Negotiation – Can Do!

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Awarding winning art by Sara (or a passing 5 year old)

Ingenious and Enterprising Women Scotland is funding through the Can Do Scotland programme which is supporting a huge range of projects and initiatives. Tackling inequality lies at the heart of the Can Do approach, as does supporting strategic partnerships, so I today find myself speaking at the Converge Challenge “Enterprise for Women in Academia” event. My theme is negotiation and this post will summarise the key points as well as some observations about the event.

One thing I should have negotiated was not to agree to speak after an expert on public speaking! Mel Sherwood shared five top tips on presentations. Mel shares a lot of her advice through her blog and website, but in summary

  • know your audience and the message they need to hear
  • believe in your ability to present
  • target your content to deliver your message
  • deliver the message in an engaging way
  • understand your environment and be familiar with it

I’ve included these because they proved a remarkable fit with my own ideas about negotiation.

My slides:

Negotiating Skills for Entrepreneurial Women for web

The key messages from the presentation.

  • Redefine negotiation in your head so it is less about winners and losers, more about collaborative problem solving
  • Understand why the negotiation might fail and address this in your preparation
  • Be comfortable articulating what you want, but ask critical friends to help you present it more effectively
  • Understand the perspectives of the people you are negotiating with and find the shared goal you can work together on achieving
  • Understand what “presses your buttons” in a negotiation scenario – I got this phrase from the fantastic guide to difficult conversations written by Judy Ringer.
  • Bring the unspoken issues up to the surface. Be aware of what’s not being said and make people comfortable so they will talk about what’s really going on.
  • Use the negotiation model on yourself – how will you balance your ideals with pragmatism so you can have an impact in your organisation’s culture.
  • Use your voice! Contribute to consultations, join committees, get people talking about what you want to change.

(written by Sara Shinton)

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