The Negotiator Magazine

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Meeting Challenges. If there were total agreement on what a person is worth, there would be no need to negotiate. But consensus on a personís contribution seldom exists, and negotiators must be prepared for their assessment -- and consequently their demands -- to be challenged. Survey respondents who were not successful in negotiations often found themselves at the receiving end of challenges to their value without any way to meet them.

"I was told that I was too young to make the type of money that they were paying the employee who was previously in that position."

"I was told that the reason I was working so much "free" overtime was not that the work required it, but that I am a type A personality and donít like to go home."

Some of peopleís best negotiating experiences occurred when respondents were able to meet those challenges -- when they were able to counter claims that there was no money in the budget, that there were many other qualified people to take the job, that their demand was higher than others in comparable positions. One woman summed it up when she wrote:

"My best negotiating experience was when I was prepared for any objection that came along."

Having good information is critical to being able to meet challenges that put you at a disadvantage. Meeting those challenges also requires having a repertoire of what we at theshadownegotiation.com call turns. These are actions you take that shift the conversation away from your deficits or deficiencies.

Being Flexible. One important turn is having ideas for alternative ways to get your demands met. The most satisfied negotiators were women who had options up their sleeves when they reached a temporary dead end. Several women reported agreeing to less desirable starting salaries with commitments to re-assessment based on performance.

"After an initial interview, a follow-up interview with the three senior partners for whom I would be working, and a third "hiring" interview, I was not pleased with the salary offered. I made a specific request and asked how close the company could come to my request. The interviewer, who was a section manager, responded with very abrupt indignation that the salary I was requesting was more than she herself was being paid. I accepted the job offer with the provision that my job performance would be reviewed in six months instead of the usual one year. At the end of six months I received a substantial salary increase."

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