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Would You Pay Me to Negotiate For You? Part I. The “Would”, “What if” and “Where’s” of Negotiation

Jacquelyn Minor
By Jacquelyn Minor

What?

We’ll start with “Would” because the title was a real question.

“Would you pay me to negotiate for you?” What do you think? Would you?

Are you thinking about it? Let me sweeten the deal.

What if I negotiate for you everywhere and all the time? Are you that woman who is paid less than her male counterparts? Do you feel like you have to negotiate with an ex-partner for child support? Will you get the best deal on your car? Is that house you want to buy overpriced? Should that officer have just let you get by that one time? (I’m just saying…)

Are you tired of “going along with the program” because you just don’t feel like arguing? Are your cell phone plan, internet service bill, and cable plan ridiculously high? Do you put your foot down…only to lift it back up again?

What if I could negotiate not only FOR you, but AGAINST you where it counts. Consider this: you’ve been running errands all day Saturday and you and the kids are all hungry; there is a Chick-fil-A about a half mile away. Hot waffle fries.  Or what about this: You are browsing the web and a banner flashes: “Clearance! Up to 80% off! Click here.” It’s a sale, you should at least check, right? Let’s negotiate your next move in your interest.

Well, the obvious reality is that I’m neither omnipresent nor omniscient. I can’t be everywhere all the time, and I’m not all-knowing. So no, don’t pay me to negotiate for you. PAY YOURSELF. Believe it or not, you can be your very best and most reliable negotiator in all things.

Where have you opted to negotiate already? Perhaps you have negotiated dates? Where? What time? Who’s paying for what? Once my mom group and I had a joint graduation party for our seven sons. We had to negotiate most of the elements of the event. Do you have conversations with your kid’s teachers or school administrators when you are unhappy about something that has happened? You very likely negotiated the outcome.

We tend to feel confident about negotiating when we feel like we have power in the situation. We feel like the playing field is level, so we are comfortable asserting our voice.

When we feel like the other party in the negotiation (perhaps an Asst. Principal or Teacher) has more power than us (a “low-power” negotiation) we almost always negotiate more successfully when we are negotiating for someone else.

Where have you missed the opportunity to negotiate? Remember when you were a kid and the doctor gave you a hearing test? You put headphones on and the doctor instructed you to raise your hand on the side where you heard a tone. If you were like me, you strained with all your might to hear all of the tones. I’m pretty sure I even heard some tones that weren’t actually there. Can you relate?

How does this connect to negotiation? You listened intently for the sound because you expected it to be there. You expected them to come at any time from either direction.

As women, we have to do this with negotiations. Sadly, a great deal of research has uncovered that most women don’t recognize opportunities to negotiate because they aren’t expecting them in X,Y,Z situations, so they don’t enter into negotiations. What this means is that we leave a lot of opportunities behind us. We have to change how we move throughout our days such that we expect opportunities to negotiate.

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