Negotiating Without the B-Word

By Misti Patrella

Whew! I had such an interesting day. I had to share it with you. I think this may come up more than we realize.

I was just going through a somewhat difficult negotiation with another businesswoman. We were both sharing our opinions about a subject matter that we both felt very strongly about. There were emotions there. We kept the discussion professional, but you could tell we were both working at it.

Because we were able to keep our emotions somewhat cool during the negotiation, we were able to come to a new compromise that both of us thought was even better than the first option discussed. It was a win-win! Yeah!

But…at the end of the conversation she said, “Sorry for being a bitch, I just had to push back on that one detail.”

Wait…what?!?!

I immediately replied back that I didn’t think that she was one.

Since when does having a strong opinion and negotiating with another person make you a bitch? Especially when we both got what wanted in the end? Why do we do that to each other?

Men are usually able to negotiate, argue with one another, fight even – coming out of it even better friends in the end. This occurs in life and business every day. I’ve watched my dad do this countless times.

We can’t we as women accomplish this same task without bringing the personal stuff into it? I have a great deal of respect for the woman I was talking to. Never for one second did it cross my mind that she was being a bitch. I left our conversation feeling amazing! And it wouldn’t have happened had we not been able to ride out that uncomfortable feeling you get when you disagree.

Is that it? Is it that uncomfortable feeling we want to go away?

But, that greyish, potentially uncomfortable, middle space is where the magic happens!

Here are a few things to keep in mind so that you can get through your next Bitch-free negotiation with ease:

  • Be clear with yourself about what you want the desired outcome to be before you begin
  • Find out what the other party wants
  • It can feel like you have an emotionally strong position, but your ability to take the emotion out of the game, gives you more room to negotiate. The emotional stuff just gets in your way.
  • Always be wiling to walk away. That’s my father’s number one, best-est negotiating tip. If you are too attached, you will lose.
  • It’s always possible to get to a win-win. Even if it doesn’t feel like that’s the case in the beginning.

What do you do when it’s time to negotiate in your business? Do you get nervous or do you feel strong? Do you make it clear that you have wants and needs in the situation? Do you bring in the B-word (or the D-word) when the other person has a strong opinion of the situation? Please let me know if the comments below.

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