6 things savvy female negotiators do differently to the rest of us

I love people-watching. As a trainer, of course, I have ample opportunity to do so. While groups are completing roleplays or activities, it’s my job is to observe their body language patterns and communication habits. Many years of closer observation have brought my attention to a problem which creates ‘glass ceiling moments’ for female negotiators. Here’s what I’ve noticed, when women step into senior roles, body language patterns that previously helped them in negotiation begin to backfire. For example, patterns of smiling frequently often can help a woman be successful in a junior role. When she’s attempting to negotiate as a leader, however, smiling too often will reduce her credibility and be perceived as an anxious habit.

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Make your message stick

Want people to listen to you? Then you need to present a compelling message. Here are three ways to make a message take hold.

Speak their language

picPeople listen to what makes sense to them. This means you need to frame your message from their perspective. For example, there’s a big difference between the following two statements. Which would you be most likely to listen to?

  • Today I’m going to describe how the new computer program will streamline customer service processes in the business
  • Do you want a better way to close sales? The new program will help you do it!

 

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Get your point across

When people won’t listen, you need to focus their attention. Use the Broken Record technique to do this.

This technique involves repeating your message until it is heard. The name ‘Broken Record’ refers to what happens when old fashioned vinyl records are scratched – the needle of a record player loops over the same section of the recording indefinitely. There are six steps involved in using Broken Record.

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How to ‘call’ bad behaviour

Psychologists recommend ‘calling out’ passive aggressive people on their tactics. How can you do this without creating conflict?

There are four steps involved in calling out poor behaviour assertively and calmly.

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Get active about passive-aggression

Passive aggression is way of covertly expressing anger. It involves using incongruent words, tones and body language to convey contempt. For example, someone might say the words “I don’t have a problem.” The meaning of these words might be totally undermined by the speaker’s voice-tone. This is a passive aggressive way of raising a problem.

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