Negotiation – Can Do!


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)

Thinking Outside the Triangle and the Creativity Cycle

Creativity isn’t magic, it’s habits.

Day two began with an introduction to the Creativity Cycle and adopting new habits. As researchers, we’re often taught to filter information out, and so the first step in the Creativity Cycle is to give ourselves permission to be curious; to start noticing things.

The second step is then to capture those things we notice. In this instance, in rather fetching notebooks which encourage thinking “outside the triangle”. Not everything captured will be immediately useful, but the act of writing things down can help to spark ideas later.

Notebook open to quote

As homework, participants were asked to begin looking at the world around them and capturing what they saw to encourage these habits, leading to the creation of our Creativity Wall.

Creativity wall- wall showing post-its and images of things participants notice

Capturing brand names and logos, news articles, and images from video calls to friends and family, participants created an inspiring wall reflecting their experiences and surroundings.

The next step in the Creativity Cycle are to be organised; to assess the contents of our new notebooks, looking for trends and creating structures. Considering areas where we struggle can help honing our focus.

Next, be collaborative and start combining the ideas and snippets we’ve captured and begun to organise. Adding them to our problems and ideas, or even collaborating with others.

Partipants adding information to creativity wall

Being weird can have a transformative effect for creativity, and so the next step is to try changing things up. Do things differently, whether it’s going to a new location or talking to new people.

Partipants' notebooks on table

Relaxing and taking the time to think about other things is an important final step. The act of going for a walk, knitting a scarf, or meeting friends can help to find balance, as well as trigger creativity and new ideas.

Time to start thinking outside the triangle. Kickstart the Creativity Cycle. Engage your curiosity and start capturing the world around you. What do you notice?

Ingenious women?

Who is the ingenious woman and what does she look like? What qualities does she embody?

Invoking the weekend’s theme of creativity, groups worked together to create vision boards which would answer these questions, inspired by their experiences, the room’s motivational posters, and the materials provided.

Boxes of paper, pens, blu-tack etc

Although each group interpreted the task differently- with results ranging from boardgames and the “rollercoaster of life”, to a 3D “spiral of success”- many touched upon the various challenges they faced in their fields. One group created an interactive poster, ripping away barriers such as imposter syndrome and lacking confidence to reveal the ingenious woman’s “guide to being fierce” and featuring strengths such as bravery, assertiveness and persistence.

Ingenious woman poster created by group, showing qualities and strengths of ingenious women

The theme of collaboration and supporting others resonated around the room, as other groups noted that ingenious women assisted others in tackling the snakes and ladders in their fields, from issues such as money, health or life balance, to trying new directions, negotiating, and finding motivation.

Ms Pacman on the rollercoaster of life

Poster shaped like snakes and ladders representing challenges and strengths of ingenious woman

Although the term “ingenious” refers to being cleverness, as well as the idea of being inventive, the groups all noted that they associated additional qualities with being an ingenious woman.

3D representation of spiralling path to success of ingenious women

As one group surmised, ingenious women are champions, pushing boundaries and balancing many responsibilities on a daily basis. And, as this task certainly proved, ingenious women are original, and extremely creative.

Images ~ Cia Jackson