Thursday, May 3, 2007

Negotiation as a Way of Life

As part of our presentation, Negotiation as a Way of Life, for a group of Oracle's high-potential women at the Oracle Women's Leadership Conference (OWL) today, Leslie and I shared some of the most recent (scary) data on women and negotiation from Women Don't Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide, By Babcock and Laschever:

In surveys, women were 2.5 times more likely than men to say they feel "a great deal of apprehension" about negotiating.
Men initiate negotiations about four times as often as women do.
20 percent of adult women say they never negotiate at all, even though they often recognize negotiation as appropriate and necessary.
When asked to pick metaphors for the process of negotiating, men picked “winning a ballgame” and a “wrestling match”. Women said “going to the dentist”.

I asked the group of 100 women "How many of you would rather go to the dentist than negotiate? I was joking when I asked, but a few hands were raised!

The solution we advised is to stop thinking of negotiation as a skill to be used only in rare, high-stakes business circumstances. Instead, think of negotiation as a way of life, meaning that the best way to master this skill is to negotiate everything, every day, in every conversation you encounter.

Examples are: negotiate who cooks dinner, negotiate who will drive the carpool, negotiate which movie to watch, negotiate who will help you on a project... etc. Until negotiation becomes a natural way of life.

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