotiator. I will show you how you have more power at the negotiating table than most men, without resorting to sexual nuance. And I will help you realize that being a successful negotiator means that people end up liking you more, not less.

Let’s begin by busting some myths.

Myth #1: Nice girls finish last. How do we get people to think we’re “nice”? Parents teach their daughters it’s by giving to others (while telling their sons it’s more important to be strong and tough). Some parents model this by sacrificing what they want so others (particularly their children) can have what they want. At the bargaining table, being “nice” in this way often leads you to make too many concessions in return for too little. The goal is to get what you want, and leave others feeling like they won, too.

Myth #2: Emotions have no place in serious negotiations. Quite the contrary. Your emotions are a critical barometer for creating a win-win. There can’t be a win-win unless you win, too. Women fear losing control emotionally and looking weak in the heat of negotiating. But to repress emotion requires tremendous amounts of energy, leaving little for strategic maneuvering. Emotions are energy that needs to be directed. You can’t really control what emotions pop up, but you can control how you express them. Fear, for example, can be directed into the courage to walk into (or out of) the conference room, anger into setting reasonable boundaries, self-doubt into taking a calculated risk.

Myth #3: You have to be mean or angry to earn respect. One archetype of Western patriarchal cultures is the man who uses anger and bullying to force other, weaker people to do his bidding. Kings and conquerors, slave owners, and shop foremen are all examples. But a modern woman who uses such men as her role models rarely gains respect from her colleagues (or herself). What’s the new paradigm? Earn respect from others by building your self-respect. This means taking a gracious and firm stand for what you desire.

Myth #4: You don’t deserve to have it all; and if you push for it, people think you are selfish or unrealistic. Don’t believe it for even one second! Who told you that you don’t deserve to have what you want? When was the very first time you remember hearing this? How often did you hear it growing up? Did the person saying it have an agenda that would benefit him or her if you didn’t get what you wanted? It may make no sense to honor at age thirty-six what your mother said you couldn’t have at age six. As an adult, you are entitled to more! Pushing yourself to get more at first may feel fake and unnatural. But small, daily successes will start to translate into success in bigger arenas—asking for pay raises, buying a house, getting investors for your business, buying a used car, and even dealing with your ex-husband’s divorce lawyer.

Myth #5: People don’t like women who say “no.” Users, manipulators, and exploiters certainly don’t. Others will try to work within the reasonable boundaries that you set—and respect you for having them. I will teach you some critical skills for dealing with the users in a strong and confident manner so you walk away from the negotiation liking yourself and feeling little concern if the manipulators and exploiters don’t.

Myth #6: Being a powerful woman who wins is OK for movie and TV characters, but in the real world it turns people off. The assumption here is that if a woman wins, colleagues—and sometimes even friends— are intimidated and turned off. Of course, if you always lose to someone, you may become afraid to deal with that person, which also is a turn-off. Instead, I will show you the art of being a powerful woman—someone who knows how to create win-win situations—without ever compromising your authentic femininity, by which I mean your ability to nurture, cooperate, and collaborate with respect for others and for yourself. You will draw others to you, gain respect and lifelong friendships along the way, and get what you want as well.

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