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Ask for It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want

I didn’t realize until I got onto the plane out of Seattle that Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever — our morning plenary session speakers (Women Don’t Ask:  Negotiation and the Gender Divide) — have written a new book — Ask for It — How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want.

(Listen to their WNYC interview here)

Here are the statistics from Women Don’t Ask that should make every woman who reads this blog sharpen her negotiation skills by picking up Ask for It today.

  • Women report salary expectations up to 24% lower than men for the same jobs
  • Women will pay over $1,000 more to avoid negotiating the price of a car.
  • 20% of adult women (22 million people) say they never negotiate at all.
  • 2.5 times more women than men say they fear negotiation.

As the handout from Bantam Books on Women Don’t Ask reports:

By neglecting to negotiate her starting salary for her first job, a woman may sacrifice over half a million dollars in earnings by the end of her career.  Yet, as research reveals, men are four times more likely than women with the same qualifications to ask for higher pay.  From career promotions to help with child care, studies show time and again that women don’t ask — and frequently don’t even realize they can.

So let’s equip ourselves for the 21st century friends because Harvard studies have also shown that women negotiate every bit as well as men when they’re negotiating for someone else.  This means bringing a negotiation partner with you or simply pretending that you’re negotiating for a friend when asking for what you deserve yourself!

And While You’re At It, Check Out Diane Levin’s Mediation Channel Review of Ask for It Here.  Excerpt below:

Phase One teaches women to recognize that “Everything Is Negotiable”. As anyone knows, the toughest negotiation can be with yourself, and the authors help readers begin by asking questions of themselves to identify and clarify their professional and personal goals. Phase Two teaches readers how to “Lay the Groundwork”, reviewing the skills and concepts of basic negotiation strategy. Among the most important lessons? Information is power — and the authors explain how and where to get it to strengthen your bargaining position.

Phase Three, “Get Ready”, pushes women to aim high when it comes to negotiating. It covers cooperative bargaining; ascertaining your worth; using logrolling or trade-offs to get past jams and build value; and how to make the first offer. Best of all, it even comes equipped with a “Negotiation Gym” — a six-week program of increasingly difficult negotiation exercises that will help women build negotiation muscles and develop stamina and strength in preparation for tougher negotiation challenges. No one will ever kick sand in your face again.

Phase Four shows how women can “Put It All Together” — to practice in advance by role playing with a friend, to avoid making concessions prematurely, to create the right impression to influence your counterpart at the table, and, finally, to close the deal.

What makes this book a must-read for men, too, and not just for women are its unpleasant revelations about the realities of hidden bias against women at the negotiation table. The authors exhort readers to take responsibility themselves for combating gender bias, not just that of others but particularly their own. They remind readers that all of us regardless of gender possess assumptions and unexamined beliefs about women in negotiation. They point to studies that indicate that while aggression earns men points at the negotiation table, it punishes women with backlash and disapproval. And, while the authors fiercely advocate for women at the negotiation table, the chapter on “Likability” with its insistence that women avoid aggressive tactics and “be nice” while bargaining, will no doubt leave some readers bristling. However, until the world changes how it views women in negotiation, it’s hard to argue with the studies the authors cite.


Victoria Pynchon

Attorney-mediator Victoria Pynchon is a panelist with ADR Services, Inc. Ms. Pynchon was awarded her LL.M Degree in Dispute Resolution from the Straus Institute in May of 2006, after 25 years of complex commercial litigation practice, with sub-specialties in intellectual property, securities fraud, antitrust, insurance coverage, consumer class actions and all… MORE >

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