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Cracking the Negotiation Code on International Women’s Day

The official theme for International Women’s Day 2023 is “Cracking the Code: Innovation for a gender equal future”. My theme for the day is less about innovation but definitely about cracking the code.

To celebrate International Women's Day, I want to discuss the important topic of women and negotiation. Research shows that women tend to be less assertive in negotiations compared to men. This can lead to missed opportunities and lack of fair pay or resources.

The good news is that negotiation is a skill that can be learned and developed. It is possible to crack the code.

Here are my top tips for women to become better negotiators:

  • Be prepared. Make sure you understand your interests and your BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement) before entering a negotiation. If necessary, work on improving the strength of your BATNA to give you more power.

  • Focus on interests – rather than thinking only of one outcome, consider why that outcome is important to you and what other solutions my meet the same needs. Try to understand the other party's needs and priorities so you can suggest solutions that will meet their interests.

  • Stay confident. Understand your unique skills and the value you can contribute and make sure you communicate that clearly. Role play the conversation in the mirror or with a friend to build confidence.

  • Frame requests around fairness and mutual benefits. Say that you want an "agreement that is mutually beneficial" instead of just asking for more for yourself. Explain how your requests help both parties.

Ask for more. Many women leave value on the table by not asking for enough. So make sure you do research to understand a reasonable range, and ask for what you genuinely feel you deserve.

Negotiation is a crucial life skill for all women to develop. With knowledge, preparation, practice, and persistence, women can become powerful negotiators and get what they want and deserve in their careers and lives. Happy International Women's Day!

To learn more about how to be a better negotiator or to book a Negotiation GP consultation, head to

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