3 Signs Your Negotiation Skills Need an Upgrade

On a recent trip to Bali, I was fascinated by a scene in the Ubud markets. A 15-year-old girl was haggling over the price of three new t-shirts. Her mother was standing slightly back, whispering to a friend, “Look at her negotiate.” Mum’s words were spoken with pride and a tinge of awe.


This scene got me thinking about how few young Australian women are formally taught the art of negotiation. Because many of us missed out on vital lessons early in life, as adults and professionals we often negotiation with fear or anxiety. If you think your negotiation skills need an upgrade, you’re probably right. If I was coaching you, I would use three signs to tell me whether you need help.



You didn’t negotiate your salary when you accepted your current job

This is a key giveaway. Many women fail to negotiate their salaries purely because they don’t feel competent in the art of negotiation. Over the course of your career, a few thousand dollars every year is going to add up. It can result in you earning hundreds of thousands of dollars less than your male counterparts over the long-term. So don’t let yourself get away with excuses, instead build your confidence, build your skills and be determined to negotiate the next time the opportunity presents itself.


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The last time you made a major purchase you asked someone else to negotiate for you

Even the most self-assured women can feel lost when it comes to negotiating price. Many women stand back and let their partner or a close friend negotiate on their behalf when it comes to purchasing major items. Whether it’s a house, a car, or whitegoods, we ask others to be our voices. Unfortunately, this type of avoidance means we don’t get experience.

So take every opportunity you can to try out your haggling or negotiation skills. Go on a trip to Bali and practice buying t-shirts, for example. Master this skill by listening to the free tips in my 3 Signs Your Negotiation Skills Need Upgrading podcast.


You’ve never asked, ‘What’s your best price?’

Remember, if you don’t ask for a discount its highly unlikely that a shopkeeper is going to offer one spontaneously. Likewise, if you don’t ask for a salary rise, you’re not going to get one quickly. You need to learn how to open negotiations. The simplest way is to rely on a standard opening line. Anyone who has watched a successful negotiator or haggler knows that a great negotiation usually starts with the line, ‘What’s your best price?’ This question is a form of social framing. It tells the person you want to open negotiations.

So now you understand more about these three signs, how would you rate your negotiation skills? If you think there’s room for improvement, don’t be concerned. Around 70% of women are not yet confident in negotiation, but there is something you can do about it. You could start by coming along to my course, Negotiation Skills for Women or if you’d rather work one-to-one, try coaching. Find out more about coaching with your free coaching starter pack. I look forward to working with you and helping you to become a successful negotiator. Need more tips on doing this? Listen to my free podcast 3 Signs Your Negotiation Skills Need Upgrading now.


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About the author of this article

A passionate advocate for women’s development, Eleanor Shakiba is known by her clients as ‘the glass ceiling smasher.’ She has been running training and coaching sessions for women in high intellect professions since 1994. Eleanor’s qualifications include degrees and diplomas in Social Anthropology, Applied Psychology, Adult Education and Neuro Linguistic Programming.